My word for 2023 is Healing. 

Every year i try to pause and reflect and listen and then pick a word that will be a theme or focus for the coming year. With the past two years being the hardest two in my life for a number of reasons – but mostly my wife, Val, leaving me and ending our 12-year marriage- it possibly makes a lot of sense as to why this would be my next word. But also in some ways, it feels like so much of the Healing has had to happen in the past two years and so shouldn’t i just be done with it already and pick something else?

But the fact that i will be turning 49 later this month – ouch, when did THAT happen? – for me felt like a bit of a sign. While i am never likely going to be someone to absolutely stop everything and just focus on personal healing for a year [let’s be honest, i don’t think i have that in me, focusing on myself and not anyone else feels completely alien!] having a general sense of leaning into Healing and establishing some more healthy rhythms and practices so that i can in a sense hit the ground running next year when i turn 50 which is a nice round number and feels like a good time for a bit of a relaunch.

In a lot of ways, much of the past year and a half has been a whole lot of Healing or trying to. But when i have it as my word for this year, i am declaring the intention to be more actively intentional in it. To refuse to any more let what happened be an excuse to veg on the couch and get lost in series and feel sorry for myself. It’s time for this Phoenix to brush off the ashes and get going with some things.

And i must say, that since Malta [won a little board game competition last year and was flown to Malta to compete in the World Catan Champs there and came 7th overall] i have returned home feeling a lot lighter. And with some strong Hope and Expectation for 2023.

In January i will be part of a Heartlines team who have been invited to Stellenbosch to do some What’s Your Story? work there and hopefully be part of sowing the seeds for a bit of a much-needed culture shift in that University, especially as far as race and culture and diversity goes. We will also be continuing to share the Fathers Matter movies and conversations and hope to see increased conversations and small group activity around the call for present active men in the lives of children.

i am hoping to revisit the book i wrote in the Philippines on white people and race [“I’m not a racist butt!”] but the most crucial part of that puzzle is finding someone who can publish for me. i do know a lot more people who have published books in SA since a year ago so perhaps one of them will be able to open the door for me. Given this Maselspoort pool incident in the Free State and this club incident in Cape Town, there is clearly still such a need for something like this and nothing written locally to it i don’t think. i have also been playing around with writing a book of poetry – have been part of an amazing Poetry Whatsapp group this past year that drops daily prompts to encourage you to write and so have been making more time to write poetry and want to try and make that part of my weekly rhythms as well. So we will see what happens with that.

Lastly, i have already started to put my plans into place to lose some weight and have a healthier body and hopefully be more fit for hockey and more. So have largely cut out sugar in the form of chocolate and dessert [and bowls of icing made for consumption with a teaspoon] and am back into intermittent fasting [no eating til 11am and beyond 7pm] and have already gone for my first run and walk of 2023 and returned to Ultimate Frisbee. So that is looking and feeling good. Have been playing around with the idea of joining a gym this year but not sure i have the money for it, but will maybe go visit and see what’s on offer. But really happy with how that has started and looking to become a more lean and mean and fighting maching by the end of 2023. Should be taking that Before pic i guess.

So ja, Healing – bring it on – an intentional leaning into stepping away from some things and making time for some things is how i largely see this playing out. 

i have also added a spiritual component in terms of finding some creative ways to read the Bible with people which began last year actually and am looking forward to continuing that and also perhaps creating spaces for others to do the same. And another piece of the Healing journey is to invite other people in to do the same – so really hoping for some gatherings with people who Love Jesus but have been struggling with church or finding their place in those spaces; and hungry to start hosting some Deep Dive Dinner Conversations again where a small group of us share a meal and dive into some topical conversation in a safe-but-probably-uncomfortable space for 4 to 6 hours and really get in there; and then walks with people in my Tokai Forest space and grabbing camping chairs and books and sitting in the stream in Newlands Forest and being alone together… All of those on the menu for 2023.

Do you have a word for this year? Would love to hear what it is and how you see it playing out for you… 

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t yet, please give one of my podcast episodes a listen over here.