I’ve chosen intentional words for the last few years and they have proven to be very powerful for me. In 2015, “expansion” brought me a business coach, a healing space, and huge growth in both my personal life and practice. In 2016, “activation” brought me even more growth, a hugely opening and expansive relationship, and a new course and program actually called “Activate Your Superpowers.”

Through these past two years, I’ve learned that there is deep power in setting intentional words and because of that I’ve taken a lot of time to allow the right word to settle within me this year.

Initially, because I have experienced such an expansion of energies over the last few years, I wanted to continue along the same vein. But as life and my higher self would have it, a much more introspective and subtle energy came through.

I wrote recently about my experience in New York with my business coach Monica Shah, in which I had an epiphany around how I tend to hold myself back in many ways. I’ve become very open and able to be vulnerable about topics that I used to shroud in secrecy and shame and because of that, I have felt confident in my voice.

But full-expression of ourselves is more than just our voice. It is the way that we move through the world, the manner in which we share ourselves in all ways. It is how we hold ourselves, offer ourselves, shine our lights, and even how we dim them.

So the truth is that I’m fully expressing myself in some areas of my life, but not all. I still hold back in some ways out of fear of being “too much” to others.

And so I was holding this thought in the back of my mind and I asked my team and Spirit to guide me towards my word. “Expression” was being whispered in my ear, but I wasn’t allowing it to take hold within me.

A few days later, at my birthday celebration, I received a beautiful gift of an oyster shell from one of my dear friends. And while an oyster shell might seem like an odd gift (even she claims she had intended to get me a piece of jewelry, but felt drawn to get the shell instead), I was mesmerized by it.

Then, when we got home, I opened a gift from Scott: The Wild Unknown’s Spirit Animal Deck, which I have had my eye on for a good while. I was SO excited to pull my first card. (Y’all, this deck is amazing!)

I laid the cards out and asked to be shown what I most needed to see. And then I pulled…

OYSTER.

Frankly, I was wondering why I hadn’t pulled something more glamorous, like Unicorn or Eagle or the Cosmic Egg. Seriously, oyster??? I wouldn’t even have thought about putting an oyster card in a deck!

I didn’t initially put it all together…And then it hit me: I had JUST received an oyster and I had been reflecting on not holding myself back. My guides were being loud and clear with me:

It’s time to come out of my shell and to reveal the pearl within. It’s time to open and express fully, to not take my inner gifts for granted, to move away from my tendency to hold back and withdraw.

I’m realizing just how powerful FULLexpression can be. I also realize that just as my last two intentional words pushed me to challenge myself in big ways, 2017’s word is already asking the same of me.

So I will be louder, bolder and brighter this year in a way that feels aligned and in integrity to me. I will do so even when my tendency might be to pull back. I’m committing to my word and I’m excited to see what sort of magic will unfold as a result. It scares me, but it lights me up at the same time and that is exactly what the best intentions for growth will do.

What about you? Have you chosen an intentional word for 2017? Hop on over to my blog and share if you’d like. I’d love to hear from you!