This is my 10th year picking a Word of the Year (#OneLittleWord) as opposed to setting resolutions. I started off with buoyant in 2008, then flowed into courage (’09), be (’10), discipline (’11), impact (’12), transcend (’13), nourish (’14), strengthen (’15), and presence (’16).
I reread my blog post from last year about how PRESENCE came to me and what I ultimately wanted it to mean. It served me not only in those ways, but in so many more. As I reflect back on 2016, PRESENCE was a constant companion. I found that I was much more mindful of how I was allocating my time; I multi-tasked much less and solo-tasked much more. As a result, I didn’t feel that constant tug-of-war as much as in years past. For the most part, when I was nose-to-nose with people, I was unequivocally nose-to-nose. When I was working, my sole focus was on working. When I was relaxing, I was completely and totally relaxing—ringer off, phone put away, book in my hands. On the days where I didn’t let the distractions in, on the days where I was clear with my boundaries, and on the days when I said, “No, I’m sorry, not today. My time is already spoken for,” I was much more productive, much less stressed, and felt much more fulfilled. Interestingly enough, there was an unintended side-effect of my commitment to PRESENCE: I became hyper-aware of others’ lack of presence and it would occasionally get under my skin. I found that the thing I was most demanding of myself was ultimately also what I craved from everyone else. Even though I have moved on to a new word, I know PRESENCE will stick with me in the years to come. It was one of my favorite words to-date!
Fast forward to 2017: What am I seeking? What am I hoping to contribute? How do I want to show up? How do I want to make the next 12 months count? It took a couple days and a few journal pages, but I am beyond connected to my 2017 word: ALCHEMY. It’s funny, alchemy was one of the last words that came to me, but it was the one I was most attracted to!
This year, more than any other year, there was an extremely heavy outside influence on my word choice. The world has gone frickin’ bananas! Between the unrelenting violence at home and abroad, the ongoing assault on women’s and reproductive rights, the battle for water at Standing Rock, and the election of Trump, more than ever I am feeling the need for love, magic, wonder, grace, and faith. If those things aren’t readily accessible in the world around me, then I am tasked with BEING those things so I can make the world around me better.
In comes ALCHEMY. By definition, alchemy means “the magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into something of great value.” Alchemy is also known as a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. That is EXACTLY what I want my year to look like; ordinary moments made extraordinary by adding love, grace, magic, and wonder.
For me, ALCHEMY will be about taking the humdrum and making it magnificent (or at least noteworthy). It’s about going the extra mile. It’s about turning the mundane into something more magical. It’s about seeing the good in every day. It’s about doing small things with big love. I envision this word having a direct influence on how I parent, how I teach, how I cook, how I rest, how I love and make love, how I connect to nature, how I view the world around me, and how I interact with the people who inhabit it….
In addition to the physical manifestation of this word (changing/bettering/transforming things I can see), I also envision a very spiritual component to this word. The spiritual side will be much more focused on alchemic symbolism: creatively learning how to get “out of my own way,” how to stop being my worst critic, and being deliberate around the art of personal transformation and inner magic. So much looking within will transpire this year. I envision coining my own alchemist’s creed: “by changing yourself, you change everything.” It all starts with me and I get to decide to what extent I am willing to be a catalytic agent for emotional and spiritual change, what energy I want to put out in the world, and how I want to live from sun up to sun down. There is an ancient Alchemist saying: “Solve et coagulate.” It means dissolve and coagulate. “Solve” is a Latin word meaning to break down and separate, and “coagula” is Latin for the process of bringing elements back together (coagulating) into a new, higher form. In layman’s terms: tear it down and build it back up. Transform. Rebuild. Figure it all out and shore it all up.
Only ten days into the new year and My Word is already showing up for me in little ways:
- I am infusing normally monotonous activities with much more creativity (ex: Bullet Journaling instead of keeping a boring planner), thereby making the task of family organizer more fun and engaging. That’s alchemy: transmuting the common into something special.
- I have been dressing up more, playing with my “style” and wearing things that bring me joy. That’s alchemy: putting love and effort into your appearance instead of slapping on yoga pants day in and day out.
- I have been cooking more and connecting more with family meal time (ex: bringing out the good dishes, more fruits and veggies). That’s alchemy: lovingly nourishing yourself and taking time to take pause with the people you love.
- I have been taking more pictures! That’s alchemy: transforming a fleeting moment into a lasting memory.
Making the ordinary extraordinary! Yes! More of that in 2017, please! The world (and I) will certainly need it!
FYI—how I plan on connecting to my word this year:
- Intention feather ordered from Rachael Rice Art on Etsy.
- Pocket talisman ordered from Soul Mantras.
- Recycled Word of the Year (not pictured) ordered from Colleen Attara Studio.
- Year-long One Little Word class with Ali Edwards where I get to reflect on and connect to my word on a monthly basis.
Do you have a word of the year or a plan for tackling the year ahead? I’d love to hear it in the comments section!