Word Of The Year

Once again, it’s (almost!) that time of year.

I was telling someone about the idea of Word Of The Year and thought I might jump on here and issue a reminder to those of you who join me and to tell of the genesis for those of you who may not know about this.

In late 2010 I read a blog by someone (and it kills me that I have no recollection of who it was…of course, I was still drinking then, so it’s not a huge surprise!) who talked about how useless resolutions were for her and how she had, for years, chosen a single word as her, what? inspiration, focus, meditation? for the year. I really don’t remember much except “resolutions are useless” and “a word”. I certainly knew resolutions were useless by then, but the idea of a word for the year stuck. It intrigued me and I thought I’d maybe give it a spin.

Well, I thought and thought about my word. I thought a surprising amount about it because, as I stated above, I was still drinking. However, I read about the word after my horrendous Thanksgiving Day bottom and thus I had already set in motion whatever was set in motion that day.

I finally decided on the word YES! It was a big word, a HUGE word, but I felt so sad and desperate and I needed a big word, a big challenge, a big change.

So I chose YES and it chose me. I decided to say yes to everything, no matter how afraid I was, and I was scared of everything. By that point I barely left the house, so this was a big deal. In January I was asked about training to be a leader for the grief groups and I said YES. I just did it. And the year continued like that. I got sober, found work I loved to do and just changed so much.

The second year I chose ENOUGH. I had this notion that it was about being enough, good enough, smart enough, whatever enough. The interesting thing about the word of the year though is that, while we may have an idea in our heads about what the words mean, often times the words work us differently. The word enough came to be more about ENOUGH! I’ve had it vs. I am enough. It was a good lesson for me in allowing the word to work me, and it does. Choosing a word is a lot about trusting the process and allowing. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.

Year 3 I chose OPEN and, wow. It was an amazing year in terms of being open to all sorts of new thought. I went to yoga for the first time, and although it wasn’t until the end of the year I actually established a practice, the genesis was in the word. I also sold my house, my son moved out in his own,I moved to an apartment and changed so much about my life. I found the beginnings of spirituality, something I had been so closed off to for so long.  I started a daily gratitude practice and, um, gratitude? I had to be very open to that!  OPEN was  great word for me.

Last year I chose the word FREE. When I sat down to start this I thought I wouldn’t have much to say about that word, it seemed kind of a bust. But as I am writing I see that the start of that word working me was in September 2013 when I moved into my apartment, and that FREE was  perfect word for my first full year out on my own again. Unfettered, not tied down to anyone or anything.  No son, no dog….just me. Free to do all the yoga I wanted, to move into meditation, to say more yeses than ever because I was free to. I see now how that word was working me again, vs my working it.

Another part, for me, of the whole word of the year idea is that I don’t let go of the words.They stay with me, and I keep working with them. Just as I sat down tonite and suddenly saw how FREE I was….am this year, there are still a lot of OPEN and ENOUGH moments that pop in, as well as my alpha word YES, which is something I attempt to allow to inform everything I do.

I believe I have my word for 2015, but  I am hesitant. Honestly, it’s a big word and it scares me. Writing this has helped though, because I reminded myself that I don’t manipulate the word, it works me, and while I have some ideas of how to practice the word, ultimately I don’t have full control, and the things I am scared of are fantasies in my head, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I’m still assessing and will announce it after the New Year. Bu I wanted to put out this reminder and explanation. Reminding those of you who have been joining me to get thinking, and  inviting others to join in if  the practice resonants with you..  I dedicate a post to my word, as do many of you. I am looking forward to reading them all in the New Year.

And BTW….don’t worry about January 1st. That’s just any other day, right?  Whenever you come up with a word is good. No resolutions, no expectations.

Just hold on to your hats because it can be a wild and wonderful ride!





Add yours →

  1. I’m in. Great idea. Word of the year. Hmmm. Good thing I have some time. This may take a while.

  2. Love it. I heard somebody else say say they had a word for the year and it was an awesome experience. Might try it myself for 2015!

  3. Yay!!!!

    It’s really fun, and really kind of amazing….
    take all the time you need. I remember the first year It was probably near the end of January when I came up with my word. Since then I aim for the 1st, but….whatever.

  4. My 2014 word was acceptance. Was it ever appropriate.

  5. right?
    so good.
    looking forward to see what you come up with this year!

  6. hmmm…. I like this idea. my initial thoughts for a word are all something quite negative though… words like ‘regroup’ and ‘pause’. I have had a tough 2014. maybe something like ‘rest’? I like ‘rest’… wandering off to think about it….

  7. Interesting….
    i have done the same, gone for a negative word. I think it helpful to get in touch with those feelings and then choose a word that describes how you’d like to be vs how you are.
    i like both pause and rest..pause is more active and, to me, not only means pausing in ones life to get some rest, but also pausing before speaking and doing..that “pause when agitated or upset “idea that is so hard to come to grips with.
    You know..this is how it truly goes : I wrote that and had a word in mind, one that i had been toying with for a few days. Today I hate it, and am thinking about other words. a week ago that word hadn’t even been thought of.
    I change all the time, toss it around, look at all sides of it.
    I just had another insight about the word “free”..how this last year was a financial disaster and pretty much all I did was work for free…LOL, another layer unfolds!

    I aso have to remember to listen intuitively. generally when the right word comes there is some peace.

  8. Love this. I really like the idea of focussing on an idea for a new years resolution instead of a list of specifics. Unfortunately, while I was drinking, I wasn’t ever able to keep to anything. Ever. List or idea. Now that I’m sober I think I can. I think I’ll adopt this idea of a single word- I’ll keep you posted when I decide what it is! Thanks 🙂

  9. I remember you doing this. I, too, can’t remember where it originated. I love that you wrote about this today. I’m going to work on my word. I few are coming to mind, but I will be silent a little longer and see what shows up. Thank you, thank you. xox Lisa

    • I have seen other doing it online…but I just cannot remember the first person. I was drunk though, that’s for sure, so it’s no wonder!
      I say a little prayer for that person every year…I love this practice!

  10. Loved reading about your process…you and I have discussed this before. It was with that conversation in mind that I picked my word just today on the plane ride home. It’s written down and has squiggly lines drawn to all of the words that followed and tried to take its place.
    I’ll show you mine when you show me yours 😉
    (Thanks for the continual inspiration!) xo

  11. I can’t wait for the unveiling!

  12. Are you on the BFB ?

  13. Looking forward to it!

    You inspired me to do a word last year – it was Patience. And boy did I take it to heed and it’s helped me in the resentment and tolerance category. I need to start thinking of another one!

    Thanks for this – love this tradition 🙂


  14. What a great idea! I’m new to all this and it sounds fun. One of my fears of sobriety is my life will get too full. Then if I relapse I will have double problems!

    • Oh MY!…

      my life has gotten so much fuller because of sobriety…I can promise that!….so let’s work on letting that be a GOOD thing, yes?
      When i was drinking that is all i cared about, losing the drink caused me to have to look outward again and find other things to do. That has been a responding success….and i wish the same for you!
      Don’t be afraid of that…..love it!
      As of your last post see you have 5 days….I hope this is day 6!!

  15. Oh gosh, I sure love how your chosen big words tell the story of your authentic journey. Being one who loves to ponder, I’ll gladly ponder this possibility.

    • fun to ponder…..
      i am still pondering! arrghhhh
      i cannot settle, an i don’t know why. there is a message here, in this not settling, but i’ve yet to find it.
      Like i said in a comment above..my first word was well into january, because that’s when i read the blog that inspired the whole thing, so i am tying to stay calm..Lol….
      if you do come up with a word please write and let me know, i love seeing everyone’s words!

  16. I love this, and I love that my mind got so busy right away with it. My first reaction was one of terror. (Seriously, I will react with fear to the weirdest of things. To most things, actually.) I thought, one word, only one?? For a whole year? Like if it was for a week, I could cope with the idea, but a year? And what about all the other words that don’t get picked? So many! So then I thought, maybe I need a word like “decisive” or “commit”. But then it occurs to me that what I am really afraid of is picking the wrong word, precisely the kind of fear that stops me making any decisions in life and keeps me stuck, so I thought, maybe what I need is “courage”. But these words seem far too demanding, like big labels for how I feel I should be but am not, so instead I think I might go for “awake”. In some ways, quitting drinking has felt like an awakening for me, as if I have been sleep walking for years, and only half living my life. I like the idea of stepping into 2015 awake and aware, with the intention of staying that way throughout the year (metaphorically, obv, love my sober sleep!). I like the fact that “awake” can be read as a verb or as an adjective. It is something I can do. It is something I can be. I’m going to think about this 🙂
    I look forward to reading about your word! Best wishes for 2015 🙂 May it bring peace and joy to you. xx

    • oh i LOVE this word….
      i will tell you it is on my (very) shortlist of words i am struggling with right now….
      and i don’t want to be struggling!
      this is the first year i have had so much trouble, and i am looking for the message in this.
      But awake…yes, great word. let me know if you choose it, or if you choose anything.

      oh and BTW i am not struggling because of the size of the word or the fact it’s for a year…as i wrote above the word works me in ways that i can’t see until i am in it, so sometimes what i consider is a poor choice is definitely not.
      I just cannot settle…the monkey mind is in full swing!
      I am taking a meditative yoga class later today, that will force me to quiet down, and who knows.

      just subscribed to your blog…glad you commented on mine and i found you!
      happy new year

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