For the last several years, around this same time at the end of the year, I do the same thing:
While everyone is still asleep as I lay here in my bed, in the quiet. It’s still dark and cold outside. I’m warm and comfy in my bed thinking about this new year. I don’t make any resolution or set a goal. I need a north star that will focus my heart and attention in a busy and harsh world. Something that is gentle yet powerful.
I’m so done with harsh goal-setting. I put my hand on my heart and ask, “What’s my word for the year?”
I sit with what word I need to have on my heart and on my lips as I go about my day.
What word needs to be my prayer, my focus, my touchstone as I make breakfasts, get backpacks ready, feed the dog and sit at my computer to do work? What word will deeply nourish me? What word will open my eyes to see my partner as my beloved – a reminder that we are on the same team? What word needs to be my reminder of how I want to live this day and live this year when things aren’t going the way I want them to, when disagreements happen, when the unexpected arrives, when old habits creep into my thinking and doing?
And then I listen. And I always hear my word. I know in my gut this is it. Even if it makes me a bit uncomfortable, I know it needs to be my word. Some times it takes a few days until I say, “Yep, that’s it.”
I will carry it with me throughout the year, allowing it to change me. At the end of the year, I want to look back and see how this word has been weaved within me, how I embody it, day after day, carrying it with me and in my heart. I want to look back and see how my word has challenged me to redefine “strength” and to make mindful choices about how I go about my day, what I do with my time, and how I treat myself and others.
For 2011, my three words were: soften, strengthen, and forgive.
For 2012, my three words were: silly, sensual, and connections.
For 2013, my word was: light
For 2014, though I didn’t blog about this, my word was: focused
For 2015, my phrase was: enwombed in delight.
For 2016, it was: let love in.
For 2017: my one word is: poetry
And every year, my word, phrase or the few words I choose as my “Word for the Year” accompany as I go about my day. I live and breathe my word with mindfulness and compassion practices that I weave into my day. And, now, over time, I can look back and see how these words have “taken up residence” in me and impacted how I love, live, and work.
I know how hard it is to focus these days. I see how our culture would have us going 24-7. It prizes achievement through harsh “going, going, going.’ There are so many distractions – literally – at our fingertips. I hear how often we tend to everyone else’s needs before nourishing ourselves with one morsel of delight. Recently, someone told me that she felt like she didn’t deserve a moment of delight and nourishing herself until everything was done at home — which, of course, it never was. This year, she’s changing that.
She’s not engaging in some harsh goal-setting or making some resolution. She’s choosing a word for the year.
Rather than a New Years resolution or goal, having a word for the year is a guiding force as we go about our day.
It focuses our attention. It calls us back from distraction. It is a gentle reminder about how we want to live when we are making decisions and when we are triggered.
It helps guide what we say “yes” to and what we say “no” to — and HOW we go about doing that.
And when we pause — it is a moment of remembering how nourishing ourselves and staying devoted to our Heart’s path is what truly matters.
And what happens when we have these “moments of remembering” and connecting to our Word for the Year? Our word takes up residence within us. We actually begin to embody the essence of our Word for the Year.
I so believe in having a word for the year that I’ve created Your Word for the Year: A Soulful Experience – an 8 day mini course.
I want to share with you mindfulness-based and compassion-focused practices to really dive deep with your Word for the Year. I want to share with you SOULFUL (not harsh) practices that I have engaged in to really stay focused and nourished and that I share in Compassion Coaching and Psychotherapy.
I believe that when each of us has this compass, this north star, this touchstone — we live aligned with our Heart’s Path. And by doing that?! The courageous, warm, vibrant light of your Heart encourages others to do the same. And all of us doing this together?! We create a more compassionate world!
If you want to start your year off in a SOULFUL way with mindful and compassion practices, be a part of this 8-day mini course. You’ll receive your Day 1 email immediately when you sign up. Each day, you’ll receive an email with soulful practices, tips and downloads to support you in living and embodying Your Word for the Year. And if you are on Facebook, you can also be a part of my private/secret Facebook group.
I’d be delighted to support you and nourish you with practices that have supported and nourished me, my clients, and my dear ones.
You can sign up here: https://www.lisamccrohan.com/product/word-for-the-year-soulful-experience/
May you discern a word for the year that will guide your heart, thoughts, and actions.
May it become your daily touchstone.
May it remind you of how you want to live this one wild and precious life.
May it serve to awaken all beings and create a more compassionate home and world.