Are you a New Year’s Resolution person? This is my third year in a row selecting my One Word, which is similar but different. I love the process, the results, and the overall notion of One Word. I recommend that you give it a try. It’s not too late!!
The first year that I selected a word, I did it through a women’s group, Wholistic Woman Retreats. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had sort of made a New Year’s Resolution to meet new people and connect locally with women on a similar path of personal growth as me. The irony was that I don’t really subscribe to New Year’s Resolutions, but I really wanted something different for myself for 2020. So I put it out there to the universe, around the New Year. Soon after, I saw a Facebook friend’s post, promoting a woman’s retreat in Downtown Frederick, on selecting a word for the year, so I signed up, solo. Serendipity.
The evening of the event, in the early, still hopeful, weeks of 2020, I arrived at Brewer’s Alley and was shown to the private room reserved for the event. Tables were filled with ladies of all sizes, shapes, colors, careers, and paths chatting vibrantly over tea, beer, or wine. How refreshing and empowering. A screen was set up to display a show, eventually. It buzzed of business. But first, our tasks were to mingle and eat. I don’t have a huge problem walking into a room full of strangers by myself, but I am also not very skilled at it. So I vacillated between feelings of anxiousness and confidence. I am certain that this all showed in my countenance as I surveyed the scene, soaked in the good vibe, got a beer, and eventually found my friend. Or rather a friend of a friend, who I now consider my own friend. When that happens, it is a beautiful thing, right? She introduced me to a few other people and then the event began. We all took our seats, got our food, and made small talk over chicken, roasted potatoes, and green beans almandine. Delicious. Happy and full, the slideshow began and the concept of One Word was unveiled (to me, others seemed well versed in it).
The One Word concept was introduced, brainstorming sessions were rolled out, and then arts and crafts were distributed, accompanied by an amazing journal and a pen, both emboldened with the Wholistic Woman Retreats logo. A gift! We were to decorate our journals to depict our word and our intentions with that word. I was hooked. I still write about my One Word in that journal to this day.
As we traipsed through the steps of selecting our One Word, we were told not to rush it. But mine came to me right away. I had just finished reading Michele Obama’s Becoming and was so inspired by both her beautiful story and her storytelling grace that I even ordered the book’s accompaniment journal (designed to help one find their voice as a storyteller). I was deep into psychotherapy and well aware that I was slowly learning to BECOME my very best self. PS, I use the prompts from the Becoming journal in my writing often, sometimes swapping responses with a writing friend and sometimes transforming them into blogs.
While we explored the brainstorming steps that resonate of the ones here, we were coached to focus on four areas of our lives: our mind, our body, our heart, and our spirit. BECOMING more present and aware in all of those areas motivated and excited me. I strived to BECOME more accepting of my body, more open with my heart, more concerned with ideas, and more helpful to others. So voila. Easy peasy.
I wrote about what I was BECOMING every now and then in that gifted journal. Maybe once a week, maybe once a month-no set schedule, just when I felt like it. I loved it and because writing helps us manifest, the concept of BECOMING accompanied me to work, on dates, out with friends, on walks, to workouts, to bed, on my trips. It kept me motivated to BECOME the best version of myself at that time.
Then, 2021. Wow, finding my new word took about 2 weeks. I brainstormed. I started the steps for selecting my word, I introduced the steps to my students, I wrote about the 10-12 options that I had settled upon. Nothing moved me. Nothing made my heart sing. Then I had an epiphany. I realized that I was CURIOUS, pondering which word could possibly serve me well at the start of year 2 of a global pandemic. And it hit me: my word was CURIOSITY. And serve me well it did. Instead of judging, I sought for CURIOUSITY. Instead of assuming, I chose CURIOSITY. Instead of being confused or disappointed or sad, I hunted CURIOSITY to fuel my mind, body, heart, and spirit with positivity and hope. In the tumultuous times of 2021, boy did CURIOSITY come in handy.
I was curious about everything: How do we continue to effectively teach and learn from one another? How are businesses staying afloat and relevant? How do we find joy and peace amidst chaos and destruction? How do we find love? How does one date in quarantine? How do we exist without physical touch? How much fucking longer will this last? Speaking of which, are single people still fucking?
I know I wasn’t. But I sure was CURIOUS. People impressed me with their innovativeness and their outside of the box thinking. So many people made it work (finding peace, joy, love, and, yes, fucking). But what is happening with ones who couldn’t find beauty or positivity? And how could I help?
I found myself writing about CURIOSITY even more and more. Whenever I had a negative thought or self deprecating thought, I rephrased it in my journal with a spin of CURIOSITY. This practice helped me smash negativity and instead see new angles and perspectives and possibilities. Most of the time. I am still BECOMING better and better at it. Progress not perfection. I was inspired by Facebook groups designed to: connect teachers, connect the lonely, bring beauty and grace into our space, show us that we can enjoy some things, even with the juxtaposed sadnesses. CURIOSITY taught me to spin the gem and find the sparkles instead of the flaws. Curiosity helped me launch my Writing to Wholeness class that has brought many together to reflect, produce, share, and heal. That is one way that I helped.
I am still BECOMING CURIOUS. Both of the words have BECOME an integral part of who I am and what motivates me. So much so that I actually wrote a poem. A poet I am not. At least I never thought so, then I got CURIOUS and thought “Maybe you can BECOME a poet.”
This poem is about my path of BECOMING the very best communicator that I can be. Give and take. Push and pull. Speak and listen. Listen and hear. Hear and help.
She spoke with a whisper.
She was plenty loud enough to hear though.
The softness resided in
Then she was silent. Completely silent and attentive for the response.
Her face showed absolute
Her head titled ever so slightly once the speaker concluded;
Only then did she ponder and synthesize her opinions with theirs.
This was evident as she licked her lips ever so lightly
before she spoke with intention
and evidence of listening, of having heard, and of being heard.
2022 brings me GRIT. This word came to me fairly quickly and easily. My curiosity has led me to ideas of travel, business, healing, writing, connecting with others in new ways. Now I need the GRIT to bring my ideas to fruition. I can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store. I am listening for the whispers.