The power of a single word

So, I’ve actually managed to post for 2 days in a row…and tomorrows post is written as well.  Friday is approaching swiftly.  Hopefully I’ll have a few of my changes completed by then and I will be letting you know about my next steps.  For now, enjoy, and feel free to share with others through the links at the bottom.  Thanks!

For the past several years I’ve been following the blog of Christine Kane- who is both a coach and a singer/songwriter.  The first time I visited her blog was about 3 years ago, when an online friend sent a link about choosing a Word of the Year (and definitely check out the posts there too!).  The idea, in my not very eloquent synopsis, is that rather than choose a resolution for the new year, to choose a word.  A single word- just one- that encompasses our hopes and dreams and goals for the year.  Resolutions tend to be dropped as soon as we stray from them.  A word is not an ultimatum or an all or nothing proposal.  It’s simply an idea that we can carry with us throughout the year to remind ourselves of our intentions. 

 So I’ve done this ever since that time.  Okay, the first year I couldn’t pick one word.  I picked 3, and I can’t remember what they were.  It was fun, but not particularly transformative.  The second year I chose “self-respect”- as I had realized that this was something that I hadn’t been giving myself.  I can’t say that word changed my life dramatically that year, but from where I am now, I believe it was the beginning of my current path.  Had I not chosen to focus on self-respect, I don’t know if I’d have reached any approximation of self-love, self-worth, or self-esteem.  Or self-trust.  And those things have been incredibly transformative in my life. 

 Last year, I chose the word “rise”.  This had multiple meanings for me (and ah, that’s what I love so much about words…).  It brings to mind the sayings “Rise and Shine”, “Rise Above” and after experiencing it this year I’d add “Rise Into”.  My desire was to meet the world and my life as wholly and authentically as possible.  It was also to face obstacles and challenges from a place of empowerment and strength.  And what it ultimately led to was my claiming my life for myself, claiming my truth for myself, and rising into who I am and what I am called to offer to the world. 

 This year has certainly had challenges, fear and loss.  It has also had excitement, joy and beauty.  I chose my word looking towards my first semester of nursing clinicals, about which I was petrified.  I emerged from that with a great deal of confidence and a love of the people, the science and the nurturing of nursing.  But my year also started with the  great loss of an amazing friend- who was also the mother of my daughter’s best friend.  As much as it was an honor to be part of her life, it was an honor to be part of her death.  And I learned much about rising to a place of loving and honoring who someone was while accepting their departure from our lives.  And the year moved on.  In the summer I challenged myself to rise into my life and find my truth.  I made an investment in myself to get some coaching and rise above my self imposed limitations.  I joined Christine Kane’s 7 week Uplevel program, choosing to face my eating disorder and support my body’s strength and health.  I ended up drastically changing my life as I discovered that as much as I loved nursing, the path I was on was not supporting my life, but draining it.  This was not the time.  There were other things I needed to do right now.  The fall arrived on a wave of joy, where I was rising beyond any expectation I’d ever had before, and then crashed with another loss.  My uncle, a vibrant, creative force in my life and the world, was found dead.  Again, it was an occasion to rise- to find out what I had to learn from this sudden loss and from the life that was no longer being lived.  I still feel the sadness of the losses of this year, but I know there is much to be inspired by in the lives of those who are gone. 

 I had no idea how much I would hold onto my word in 2010, how much it would serve me, and point me towards love and joy and healing.  “Rise” was the perfect word for me this year.  And did I ever live it, in ways I’d never have imagined 365 days ago. 

 For the coming year, I’ve decided on the word “immerse” (there were 2 runners up, but I’ll set them to the side… there is such power in the choosing).  I am walking into 2011 ready to plunge myself into my joy and my wholeness, and fully face my fears.  I will remind myself when I’m holding myself back that my intention is to jump in and engage my whole self in my experiences, to absorb all I can from them and see where it takes me.  And I will dedicate myself to serving others with whatever skills and gifts I develop- because what could be more fulfilling than that? 

 I invite you to join me in choosing a word to live and see where it goes. 

May you learn and thrive in this year and the years to come,

Lesley

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5 Comments to “The power of a single word”

  1. Lesley, I love your post. I too discovered Christine Kane about the same time you did and also resonated with the word of the year exercise. My word for 2010 is alignment and without knowing really what that would look like or feel like for me, as I reflect back on my year I am able to see that somehow I yielded to that intention and allowed a more aligned me to emerge.

    I also appreciate reading about your decision regarding nursing. I am embarking on a journey that may or may not culminate in me becoming a real estate agent and it feels more empowering to not only follow my dream and to also not be attached to that vision if I feel differently.

    For awhile now I’ve wanted to tell you how much your beautiful writing means to me. I’m thankful for this opportunity to do so and for you sharing your youness.

    In love and light,
    Catrice

    p.s. my word for 2011 is freedom.

  2. Thank you for sharing! I have also been choosing a word a year for the last couple of years. This year’s word was celebrate, and although I did not always keep it in the front of my mind, looking back, I do think celebration has defined this year for me. I have not yet selected my word for next year, but I do believe that there is power in the choosing, and I am excited to discover the word that will stay with me.

  3. Here’s to continuing to rise even as you immerse!

  4. Catrice, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me and I appreciate that you took the time to express them.

    Jacqueline, that’s how I feel about my “self-respect” year. It’s not something I remembered always, but it definitely rippled outward. And I’m glad to have had the chance to celebrate together this year (in classic introvert style)- twice! Thanks so much for commenting- I’d so love to see a dialogue here more often.

    And Rebecca- Here!Here! (as it seems the time is nearly here for toasting!).

    Thanks everyone!

  5. Good website! I actually love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the details are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post was been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which really should work! Have a nice day!

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