The Perfect Word
Happy New Year, insanely interesting Writerly Women! The only thing I like better than starting a fresh season is starting it with all of you. I'm serious about that. Even just your comments to each other regarding the last post about "Borrowing Faith" proved that we ARE a community and we can make a difference to each other. That doesn't even require a Resolution. It's simply a fact.
Speaking of resolutions ... only 9% of people who make them on January 1 actually keep them. That's actually a higher percentage than I suspected, to tell you the truth. However, having one word that guides you through the year has been shown to be pretty darn effective, and that makes sense. Seriously which is more compelling:
* I'm going to lose fifteen pounds, write 100,000 words and read my Bible twice a day?
* I'm going to attach myself to HOPE this year?
And here's the deal: if you focus on HOPE and do only those things that express or reflect that hope, you will probably believe you can lose needed weight, write your best stuff and deepen your relationship with the sacred text of your faith. That's because, having just one word as your frame of reference:
* Takes away any possibility of failure. Really, how do you measure how much HOPE you have? And if you can't measure it, you can't fall short.
* Widens your range of opportunities. You aren't just tied to working out in your basement and giving up sugar. HOPE gives you the courage to try some new foods, take up Wonder Walking, look for a style that looks good on YOUR body.
* Makes your outlook more positive. Resolutions like the ones we're using as examples suggest that we have been lacking. A guiding word speaks to what we want more of.
This approach is perfect for us. We are wordsmiths. We know how to choose the perfect word that precisely fits our meaning. Why not put that gift, that skill to work for ourselves and, ultimately, everyone around us. I mean, who doesn't want to be around a person who is moved by HOPE or LOVE or HONESTY or GRATITUDE or VISION?
And because words are our forte, we can be even more precise in our choices than our accountant and engineer friends. My word for 2021 is ESSENTIAL. I want to attach myself to those things that are authentic to my essential nature -- the people I'm with, the work I do, the personal passions I pursue, even in the way I shape my home.
When my almost-ten-year-old granddaughter and I were trying to discover her word for the coming year, I asked her some questions which might be helpful to you too in case no marvelous piece of vocabulary pops immediately to mind.
- What do you want to do MORE of this year?
- What do you want to be like at the end of 2021?
- What are you dreaming of or hoping for right now?
- What perfect word describes the essence of you?
- (We can add, of course, what word comes to mind when you meditate on this with God?)
(Incidentally, her answer to all of those questions was an honest, "I don't know." She pointed out that she is pretty happy right NOW, so that became her word.)
That's not all. Because we are creative women, why wouldn't we turn our chosen word into a visual of some kind that we can envision, especially when supporting that concept becomes challenging? It doesn't have to be a work of art. It just needs to reflect you and what you're about this year.
2020 has been a difficult year for the entire world, and we can't count on the fact that when we wake up tomorrow morning, all the remnants of the last ten months will have disappeared. Even on Inauguration Day or when we all get vaccines we won't see a dramatic change at once. But each of us, as Gandhi so wisely said, can be the change we want to see in the world.
One word at a time.
Your challenge: pray, meditate, ponder, write and discover your word. Share it with us, and if you really want to commit, create a visual, take a picture and email it to me -- [email protected] I can think of few things more encouraging than a gallery of the lexicon that will take us into 2021.
Again, Happy New Year, Ladies. Happy New Year.
I’m with Lily, Natasha. How are you? Did Nancy’s suggestion about perspective resonate with you?
Oh, ladies. Being a creative is so wonderful. But it can also be hard! Can I hear an amen? But I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s like how glad I am that I’m a girl and not a guy. Oh, so many reasons.
I hope we can share with one another a lot this year. It has had a rocky start, for sure. I guess that’s why we build our Hope ON the Rock.
Hugs to you all!
Posted by: Colleen | 01/08/2021 at 07:01 AM
Natasha, I wanted to check in and see how you're doing, with whatever terrible news you weathered New Year's Eve.
Posted by: Lily | 01/05/2021 at 10:45 AM
Oops, Emii -- I meant to say I think it's the enemy of creativity. Although maybe in a way the pursuit of perfection is the enemy of perfection itself!
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:24 PM
Love that choice, Emii. You're learning young to let go of the pursuit of perfection. It's the enemy of progress, said Winston Churchill. It's the enemy of good, said Voltaire. And I think it's one of the main enemies of perfection. You are a beautiful human. so this should be a year of wonderful discovery.
As for Eckert Tolle ... I'm impressed that you got through his book. I couldn't do it. I personally think he's nuts -- but that's probably just me. Anything that helps a person get perspective can't be entirely insane! I'm glad it was helpful to you. I really am.
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:23 PM
Diligent. That's pretty ambitious stuff, Margie. You're pretty amazing, because it would take me at least a year to master that! Will you let us know how it goes?
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:18 PM
I like it, Pam. And this is a place where WE will listen to YOU.
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:16 PM
Precious Natasha -- we've all been there. May I suggest you play with the word "perspective?"
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:15 PM
Y'know, Laureen, I've heard people use the roller coaster metaphor to describe up and down emotions many times but never with the skill and wordsmithing and depth of feeling you've put into the extending of it. Your comment is a wonderful piece of writing. Here's to BEing!
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:13 PM
Colleen, that is the perfect word for someone who has such a HUGE heart. If you do something wholeheartedly, you are a force to be reckoned with.
Posted by: Nancy Rue | 01/04/2021 at 02:11 PM
Love Maeryn's word. Now. Eckert Tolle's 'The Power of Now' helped me to find ways to discover it, this 'now'. And 'Essential' -- love this, too.
My word is 'Human'. One of my prayers this year is that I will become more human. More fully human. I've emphasised divinity, I've clung to perfection -- but human, to become more human, this day and the next.
Posted by: Emii | 01/04/2021 at 01:51 AM
Happy New Year, ladies! So blessed to have your wisdom, insight and friendship!
In the past, I’ve chosen a word a year and then last year it became a word a month.
This year I decided on a word a week and purchased “Focus: How one Word a Week Will Transform Your Life” by Cleere Cherry Reaves.
I’m excited as I start the word for this week “diligent” and incorporate it into devotion time and explore the scriptures for life application.
Thanks for being here for us, Nancy and I’m looking forward to an awesome year!
Posted by: Margie Wood | 01/03/2021 at 03:01 PM
I'm sorry your 2021 stared off horrible, Natasha. Praying you'll start the climb up and be blessed on the way.
Laureen, BE is such a great word!
Colleen, I totally believe you bring HEART to your writing - and everything you do. ((hugs))
For the last 3 or 4 years, my word for the year was PAUSE. It took me that long to learn what it meant to me. I'm such a kneejerk person! That's fine when emergencies happen, but not so great when I respond in anger or frustration. I'm getting better at pausing, so I believe it's time for a new word. I came up with LISTEN. I want to listen to God's voice better. I want to listen to what family and friends are NOT saying. And what they are. I want to listen to the small voice in my head that tells me to keep going.
Is 2021 going to be better than 2020? No idea. But it's here and we can't change it. We have to move forward or get stuck in the mud, right? haha!
Happy New Year! Happy 9th Day of Christmas! I'm so thankful for you all!
Posted by: Pam Halter | 01/02/2021 at 08:04 AM
I love this idea so much! The day before New Years Eve, I felt on top of the world, so excited about what I'd survived and thrived through in 2020, and ready for 2021. I wrote a poem that started with the line "Guess what? I am not the black hole I suspected I was". But then New Years Eve hit something (very small) sent me spinning and feeling like as much of a scattered, broken, irredeemable mess as ever. It was not a delightful way to begin my 2021, and I have been pondering ways to redeem the start of this year. This word idea is a wonderful way to go. Thank you for this idea, Nancy, and if I find an answer to this question I will share it with you all <3
Posted by: Natasha | 01/01/2021 at 10:42 PM
Happy New Year to you, Nancy, and to your family, as well as everyone else here. May this year treat us kindly, and be filled with warmth, love, peace, joy, discovery, and laughter.
I think my 2021 Word is: Be( ), as in Be(still), Be(lieve), Be(long), and so on, as well as just Be, much like your granddaughter's word is Now.
Be.. in the moment. Be... alive to the emotions. Be... and just breathe.
2020 has been a horrible crash & burn, roller coaster of a year for me. Those upward climbs to unknown heights, but without having the usual excitement of knowing what fun is ahead.
Instead, it was being flung downwards, blind to the unexpected spirals, curves, and upside down loops waiting ahead. Tossed from one side of the car to the other, and no belt holding me snug. A dizzying array of spins, drops, and climbs, leaving me at the end station reeling, with no clear way of knowing which way was up or down, and lurching in any direction.
One good thing that happened is being permanently laid off from a toxic workplace that was strangling me. Another is that I've found a Healer/Therapist who is helping me discover the way forward.
That's the extent of good that I can glean from 2020. The rest of it was filled with losses of various natures, long months of unending stress and fear, interspersed with cat snuggles and coffee.
Here's to 2021: May it BE a year filled with healing for all.
Posted by: Laureen Allen | 01/01/2021 at 01:56 PM
I didn’t get an email, but I came here HOPING to find a post. So yay! I’ve pretty much settled on my word for the year. My niece asked me what I thought my strength is in writing. I started with . . .”I’m good at descriptions, my dialogue is usually pretty solid, I have a good imagination, I—wait! Scratch all that.” This discovery was huge for me: “Those things are tools. My strength in writing? Heart. I bring heart.” But I have to admit that even at that, often I do things half-heartedly. I don’t want to do that anymore. That’s why my word this year is whole-hearted. No matter what I do, say, or where I go.
Have a wonderful, wonderful New Year each and every one of you dear ladies! ❤️
Posted by: Colleen | 12/31/2020 at 08:37 PM