Guidance and inspiration in one word a year

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Several years ago I read for the first time about the idea of choosing a word for the following year, a word that is supposed to be an inspiration and guide rather than any kind of resolution. The word can represent something personal to be focused on throughout the particular year, something one wants to learn, develop or improve in, or it can represent a desired change in one’s life, a direction to be followed, a dream to be fulfilled… So many possibilities…

I liked the idea, it made sense. But how do I choose such a mighty word, I asked myself, and couldn’t find the answer easily. Those following this practice recommended pondering, meditating, praying and being open and I gave it a try but to be frank, looking for and eventually finding my first word felt quite clumsy. I’m not even sure that the word was the right one at the moment. It was inspired by my participation in the Vision & Verb blog which helped me realise that I’d want and need more laughter and smile in my life and so for 2014 I chose Humour.

Well, that word didn’t influence my life in that year much but I decided to give the idea another try and for 2015 I chose Persistence. At that time, rather than a choice it felt like an agreement with the word that came to meet me, inspired by demands of my 52-week photo project. I find it interesting to observe that this second word was accompanying me through the whole year, reminding me of my intention to keep trying, working, creating…

If you read my post Gratitude, you might guess which word will guide and inspire me this year. It is… Gratitude. That moment of awareness that I described in the post influenced me significantly. Without exaggerating, it was a life changing experience for me. Even after several weeks, the profoundness of the moment still warms my heart and boggles the mind and also brings a positive attitude. It’s something to build on.

It seems that year by year my process of nominating the word is smoother and easier and instead of looking for the word, the word itself comes to me, making me feel its importance. Also, it seems that the words don’t succeed one another but add to one another which, if you think about it, is quite understandable. You can’t be done with the word in a year, can you? The previous two words have come and stayed and are still work in progress. I need them, no doubt about that. You know, the longer I play this game with the words, the more I like it as there is more to it than meets the eye. I’m looking forward to all the other words that will come to me in the future.

Have you chosen your word for this year? Or are you fed up with all the posts on this topic that fill blogs at this time of the year? I always find it interesting to see the words others had chosen, to hear their stories and see behind the scenes, there is so much to share…

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16 Comments

  1. "Gratitude" is a profound word and a wise choice for anyone's word of the year. It reminds me of something I saw on Facebook recently…a recommendation that we write on a little slip of paper each good thing that occurs in our lives this year, putting all the little slips of paper into a jar to be read at the end of the year (or on a day when you just have the blahs). So often, we take those little blessings for granted. By writing them down and "reliving" them in the future, we hold onto the wonder of them and remember to be grateful.

    1. Linda, thank you. It’s not a bad idea to save the being-grateful-for moments in this way. It would be interesting to see the size of our jars, by the way… I’d say that at the end of the year they would differ from one another significantly!

      One more “by the way”… I felt intrigued by the phrase “have the blahs” that you’ve mentioned and tried to google its occurrence and that brought me to several interesting blogs that I absolutely enjoyed browsing through for a while. I’m grateful for these little gifts!

  2. I have a feeling Gratitude is going to light your world up in ways you still do not know Petra. It is a powerful word filled with love. Very good choice, I am looking forward to see it popping up in every thing you see this year

  3. You picked a wonderful word. I am very late to the game… I just posted my 'word for the year' today. You are right, I don't think I can be finished with my word from last year 'bold'. I am keeping that one in my back pocket, I think being bold is still one I need to work with. Hope you had a fantastic Holiday!

    1. Michelle, thank you. We enjoyed the holidays in quite a peaceful way which was good, it was time to relax.

      I believe it’s never late to choose the word, it might be better to wait a while rather than rush. And it actually feels good that the word isn’t done in one year, doesn’t it, there is so much space for it to learn us more!

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