At the end of each year, I choose three words to guide me through the coming year. This is Chris Brogan’s idea and my third year to do it. The idea is to look over your life as it exists in this moment and make some decisions as to how you would like to shape it in the coming year. There will be steps you can take, qualities you will embrace, things you can release. From that awareness, you choose three words to guide you on this next part of your journey.
How to use your words
Make the words you choose a conscious part of your daily life. In my case, I began by looking at the areas of my life that needed attention. When I chose a word, I wrote about how I would use it and what it would help me change. I went so far as to write this post and I may even write a whole post on one word, or do a podcast, or make a video. I have my words posted by my desk and by my meditation space and I review them every day. Do whatever it takes to own the words you choose, to bring them into your consciousness and apply them to your life.
I have three core words that are so important that I keep them active every year: unfolding, mindfulness and simplicity.
“Unfolding” is a core word I have consciously worked with for three years and is a foundation for my life. It has made a most profound difference in how I live each moment. As I go exploring, I continue to practice letting life and circumstances unfold. I shape what shows up – choosing, releasing, adapting – based on my awareness of “now.” It’s an awesome way to live, empty of planning and striving and “have to’s”. It’s just a gentle floating along the river of life and adapting to wherever it takes you.
“Mindfulness” is another of my core words that I continually work on. I’m going to really emphasize it this year. I want to walk mindfully, eat mindfully, talk mindfully. I want to immerse myself in every moment and explore its greatness.
“Simplicity” is the third of the core words I have worked with from the beginning. Rather than layer my life with concerns about the “what-if’s”, I’m going to let go and learn to live in the serene simplicity of acceptance. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One adjustment at a time. I work to keep my life simple.
Do you have core concepts that are the cornerstone of your life?
My three action words for 2016 are determination, trust and explore.
I’m old (83) and my body needs some help. I’ve never been a fan of exercise except for yoga and Qi Gong. Since my life is about writing at the computer and reading in a chair, I have to make some major changes in order to keep what I have going and maybe gain back some of what I’ve lost. I know what to do – longer walks, more stairs, some bed yoga (I can’t get on the floor anymore) and holding my standing Qi Gong longer. It also wouldn’t hurt to cook for myself more and curb the boredom eating.
So the word I chose was “determination.” When your body is creaky, you really have to push it to walk the distance you choose. When you are eager to get on to other things, taking time to hold a yoga pose or lengthen your Qi Gong practice takes determination. I am determined to take more conscious care of my body.
The word “trust” makes me want to cry because I need to embrace it so deeply. A wise friend wrote this to me this year: “Your job is to discover Truth and share what you find. What people do with the seeds you sow is not within your control.”
I have to stop looking outside myself for approval or even feedback. I have to trust that I’m on the right path. I know that I’m compelled to write what I write and I have to trust that it’s touching the lives of others as deeply as it’s touching my own. I have to trust the direction of my work.
I have to trust that I write what people need to hear, that someone resonates with what I say and is changed. I very much want that to be so. I have to trust in the value of my work. That’s a self-confidence issue, and on occasion I falter.
The other area where I’ll apply trust is this aging process. My eyes are changing and that is scary for me because I’m a writer. And yet I know that however my eyes change, I will adjust. I will find another way. I have dry macular degeneration, which pretty much everyone gets as they age, but now it is personal and I really care how it unfolds. So I trust that no matter how this evolves, I can handle it. I guess that’s another form of self-confidence.
The word “explore” was a natural choice. I already see myself as an explorer, an adventurer, a mapmaker, as I explore concepts like the meaning of life and who I am. But I want to take my exploration wider and deeper, whatever that means to me. Wider means I will look for connections. I will examine a concept and see how to repurpose it in another venue or apply it to another circumstance. Deeper is the direction I am already going, trying to find the meaning of life and how to live it with more self-awareness and aligned choices.
What three words will you choose for the coming year? How will you apply them to your life?
To Sing a Deeper Song consider: