Carolyn, a friend and blogger I deeply respect and whose posts I follow avidly, has recently revamped her blog site. It’s now called Your One Word. The idea is that you select, through a process of inner listening, a word that will be a hallmark of your life for a year. Hallmark is, for this purpose, defined as a distinguishing characteristic, trait, or feature. It may be a quality or virtue you aspire to, a practice you want to embrace, or something you want to understand more deeply. Through reflection, active noticing, perhaps even study, you will let the meaning of the word unfold in your daily life for a year, checking in monthly or even weekly to become aware of its effect on your thoughts, dreams, and actions.
Carolyn provides some helpful resources for choosing your word and working with it regularly.
My word for 2021 is REST. My word for 2020 was “slowly,” but I was a dismal failure at incorporating it into my life. Anyone who knows me will laugh at my 2020 choice because I do everything as fast as possible – walk, eat, exercise, clean, shower, dry my hair, read, type, cook…ad infinitum. One thing I learned from “slowly” last year was how fast is my usual pace. I also observed others around me, particularly my partner, and noticed how graceful and gentle moving slowly is by comparison.
I am 68 now, and I’m tired, in general, and in particular of going fast. So, without moving too far from last year’s aspiration, I chose “rest” for 2021, or rather, it chose me. Already, with Carolyn’s help and inspiration, I am learning about what rest means for me.
I want to share with you the list of questions that arose when I began to explore my word:
- What is the definition of rest? What are some synonyms?
- How does rest show up in my hobbies: photography, writing, coloring, card design?
- How is rest affecting my chronic pain?
- Has rest helped me to move more slowly?
- Am I struggling against something? Can I stop and rest?
- When I have rested, what have I noticed?
- Does rest help me to let go?
- How are rest, solitude, and retreat related?
- What three memories of rest can I recall this week, this month?
- Have I seen examples of rest in nature? In others? What can I learn from them?
- How are rest and saying “no” related for me?
- How are rest and mindfulness related?
- And, for the sake of this blog, how is rest related to “respect?”
For me, rest has an essential relationship with self-respect. It gets at a part of my nature that has always been troublesome – my difficulty setting limits. Limits on my workday’s length and intensity, limits on my care for others, limits on the physical demands I place on my body. Getting older, if you pay attention, can teach you vital lessons about limits.
This year, I hope to practice self-respect by discovering what rest is and incorporating it into my physical, mental, relational, and spiritual life.
Is “one word” calling you?
6 thoughts on “One Word”
This sounds like a wonderful practice Moriah. Thank you so much for sharing it with us your faithful readers. And thank you for sharing your own “word.” I too think that rest is very important and as I have aged (72 now) it has pushed itself upon me. For example, I often nap a bit (digest) after eating lunch. A siesta if you will. It has made a great difference to my energy level for the rest of the day. And I have interspersed active work of the mind or body with even a brief period of rest. I find I am able to accomplish more (and feel more satisfied with whatever I’ve done) if I do something after being refreshed.
I will listen to see if I can hear my own word for this year. And check out the resources you shared in this post. At this moment I hear “prioritize.” What is most important to me for this day? What matters most? What deserves my attention and energy and what can be left for another time or left altogether? I will mediate/pray on that word.
I am very taken with your choice, Moriah. This gives me a great opportunity to focus my prayer, meditation, journaling, and action during the year. Don’t know yet what my one word will be, but you’ve got me started.
Great, Ann! I’m glad this seems like a helpful spiritual/ life practice for you. Let me know which word you choose and how it goes.
Interesting? Maybe something I should explore.
All so beautifully said here, Moriah. Inspiring. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how picking the RIGHT word is less ‘critical’ than picking A word…that being in practice–through study, action, prayer, meditation, observation, questioning–throughout the year leads to a more examined life. The word is sort of ‘bait’ to get us there.