I read an article this week about choosing a word for the New Year instead of writing resolutions. That word then acts as a guide, inspiration and basis for making choices all year long. That word can provide focus and direction. As I explored the concept, I realized that entire books have even been written on this technique. Of course, this set me on a search for my word. But only one- I can pick only one? Seems to be the case. More than one “guiding word” lessens the effect.
I started a list. If you know me, you know that a list was the only option, as I list practically everything.
I considered words such as Adventure, Courage, Authenticity, Magic, Gratitude, Stillness, Bold, Joy, Solitude, Savor, Inspired, Lead, Hike, Simplicity and Enough.
As I struggled to pick just one word, I came across some wisdom, shared by Buddha: “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” That became the direction of my search for a word. What word brings me peace?
Strangely, the word that came to mind very quickly was WANDER. Not wonder, but wander. For some reason, that word is instantly liberating. Immediately I am filled with thoughts of wonder and adventure. The word wander makes me smile- makes me feel a bit mischievous. How radical of an idea to set a goal for an entire year that consists of wandering! Business gurus everywhere would quickly label it a waste- of energy and time, I imagine. I would have too, a few years ago.
A recent walk along Folly Beach affirmed the need for more wandering in my life. The sun bursting through the clouds, hundreds of seashells all shapes and colors and even a tiny starfish I misssed my first trip along the shore. All precious treasures I would have missed had I not been wandering.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love journey comes to mind. I can recall almost word for word the passage she wrote “...is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one's life, is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition than to find the next lovely meal? Or to learn how to speak a language for no higher purpose than that it pleases your ear to hear it? Or to nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?”
So, there it is. My word. Wander. I love it. It makes me happy. It brings me peace. It excites and motivates but does not stress or demand.
What word would you choose? Be brave and choose the word that really sets your spirit on fire or motivates you to take the next step. It doesn’t have to be a spiritual word or a calming word- it just needs to be your word. We are all on our own journey with very different goals and needs. There are over 1,025,000 words in the English language- so many to choose from! There are lots of good ones that are very different from the ones I considered- Play, Graduate, Health, Money, Retirement, Confidence, Family, Love, Focus, Read…
You’ll know when you’ve found your word by the way it makes you feel- authentic and alive.