Note: last year, these prompts were shared with subscribers, only. This year, they'll appear here on the first of each month. New readers: Over time, I've honed the practice of renewing my word on a monthly basis as a way to keep it fresh, vital, throughout the year. Each month, I create a new prompt--whatever I happen to be doing with my own word at the time--and post it here, in case it resonates with you. I invite you to visit and decide for yourself--and hopefully share what you're up to with your own One Word over the course of the year! Welcome. I'm glad you're here.
“I’m not ready to leave my 2021 word behind…”
I’ve been hearing this a lot the past few weeks. In blogs. Comments. Phone conversations. Email threads.
I had the same thought myself a few nights ago, getting ready for bed. A tug is probably the best way to describe it. A little bit of pull. Melancholy, even. Like a friend is moving away.
But — I don’t have to leave it behind! (And you don’t, either!) In fact, we better not leave them behind. Because part of the point of these words–a lot of them, at least–is their cumulative effect.
If you read along with Let’s Talk, veteran One Worders tell how their words frequently build on one another, in less or more obvious ways.
They contribute to our lives, this beloved collection, over time. Not just one year.
I think of the beach glass we find at the lake in summer: The best pieces have tumbled longest. They’re smooth. Fit just right in the palm of my hand. (There’s one particular green piece I kept in my pocket the better part of two years.)
I’ve done the same thing with a few of my words: from Thrive, I continue to carry healthy boundaries (and those get easier + easier). From Thank You, I recognize, out loud, the gift of an ordinary day…all the time. And from Possibility, I still feel the nudge to just do it.
The Ghanaians have a word for this.
moving forward while looking back
Sankofa comes from a Ghanaian proverb that says, in moving forward, it’s necessary to look back…to take our lessons + wisdom from the past as we move into the future. The symbol is the Sankofa Bird, moving forward while looking behind, the ‘egg of the future’ held in her beak.
Just like last year, I’m going to look backward–not just at My One Word ’21, but at my practice itself and my collection of words.
There’s a printable for this in my Toolbox where I’m asking…
: : What do I love about my practice? What works for me?
: : What doesn’t work? What am I going to ditch this year?
: : What do I want to try with My One Word? What’s intrigued me, inspired me? What might I add to my practice?
: : Looking back—at all my words!–what do I want to take into ’22? From that collection, what will I keep in my pocket from years past?
And–moving forward with My One Word ’22, I’ll…
: : work out my word on a mind map (like the one at the top of this post); it becomes my compass for the year and is the most meaningful word work I do in January
: : consider definitions of the word…synonyms…my own interpretation
: : identify my vulnerable spots with the word
: : start these running lists
: : jot thoughts as I ponder…question…consider…and ask, as my word takes shape
Brand new to One Word? You might think of it this way:
: : What experiences…takeaways…tokens…from the past do I want to incorporate into my One Word practice?
: : What habits, rituals, practices do I want to try out with My One Word? (It might be journaling or meditation or painting or running or retreating. You name it.)
: : Have fun! Play. Explore. Experiment. Let your practice become your own.
: : Find community here with a prompt on the first and a community ‘check-in’ the last week of each month.
However you begin your One Word Year, enjoy your start! It’s like opening a gift, isn’t it? I love to look at the package for a bit, slowly untie the bow, take all month to open it, if I want! Sort of how my Grandpa used his pocket knife to slide under each. and. every. piece. of Scotch tape on the box. Now I know why.
Happy New Year to you + yours. I’ll be back to share my One Word in a couple of days! (Unless it changes–again.)
thanks + love!
So interesting Carolyn. I spent a few days looking at all my words – they are just tugging at me this year in a new way and I know that some of that comes from your thoughtful questions and posts. Happy New Year!
I’m looking forward to doing more work — more writing, more deep thinking — with my word this year to make it more of a regular practice instead of just a monthly reflection, so I thank you in advance for the prompts and resources.
Happy new year!