Here we are!
Our first One Word check-in of 2023. Feel free to join in, link up, comment, listen…whatever you want (or don’t want!) to do. For me? This space offers community and accountability; it’s a source of shared inspiration from readers + bloggers. I hope you find it welcoming and supportive.
It seems I’ve told you so much about Ask ’23 already. I introduced it. Described how I came to it. I spent time with my traditional January tools, noting what my word means…and means to me…looking back at former words (at what I carry forward). I started my One Word reading list and created my living, working mind map*, a document I actively use and amend all year long.
I also thought to myself…
How’s this word gonna go?
I mean, what will it look like? How will I ‘do’ this word the way I’ve ‘done’ One Words past? Something about it is…different…to me. Ask is a bit more nebulous. Broader. Vaguer.
In other ways, it’s specific and pointed. Clear and direct; a no-nonsense word. As in —
January’s becoming a favorite of mine. We return to Ordinary Time. Reset. Refresh. No rush. It offers space. Room. It’s sort of the Monday of months. (And I ♥ Mondays.) (Believe it or not.)
This month, I’ve used that room to let my word unfold — instead of stepping in to direct it. One way it’s shown up will become, I suspect, a ‘main artery’ of Ask. Remember this?
How far are The Poconos are from here? What do 20,000 daffodils look like? Why does mechanical pencil lead always give me trouble? When do the salmon start running? Is the universe trying to teach me a lesson about rescuing my kids? Is there enough interest for a Braver Angels WNY chapter? Is it hard to install exterior electrical outlets on a brick house? What is the budget for repairs to our library’s building and grounds? Why didn’t my Christmas cactus bloom the second time around? What was the name of Jason Bateman’s sitcom in the ’80s? What am I waiting for? What does ‘setting a screen’ in basketball mean, exactly? Do they sell leeks at Tops? What if I really sit with Mary Oliver’s ‘Journey’? And with David Whyte? Does our patio get enough sun for tomatoes? I wonder if there’s interest at CHQ for a winter One Word workshop? Could we move a wall in the cottage ourselves? Does my walk across Liechtenstein look realistic yet? How much distance is one league?
All month long I’ve kept my ‘wonders, questions, curiosities’ in a folder. (Four loose-leaf pages so far.) Every now and then, I sit down to answer them:
My Christmas cactus likely had too much light. Artificial light counts toward exposure! I had my mine in the living room, where we started leaving a small lamp lit all night long, and the second-round buds stalled. Who knew? Glad I asked.
I’ve spent time with Big Questions, too. The stuff that, last year, I saved for December. (The stuff that is why I chose ASK in the first place!) (Even if it is uncomfortable.) Rumi, John O’Donohue, Sister Joan, Mary Oliver, Pema Chödrön, David Whyte. These voices ask questions…I nod…but, typically, don’t actually answer.
I started, though!
I started with Rumi this month. And once I engaged in the most honest of ways, I actually warmed to the waters. Enough that I plan to spend each month with a different ‘capital-letters Big Question.’ Just one. In my journal. And not every day. Just however long feels…right. However long it takes to get to that place. (I won’t say answer. Because these are not ‘Google’ kinds of questions, after all.)
In so many ways, the word is still feeling out there to me. I’m beginning to think that might be part of the point of it? (Maybe.) (We’ll see.)
It feels good.
Feels like a good start.
There’s fun. Depth. Some balance.
How are you doing as January winds down? Are you and your word settling in?
*The mind map is my favorite One Word tool; Tony Buzan created the concept…and I generate a super-loose interpretation, foregoing many finer points. (Really, making a ‘word web.’) There’s a lot of room for play + experimentation, and there’s lots to explore with real-deal mind mapping.
I think keeping yourself open to these questions is such a great thing. I think we enrich our lives so much when we allow that wonder to play a major role.
More than once this month, I have said to myself as I have read your Ask Posts… what a phenomenal word! (Hint… mine has felt not that, lol) And your question and this answer is making me rethink where I have my Christmas Cactus! So thank you for that!
I am interested to know what the big questions will be, and how you get on with listening. One thing I always wondered, but couldn’t ask is Why don’t Chairs know how to chair a meeting?
🙂 I just love getting to the end of the month and all the OLW checkins … especially in January as we start to see how our words are settling in.
This is a BIG word . . . for such a little word. Y’know? 🙂