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Word of the Year Discovery Tool 2010

If you still haven’t heard of this, you’re missing out… but it’s not too late! Christine Kane has a wonderful blog about so many great things. In her own words, the blog’s purpose is to help you to, “Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous.”

I heard of the Word of the Year concept some time ago, an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions, but always in the middle of the year and I thought, “I can’t choose a Word of the Half-Year.” This time it hit me a few weeks ago, perfect timing. I printed out the Discovery Tool (free, and less than ten pages) and decided I would get to it. In a few days. And I wasn’t going to do anything with it today either, today was going to be part 2 of my 100 Things list (and for CED it probably will be, later).

But I know that in a few pages, in the Goddess Year workbook, I will have a page to do that wants to know my word of the year. So I want to figure that out before I get to this page. (Yes, I’m doing the workbook in order and I intend to do every page…)

And then there’s the blog entry I read the other night after downloading the Discovery Tool. I added Christine’s blog into my bloglines account and set about getting caught up on as many past entries as would show up when I told bloglines to “Show All.” There’s one from last summer called Be Someone’s Encourager Today, by guest blogger Sue Ludwig. A line in that entry shut me up and made me think.

Encouragers don’t promise rainbows and sunshine. They promise presence, wisdom and great energy.

When my husband was in and out of the hospital in November and December, I needed to hear this. When he was depressed last week and I didn’t know how to help him, I needed to hear this. When I try to support him in the best way I know how, I needed to hear this.

It’s something that’s clearly a lesson I need to learn, because the idea has been thrown at me in many ways lately. When Mark was in the ICU and afraid of the results of a test it would take 48 hours to get, and I said everything would be okay, he got angry and asked me to get the nurse. She calmed him by asking what the worst possible outcome would be (test results are positive), then walked him through what he would do if that happened. She showed him that even if it was true, though the doctors said it was a formality and he didn’t have the disease they were testing for, that he would be able to live with it.

When I went to the caregiver support office in the hospital and cried over my frustration that I didn’t know what he needed from me, they told me to validate him and listen to him. I even called my approach the “sunshine and rainbows” approach.

At times when he is depressed, or stressed, and I try to calm him down and ask him to stay strong and stay positive, he angrily tells me that this approach is not helping.

I grew up with a mother who always encouraged me by telling me, “everything is going to be okay,” and “God will take care of it, you just have to have faith in His plans,” and “don’t worry.” And I grew up believing that was the best way to comfort someone, in the motherly ways of “there, there…”

But that’s not what Mark needs. Mark needs me to be present… presence, wisdom and great energy. My energy is in my positive thinking, but I need to learn to channel it into presence and wisdom. To me, “presence” means being there in the moment, listening to his fears instead of disparaging them, validating that YES, he has a right to feel that way. Where I see “it’s going to get better” as positive thinking, he sees it as ignoring his feelings and maybe even as being idealistic, unrealistic.

So after letting the quote sit with me for a day or so, I decided to make it my theme for the year. My Word of the Year is: Presence. Today on my lunch break I got out my Goddess Year binder, where I had put the Discovery Tool after printing it out, and the word was gnawing at me to the point that instead of continuing my list as planned, I decided to fill out the pages about my Word of the Day.

Once you know your word of the day, Christine helps you to put a plan of action into place. The first thing to do is to set your intention. Write your word, and then why you chose it, what will happen if you spend the year focusing on this intention. Next is awareness: what are you doing that prevents you from living out this word? Finally, clarity. What are some specific things you can do to help you live this word? Of course there are lots more questions, and if this peaks your interest then you should definitely click on the picture above to get your own.

I don’t have it in front of me right now, but I started with a definition of presence, as well as the inspiring quote. I wrote about wanting to be more present in my life, which in many ways came down to turning off the computer and TV, and just spending time with my husband. Talking, playing board games, going for a walk… there are so many better things to do than zone out in front of a screen. I also realized that if I limit the computer time (really limit – I came up with time limits for myself!), I will have a lot more time for cleaning the house, and a lot more time in general. My days will feel longer if I’m not losing hours at a time at the computer screen.

What does that mean? One specific idea I came up with is reducing the number of blogs I subscribe to in bloglines. I came up with the arbitrary number 30, and starting weeding out blogs that aren’t updated frequently, or that I don’t truly love. At one point there were around 100, lately it’s been in the 50-60 range. I have 39 in my “blogs I follow” list now, and will continue with the intention of cutting it further. In fact, I accidentally deleted a couple that I then couldn’t even remember, “what was I JUST looking at?” So clearly blogs have become a way to waste time, rather than anything more significant. When it takes hours to catch up on my blogs, it’s time to rethink things, and let things go.

When I first printed the Discovery Tool, I had no idea what word to choose. This one found me and won’t let go. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t realize to what extent the word would affect me, and just filling in the pages has strengthened my belief that it’s the right word for me. I’m very interested to see how this word plays into my year!