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Word of the Year 2012: Hope

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As you can see, my 2012 Word of the Year is HOPE. Before I talk about that, I want to remind you of my history with the WotY.

For 2010 I used Christine Kane’s Word of the Year Discovery Tool to come up with my Word for that year, which was PRESENCE. I abandoned the idea about two months into the year and feel like some time I may need to revisit that one.

For 2011 I decided on the word JOY. I didn’t blog about it, but it was amazing. I did art using the word. I saw the word everywhere. I thought about it and dreamed about it and let it seep into every part of my being. And gradually, throughout the year, I found JOY taking over my life. Not every minute was JOYful, but I grew and changed and found what I need to do and be to have JOY in my life. I ended the year on a very positive note, having healed something that was hurting under the surface for a long time and I didn’t even know it. I gave myself permission to unforgive people, and to set clear boundaries, and that if I don’t set clear boundaries from the start, I can still set those boundaries going forward. I reclaimed my safety when a situation got out of hand. I made new friends that I love to pieces. I started to take control of a medical disorder that I’ve been living with for a long time, and while some days are still a problem it’s usually almost like I don’t even have it. I lost some weight. I learned that self-care is important, and that I need to make it a priority in my life. I got a pink streak in my hair in the summer. I worked through The Artist’s Way in the first three months of 2011. I thought I was strong before, but I finished 2011 even stronger and healthier and happier, with more JOY than I would have thought possible a year ago.

For 2012, I didn’t need to work through a discovery tool and I didn’t even need to think about it. I was sent an email about a new message on a forum I use asking people what their Word of the Year is for 2012, and before I could think “I have to think about it,” the word popped into my head: HOPE. This year I want to have HOPE. I want to give others HOPE. I want to HOPE for things and see them manifest. I want to remember JOY and learn how it interacts with HOPE. I am very excited to see where this year and this word lead me.

Word of the Year Check-In: February 2010

My first post talking about my word of the year feels like it was written forever ago, but really it was just over a month ago. My word is Presence, and it’s definitely a challenge at times.

While my husband was in the hospital, he did a lot of sleeping… and I did a lot of watching TV, and playing solitaire on my phone. I had a book with me, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like reading. On the other hand, since I couldn’t get on the Internet I wasn’t on the computer all day, which was a positive difference.

Now that he’s out, I have been on the computer less during the day than I used to, but staying up far too late into the night playing stupid Facebook games… they are evil, I tell you! They suck the life out of you and before you know it, you’ve wasted hours away. Here and now I’m stating my new intention: If I play Facebook games, I am limiting myself to an hour a day total. Okay, maybe two to start, but that’s the total for all the games I play there. I have to get a stopwatch application that can help me time it.

So what prompted this check-in? A post by Christine Kane about Getting Back on Course. It’s a video blog, and since I can’t print it up I took notes as I watched it. The first thing on her list of what to do to get back on track is “Be Present” — clearly this is speaking directly to me, as that is my goal for this year! She mentions that one helpful thing is to write down your intention and read it (aloud) every day. That makes sense, as it keeps it fresh in your mind if you’re constantly reminding yourself about it. I’ll have to figure out the best way to remember to do that daily.

Now that my husband is out of the hospital and in recovery, things should be returning to normal pretty soon as far as my life goes. I took a couple weeks off from work and will be going back Tuesday, and then I’ll be back home. So I am trying to get back into blogging a few times a week now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers while I was away. I don’t have a lot of followers, but I’ve sure missed you guys!

CED: January 7 2010, Starting a Gratitude Journal

Yet another great idea I got from Christine Kane’s blog: A gratitude journal. I first heard about writing down gratitudes from Rhonda Britten and Iyanla Vanzant on the TV show Starting Over, a show here in the US where women lived together in a house to work through their issues with life coaches. It sounded like a cool idea, but I never did it.

I love Christine’s post so much. It makes it so easy! I don’t know why I always thought it would be hard, but this makes it simple. Every night, write 5 things you are grateful for. And the best part is that it’s okay to repeat things! Christine says, “they don’t always have to be new and different.” It makes sense, but I always thought that if I was making lists of things I’m grateful for, I should always think of new things. Which is ridiculous! I’m not thankful for my husband just once, I’m thankful for him every day. So why not list him lots of times, on lots of days?

I decided that since the lists will only be five things, unless I feel like doing more (I don’t want to set the bar high and then not reach it and get upset), I should use a small notebook. So I am using this adorable one I got at Borders a few years ago. I know it was when the last Traveling Pants book was out, because we put the notebooks by the books to try to sell more. Anyway, the pocket on the front is an actual pocket, which I love.

And here is my first gratitude list. Since I haven’t written my second yet. First is actually a couple pages about what a gratitude journal is, from Christine’ blog post and another blog post I found about the same idea. And then is this (you might be able to click it to see it bigger, not sure).

So it’s almost bedtime, and after I bring the garbage downstairs I will be working on my next list. I am hoping that writing these lists every night will help me to remain present in my life by encouraging me to really pay attention to the good things in each day.

(Posted 1/8 but did this 1/7…)

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!