Now that the longest, dark, ‘Let’s all hibernate and drink hot chocolate’ January is out of the way, I hope some of you are starting to re-emerge like me, bleary eyed and thinking about the next 11 months ahead, but gently does it yes? Here’s a great way to start…
There is some beauty in winter….when we peek outside!
I’m a big fan of choosing a ‘Guiding Word’ for the year, to help you do just that, guide you through the coming months of 2020, in all kinds of ways.
In recent years as people seek more ways to be pro-active in how they choose to live their lives; the practice of selecting a guiding word or also called ‘word of the year’ has increased hugely and is much more effective than creating a long list of new year’s resolutions that last all of 2 weeks!
“For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. Their articulation represents a complete, lived experience.”
As a writer, I’ve always believed there is a great power in words and never more so when choosing just one! I’ve enjoyed choosing mine for the passed 4 years now, and speaking from personal experience, it really has helped shape my daily, weekly and monthly intentions.
So, what are the benefits of this seemingly simple practice, can choosing a word really make such a difference? Absolutely YES and here’s why:-
So now I’ve convinced you of the feel-good factors, how on Earth you go about choosing a word without searching through the entire Oxford Dictionary?
Firstly, you need to examine what you want the word to do. ‘Words of the Year’ are usually chosen to motivate you and use as a way of helping to change something for the better or to strive towards.
So, for example, if you spend all day rushing around looking after everyone else, then the word ‘self-care’ may be an option but if you’ve already built that into your life, then it’s not really going to challenge or inspire you, more just a reminder to continue to do the same.
In my experience, I go about choosing a word in the following way:
Then go on to asking yourself the following questions for each one…
The mind-map for my words this year – get the coloured pens out!
This should have helped to single out the most appropriate word on your list, but if not, just sit with your reduced selections for a few days and one will soon rise to the top!
So with all this in mind, and because I‘m used to this practice now, my word (s) came to me in the middle of the night and instantly felt right for what I’ve been through this last year and will continue to go through until my chemo treatment ends.
I’ve also been a rule breaker as I have one main word and then 2 supportive words! But there are reasons which I will explain below!
My main word is RISE;
supported by Re-Energise and Surprise….
bear with me!
Firstly, anything that comes to me in the dark hours is usually right and I instantly get a gut feel about it, most of my best ideas come to me at this time…and then I have to make sure I remember them in the morning!
Secondly, my word last year ended up being in hindsight, bizarrely accurate. It was VALUE and was all around health, finances, my time and people BUT it wasn’t exactly an enticing word and made me think of a budget supermarket range!
I love words in 3’s that are either alliteration (like The Curious Creative Club!) or rhyming and so this roles off the tongue nicely BUT of course it has to have deep meaning too!
Rise, as you can imagine is all about coming out the other side of this cancer/ chemo journey that has literally flattened me at times both physically (see footnote) and mentally and also a number of other situations in our family, there is an awful lot going on at present off the back off a pretty deflating 2019.
Like I say though, I like to stretch my words across other areas, so Rise also applies to raising my game across all my creative projects as I’m always striving to do better and to also rise above negative situations and distance myself a little.
As an Empath and Highly Sensitive Person (click for questions if you’re interested), I’ve noticed this last year as bad news has surrounded me left, right and centre, I’ve felt drained taking it all in and trying to help people and fix problems – I have to realise that things can’t always be solved, people have to want to help themselves, and so in some cases I’m trying to just take a little step back before it all becomes too much, particularly on top of treatment.
I’m a positive person myself, but sometimes you have to surround yourself with as much positivity as possible too (and not feel guilty for doing so) and thankfully I have many friends and family who are there for a much-needed humour boost!
That doesn’t stop me though from fighting for things I believe in or standing up for others who are less able to do so.
As my confidence has grown this year, mainly through writing this Blog and setting up our local accountability group – WOW Wednesdays, I finally have the self-belief that what I have to say can be important, inspiring and useful – I want to continue to believe in my voice and try and get rid of that comparisonitis feeling – another way to rise up I think and also learn from the inspiring people around us.
‘We become taller by standing
next to tall people’!
I also loved the quote that Nadiya Hussain said on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast recently where she tells her children constantly ‘Elbows Out’ rather than elbows in; basically meaning create your space in the world rather then shrinking and staying small – a great mantra for anyone I think.
Now on to my supportive words – Re-Energise relates purely to my body, which has been well and truly battered through chemo, even just 5 sessions in I can feel the difference in muscle strength already which freaks me out a little. I know after all this it’s going to take some time to get back to full strength and feel confident that my body will now behave itself and feel strong again!
I’m no great exerciser though; dog walking and 1 Pilates session a week is about my limit but it’s that funny rebel thing again, now swimming is not allowed (infection and picc line!) it’s what I want to do the most! I used to swim a lot and it is very therapeutic so I’d like to Surprise myself by getting back into that, and might even set myself a charity challenge.
Surprise also relates to pushing myself to get back ‘to normal’ as quickly as possible, getting back on track with all my creative projects, adding some new ones in and then ultimately surprise myself and my long suffering family and friends (hearing about it all the time!) by finishing my nemesis THE BOOK – now that really would be the ultimate surprise!!
So, I hope the above gives you an idea of how I use mine, some practical tips of how to go about choosing a guiding word, especially if you are new to this, and that it inspires you to have a go too – what have you got to lose?
I’d love to hear what your word/s are and what they mean to you this year – please pop in the comments below!
Rise, Re-energise and Surprise is my mantra this year and I’m looking forward to getting it painted up and shouting at me in my kitchen!
Until next time…
Juliet The Curious Creative x
Footnote; Rise couldn’t be more relevant this last week as I went into hospital on my birthday no less (you couldn’t make this up!) for 5 days, due to Neutropenic Sepsis! Quite a scary experience but as usual the NHS were fantastic…I’m now becoming a hermit from any winter bugs out there as I do not want to repeat that experience any time soon! Onwards and Upwards!!