New Year, New Word

I chose YES as my word of 2022. I can only predict how the word I choose will shape the 365 days that lay before me. I had hoped that this new website might open up new opportunities to which I could say yes. That has not happened yet, but two unforeseen opportunities to answer in the affirmative materialized. Those yeses enhanced my life in 2022.

My roommate’s mother mentored a woman studying a course in spiritual direction who needed a protégé to participate in her practicum. Would I be interested? YES. I had been considering spiritual direction for a while, but hadn’t committed to searching for a director.

For nine months, we met over Zoom. I told her my worries and aspirations. She asked questions. I took a breath and looked to the ceiling as I listened for my answers to crystallize. We shared sacred space and with each session, my spiritual director planted a kernel of an idea or an aspiration she heard rise from my long-winded musings. She highlighted my efforts to walk through difficulties, recognize the silver linings, and aim for something new. She helped me see my life and my efforts in new ways.

Her enthusiasm sparked hope and belief in my next steps. Her resolute assurance in my abilities created space for me to consider leaving a job that was robbing me of peace and well-being. I put into motion a job search which resulted in my next yes—acceptance of a position on another team where I am now somebody’s supervisor and where I am encouraged to identify weak areas in our processes and make recommendations for improvements. I am invited to bring my whole self to this work. This is an entirely new professional experience, and I love it.

I am certain other yeses crossed my path in 2022, but these two transformed difficult present circumstances into a hopeful, energized future.

In early December, a friend mentioned what her word for the year would be. I felt a little shock when I realized I hadn’t begun the process. I didn’t have a clue what to choose. I hadn’t given it a thought or posed the questions that help me land on a word.

Gentle and Trust guided me through the early years after my divorce. I bumped up against a lot of challenges in that season and those words were candles lighting and softening the way to brighter days.  

A few days later, I stood outside my office waiting for friends to pick me up for lunch. The wind was strong and biting, and my warm coat, hat, and mittens were working overtime. I looked to my left and realized I could be standing inside the door staying warm while I waited.

As I peered out the window, my thoughts took me back to the horse arena in Montana seven years before. I participated in equine-assisted learning, and six or seven massive horses surrounded me. The trainer asked me to choose a horse. “The biggest one scares me the most, so I guess I’ll choose him,” I said.

I have never forgotten what she said next. “You don’t always have to do things the hard way.” This stranger did not know me, but she’d sized me right up. She gently invited me to choose a smaller horse with the confidence that I could still learn something without being scared to death as I did it.

My thoughts returned me to the present where I’d chosen to stand out of the cold. To not do something the hard way. And then I heard my new word clear and definite: Ease. In 2023, I will approach my days with ease. This word is not a promise of an easy year. I will, no doubt, do hard things, but my word will invite me to relax a bit, to find a way through that does not require so much mental or emotional effort. I have been powering through for a long time, and this year feels like the year to let up off the gas just a bit. To make something unpleasant, painful, or intense less serious or severe. To move carefully or gradually.* To step out of the cold and into a warm vestibule.

*From Oxford Languages powered by Google

One Comment

  1. Oh my goodness. Fabulous! Bringing the word gradual into the conversation is something we can all identify with and adopt. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all just paused and proceeded gradually!

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