Do you pick a Word for the Year?
This is a practice I started last year (my word for 2018 was Flow) and it was a game-changer.
Flow became an anchor for me in a year of uncertainty and change (my first year of blending motherhood with business). Whenever I found myself trying to control things too much, I would remember my word and return to a place of flow. Trust me, this wasn’t always easy (you can read about my challenges here) – but I wonder where I would have ended up if I didn’t choose a word at all?
So, you can imagine my frustration when the end of 2018 loomed and I didn’t have a clear word for the new year. I knew I was ready to move on from Flow, but I couldn’t settle on a word that felt right.
Finally, after much journalling and soul searching, the word dropped in with powerful certainty: Listen.
My word for 2019 is Listen. It gives me goosebumps to write that down because I know this word will be transformational for me.
I know this, because I have spent so much of my adult life not listening to the thoughts and opinions that matter, and giving far too much weight to those that don’t. Ya with me?! I know I’m not alone in this.
Here’s what Listen means to me:
Listening to my intuition / higher self / gut feelings.
Listening to my inner wisdom before asking other people (or Google) for advice (asking others should be for when I’m really stuck, not a first port-of-call).
Creating more ‘white space’ in my calendar for unplanned daydreaming and meditation so I can hear myself think above all the noise.
Writing down my deepest inner thoughts without judgement – just a healthy curiosity – in a daily journaling practice I call ‘Downloads from the Universe’.
Listening to my body and trusting in its innate capacity to let me know what it needs each day (rest, nourishment, movement, laughter, etc).
Listening to my audacious goals, my wildest dreams, my fire-in-the-belly thoughts that make my entire being tingle with possibility. Listening to these signs instead of dismissing them as idealistic or unachievable.
Listening to the loved ones in my life and honouring their thoughts and experiences, even if I don’t fully understand them (this is especially relevant to raising a toddler who cannot fully articulate her rich inner world).
Listening to all the non-verbal cues that come my way every day – people’s body language and what they don’t say. Paying close attention to subtle cues instead of only the loud and clear.
Listening to all media with discernment. Being careful not to take anyone else’s words as gospel. Basically: you do you, I’ll do me.
Listening to what I want and don’t want and getting really clear on my values and goals, all while being careful not to let ‘other people’s rules’ cause self-doubt.
And, finally, a big one:
Listening with the intent of honouring my thoughts and feelings, not dismissing them or suppressing them. Meeting my inner world head on, with an open heart, infinite compassion, gentle curiosity, and lots of courage. Because I know it won’t all be sunshine and daisies.
Full transparency? I’m quite terrified of my Word of the Year. Do you know what feels safe and cozy? Listening to other people’s rules and opinions and saying yes and being a good girl and suppressing scary ideas and ignoring strong gut feelings and avoiding conflict of any kind (even conflict with myself).
Setting an intention to Listen – to truly, deeply listen – is deeply daunting because here’s the clincher: I don’t know what is going to bubble up and come to the surface. I don’t know what I’m going to find in the depths of my inner wisdom. I can’t control or predict how this is going to play out.
But here is one thing I know for certain: my entire being is begging me to tune in and start paying proper attention. My ears are open, my heart is open, and my tummy is full of butterflies.
Bring it on, 20-Shine-Teen. I’m listening.
Jess O'Connor is Made of Words. She also goes by the titles of copywriter, content writer, blogger, ghostwriter, editor, proofreader, word nerd, oh, and mum.
She specialises in blog posts, web copy, and email newsletters. She also specialises in reading Hairy MacLary and Slinki Malinki to her 1-year-old daughter.