Each year about this time, I open myself up to the words that have come my way during the year ... kept on the last page of my annual journal so I can find them easily ... and pick the one that calls to me. This word goes on the cover of the journal in gaudy and colorful glitter glue with the word and the year on the spine for quick reference once they're shelved. I start a new journal every year even if the previous year's journal wasn't filled. It's a metaphorical new start.
During this end of the year time, I also reflect on this year's word and review the year's journey. My journals are not diaries ... there's very little "what's going on and what I'm thinking and feeling" type of stuff but rather lots of mindmaps, lists, ideas, images, quotes and anything else that captures my attention. Flipping through them is a little like time travel on fast forward.
This past year had two words ... "beauty" and "equanimity" (mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, esp. in a difficult situation) and both were perfect talismen for a chaotic year. For the first time, the cover of my journal was actually a mindmap. Since I knew it was going to be a transition year, I mapped the qualities that I thought would help me maintain equanimity: gratitude, solitude, joyful play, kensho (seeing one's true self/nature. Seeing the non duality of subject and object); co-creation, praxis (spiritual practice), creative expression, naikan (gratitude reflection practice) and maitre (Sanscrit for loving kindness toward self).
While I wouldn't say this past year reflected perfect equanimity, I think the focus on maintaining calmness helped me deal with the changes of the year.
This year there are again two words calling me: "hallelujah" which seems to be a call to a constant state of gratitude ("nothing on my tongue but hallelujah") and "temenos" (he circle in which magic of the soul can happen). I may choose them both.
Other words collected this year include:
"delicious futures" - Dan GilbertAbbey of the Arts also has a richly poetic post on the process of choosing a word for the year. If you want to join this tradition, I highly recommend this post.
Cantillation - each person's special gift or talent that gives one a sense of joy but also union with the Absolute ... Dr. John Diamond
Mosaic ... a wonderful metaphor for piecing together a life into a beautiful work of art
Amarantine - everlasting. Imaginary flower that never fades. Amaranth -- shade of deep purple - red.