Monday, January 2, 2012

Words for the Year

Every year I pick a word (sometimes two) as my talisman for the year.  I decorate a plain, black 9"x12" journal with the words and as much glitter glue and paint as I can pile on it.  It's a tradition started years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara and discovered my first word while driving through a residential area. When I spotted an old, rusted RV with the word "Jubilation" painted across the back, I fell in love with the word and chose it as my first journal word.  Or, perhaps, it chose me.

Usually I start trying to find my word in mid-December and have time to contemplate several words before settling in to one or two.  This year, I've been moving too fast for the past several weeks to think about my word. So I made a date with myself today and thought I'd use this post to focus my attention.

Now I'm sitting here with my journals circling me as I think about 2012, a leap year, and what words call to me.  I often note words in the back of my journal so I'm flipping through the old ones and the following possibilities appear:
  • Exuberance -- joyous vitality
  • Reflection -- being a clear mirror of spirit and joy
  • Quest -- an adventurous seeking for something of value - I like the connection to question
  • Mandala -- a symbol of sacred peace and the reunification of self
  • Zest -- passion for life
  • Dayenu -- Hebrew -- it would have been enough
After much tea and thought, the choices for words to guide me during 2012 are "quest" because I want to continue learning, exploring, seeking new experiences that help me better understand the world and myself ... and "dayenu" because I want to remember every day how overwhelmingly grateful I am for all that I have been given and to remember that even a fraction of it would have been enough and that I do not need more.  There seems to be a lovely tension between these two words.

FYI: here are the words for the past few years ... and if you decide to choose a word or words, I'd love to know what yours are.
  • 2011 - Temenos, sacred space. Carl Jung used this same word to refer to the inner space deep within us where soul-making takes place.  Hallelujah -- as in the words from Leonard Cohen's song, "nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!
  • 2010 - Beauty and Equanimity (complete with a mindmap of things that nourish equanimity)
  • 2009 - Miksang (Tibetan for "good eye" and a photography process that involves a deeper way of seeing, and Abbondanza - joyful abundance
  • 2008 - Chrysalis -- a place of deep transformation which cannot be seen until it emerges
  • 2007 - Autopoiesis -- continually re-creating and organizing self in relationship to surroundings
  • 2006 - Joy and Dreamway ... the title of a book by Robert Genn
  • 2005 - Emergence
  • 2004 - Querencia - a calm and quiet, yet powerful, place of safety


  1. "Dayenu" is lovely, and I like very much how you explain its meaning.

    When Christine at Abbey of the Arts posted on 12-21 the call for words, I chose "forge", with its meaning to make one's way forward by effort. It's not a pretty word but it's an accurate one.

  2. Maureen ... the words I've chosen over the years haven't always been pretty but I seem to have a physical response to them. Forge is a very strong, powerful word that makes me feel strong when I say it. I think it's a great word for the year.

  3. I like words that make me uncomfortable because they get me out of my comfort zone. My word - the one that chose me, is Suppleness. Scary word that.

    I too like how you explain it and how you create art with your word. Very cool.