“In a word..” a phrase denoting brevity; getting to the point.
If you can change your mind, you can change your life.
Some time ago I went through a rough patch. We all have them. These are the times when we face multiple difficulties and some of them do not have a clear resolution at hand. One day I remember thinking: This is not fun. By “this” I mean the particular set of circumstances I found myself in and the challenges with which I was dealing. Life that is not fun is not a matter of being too busy at work or having problems to resolve. It is the absence of joy. We go through the motions doing what we need to do but without enthusiasm or zest.
After a time, I decided that if I wanted life to be fun, I would have to change things. And what I did (and it took time) was change my thinking about what was important and what was not. A crucial step was deciding that anything I did on matters of any importance would have to pass the litmus test of being fun. Fun was the word that guided my choices over the year.
As it turned out, fun was a great word for me. It does not necessarily mean taking an extended holiday or opting out of tedious tasks. Nor is it associated with the burden of having to be cheerful all the time or free of frustrations. But it does mean we can see any challenges we encounter within a broader context. It means living the life we want to live, doing things we love to do – and that what we do matters.
The idea of a word to set the tone and direction for life choices is not a new one. Entrepreneur Christine Kane * describes a process of choosing a Word of the Year in order to set a new pattern for living. What I like about it, is that it is so economical and intentional. You can dispel with all the lists that include should do and must do and simply have a word that captures how you want to live your life over the course of the year. I have found it has shaped my choices and how I look at situations.
Last year, my word of the year was Adventure. That too turned out to be a great word. I put it on a card above my desk so I could see it every time I sat at my computer. That word was an invitation to step out of my comfort zone by doing such things as writing this blog and facilitating workshops for women at midlife and beyond. Adventures aren’t always comfortable. There were times when I thought “Yikes! What am I getting into?” But the great thing about adventures is that they strengthen resilience and teach new skills- while having fun. When you focus on a word like adventure, then adventures seem to come your way.
I am now deciding on a word for 2017. Sometimes life offers a few clues and recent circumstances have pointed towards the word Mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means paying attention- to what others are saying, to opportunities, to what is happening around us. It means being present and listening with our hearts, which knows what is best. Of course, I am carrying forward Fun and Adventure for companions to Mindfulness all under the umbrella of JOY.
So my call to the wonderful readers of this blog is to ask: What is your word of the year? Make it a good one!
*For further information on Christine Kane and Word of the Year, see www.christinekane.com