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What’s the Word? — 2017 Edition

 Photo by Brigitte Tohm,

Photo by Brigitte Tohm,

I’m a fan of the recent trend to carefully select one intentional word to usher in the New Year. Choosing just one word can help guide us as we are faced with countless smaller choices throughout the year, a sort of litmus test of what matters most: Do I say yes to this commitment? How shall I spend a free afternoon? How might I best approach this challenging situation? Does this decision move me in the direction of my chosen intention?

When it comes to intention, it is important to see it not as rigid, but as a helpful framework to create more of the life we want. The point is not to feel hemmed in by the habits, but to feel supported by them. If the framework does begin to feel restrictive or pressured, step back and reassess your intentional word. Does it still resonate? What is the resistance about? Change is often uncomfortable. Don’t mistake healthy growing pains as a sign that you are on the wrong track. Perhaps the structure needs some re-tweaking. Perhaps the word does, too. And sometimes it is most helpful to not press for an answer. If we create a bit of quiet, simply posing the question often allows an answer to eventually present itself.

Upon reflection, 2016 has, without a doubt, been a wonderful year for me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to write and share Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms with the world. The book writing, editing, planning, and marketing has been amazing but also quite self-focused and all-consuming. Overall, this past year has seen a bit more tunnel-visioned, all-encompassing focus on the book than I’d have ideally liked.

Which is why I want 2017 to be a year in which I once again turn my view outward. With Breathe, Mama, Breathe written and out on bookshelves all over the world, I want to look up from the computer, take in the wider world, and see where I can be of use — what I can do for others, how I can share what I have learned this year, how I can serve.

And so I’ve decided my word for 2017 is… love.

Especially heading into a year where, at least politically, love appears fleeting, if not completely absent, I want to meet fear with love. I want to meet anger with love, indifference with love, love with more love.

Does it sound like I’ve gone and inhaled? A bit too pollyannaish? I am fine with that. In fact, writing those words, my mind immediately breaks into song: “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” Uh huh. Yes, indeed. For, if I approach each moment with love, it seems to me, everything else is covered. When I conjure up love, I am automatically more mindful, open, kind, compassionate, and grateful.

I know this will be an imperfect endeavor, to say the least. I imagine a scenario in the not-too-distant future in which I lose my temper with my kids and experience that awful wash of shame mixed with regret. That is precisely when I will attempt to offer myself some love, forgiveness, and compassion, just as I hope to with everyone else. Fully aware that I will forget, that I will occasionally fall onto the low road rather than take the high one, I am deliberately, wholeheartedly choosing love for 2017. I hope you, too, take a moment to reflect and choose a word for 2017 that speaks to you, one that rings true and guides you.

Happy 2017. May it bring you an abundance of love.


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