Three Words for 2016

blackeyedHave you chosen words to guide your intentions for the year to come? I’ve been thinking about mine.

CHANGE. RESOURCE. BENEFIT.

There they are, for those of you keeping score at home. If you care to know how I arrived at them and how I feel about implementing them, read on. I hope you’ll spend some time reflecting on three words for yourself, and will share them (along with a link to your reflections) in the comments below.

CHANGE

I did one of those Facebook quizzes a few days ago, and their crapshoot algorhythm generated the word “Change.” NOOOOO! I quickly departed from that page, and did not share the results publicly. However, their suggestion has stayed with me. Last year, 2015, I served on my Meeting’s Peace and Social Action Committee, and also worked and supported political change in Houston. I was seen as an activist, and began to see myself in that light, as well. The current social and political climate, locally, nationally, and worldwide, is volatile. I have always taken to heart the famous words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Add to that the words of Moshe Feldenkrais: “Change happens whether you want it to or not.”

The I Ching is subtitled, “The Book of Changes.” It counsels that we observe change without being perturbed by it. That we do not force change, but rather allow it to happen on its own. And, that we can adapt and continue, whether the conditions are obviously favorable or not. As a Feldenkrais teacher,  I create the conditions for change, not the change itself. This is an important and humbling distinction. I already see new focus, new understanding, and new possibilities for navigating change for myself and for my students in the coming year.

RESOURCE.

Maybe you’re like me:  I continually underestimate the resources at my disposal, both internal and external. I have a long history of life experiences where, seemingly at my depths, exhausted and tapped-out, I still was able to find within myself a resource I didn’t know I had. “Resource” is also a funny punny little shorthand for a profound spiritual concept: “Reconnect to the Source of All There Is.” I always have what I need when I can remember to re-source. Then, I am always resource-full.

Most of my clients come because they are in pain or difficulty. Others simply are propelled by the desire to be “better,” in some way that is meaningful to them. They view me as a valuable resource, and I am so grateful for that. This word-of-the-year RESOURCE reminds me that I can help them to discover or create their own resources for problem solving and for living more fully. We can know that abundant resources are always available, even if we have to search for them.

BENEFIT

Benefit is related to “beneficial,” which means “good for you, in the best possible way;” and shares a root with “Benediction,” which means “Blessing.” How do I make the world a better place? How do I bless others? How does my work benefit others? How does it benefit me? Benefit also implies a bit of a two-way street, as in “mutually beneficial.” Benefits that go only one way are unsustainable.

At its worst, the word “benefit” can be reduced to a crass attitude of “What’s in it for me?” At its best, however, “benefit” guides me to ask and discover – what is the highest and best intention for all concerned? Are all parties better off than before? Perhaps the benefit is not obvious. Sometimes, we need to discover the benefit of the benefit, and illuminate it.

I believe the word “benefit” will be a touchstone for health for me. In the choices of the relationships I sustain, the foods I eat, the projects I pursue, the idea of benefit – and mutual benefit – will protect me from burnout and resentment. I want to be actively engaged, appreciative, and moving as an agent of change, a resourceful resource, and a blessing for all concerned.

The conscious awareness of the words CHANGE | RESOURCE | BENEFIT is transformative.

Happy New Year. Bring it, 2016.

[“My Three Words” is an annual exercise created by Chris Brogan. You can read more about it at http://chrisbrogan.com/3-words-2016/

You can also read My Three Words for 2015 here.]

 

 

 

 

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Three Words for 2015

Light Flare by 3BLuke via DeviantArt. Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Light Flare by 3BLuke via DeviantArt. Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

When I read Robin Mohr’s post about her choice of three words to shape 2015, it got me thinking and writing. Drawing upon a meme referenced by Chris Brogan, the idea is to reflect and then choose three juicy words that will have the power to focus, inspire, and guide one’s actions (and thoughts and words and LIFE) for the coming year. It seemed a little daunting at first. I have many, many words – how to narrow it down to just three? However, when I became still for a few minutes, the words emerged quite easily. They are:

LIGHT. INTEGRATION. ALLOWING.

All righty, then! Those three words are a kind of personal shorthand, but full of richness for the unpacking. Here follows sort of a word salad of free association. I have only the vaguest notion at this moment what each of these words will look like day to day in 2015. Nevertheless, I share in hopes that you’ll be inspired to come up with your own three words.

LIGHT. Quakers are all about The Light. Holding The Light for people, holding them IN The Light, and ourselves as well. Bringing light to darkness or confusion. The Light is also “that of God in every one,” that essence which can be answered, responded to, and engaged, as the highest and best attributes of ourselves can connect, learn from each other, and perhaps even love one another. EnLIGHTenment, akin to awareness, the Light switching on, like a lightbulb flashing, cartoon-like, over one’s head. Aha! Full-spectrum, waves and particles, speed of LIGHT. And LIGHTness: humor, agility, cheerfulness. “His yoke is easy, and his burden is LIGHT.” How might I embody The Light, be guided by The Light, and share more Light with my clients, friends, family, community?

INTEGRATION. When disparate elements of a system are integrated, they function as a harmonious whole. Integration contains within it “Integrity,” perhaps the core Quaker testimony. The notion of harmony – elements (or people) working together in an aesthetically pleasing way – may bring a gracefulness to my relationships and everyday interactions. The elements remain distinct, retaining their own uniqueness, yet a synergy occurs where “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” How might I recognize opportunities to include those who have been excluded? How can I support the integrity of others as I live into my own?

ALLOWING. It has to do with letting things happen, rather than making things happen. Let things unfold naturally, organically, as they will, without interfering or inserting another agenda. Let people and things be exactly as I find them. The I Ching lists among desirable character traits equanimity, acceptance, and non-judgment. See what IS, before reflexively leaping in to “help.” Ask more questions, be open, seek to understand instead of just to learn. How can I be more present in each moment, and accept the gifts contained therein?

I feel excited to have this template. The words are a compass, not a map. I don’t know the territory yet, but I now have a way to orient as the landscape of 2015 is revealed.

Wanna play? Share your Three Words for 2015 in the comments.