Thursday, January 3, 2013

The gift of a word

A calendar screen can simply scroll over into a new year. As for me,  I dawdle, sigh, reflect and mutter when approaching a new year. My transition into a new year is much like the way I approach Christmas morning. I don’t want to be rushed; I want to savor the gift in hand before moving on to the next. I want to fully appreciate the depth and breadth of the gift: the giver, the effort that went into its selection, the connection between giver and receiver, and the gift itself.

And so it is with a new year…a wrestling against the speed of time for space to savor what has been received this year before opening up the next one. A friend communicates similar angst at this time of year in her text message, “Just taped up the last box of Christmas. Some pieces went kicking and in protest of yet another closure.”

Before I can tidy up this past year without regret and look forward to the next, I want to take time to savor the year past and its many gifts. Were I just to recall those gifts packaged in festive paper and celebration, my gratitude and my growth would be lacking. Much like the gift of sea glass fragments found, collected and saved in a large, see-through, wide-open vase, I finger through gifts from last year marveling over the accumulated growth that time has produced bit-by-bit. 

Retrieving those gifts from the past year spotlights a new path for the new year. My recollection of the year is most visible from the vantage point of my word for the year. And it is by the light of my word for the year—last year—that I can best view the gifts I have gleaned. With my 2012 word in hand, I sift through the gifts I received in connection to my previous word, open. I recall, absorb and own each and every gift listed below…

Choice: Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options. From the book, Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend

Support: Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Rev. 3:20

Spaciousness: I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!  2 Corinthians 6:11-13, The Message

Freedom: Beckoned from the shadows, from behind walls, I have been released into the open. Into the open, Julie Voorhees, Feb 2012

Love: Breathe in love, exhale captivity. Breathing lessons, Julie Voorhees, March 2012
Acceptance: I want to be Julie. Growing into my clothes, Julie Voorhees, April 2012

Redemption: Life’s traumas are not wasted; they are redeemed by forcing out seeds for new growth…by forcing new steps leading to new growth. The other side, Julie Voorhees, July 2012

Recovery: Buoyancy - the power to recover emotionally...I was okay. Under the surface, Julie Voorhees, August 2012

Value: That day I discovered a personal treasure….unique, fearfully and wonderfully made, and intrinsically valued. The pink one, Julie Voorhees, October 2012

Significance: My dad’s five words were his final gift to me. He heard me…therefore he cared. Loss and found, Julie Voorhees, November 2012

In a December 2012 sermon, pastor Jon Ireland challenged all to “live in a posture of generosity with open hands”. This past year has pried open my hands and my soul…to receive so that I might give.

Anonymously quoted words beckon me into 2013: “Dear Past, thanks for all the lessons. Dear Future, I’m ready!”

And I look ahead with the expanded view that my friend, Lorene, describes, “A windshield is much larger than the rearview mirror.”

I so want for you to look ahead through your own clean, large windshield with hope and promise. I encourage you to select your focus word for this current year. If you would like help in choosing your word, go to my blog post, One Word Challenge, or listen to my interview with Geri Swingle, radio show host and fellow life coach.

Your focus word has potential to enhance the year ahead of you, provided you don’t shelve it within a couple of weeks like a forgotten gift. On the contrary, a good gift is relevant and sustainable. A focus word can be a relevant and sustainable gift over the course of the year provided you ask the pertinent questions along the way. Click here for cool coaching questions that will help you stay focused with your word for an entire year.

My word…you want to know my word for 2013? Hey, thanks for asking. Having tried out several words, I narrowed it down to three. Like Goldilocks looking for the right bed in which to rest, I tested out two other words before settling into the best one for me this new year. I tried NOTICE…uh-uh, too passive. I switched to SEEK…um, not quite active enough. Then I stretched to PURSUE: to seek persistently, strive for something, carry something out…which encompasses noticing, seeking and activity. Yes, PURSUE is the next journey on which I am embarking for 2013.