This will be the ninth time I have picked a keyword for the year. I began choosing keywords back in 2009 and I have come to rely on this process as an invitation to review the past year and ponder and dream about the year ahead. Focusing on choosing a word allows me to “plan” in a more high-level, dreamy way (rather than a detailed, list-making, this needs to happen first way).
As we know, I am a thinker and I can get stuck in the details of an undertaking. And I admit that I have been a little stuck in the process of picking a word for 2017. Looking back at my words, it seems I have more trouble picking a word when I know I have a large goal or project on the horizon. This year was no exception.
In November, I learned that I earned the opportunity to write and record an album this year. (Thank you, state arts board!) Since I couldn’t start work on the project until January, however, I was able to daydream about the project for the rest of 2016. And, it was kind of fun to think about how I would approach the project and the songwriting methods I would get to try, the musicians with whom I might collaborate and the songs I would write.
That changed new year’s day. It was like an alarm went off and I had overslept; I felt instantly behind. My friend and Sistet member Aimee said to me, “Panic is part of the process.” (She’s right and I’m thinking about having t-shirts made. *wink*). I could tell this panic was affecting my keyword candidates for 2017. My list filled up with goal-oriented, action words – clarity, skill, artistic, act, decide, etc. In other words, things I should do or become.
But in nine years, I have learned that the keyword can’t feel like an assignment. It has to guide, not push and I don’t necessarily have to know how the word is going to work.
Take last year’s word — HEART — for example. I still cannot articulate exactly why I picked it, but, as frequently happens, heart kept turning up. Often, literally, as in February when my grandmother had a heart attack; in April, when a co-worker’s husband died from an aortic rupture and my grandmother also died; and in October when another friend’s father died from post surgery, heart-related issues.
I also felt HEART guiding me as I worked on my album funding proposal and as I processed the events before and after November’s election. Finally, working with HEART, I realized once again that I had to get out of my head about this year’s word.
2017 will be a year for growth, possibly even unruly and unpredictable growth. And while that may fill me with some nervous energy, I’m going to try to learn from and revel in it.
My keyword for 2017 is FLOURISH.
flourish v. — to be in a vigorous state; to grow luxuriantly, or thrive in growth; to sound a trumpet call or fanfare; a condition or period of thriving