Out of My Head (My 2016 Keyword)

Posted by on Jan 25 2016 | Songtaneous

Wow. I struggled with picking a word for 2016. The whole process felt slippery and unsettled.

A lot of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t feel like I finished with last year’s word — RELEASE. (And we know how I like to finish things. *smile*)

2015 is over and I didn’t shred my old files or mail all my extra books to Africa or even get rid of the old futon I never use. And I didn’t release any kind of recording project (which apparently was a secret wish for last year’s keyword.)

I did complete a clothes “tidying” project and I had to release my kitty, Zoey. (She passed away right before Thanksgiving.)

cat zoey sitting in a box

I also began trying to get clear on how I wanted to focus the finite amounts of time and energy I have in the upcoming year.

All that is to say that I felt a bit out of sorts at the end of 2015 and not quite willing to let go of last year’s word. In fact, I seriously considered choosing the word again for this year (Release 2.0!).

But then I realized that was kind of the opposite of what having a word like RELEASE was all about. *rueful grin* So I practiced releasing a final time and committed to find a new keyword for this year.

….

As always, I look for a word to push guide me and help me focus on my goals/work/art for the entire year (all while acting from afar, of course!), but I found that I was having trouble picking words that felt like they’d be relevant in a week, let alone by December of 2016.

That’s not unusual. It can take me a few weeks to come to the word. Usually, when I discover my word for the year, however, I experience a sense of knowing. (And sometimes a teensy bit of dread.) I intuitively know it’s the word for me. That it will likely make me stretch and it will help me grow, often into a new area.

Far more words than usual (i.e. fit, resonance, voice, health, clarity and find, to name just a few) crossed my not-so-short list for this year. I had plenty of my own ideas and received other good ideas from family and friends.

But none of them were resonating.

A friend of mine suggested that perhaps I didn’t need a keyword anymore, but this process of choosing a word has always provided a useful and informative chance to reflect on my goals and narrative from the past year as well as to discover what a new word could bring to the year ahead. I didn’t feel finished with that.

And, I noticed that I was feeling called to pick words that felt more personal or feel-y, but that I was also resisting being more vulnerable, especially in front of an “audience.” (It’s not you, dear Reader, it’s me.)

During my visit over the holidays, my mom and I talked over my many candidates for this year’s keyword, including what I liked about them and what I didn’t.

My mom is a pretty smart lady (and she’s known me for a long time *smile*) and she knows that I am a head first kind of gal. I like to think about things and know what I think about things. She reflected that I seemed to be having a lot of feelings with which my intellect hadn’t quite caught up yet.

And then a week or so ago, I read this article about “16 Uncomfortable Feelings …” and confirmed that I was (am) feeling on edge and at the start of things. Itchy, and at times cranky and out of sorts – kind of like the cooldown, without any particular thing from which I’m cooling down.

I also realized that I had been rejecting active and structured words like energy or focus (or act or structure *smile*). This supported the idea that I am trying to get out of my head. Intuitively, I knew I could not choose a word that I would have to “live up to” or “work toward.”

Not to say that words that challenge us are wrong. I have picked a number of such words in the past – 2009: discipline, 2011: embody, 2014: start – but this year, it felt like those kinds of words would be an excuse to stay busy rather than do the work I’m meant to do in the upcoming year.

So I’m slightly surprised, a bit disconcerted, but (mostly) convinced that my keyword for 2016 is HEART.

It shouldn’t be surprising that I can’t really articulate why (it’s a feeling, more than a knowing *grin*), but I think/feel that HEART has to do with getting to and working at the center of things, acting on what I truly believe and increasing the joy and satisfaction that I get out of the year.

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