Guiding Word

I can’t remember when it started for sure, but I think it’s been about four years since Connie and I starting coming up with a word for the year, a word that would guide our thinking, feeling, acting, and reacting.  Tired of creating resolutions that fell by the wayside before month’s end, we thought words would suit our purposes better, especially those concerning areas we needed to improve in. This year, Christy’s joined us, and her word is courage; Connie’s is release.

Past words include peace, yes, and believe. A quick explanation of each is in order. Peace…ah, the feeling of peace in one’s soul, peace within the family, peace for our nation, and peace for the world. I couldn’t do anything about Iraq or North Korea, but I could and did do my part to effect more peace within and without. I even went so far as to put a stencil with the words, “Love is Spoken Here,” put on my dining room wall to discourage any critical or disparaging words. The YES  year was all about a strong and resolute YES to me instead of to the demands, requests, and invitations of others that ended up making me feeling sapped and zapped. BELIEVE was about confidence and courage and optimism.

When Connie and I met for lunch today, I was still wavering between my top three choices: mindfulness, stillness, and quietude. Connie said I was already pretty mindful. In fact, she gently suggested maybe I was a little too mindful…hmmm, interesting. Stillness and quietude are similar, but I like the sound and look of quietude. It’s sort of a quaint word (to me, anyway), and online definitions indicate that it means the state of being quiet, peaceful, serene, or tranquil.

Seems like I’m always gadding about doing this and that (kind of vague, huh?), and sometimes I want nothing but quiet stillness. I need more time for reflection and meditation and pure unadulterated thought. Many spiritual leaders advocate daily quiet time in order to still the mind and make one more receptive to ideas. According to Deepak Chopra, an idea penetrating a still mind is like a pebble gently breaking the surface of a placid pond, causing the ripple effect. On the other hand, this same idea might not have a chance of getting noticed in a mind in turmoil, sort of like a skyscraper falling into a tsunami.

So for 2010, I’m going to carve out more time for quietude. I want to feel stillness and serenity regardless of the chaos and craziness going on around me. Plus, I’m all about being receptive to new ideas. 2010 should be an interesting year for Connie, Christy, and Jayne as we release needless worry and unreal expectations, step out of our comfort zones, and strive for more serenity. What about you? What’s a word that could guide your actions and thoughts?

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

5 thoughts on “Guiding Word”

  1. well you know I love this post b/c I’m in it LOL!!!
    wow…we had a great day! it seems we really know our word it just takes time to hone in on and claim it! Kristi C. has a word and a post about it that is great! I love our pictures!

  2. It’s so true, choosing a focus for the year is so much more impactful than trying to fulfill a resolution.

    I am forever thankful that you and Connie introduced me to this practice. It has truly helped me meet, and make, lasting change.

    My word for this year is “dance”. This year I’m not striving to be better or change myself, I am instead choosing to celebrate me…the real me!

    I like quietude… it to is a state of ‘beingness’.

  3. Thanks for allowing all of us to jump on the “word” bandwagon. I’m excited to see how these words are implemented. “Quietude” is a wonderful word. GORGEOUS pic of you two!!!

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