Category Archives: one little word

One Little Word 2018: Stretch

The past few weeks have passed in a blur…just where did 2017 go? School was in session right up through December 22nd, leaving only the weekend to finish last minute preparations for Christmas and the whirlwind that was about to ensue.  And once family left on Sunday, I had time for a bit of celebrating before waking up yesterday to a new year.

In spite of the time warp, I have been thinking about a word to guide 2018 as well as reflecting on last year’s word.  For 2017, I chose the word possibilityPossibility is a great word, and as I read last year’s post I could still feel the reasons I chose this word.  But what I have learned about a word as a talisman is that I need a word that requires action, a word that reminds me to do something when the going get rough or stagnant and I need that proverbial kick in the butt,

So for some weeks now I’ve been trying on words.  Even this morning I thought I had settled on my word, but found myself reconsidering as I pulled out my computer to begin writing.  I thought reach would be that perfect word, encouragement to go beyond my comfort zone, to look past the edges of my sightline.  But suddenly, reach seemed too stagnant, too grabby, too self-serving.  I needed a word with more layers, something to encourage me to go beyond, but also to be flexible, introspective, and compassionate.

Stretch…somehow it feels right.  I need to make space in my life for more stretching, allow this body to bend, to regain the flexibility that I’ve allowed to erode as yoga has faded from my regular routines.  I want to stretch my mind and my thinking, remember to listen carefully to others and to consider perspectives different from my own.

I want to stretch time, gathering up minutes that turn into hours that I waste doing things that don’t matter and return to more writing, reading, and photography.  While I still always fit those activities into my life, I know I can be more mindful and deliberate about making them a priority.  I want to grow my skills, stretching to learn something new each day.

I intend to stretch my legs, walking and hiking into new places and seeing familiar places in new ways.  And I want to stretch out my passport and travel, exploring some new venues–those places we’ve talked about visiting but haven’t quite gotten to.  I will also keep stretching low, picking up those little boys who are almost not babies anymore!  Stretch to reach those small hands that are so eager to explore the world, offering me new insights on teaching and learning.

I can already feel the muscles in my back and shoulders unknot and relax, knowing that each stretch will result in flexibility and strength–a combination that seems perfect for 2018.

And as a reminder, a photo from my New Year’s Eve beach walk of an egret stretching into flight.  Like the egret, I will stretch my wings, pay attention to my surroundings, and even stir up the waters to uncover the tasty tidbits beneath.  (Have you ever watched an egret hunt?  I love the way they stomp and rustle the waters to get the fish to come into view as they search for food.)

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What will you choose as your One Little Word for 2018?

 

One Little Word 2017: Possibility

I’ve never been a resolution maker.  The idea of changing my life by making pronouncements on January 1st just never appealed to me…and I know me, sticking to “rules,” even those I make, doesn’t seem likely over the course of a year.  But when I heard about the idea of one little word a few years ago, I was intrigued.  The concept of choosing a word as a muse, as inspiration and aspiration seemed like a perfect idea.

In 2014 I chose the word playand let it guide my year.  And play I did.  I took some time for reflection on my word before choosing a new word here.  In 2015 my word was explore.  Explore helped me take play to a new level.  It had me searching for new experiences and seeking out new places.  I know that I surprised my husband with my willingness to do things he didn’t think I would do–and I know I surprised myself as I faced fears and branched out in new ways.  By fall of 2015 I learned that 2016 would be a year of change for me and my family as we welcomed new family members–babies!  I selected expand for 2016, going beyond the literal meaning of adding family members.  I knew that I would need to expand my horizons and perspectives in addition to embracing my new role as grandma to three baby boys!

Learning the power that one word can have on my life over the course of the year raises the stakes on choosing a new word.  I often wait a few weeks into the new year to make my selection; pondering, trying on, discarding.  I like to see others’ choices and read their thinking as another window into the selection process.  This year has been the same.  I’ve been reading the choices of others, reflecting on my past choices and considering potential words for 2017.  And even though it’s only the second of January, I feel convinced that I’ve found my word.

I’ve been looking for a word to help me push beyond my usual boundaries, to see past barriers–perceived or real–that limit my thinking.  I want this year to be about possibilities.  Possibilities like dandelion seeds, taking root where they land and thriving in unexpected places.

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I want possibility to encourage me to be kind and curious, strong and creative.  To reach out to others and seek new collaborations with possibility as a signpost.

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I want possibility to frame my thinking and take me to new understandings…and new actions.  I want to keep growing, personally and professionally, going beyond the usual and predictable and maybe even comfortable paths I have already traveled.

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I look forward to a year with possibility as my muse, a reminder to branch out, consider alternative solutions, blaze new trails, and push myself and my thinking.  I want possibility to help me build stronger relationships with family and friends and create better learning opportunities for my students.  I look forward to the possibilities that photography offers as I explore my world, familiar and beyond.

Right now, the possibilities seem endless.