Monday, December 23, 2013

Being Mindful, Telling Stories

Since 2011 I have participated with Ali Edwards' One Little Word

In 2011 my word was Celebrate!
The word was always with me, in small ways and large.  It was glorious.  The next year I chose "Create" first, then switched to "Abundance."  What with one thing or another I never really did much with either word (or concept, I'm sorry to say).  I never even got around to choosing a word for 2013.  Struggling as I do to think of the new year starting in January didn't help either.

As a person who loves words, One Little Word calls to me.  And for 2014 I was determined to find a way to have a word that spoke to me and could begin in January when Ali's class begins.  Last September, when my year begins, I started thinking about words for 2014.
 I find it interesting the nouns that push me along.  My kids are great at shoving me in directions I need to go, but can't always see.  Travel always opens my eyes to possibilities.  It is easier for me to see where I want to go when I am somewhere else.  And recently the waistband of my favorite pants told me it was time to exercise.  

I began Yoga classes in early December.  For me, everything about Yoga is spiritual, ordered, thoughtful, balanced.  I wanted to bring those qualities into every part of my life.  I started thinking --how can I live a deliberate life?  Is there a word for that?  I stated my intention for a couple Yoga classes as listen for my word.  And I started what I always think of as fun, Library research!  I searched dictionaries and thesauri online.  I found a possible word, so I then went to the library mostly cuz I love looking up words in the OED.  But after dictionaries I branched out to other reference books.  Oh the things you can find in the reference room on Art, Literature, Religion, Education, Psychology, etc.

I determined on the word Mindful.  It was perfect in almost every way.  It just wasn't fun, jazzy, spendiferous.  It wasn't celebrate, the word that so perfectly defined my best year in memory.  But OK, Mindful is a grand word and maybe it was ok to have a calm, quiet word.  Do I want to have a calm, quiet life?  NO.  But maybe this is what I needed.  So I checked the catalog for books on mindful/mindfulness and I found Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh.

In the preface, Digh states, "...we make sense of our lives through story.  Writer Flannery O'Connor said, 'A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.  You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate.' " (p. xi)

And right then, reading that, I knew what 2014 was going to be about for me ~ being mindful and telling stories.  Stories are spendiferous!  They can be jazzy and fun.  They can also be mindful, kind, connected, artistic.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what this brings to my life next year.  How it may teach me to share stories in ways meaningful for the listener/reader, to find more real life connections, to help me believe it is alright to tell my stories.

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