This year, I decided to join in a new kind of blog activity for me, the “One Word” community at Lisa Notes. As far as I can tell, this involves choosing one word to engage with during the year, mindfully following it as a thread through life’s ups and downs and distractions. Once a month Lisa posts a linkup for sharing how the word is speaking to us or moving in our lives. (Many involved in the project express this as a Christian prayer discipline, language that I am comfortable with, but I think it would be possible to practice without any religious terminology.)
I chose the word CONNECT. Through most of my life, disconnecting from situations or people or ideas that felt threatening, confusing or overwhelming to me has been my main coping mechanism. If something became difficult or scary, whether in the outer world or in myself, I turned away or shut down. But I’ve started to see how that limits my life experience and leaves me feeling truncated and unfinished. Disconnection can indeed be necessary for certain times and certain reasons, but I think I tend to overdo it. I want to look at ways that I can forge new connections, and maybe rethink some old ones that have gotten lost or broken.
Connecting does not mean merging. It does not mean obliterating rightful distinctions or melting into an undifferentiated soup or giving up my unique point of view. It means permitting and honoring differentiation, while creating avenues through which information and energy can flow. It’s how understanding and love penetrate all parts of an organism, leaving each part fully itself while integrating the whole. It is the definition of healing.
I think of this as a sort of expanding circle that can reach out in many realms. The realm of people, from self to family and friends, closer and more distant, to acquaintances, chance-met strangers, and the totally unknown. The realm of physical experience, from my own body to my immediate environment, to the larger sphere of natural and human-crafted spaces in which I move, to places and things I know only through the reports of others, to areas I don’t know at all but which are still part of this universe.
Just because some of these elements are closer to me does not mean I am well connected to them. More distant areas need attention as well, but it’s the things I see and use every day that I tend to forget or pass over or even develop an aversion to. And I’d especially like to consider how I can connect — safely — to things or people or ideas that I find scary or uncongenial.
How do I connect with all of these? Will it be in very different ways, or will all connections at some point start to feel the same? Will single connections join into a greater network, will they start to grow and emerge in unexpected ways?
I’ve already reached out to one set of new connections, joining a small group of “One Worders” (an option Lisa offered this year), and it’s been quite amazing to experience the instant jolt of energy that intentional interest, enthusiasm and openness mutually exercised within a group of human beings can bring. I am excited to see how this develops over the year.
Do you have a word that you carry through the year? Or some other practice for focusing your intentions, goals, or hopes? If you did choose a word for 2022, what would it be?
24 thoughts on “One Word for 2022”
At the moment my subliminal focus word seems to be ‘anger’ — anger at politicians, at billionaires, greedy landlords, multinationals, anti-vaxxers, those desecrating the earth, conspiracy theorists…
Unfortunately my usual focus word, ‘compassion’, has been massively drowned out. Thanks goodness though for the blogging community where we can find like minds focused on compassion and kindness and creativity.
I wonder if anyone has tried taking a word like “anger” for the year. I know we tend to think of it as something negative, and I’ve always tried to suppress my own anger, leading to explosions and health issues. It helped me a lot recently when I learned that anger is the natural human response when we feel helpless. It gives us the strength to potentially break out of seemingly impossible situations — though unfortunately, it can also backfire and cause cycles of damage and violence. I am still meditating on that polarity myself. Hoping that compassion can bring in balance to your struggle as it always strives to do.
I’m choosing a broad word, but I’m using it as my fall-back verb.
“Connect” is a fabulous word. It will be a challenge during this pandemic time.
It has come strongly to the fore in my mind lately, in part for that reason. All best wishes for your one word practice too.
Neat! Such a rich word with so many layers.
By the way, you may have noticed I unsubscribed from your Newsletter. It is not a sign of dis-connect. But as I already receive an email for each new post, I realized I don’t need this double email with same content.
I haven’t chosen a word for this year, but I have started a lot of new things this year so far. Maybe I can think of a word to cover it all
Thank you for letting me know that about the newsletter, I do appreciate it.
If you do think of a word to bring all your activities together this year, I’ll be interested to hear about it.
A very interesting idea and a thoughtful post about your word and the layers you can explore with it. I’m not sure what my word would be – maybe creativity?
That sounds very appropriate for you. 🙂
Really? Well, now you’ve got me mulling that one over…
I’m always so inspired by the art and creativity on your blog…
“Connect” seems like a terrific choice for 2022: to the right ideas, individual, communities, places… connect can have so many meanings, and in all of them there’s an element of change. A brave and wonderful choice—I like it, and not only because one of my favorite quotes is Demming’s “change is not necessary. Survival is not mandatory.” 🙂
Yes, I think connecting implies changing our relationship to something, without changing the thing itself, at least initially. Is change necessary? We can resist change, but when everything changes around us, it becomes necessary at some point to keep up … at least that is what I have found to be the case in life.
Getting chills as I read your post, Lory. So beautiful to hear your thoughts about what connect is and isn’t. You and your word are bringing me such hope, both here and through the words you’ve shared with me already. I’m just in awe at what God has already done in our small group by connecting us! Thank you for being open to our connection; I think you’re amazing.
Oh, and thanks for sharing here about our group!
Thank you for this opportunity to connect, and for all you offer through your blog. I think you are amazing too!
I trust that you will find the One Word community a safe and supportive place, “I’d especially like to consider how I can connect — safely — to things or people or ideas that I find scary or uncongenial.”
I do find it very safe and supportive so far. I think the threats mostly reside in my own mind.
Lory, I am so humbled by the way you have written about ‘connect’ for this first month. I am one to often run away from those scary and hard places and people and ideas. I have recently disconnected with someone who has truly challenged me but in such a negative way. I needed to step back for a time. My pray is that as time and y own healing happens, that our relationship will mend too. Your paragraph about the circle widening, close and far people and ideas and events need connecting…I pictured a rock skimmed across a pond and the concentric circles going out and out and out. That is how I can picture that as well as the healing that surely God desires for us. Just beautiful, my new friend. Caring through Christ, ~ Linda
Dear Linda, I have gone through phases of needing to disconnect from threats and negative input, including people who were too challenging. I think that is a very understandable response and is part of our self-protective instinct. Right now, I’m pondering how to connect without over-riding that response, but honoring and bringing it to a higher level. We humans are very fragile beings and we don’t understand our own complexity. Like you, I picture God as a being who holds us within a higher understanding and therefore always desires our healing and integration. I look forward to how that may unfold over the year, for each of us and our words. I am grateful for your honest sharing.
Lory, I enjoyed reading the thoughts behind your word choice. The paragraph about what connecting means (and does not mean) was especially insightful. I’m so glad to be in a One Word small group with you and I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey takes you this year.
Thank you Lois. It’s going to be a special year, for sure.
What a fun word full of nuances meanings! I look forward to seeing how connect plays itself out in your year and what connections you make. (I too tend to shut down and disconnect in times of stress or tension or anxiety).
I love this so much!!! really focusing on one word is a great way to create mindfulness and pull yourself back in when you start to spiral. I hadn’t considered doing this, but I think my word this year would be “Continue”. Great post!!
Thank you Jocelyn! If you end up focusing on one word for the year I’m really interested to hear how it goes. “Continue” is a great word for reminding us to keep going and not give up, always something I need to keep in mind.
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