The Right Word (Guest Post)

Quinn’s note: Today I read an email from Creative Crocheter, a friend and long-time acquaintance. She was explaining the Word of the Year to her friends and family. The thought that went into choosing her word for this year was impressive enough,  I asked if she would be a guest poster. She generously agreed. Each month I’ll ask one of you to check in as a guest poster and tell me how your word is doing.

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On the other hand, gathering my thoughts about listening has had its own rewards. I’ve been reminded of the many ways in which my body, soul, and spirit speak to me.

Listening to my body is the obvious one. Tired? Get more sleep. Hungry? Eat something healthy. Weak or stiff? Exercise. Obvious, yes, though not always heard.

Listening to my soul is a little more subtle. What is touching my heart with joy or sadness? What is engaging my mind? What is challenging my will to follow through on the choices I have made?
Listening to my spirit seems least direct, such as through physical metaphors, if I ask “What might my spirit be trying to tell me here?” when a physical problem lingers. When my shoulders are tense and achy, what am I shouldering that isn’t mine to carry? When an infection resists treatment, what might I be allowing to fester—a guilt or resentment that needs to be cleared out, opened to light and air, so it can drain and heal? When food isn’t digesting properly, what am I having trouble stomaching or what have I swallowed from what others are “feeding” me that isn’t good for me?

How do you listen to yourself, to others, to nature, to God? I was reminded of the role of silence in allowing deep listening to take place when I read this recent post on a favorite blog [Madmanknitting]

When was the last time you were in silence so deep you could hear a still small whisper?

My answers to those questions have led me back around to my 2013 Word of the Year: “Home.” Not just a place, for me, “home” is anywhere I am heard and where I can truly listen. Yes, I am grateful that my physical home gives me the space and quiet to let myself listen, to be still and feel safe, to find comfort(ing) and peace. And yes, surrounding myself with colorful, soft, handmade beauty contributes to that environment. More than that, though, I am truly thankful for the people in my life with whom I feel “at home” and who reflect back to me so I can really hear myself, encouraging me to listen past pain and hurt to a deeper level of knowing.

AtlanticSunrise_632_25Aug2013Then—surprise—after all that listening, my 2014 Word of the Year popped out of my reading this morning: “Light.”

Such a rich word with so many uses:
As a noun: a stream of photons, as in the attached photo; a lamp or source of illumination; an insight that comes in a flash, as in “the light dawned.”
As a verb: to ignite a fire; to land, as a bird “lights upon a branch”
As an adjective: without much weight, as in “my burden is light”; bright or pale, as a color that is “light blue”; cheerful or even frivolous, as in “light entertainment”; easily digested, as in “eating a light supper”
Even in an adverbial form (lightly): delicately, with grace.
And those are just the ones I jotted down before I looked in the dictionary. Where does “light” show up in your life? What will you choose as your 2014 Word of the Year?

Whether or not you celebrate, as I do at this time of year, the coming of Jesus as the “Light of the World,” may your deep listening lead you home to the loving light that glows within you.

CreativeCrocheter feels “at home” with Quinn, who really listens, lighting the creative path.