Checking in on The Word of the Year

The year is touching the half-gone mark. How is your word serving you? Does it seem like a touchstone? A millstone tied to your ankle? Do you remember it?

Did you have to dredge it up like a boat mooring that’s been submerged all summer?

Your word for 2014 doesn’t have to stay the same for the whole year. If it’s not surprising you, helping you, teaching you, it may be time for a switch.

I’d chosen “scatter” and it is the word that has gotten the most mileage since I started words of the year. I wanted to try out new ideas, techniques, coaching styles. I wanted to write and draw, do collage, teach, re-design my studio, find a sport I like so I can do more of it. I’m exhausted. I also wanted to start a newsletter, network, build an audience, find a niche, create a Facebook Page for Inner Hero seekers. It was overwhelming and I knew I’d do poorly on most of it. Because most of it wasn’t grounded on any one value, one idea.

I’m not sorry I chose “scatter” –I learned a huge amount, including my limits.

An old-school distilling device.

An old-school distilling device.

So I’m stepping up to say I’m changing my word. Halfway through the year, I have experienced the joys and perils of “scatter” as much as I needed to.

I’m choosing “distill.” Almost the opposite of scatter.

I’ve filled the pot on the left with ideas, techniques, to-do lists, explorations and experiments. Now I’m going to think things through, let them ripen in the glow of the Operating System of the Universe and see what drips out. This feels really good.

I’ve been doing minimalist collages and that feels like it needs more time and development. So do some classes–writing classes–poetry and capturing some personal Truth–what each of us know about our life, but have wasted time allowing others to define for us.  And finally, I want to honor the Inner Hero.

How is your work serving you? Is it time for a Mid-Summer Change of Heart (and Word)?

–Quinn McDonald is watching summer settle in and is emotionally estivating.




33 thoughts on “Checking in on The Word of the Year

  1. I need my word to change because it’s getting a little too expensive! I began my word with Persevere to help me put up with my demon dog Lucy Lou but when she went back to the rescue, I changed to Maintain. Well, after having to replace our entire ac/heating and a grand on truck repair, yesterday was the final straw: we went to take a short ride on the new motorcycle (I’ve had only one ride on it!) and there was a screw in the back tire!! So I think I am keeping Maintain but I want it to understand that it can mean preserve, feed, and carry on, not just generate repair bills! LOL

    • OMG, bills just seem to come in waves. Although I think the bike tire was the cruelest one of all. I just went through clothes washer, dish washer, pool pump, water softener. I’m hoping for a quieter summer.

  2. I chose ‘open’ and it’s still working for me. I don’t think about it every day or analyse it too much, but it’s become like an undercurrent in my life. I’m slowly more open to different approaches to my daily life and art and it’s freeing me from a lot of selfimposed pressure. I’m allowing myself to take things slowly, to pick up art forms that take a lot of time so I can appreciate the process more. I’m giving myself the freedom to not do art when I don’t feel like it and go on long hikes or reading binges instead. I’m trying new things, exploring new places, all in a rather gentle way and it’s really good for me. Still lots to learn, still lots of control freakyness to get rid off, but I think after over five months I can say I sure picked the right word. 😉

  3. I chose the word “One” , as I was on the verge of becoming an emptynester. A few months after my son finally moved out, I decided to move from the apartment I lived in for 9 years. A couple months after I moved I made the decision to start a new job, though I had a long term position I was not unhappy at. Just prior to my starting this new position, my bf of 8 1/2 yrs ended the relationship…here I am, suddenly very alone, with a brand new apartment, job, and life. Wow. One is not feeling so wonderful as my heart is broken and there’s nothing familiar around me. I hope it gets better. I feel like I dont have any choice but to keep the word because that’s my reality now and I have only myself to count on.

    • That sounds like a lot to handle right now. I’m pulling for you. On the other hand, the “one” you need the most and who can do the most is you–and you are working, energetic, alive, and awake. That counts for a lot. I’m still pulling for you. This is hard work.

  4. My one word is MOVE and I am happy to say that I have been seeing changes in all areas of my life. I started this year with the intention that it was time to MOVE on, MOVE up and MOVE out and so far 2 out of 3 have been showing up in many situations. I’m hoping that by the end of the next 6 months I can happily say 3 outta 3.

  5. “little by little” my word of the year is still true….but there are too many things in my life I want to focus on… I fear that I won’t live long enough to learn and do all the things I want to do: Family and friends; house- hold (and permanent efforts to get rid of things around me) daily walking, swimming or cycling; drawing, watercolor, journaling, bobbin lace, sewing, reading…. Sometimes I envy people who just need a pencil and a sketchbook!… And I definitely don’t understand people who get bored and need to buy magazines about royal families to entertain themselves…

    • Your reply made me laugh and nod in recognition! Smartly done! I have not cared to look at a single celebrity wedding photo, and I don’t think I will find time in the next three months.

    • Oh Suzanne! I could almost have written this too except I’m not making enough time for the daily exercise . . . and I picked up a magazine in the doctor’s office the other day and didn’t recognise most of the so-called celebrities! And what is bored? Certainly not something I experience!

        • Ditto. Celebrity based on the superficial confounds me. I made the point to someone the other day that there is no-one more important that me because to think that way would be to imply that there others less important and I believe we have the same intrinsic value. The role they have in life may carry more importance and what they achieve may contribute more but they themselves are just a human being like the person who cleans their toilet, delivers their mail or takes their money at the store. Now its REALLY time to get back to work!

          • Oh, goody. Volume 2! I may stitch that together with that wonderful saying, “What we do to ourselves, we do to everyone else, and what we do to others, we do to ourselves.”

  6. I chose kindness, and it has been a good word for me, a good reminder in many ways. I find, when I interact with someone I do not know, I am able to access kindness with the thought “I do not know what this person is going through, so I can be kind.” That said, there is a point, and I have been there recently, when kindness becomes a hindrance to self care. Not very clear, sorry, but onward, I am keeping the work kindness as my base word, but I am adding the words “speak out”. For when necessary.

  7. Since I didn’t even remember what my word was and had to look it up, I think it’s time for a change. BALANCE is definitely not working for me this year so I will see if I can find a new word that strikes a chord with me.

    Thanks for the reminder, Quinn!

  8. I think I may need to re-evaluate my word as well. Thanks for asking the question. Time to ponder a bit.

  9. SETTLE was my word for 2014, and I am so glad that you made this post. I guess that I am just not that good at settling… My settling led me to a toxic roommate situation which has now disintegrated to the point that we have parted ways (and I lost a 30 year friendship in the process). So I am unsettling in more ways than one… changing the housing situation which will be a financial hassle and strain, and adjusting once again. So I probably will make a change for my 2014 word on July 1, when I see how things have SETTLED out! Only time will tell…

    • Ugh. Friendships lost are hard to accept and re-settle into. On the other hand, you learned a lot (this is what I tell myself when my life is a mess). The next month will be a big new learning experience for you, though.

  10. “A millstone tied to your ankle” sounds just about right. And, no, changing the word will not be of any help. Glad it’s working for you, though!

  11. Before you can harvest, the seeds must be sewn and I guess that’s what you did . . . not all seeds will grow but the ones that do will provide a rich harvest.

    I chose KISS, Keep It Simple Sweetheart and while I try and focus on that I still bounce about enthusiastic and embracing new experiences. Part of this simplifying will be divesting myself of some possessions . . . but that can wait a while yet. Perhaps I am learning to have some patience with myself at long last!

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