Today is January 1st, 2023.
I made the decision a few days ago to wait until today to write my USUAL annual blog about my word of the year. I wanted to be sure of my decision. I highlight the word USUAL today because as I logged on to begin writing, I noticed something. Last year I chose my word, but never wrote about it. Whether that was somehow symbolic of the year that would be 2022 will remain to be seen. So, today my intention is to recap the journey, discuss a little of my decision from this year, and of course jump in to where we are in this moment.
The Journey So Far
My word of the year practice began approximately 9 years ago. Wow. I didn’t even realize it had been that long until I just looked at my list. It’s an interesting road as I look at the words:
Determined (3 years in a row)
I began choosing a word long before I knew about the book or craze to do it. I choose a word of the year in lieu of new years resolutions or goals. This word is chosen as a vibe or as a focus point for the upcoming year. As I find that making quarterly and monthly goals serves me well and helps keep me more accountable on a daily basis than longer term goals, my word of the year is a touchpoint that ties together the goals I set. It’s the light on in the dark to help me find my “way back home” if I wander too far off my path – if you will.
One of my favorite things about my words is that I choose to continue to carry the vibe of those words forward. They become part of who I am as opposed to ending something I may never be finished working on. Because of my previous words, I am more determined and joyful. I attempt to appreciate a more simple life. I’m more intentional about everything in my consiousness and I’m much more aware of not only my own influence, but the influence other people and things have on me. And regarding Catalyst…
The One That *ALMOST* Got Away
Last year, I chose the word CATALYST for my 2022 word of the year. And I have proof! I made a pretty graphic!
Man… I was PUMPED about my word choice last year.
Catalyst: To cause or accelerate a reaction without being affected. To cause activity between two or more persons or forces without being consumed in the process. A person that precipitates an event or change. A person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic. Impetus. Synergist. Wave maker.
At first glance, I feel like what the hell happened here?! The truth is that I had a pretty big expectation and vision of what the word Catalyst was going to mean for me and do in my life. As I’ve shared many times in the past, and frankly I should know better than to think otherwise, choosing a word of the year is never about it being handed to you on a silver platter. Choosing a word of the year is about accepting a challenge to face the word, and all it has to offer, with bravery.
As I think back on my year a little more thoughtfully, I realize that 2022 was a BIG year for me for the word Catalyst, just not how I anticipated.
I chose Catalyst because I really wanted to be more intentional about moving forward in being the catalyst I already am but focus on the “affected” and “consumed” parts of the definition above. See, I believe I’m already a powerful catalyst in the way I’m able to create space for others, bring people togther, etc. However, from there I often become obscessed in a way. If I’m not able to do it to my own ridiculous expectations for myself it tears me down. I sometimes become more attached to the what-ifs or the potential result, there are times when I never get started. OR, I start and then allow the experience of others to drag me down with them.
So, let’s look at this line for line.
- To cause or accelerate a reaction without being affected: I was more sensitive than ever this year. There are moments this year that I experienced deep feelings of abandonment and even invisibility. I struggled with feeling heard and seen and appreciated… so much so that moments when I were heard and seen and appreciated, I had difficulty holding on to them. I’m still contemplating if it’s possible, as a sensitive human, to not be affected at all. Perhaps, it’s more about processing how I’m affected. An opportunity to dig further.
- To cause activity between two or more persons or forces without being consumed in the process: THIS was… something. HA! A typical reaction for me when I seriously have NO words. This past year as I attempted to orchestrate connections, whether it was between me and someone else, between others, between someone and something, I tried REAL hard to orchestrate, then simply allow. It was a painful process… ALL. YEAR. LONG. I realized this year, more than ever, that I’m a doer and behind that lies a scared little girl who’s TERRIFIED of feeling like I have no control, say, or influence on an outcome. As I look back on the year, I am saddened by how many times I got onto myself about the allowing part, because the truth is, I DID allow. I’m absolutely a work in progress where being consumed in my mind is concerned, but I DID allow things to unfold and I didn’t push. I didn’t force. I didn’t cave and try to intervene. I just allowed. Kicking and screaming… but I DID allow.
- A person that precipitates an event or change: This, I did without question. I took a lot of action this year. ALL year. Right up to the end. And speaking of change, I even rereleased by eBook, Coping Through Change, as a paperback entitled Thriving Through Change. This year, because of the challenges I’ve faced, and continue to, has proven to me that I AM in fact an expert in thriving through change! I am also an expert in not just using but CREATING change as a … here we go… CATALYST for growth! THAT realization alone is the bulk of my fuel going into 2023.
- A person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic: You know the saying that says, “You can’t love other people until you love yourself”? While I believe there is value in perspective that loving yourself can bring a new level of appreciation to loving others, I ultimately believe that quote, at face value, is bullshit. It has always been in my nature to love at extraordinary depths and I would say the vast majority of that time, I didn’t love myself. Well, the same goes for being an energetic catalyst. It’s time to get real— For those of you in my life regularly… Did you know that in 2022 I have been navigating a deep depression? Very few may say they saw signs or were aware, but my guess is that many wouldn’t have a clue, but it’s true. This year has felt like a battle in my mind, heart, and soul. But while that was happening, the drive that I have to help others has been a powerful compass helping me through my own storm. So, because of my own challenges, I found this definition difficult to evaluate. Perhaps I’ll just let you tell me: Did I help you this year?
- Impetus. Synergist. Wave maker: I AM these things. PERIOD. My realization is that I’m still these things whether the waves are big enough to surf, or you’re just sitting back and relaxing to the sound of a ripple against the shore.
So, why didn’t I share about choosing the word via blog last year? Logistically, I honest-to-God don’t remember at all. Subconsciously, I bet I knew that choosing the word CATALYST wasn’t about me being more of what I already was… it was about choosing to embrace what would often times feel would be the fight of my life.
So here we are back to January 1, 2023.
A few weeks ago, I thought my word was going to be IMPACT… but something was’t quite right. The truth of it is, even after I decided against it, I wasn’t quite sure why until I just processed my 2022. As I’ve gone through my last 9 years of words, there’s a strong theme and a journey of me learning to allow. The word “impact” does not continue that journey of allowing as its own definition is “forceful contact”. While I do want to impact others in a positive way, I choose for it to be effortless, not forceful.
The other day, as I began to write a Facebook post, my word hit me, and ultimately, I decided not just on my word, but to save what I was writing for this moment. Here is my writing in the raw:
“Time is our most precious comodity. Once you spend it, it’s gone. You can’t make more of it. Though we all assume to be given the same amount in a day, we’re not guaranteed it.
While thinking of time in this way can feel harsh, one of the beautiful things about time is that it can be connected powerfully to our memory and can also be captured through not only those memories but things like writing and photos and videos. These things magically allow us to relive time over and over again if we choose.
What I have found this past year is that most of us love the idea of having more time but few are willing to actually change things or take advantage of opportunities. In this I don’t mean the actual creation of time, but rather time-giving activities like learning to prioritize in a way that serves you better, keeping a calendar, setting reminders, using the power of an intentional YES or NO… taking advantage of a connection opportunity instead of assuming the opportunity will absolutely happen again.
One of my focus points for 2023 is time… not just for myself but as an outward intention for the world. If you have someone in your life who wants to gift you with their time, don’t take it for granted. If you’re the person who wants to gift your time, spend it on those who appreciate it.”Jessica Dugas – December 2022
As I finished that last sentence, I stopped, took a breath, and realized it… my word for 2023 is TIME.
Time (n): 1. the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another. 2. duration regarded as belonging to the present life as distinct from the life to come or from eternity; finite duration.
It may seem interesting to some that someone so focused on spirituality and soul-level development would choose a word of the year that’s so rooted in human creation. What I mean by that is that units of time are man-made. Words like: moment, minute, second, year, lifetime, etc., may be, perhaps, only an illusion because not only were they constructed by humans, but we all have our own personal definitions of many of them. However, my purpose in choosing this word has actually nothing to do with the units of time themselves, and more to do with evaluating what and who I’m spending my moments on, and even evaluating whether or not units of time even need to be a focus for me in any given moment. I anticipate that this year is going to bring some implementation of learning to value my time and the ME that’s behind that time… some of which I just put into the place in the last couple weeks. It’s my intention to surround myself with those who not just value my time, but value their own time, as well as our time together. So here are some of the questions I’ll ask myself in the 12 months ahead:
- Are you valuing your time today?
- How are you spending your time?
- Is a timeline or schedule important in this moment?
- Is your time being appropriately represented in your expression of your own value and worth?
- Is your time valued and appreciated by those in your life?
- Is this a fair exhange of time?
- Are you using your time tools?
- Are you willing to exchange your time for this?
- Are you being present?
- Am I respecting and valuing the time of others?
“The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.”Michael Altshuler
There are so many quotes that I love about the word TIME and the concept of it. For me, it’s about allowing time to be what it is, and allowing myself to reside in the awareness of how I spend it.
Happy New Year my friends.