I wonder what my Word of the Year is?

Sunday 17th March 2019, England, Day 44

It’s the weekend! Time to have a Weekend Coffee Share.

I must admit though, one day of the week is no different to the next for me at the moment. One of the joys of not working! Andto top it all, I am having lots of real coffee shares with my large UK-based family since I’ve come back. It is really marvellous!

This coffee share has a bit of a twist. Grab your favourite beverage and join me in a brief exploration into “wonder”.

I wonder if you will enjoy it?

In her book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder“, Arianna Huffington talks of four pillars that make up a “Third Metric”:

To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well- being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.

She shares that “when we’re living a life of perpetual time famine, we rob ourselves of our ability to experience another key element of the Third Metric: wonder, our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe, as well as the everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives”.

Yes! I’m so pleased that my blog is called “Everyday Delights” (my search for the small things in our everyday routines that can be extraordinary). It makes me feel that I am on the same track as many other writers and bloggers.

The naturalist, Rachel Carson, said in her book, “The Sense of Wonder”:

“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”

I wholeheartedly agree! We rob our children of that innate sense of wonder when they start “big” school, with the focus on achievement and academic success. I know that I lost it. I’ve heard others talk about this book and share quotes from it and I’ve recently added it to “want to read” list on Goodreads.

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I wonder, have you lost your sense of wonder? Or are you managing to hold onto it through thick and thin? 
Are you the “good fairy” who supports your children and others in keeping their sense of wonder alive?

Other writers agree with Carson. Philip Fisher (“Wonder, The Rainbow and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences“) writes that wonder “wears out with age”. Deepak Chopra says that wonder comes from new perceptions but fades with repetition and familiarity.

Wonder and a word of the year

Ooh, now we get to the interesting part. I’ve recently written that I don’t set New Year resolutions, and that for 2019, I have set intentions for my life and for my photography. Having set my intentions, each year, I also try to find a single word that encapsulates what I want more of in my life. It is a one-word all encompassing intention. A positive word or phrase that aligns with my values and perspective on life.

Last year, my word was “open” and it served me well, keeping me focused on my personal growth.

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I pause to ask you, my coffee share companion: Do you have a word, phrase or guiding principle for the year, I wonder?

This year I have been struggling to find just one word that “fits”. Last year, the word seemed to just chose me. I have been journaling about what my word should be since January and I have made no progress on choosing one.

The thought did cross my mind that maybe I wasn’t quite finished with the word from last year. With all the change and upheaval of my move, maybe I needed the theme of openness to continue for longer than a fixed 12-month calendar year?

Never one to give up, today I tried again. I re-read a number of articles about other people’s words and how to come up with them and did a little brainstorming. I read through my values and listed the keywords. Then I made two lists of “things I want more of” (this was a long list!) and “things I want less of” in my life.

Lightness, joy, curiosity, courage, simplicity, possibility, freedom, energy, optimism…

When I looked at this list of words, I was struck by how many of them could be encapsulated in one word, “wonder“. As Fisher explains, wonder can be used in two ways: one as an exclamation, a connection between intellectual curiosity, the pleasure of amazement and delight in the qualities of a thing. Wonder talks of curiosity, of a beginner’s mind. The second way we use it in English, is to frame open-ended questions.

I realised that this was a way I could use it for the year to bring in all those other elements I’d listed.

I wonder: 

  • what possibilities this year will bring?
  • how I can keep my life simple?
  • how I can be more courageous / light / joyful today?
  • what I need to learn / know to move this idea forward?
  • where this idea will take me?
  • how I can balance self-care and alone time with connecting with others?
  • and so on.

Spring crocus (c) Deborah Ann Stott 2019

Wonder Questions

I could ask myself a wonder question everyday in my Morning Pages as a way of committing to it. In a Chopra Centre article, Elena Sonnino writes that your word must have an energy, you must be able to visualise it and bring it to life, embody it in everything you do, so that it becomes part of your life for as long as you need it to.

Can I find a nugget of wonder today, I wonder?
Can I find something small, some small miracle, some piece of magic in the ordinariness of everyday that opens my eyes to how wonderful this earth is?
To how wonderful it is to have connection with people and places?

Deepak, says that to create wonder is the intention to let things be new. To see the world differently. I hope to do that with my wonder questions.

As coffee share companions, could we all think of one small nugget of wonder and share it with each other?

This piece written by Osho (a spiritual teacher in India who lived from 1931-1990) encapsulates how I could re-frame my thinking using “wonder” as my word of the year.
I am struggling with uncertainty, change and insecurity as I adapt to my new life here in England.
Every day brings thoughts of how I will make it happen, make it work.

This is what I call understanding.
If you understand insecurity is an intrinsic part of life
and good that it is so,
because it makes life a freedom,
it makes life a continuous surprise.

One never knows what is going to happen.
It keeps you continuously in wonder.
Don’t call it uncertainty – call it wonder.
Don’t call it insecurity – call it freedom.

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So, from this moment, “wonder” is my word of the year.
Do you like the idea of a “word of the year”?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts during our coffee share. I look forward to “having coffee” with you again soon!

Debbie blog sign off 2019

Books mentioned in this post:

  • Arianna Huffington: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
  • Philip Fisher: Wonder, The Rainbow and the aesthetics of rare experiences
  • Rachel Carson: The Sense of Wonder

 

 

5 thoughts on “I wonder what my Word of the Year is?

  1. B Pradeep Nair says:

    Hi Debbie, Interesting post. “Wonder” also encapsulates the “quest” in life. Nice to have something like a word for the year that is more broad-based, rather than a specific resolution that is more restricted.
    I haven’t thought of a word for the year. If I have to quickly pick one, it will be “decelerate”, as in “lessen the pace”, or “go slow”. That is something I am trying to achieve, especially because I have been having quite a hectic daily routine, combining both professional and personal work. Now that I am getting older, I thought I must slow down, to enjoy the many pleasures of life that I have missed.
    — bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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