In March, 2014, I began the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge for the first time. Over the last few years, I have marveled at the impact this writing community has had on my life. I am so grateful to those who have helped me grow through the writing they have shared and through reading and responding to my writing. HAPPY NEW YEAR to each of you!
It was through this community that I began the practice of choosing One Little Word (OLW) for each year beginning in 2015. That year my word was remember. These are some of the things I wanted to work on remembering that year:
Remember to write.
Remember to practice and practice some more.
Remember to forgive.
Remember to laugh and give hugs.
Remember my parents, brother, and sisters.
Remember to exercise.
Remember to eat healthy food and drink water.
Remember my children.
Remember my grandchildren.
Remember to read every day. (That’s the easiest one.)
Remember to pay the bills, answer email, take out the trash, get rid of clutter, and all the other things that fill the to-do list that keep me from remembering the things I really want to remember.
Remember to look for beauty.
Remember the kindness of friends.
Remember to be a kind friend.
Remember to listen.
Remember those in need, which is pretty much all of us.
In 2016, my OLW was nourish. I was struggling that year to balance work and family. It seemed that I was feeling depleted. Nourish was a concept that helped me achieve more balance. I’m still working on that. I started to try to read and write more poetry that year and found so many beautiful poems to feed my soul.
The next year, I chose walk. I loved thinking about all the ways walk is meaningful. Here are a few desires I had in January, 2017 with my OLW:
I want to walk physically for a healthier body and clearer mind on familiar and unfamiliar paths. I want to walk peacefully with my family and friends. I want to walk softly, with awareness of the feelings of others. I want to walk resolutely toward new learning and growth in my walk as teacher and learner. I want to walk gratefully for all that is good.
Then, for 2018, listen was my word. Perhaps this word, more than the others, had the greatest impact to bring about change in my relationships, my work, and my heart. I tried very hard this past year to listen hard before I jumped into conversations, or tried to fix problems, or reacted to situations. I practiced listening for what was said and what was not said. I still need to practice this.
Considering a OLW for 2019, this year I want to continue remembering, nourishing, walking, and listening. To these, I will add lift. There may be some who see this as a word of privilege, a word that positions one to have power in order to lift. I understand that, but I see lift as a word of hope. I want to be the kind of person who lifts another’s burden, lifts a child’s feelings of worth, or lifts my voice against injustice. I will lift my eyes to try to see more clearly.
In 2018, I had a few months of pretty intense illness. I was so grateful for those who gave me a lift. Some lifted me physically; others lifted me emotionally. Some lifted my belongings so I didn’t have to. Some lifted my workload until I had more strength. Some lifted a hand to comfort me. These are the lifts we offer each other as human beings.
May 2019 be a year where we seek to lift one another. I will try to do my part.