Can one word really change your life? I have practiced the tradition of choosing a word or phrase for many years, and I have seen my life transformed. The new year is ripe with potential and possibilities and we all love a fresh start and beginning to manifest the life we desire. So many good intentions are made, yet by the end of the month, most are forgotten. I have been using a word for the year for over 20 years now. It focuses me, clarifies my intention and guides me to embrace the frequency where I want to resonate.
One of the first times I used a word to focus on for creating lasting change in my life, happened out of desperation. I was struggling financially and emotionally. I was going to school full-time and working full-time and barely keeping my head above water. I had just made a lot of major changes to escape from a life that was killing me. It was winter, almost Christmas and it was cold. I had bought a few small gifts for family and friends and I had wrapped them, ready to be delivered. Then my furnace broke. The money I had saved to travel to see family, got used to repair my furnace. Then it broke again. The partial repair didn’t work, and the repair person said I would need a new part. I put it on my credit card and struggled in the cold for days until the part arrived. They repaired it again. And then it stopped working again. The same night my dog got into one of the gifts (which was chocolate) and ate the whole box. It was late at night when I came home to discover all this. I called the animal hospital and they said I should bring my dog in. When I asked what it was going to cost, I realized that it was more than I could put on my credit card. I sat down and cried. Then I called the animal hospital back and asked what I could do. They told me to put my finger down the dog’s throat to get him to throw up. I loved my dog, but he was a pit bull mix. I didn’t think it was such a good idea and I would probably end up at the ER. I asked what else I could do, and they said keep an eye on him. He may be ok on his own.
He ran around the house like crazy half the night but finally settled down and he was fine. The next morning the heater repair person returned and discovered that he had forgotten to move a certain lever. The heater began working, but I didn’t. I was so traumatized by the uncertainty, whether I would wake up freezing or not, that I couldn’t let go of this experience. I sat down to write and meditate. I focused on being warm, being safe and trusting that the Universe had my back. I chose to focus on trust. Every time my mind would go back to fear, I would pull up the image of being surrounded by a nice cozy warm home, with my dog sitting next to me. I would experience the joy and contentment that this brought. I could feel my body relaxing and my nerves calming. Sometimes I would have to repeat this several times a day, but I always went to a safe and secure feeling. After a few weeks I was able to sleep at night and I moved on with my days.
As my schedule got busy and other roadblocks came along, I would use my word “trust” to pull me back to a safe place. The year progressed and so did I. I began to pay attention to the positive things I wanted to feel and experience. I continued to use my word “Trust” to keep me in a frequency of calm and joy. By the next winter I was ready to move on to a different word and I have followed this practice every year.
This year my word is Ease. I make choices and decisions based on letting go of struggle and moving into ease. The original phrase was Ease and Flow*. I create with ease and the process flows. I know that this is how the universe works for me. It works for you too. The sun shines on everyone. You just need to step into the light. It takes focus and commitment to return time and again to the feelings, the vision, the frequency of what you desire. The word or phrase you select should be framed in the positive of what you desire and in the present tense. For example, not “I am no longer broke”, but “I have abundance”.
Here are 10 steps for finding your word or phrase for the year:
1. Gather 8 post-it notes or pieces of paper and a pen. Sit in a place where you will not be disturbed for about 10-15 minutes.
2. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. With each inhalation focus on the coming year and how you visualize it unfolding. As you exhale, let go of negative and limiting thoughts. Continue this exercise until you are calm, clear and focused on what you desire.
3. You may write down 8 different words or phrases that you wish to bring into your life.
4. Now pick up the 8 notes and write a couple of words that describe how this term makes you feel. Connect with these words, then choose the three that call to you the most.
5. Take the three and sit with these until you know which one is the word or phrase that you want to focus on for the year.