Early in 2021… when I really wanted to bail on release…I began to ponder a new word and have had a bit of a running list for most of 2021.
Despite adding words to my list, I persevered with release but once the 4th quarter arrived I began thinking in earnest about what my new word might be for this year and I spent lots of time thinking about all those words on my list.
Unbelievably, not one of them made the cut… I know, it even shocked me because they all have so much potential!
In late November a couple of things happened in my life…my sister’s ongoing issues and the anniversary of my mom’s death – one thing I’d like to solve, the other I’d like to forget – but those are a story for another day. Anyways, those things kept me focused on release for the remainder of the year.
December was so heavy and as a solace I spent lots of time reading poetry and listening others read poetry and the things I discovered were amazing.
First, I stumbled across Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day and a phrase from the poem just jumped off the page and into my head. I had never heard those words before… even though I have read/heard the last sentence of the poem dozens of times… this bit was a revelation to me: Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Wow. Just wow.
Now my intention is not for this to be the most morbid “Hello, New Word” post in history, but true facts… I am 61 years old. If I am blessed to live as long as my nana… I just have 26 more years on this earth. And if I am not that blessed… well, you see the dilemma. So this year I want to begin to really use the things I learned in my Year of Focus and my Year of Intentional Living (and yes, in my Year of Release) and begin to fill my life with the things that matter and stop with the things that don’t matter all.
But what are those things? I think have some ideas, but this year I am going to really try and not waste any time on things that don’t matter. I want to be able to look back and see there was nothing else I should have done because I lived a FULL life to the last moments. I think I am so blessed to have spent such a hard year with release… because release led me to this path.
It is almost as if release said to me… now you are ready… fill yourself up!
(And in case you think my word should have been fill… I wanted to focus more on the result of being full which I hope will help me make my choices of what I “fill” wiser.)
Because being full does not mean just doing all.the.things.
Just before the year ended I listened to an episode of The Slow Down and Ada Limón shared these words of wisdom:
One question that I often get asked is how to overcome writer’s block. And the funny thing is, I overcome it, by not overcoming it. I think it’s OK to not write. I think it’s OK not to talk, not to make, not to create, not to produce, produce, produce. How can we listen to the world if we are always talking to the world?
Wait, what? It’s okay not to talk, not to make, not to create, not to produce, produce, produce?
These words were a bit of a balm for my spirit, let me tell you and coupled with Krista Tippet’s conversation about listening to the silence with Gordon Hempton, I knew I was on the right path. (sometimes I need to have the message hit me in the face multiple times before I get it… thank you, universe for making that happen so brilliantly!)
So I invite you to come along on this journey to see what I will fill myself up with this year and, hopefully, as I am ending 2022 and on the cusp of 2023, I will be on my way to being full of lots of wonderful things!
P.S. If you would like to hear Mary Oliver read her poem, you will find it here!
I love the thought processes that went into this wonderful word/phrase, and I look forward to seeing all the wonderful directions it might take you!
I never would have guessed “Full” as a word for you – especially after “Release,” but reading your post it makes perfect sense Kat. I love your thought process and I wish you a year FULL of wonderful things – new beginnings, new discoveries, joy, family, etc., etc. – the list can go on and on and on. I’m looking forward to reading about your journey Kat.
What a terrific word. And Ada Limón is very wise, indeed.
Mary Oliver can be such a good punch to the gut, can’t she? And hearing how poetry was central in your life over the course of ’21, this just feels like a natural path to your new word. There are so many sentences in this post worth copying and pasting into this comment box, along with a Yes! Yes!…suffice to say, I’m happy for you, to hear you embark on a year of filling your vessel after a challenging year of making the space for it. Happy ’22, Kat.
“I want to be able to look back and see there was nothing else I should have done because I lived a FULL life to the last moments”
YES! And Double Yes to not feeling the pressure to do all the things. That’s where I was trying to go last year with Stillness. I’m still working on it and am excited to learn from you again this year. Here’s to a full 2022 – full of what matters!
I think too many people equate productivity with happiness. Being mindful of what makes you feel full is the key and I know you will embrace that. Cheers to a good year with your word!
I never would have thought of Full as a word for the year, but after watching you struggle last year, I think it may be perfect. I think so much of our lives tells us that we should always be striving for more, but I think we’d all be a lot more fulfilled if we focused on what we already have. I hope this is a great and rewarding word for you.
Your thoughts about full are very wise. I think you are on to a very good year with your word. Happy New Year.
Thank you for this wonderful post.
Oooooo. This just gave me little tingles, Kat. What a great word for you — all on its own, but even more so because it pulls in so many of the “learnings” from your previous words. I cannot wait to see this one unfold for you!!! XO
I loved this post. So lovely to hear your thought process and where you want your word to take you. I hope you have a wonderful journey through this year with this word as your guide.
wow! that is a great word and how it can lead to so many things in our ordinary days. May you be full of contentment and peace in 2022
I really enjoy reading the stories about how words find us and your distinction between full and fill is so insightful.