Choosing an inspiring word for the coming year is a powerful tool to set a theme and to focus your intention and energy. It contains the concentrated power of a seed with all the potential of growth ahead. Do you have your seed word for 2023?
For over 20 years, I take a couple of weeks off at year’s end for what I call rest, renewal, and re-vision time. Sometimes I create an intention or open-ended question to bring into this liminal space. Some years, I create a matrix of daily yoga, walking or sitting meditation, and daily journaling. Other years, I simply relax into a unstructured, open time to listen deeply or enjoy what I call puttering time. Either way, within this liminal space, I quietly reflect, listen, and see what bubbles up or calls my awareness.
It was only five or so years ago that I got introduced to this idea of a word for your year. “What’s your word for this coming year?” one of my mentors wrote on her timeline. It is a great way to condense many ideas into one kind of mantra almost which I can play with or unpack over the year.
My word for 2023 is weaving! It just came to me and landed. Weaving feels inspiring, dynamic, colorful, and like an invitation to move and create. It just happens that I have taken up a new hobby — weaving on a rigid heddle loom. I took a class and fell in love with it. This is an ancient art; the art of weaving. The rigid heddle loom comes in several sizes, but is basically a simpler form of weaving than a 4- or 8-shuttle loom. I got a 16” loom that fits perfectly on my dining room table. There’s an endless learning curve and possibilities of useful or fun things to create from scarves to placemats, cotton dish towels, or fabric to sew. In my current project, I'm exploring a variety of patterns while creating a sampler. It’s so enjoyable to be thinking about and working with colors, textures, patterns; combining all my senses, my creative heart, thinking and planning mind, and my body as I’m standing at the loom setting up the warp or weaving the shuttle back and forth — left to right, right to left — creating the weave intertwining colors and patterns. And, I also find weaving to be wonderfully meditative and relaxing at the end of a busy day.
"We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving."
~ Louisa May Alcott
Then there’s the metaphorical weaving of routines, tasks, work, and play that fill both yours and my daily life. For many of us, these also change with the seasons. In winter, my focus is more on writing and indoor projects and in summer it's gardening, yard work, and more outdoors activities. Your personal routines and rhythms are your own to create.
Now, I’m weaving in a new program of aerobic and strength training to up my fitness on all levels. In my work, I’m at the start of my coaching journey, along with writing and developing courses, and overall re-creating my life in a few different ways. I'm enjoying the ongoing process of weaving together these aspects of my life and work, following my heart's lead. It’s also a great theme for my writing and courses where I am weaving together decades of experience in the healing arts, meditation, Chinese medicine, Eastern philosophies, spiritual studies, and scientific research to offer up inspiration, insight, and tools to support transformation, growth, and creativity. What are your varied activities and visions that you are weaving together?
During my liminal space at year’s end through the start of a new year, I usually journal my insights, ideas, and intentions for the coming year. I also draw a Mandala Map (a circular representation) of the key life areas I’d like to create or focus on in the coming year. This is similar to the life wheel that coaches use and, as a visual thinker, I find it very helpful.
In our weaving analogy, setting an intention for the year is like deciding on what project you’ll focus on creating on your loom. Creating your Mandala Map or life wheel for the year is like choosing your yarns, colors, textures, and then warping the loom. The warp is the matrix for the weave. It needs to be firm, a strong yarn that won’t stick or shred, and can hold the tension and the friction of weaving and beating the weft. We need to have clear achievable goals and steps to achieve them. Is the warp tension too tight, too loose, or just right? Are we working too hard, holding too much stress, or able to relax and enjoy the process?
The weft is the yarns, colors, textures, and pattern we weave through the warp to create our vision. We can experiment and make changes as we go along. In the same way, it's great to check in with your year’s vision each quarter and adjust as needed. Did you plan too much for that quarter? Did a new idea or opportunity arrive? Or is something else needing your attention?
The other thing I’m learning with weaving and with this chapter of life: take your time, enjoy the process; make it fun but commit to consistently grappling with the hard work and challenges. And, always, make time for yourself, spend time with your loved ones, and get moving outdoors in nature to reconnect and renew your well-being.
What is your word for 2023? I’d love to hear it and know what it means to you.