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January 16, 2024

A Word for 2024

Listen is my one word “spirit guide” for this year. Since I believe in the power of words this was not an easy choice for me. I know that words may console or hurt, open or close doors, heal or injure, cause laughter, tears, joy, or pain, and change lives. Words also have an eternal quality and once used can never really be taken back. This is a good reason to take time before using words in any format; and was one reason I took my time choosing listen as my word.

I wanted the word I chose to serve me well in any situation I am presented with this year. I weeded out some strong words that felt too limiting or specific- trust, create, transform, courage, and balance – were a few of those. Instead I chose the word listen because in comparison to other words I considered listen seems softer, more neutral, and more inclusive to me.

Active listening requires a quiet and fully engaged mind. This takes effort for me because my mind buzzes and wanders with abandon. Still, when I remind myself to listen, the noise and wandering mute and slow down. I pay closer attention to the world around me, to my inner conversations and to those conversations I share with others. The word listen sets an intention that helps me be present in important moments so they don’t pass by unnoticed. I figure it this way: if I listen I learn; if I learn I grow; and growth is cause for celebration at the end of a year or really anytime.

Note: The painting posted with this journal entry was completed in a workshop where I repeatedly used my word, listen, to refocus and engage with the teacher rather than with the distractions around me. I really heard the instructions and applied them as directed. Consequently, I learned more than I ever thought possible in a four hour workshop and completed a small still life I love. Thank you, Darcy Melton, a wonderful artist and teacher.