Selecting a Word of the Year– both personally and for the Zenspirations® Community– has become a treasured annual spiritual practice. Part of this process involves reviewing my core values, and ensuring that my actions and my values are in alignment. This leads me to reflect on what’s missing in my life, so I can choose a word which will help me fill the gaps. As a lettering artist and writer I am enamored with words, what they mean, how I can interpret them visually, and how I can incorporate them into my work in an uplifting, inspiring manner. I love learning what words resonate with others, and how they hope the word(s) will help them grow in the year ahead.
More than 50 people voted by leaving a comment on the blog with their ‘top three’, and I wrote them all down (and couldn’t resist adding a border that I created in the iOrnament App on my iPad Pro):
Then began the task of tabulating the votes– and I’m grateful that Jamie Torres volunteered to help count! The five words with the most votes are:
Three of these words strongly resonate with me: intention, kindness & gratitude; but when the votes were tallied there were more votes for ACCEPTANCE than any of the others. I was curious about why people chose particular words, and put the question out on Facebook yesterday in our Facebook Group, as well as on my personal page and Zenspirations by Joanne Fink fan page. I was surprised that only three members of the group commented, and suspect that Facebook has changed their matrix again and isn’t sharing posts! I am therefore encouraging everyone to make a special effort to visit the group Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook and see what people are posting. But clearly Facebook still shares what you put on your personal page, because so far there have been 74 responses! I wanted to share some of the most moving ones with you:
Kristen Zeitler writes, “My daughter Aliyah chose the word Acceptance. She chose it because she has a disability and knows what it feels like to not feel accepted for who you are. It started to make her not accept herself for who she was. There are so many people in this world and we are all different and beautiful and deserve to be accepted for who we are. Aliyah says we can change it! We can start by being kind and compassionate to all people – accepting of others and respecting our differences. But we also have to learn to accept ourselves and stop listening to the negativity in our head. We are all special and have greatness to share.”
Jamie Torres uses the term Radical Acceptance; “I personally chose the word Acceptance due to the unfortunate circumstances in my life right now. My Mother, who has always been my greatest ally, friend, comfort & the one parent that I could look up to, has recently been fighting Stage 4 Lung & Spinal cancer. I knew I had to Radically Accept the fact that I might have to lose her & live without her.”
Toni Popkin shared: “Acceptance because on a more personal level Acceptance of those with different abilities is a big focus of mine in my advocacy work right now. I believe we may say we “include” and “accept” those people who have different abilities but do we “Include” and “Accept” them. Do we know the difference?”
Connie Ivey writes: “Gratitude…as each day filled with gratitude is a day that resonates the positives in our lives, even through the difficulties.”
June Thiel also advocates for gratitude: “… all the others automatically follow in response to Gratitude!”
Kristen Zeitler said: “I chose the word Intention because I want to start living with more intention. I was inspired to pick this word because of a recent situation where hundreds of people chose to send my daughter Christmas cards. I was so moved by their intentions – by the fact that people, some strangers, took the time to write beautiful messages, buy or create cards and send them to her. It took intention. A choice to do something to engage my daughter and share joy. I want to spend 2019 responding to situations in a positive way. Engaging in relationships that are healthy and inspiring. I want to spend moments engaging with people instead of staring at my phone. I hope I can be more mindful and give people my full attention. I hope to share all of these words: acceptance, gratitude, joy and kindness by living with intention. (Me too, Kristen!).
Claire McFeely also voted for intention. “Time passes too fast without having a plan or goal. So this year I want to be more mindful as I approach each day. What do I intend to accomplish today? Or this week, month, etc?”
Steve Doyal: “Joy would be my choice. Here is what Dr. Angelou had to say about joy: “My wish for you is joy. When you wish someone joy, you wish peace, love, prosperity, health, happiness… all the good things.”
Bridget Hefner also voted for Joy. “I’ve been trying to focus on the small joys in everyday life. Interactions with other people, a beautiful sunset, a new book to read, anything that lifts my heart a bit. Part of that focus is remembering to share my joy with other people in whatever way I can, be it a kind word or just a smile; being the small spark that might light a flame down the line.”
Although there were 15 votes for ACCEPTANCE in blog comments, there were more than 40 votes on Facebook for KINDNESS!
Katrina Thiebaut votes for kindness: “It seems to trump all the others as if you show kindness and it is given and received by you then joy and gratitude and acceptance and intent should come naturally. Kindness to yourself and others and acceptance of kindness from others. To love and be loved is my purpose in life. Kindness is a must for love in my life.”
Nancy Jill Hayflich Rees: “Kindness…because it seems that most of us have forgotten about it and need daily reminders. And practicing kindness will bring my next favorite word: joy.”
Kelley Lynn summarizes it nicely by saying: “I think we NEED kindness right now more than ever before, so I’ll vote for that.”
Congratulations to Jill Abernathy, who won the contest, and will get a big bunch of Digital Downloadable crafting products from my new Etsy Shop! Speaking of the Etsy Shop, I’ just did a new piece about KINDNESSm and have added it to my ZenspirationsDesigns Etsy Shop as a Digital Download. Hope you’ll check it out and help me spread the word.
PS This issue of the Live Zenspired Newsletter has a FREE DOWNLOADABLE morning journaling page on Kindness, which you can access by subscribing to the newsletter.