“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Oh hello, 2017.
A blank calendar beckoning with new perspectives and wide open possibility. I have been hitting the pause button on declaring my intentions for 2017 while holding tightly to my one little word for 2016: gratitude. You may have heard about my belief in the power of one tiny little word* and the practice of inviting it into your life over the span of a year. Just one word. As I type this I am laughing because it sounds so simple. Doesn’t it sound like a sloth methodology for igniting a new year?
I honored my first word in 2010 and I still have a sweet spot for that year (breathe). The truth is, these are the only resolutions I have ever kept. Here is the line-up: breathe, capture, create, shine, intention, joy and in 2016 gratitude was my guiding light. I don’t know how a simple word can manifest its way into one’s life; but I wholeheartedly believe in the power of this practice.
In January of 2016 I contemplated how to live with a grateful heart. I ruminated on how to transition to being thankful for the whole of it all: the good, the bad and everything in between. I began to journal about what I was most thankful for each day and almost immediately a pattern emerged. What I am most grateful for is… people. My family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and even people I have never met face-to-face (authors, artists and random work or other connections that light up my life). I started to document names: the roots and depth of my gratitude. A list of 77 people emerged and I began making encaustic personalized boards for each one. I can’t declare it as encaustic art; because I am not confident in labeling anything I create as art. My intent to was to create unique and meaningful gifts; layered with my intentions and heartfelt thanks amid the layers of encaustic wax. I finished 10 encaustic boards by April of 2016 when all momentum came to a dramatic halt due to a work crisis.
My day job started to absorb more and more of my time last spring and summer. Autumn rolled around and I started to define Project 77 as a pipe dream. In a funny twist, with precisely 77 days left on the 2016 calendar, my motivation flipped to “game on” after a conversation with a friend. It was kismet as she suggested I seize autumn’s Monday evenings and re-commit to creating (my family scatters every Monday night and I have a stretch of solo hours). The aha moment led to a creative flurry and soon my studio tables filled with encaustic boards.
One Monday night I started creating giant angle wings which spanned our kitchen table (inspired by a tutorial via Brave Girl University). I built a stand to hold the wings as a way to allow someone to step into their wings (literally). As I honored my ideas, joy multiplied. I decided to share the encaustic boards with the my local friends via a celebration instead of shipping each and every encaustic board (the collection of 77). More on the gratitude celebration in my next post!
My wish for you?
I hope one tiny word weaves its way into your heart and you adopt it for 2017 and invite it along for this trip around the sun.
Embrace, invite and live with your one little word in 2017 and see where it takes you.
I would love, love, love to hear your word in the comments below!
In case you are wondering what my 2017 word is…
It is sacred.
If you want to follow the journey this year and receive an e-mail update a couple times per month,
please provide your email address in the box above the follow us message on the right sidebar.
*I discovered the one little word project via Ali Edward’s blog. Full credit to her for pioneering idea.