This is a guest post by Joanne Miller. She is my wife and affectionately known as Queen Mother in the 48Days community. She writes, serves the needs of others and spends time with her grandchildren. She doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook but has more connections than anyone I know. If you’d like to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
This seems to be the year for people to latch onto a specific theme word for their lives. Just one descriptive word they envision as a thread running through their daily busyness. One simple, yet powerful word.
Our daughter and son-in-law have chosen to live with AWE this year. To open their eyes and their souls to experience AWE in everything they do. They rarely let a moment of AWE pass by their three young girls. If it is important and exciting to those girls, it is important and exciting to their parents. And each discussion reflects the AWE of life, adventure and gratitude and becomes a learning experience.
The interesting result in choosing a word for your theme is that you tend to see more examples of how that word plays out in your life. It’s becomes a reticular activator. For example, if you buy a red Volvo, suddenly you are amazed how many red Volvo’s you see because you have released the trigger for seeing red Volvos. Ashley and Nathan are now finding AWE creeping continuously into their lives in amazing proportions.
My friend, Jill Davis has chosen the word JOY to fill her life this year. It sounds so simplistic, yet when you have experienced a number of devastating losses in your life, finding JOY isn’t as easy as it may sound. Jill is choosing to let JOY trump the sadness of loss and hardship, finding ways to see the positive outcome rather than allowing the negatives to creep into her life and permeate her outlook. Suddenly she is finding JOY in unexpected places and you can see the glow in her countenance.
Since the first of the year, I have had a strong urge to purge. I think the idea first got into my head when I visited Cliff Ravenscraft’s home office and was struck by how he had several computers and electronic gadgets at his streamlined and uncluttered desk. I saw no piles of paper, notes-to-self or cabinets full of files. Not even a waste basket. When I later commented on this phenomenon, he said he went paperless a long time ago. He sounded like, “You mean you haven’t?”
I have also been reading the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Asking myself what is essential and what is just clutter in my life has been top of mind lately. The word PURGE means more to me than clearing out my office and other parts of my house. There are things in my inner life I need to purge. There may even be a few relationships I need to reevaluate.
Going paperless is a very scary proposition to me. It was just a year ago at this time when I reluctantly switched to putting my schedule into my iPhone instead of carrying around a small schedule book. That was a big deal for me. In fact, I still have at least ten years of schedule books in a cabinet…..just in case I ever need to look back on what I did on a specific day six years ago. Ok, I know it’s silly. Believe me, my kids have already told me they will throw them away soon as I die so I might as well save them the trouble.
So since the beginning of the year the word PURGE has become my mantra. I have cleaned out drawers, cabinets, closets and I am now working on my desk, file cabinets (yes I have several), and the piles of papers and books I have in every nook and cranny of my office. I am tired of the “paper jungle”. I have two computers to hold everything I need. This is a new era for me (ok….I’m a little behind schedule). I can now throw out the pages of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott because if I want to read it (I haven’t in years) I can go on-line and see it in seconds. I can throw out the files of revisions and rewrites of the children’s books I published years ago. I am eager to see the clear top of my desk without dozen’s of notes-to-self and piles of papers I will get to “some day”. Now, I am not delusional. I will likely not never have an office like Cliff Ravenscraft’s. There are just some papers and files I have to keep. It’s in my DNA. But the purging I am doing is a beginning and I am happy to have this year be my year of PURGE.
Dan says his word for the year is, “Find the Music”. “That’s not one word,” I told him. He told me, “I don’t follow the rules.” Well, that’s an understatement!
What is your word for the year? What would you like to be your reticular activator? A word that is the underlying thread of your days?
Here are some ideas: Play, Laugh, Explore, Believe, Intentional, Listen, Grow, Gratitude, Beauty, Possible. Find a word that resonates. The possibilities are endless.