You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.
I have kept my journals since 2006, though I wish I would have kept them all, but began selecting a Word-of-the-Year to set my intention instead of making New Year's Resolutions since 2010 which have really changed how I view my year.
Initially I was sure I would choose the word 'reservoir' based on my favorite quote but instead I chose BRAVE. The song by Sara Bareilles continually runs through my head - say what you want to say, just let the words fall out...honestly I want to see you be brave - and I love the movie 'Brave' by Pixar and Merida's bravery in choosing not to marry as tradition demands. Bravery can mean taking small steps through following your dreams, making your own way, choosing your own path and living the life you were meant to live.
Change is always difficult for me, and I was born an extreme introvert so every time I put myself 'out there' I need all the bravery I can get. My home is my sanctuary, it is where I feel safe but it can easily become my prison when I allow my fears to keep me bound to it. When I'm given great opportunities I'm initially excited and then I begin to doubt myself and look at them as too great of responsibilities which I'm not capable of filling. So my hope is that I am reminded to be brave every time I want to crawl into my shell because I know that whenever I try, even if I fail I learn and grow...and usually have a terrific time in the process.
In the past my words have meant the following to me:
FEARLESS: My 2010 word as I found I was getting caught up in the fear of how I was perceived by others and the fear of failure. Whenever I noticed fear in myself, I would focus on my word and it helped me to overcome challenges, it actually helped me to be brave in so many little ways.
SURRENDER: I decided that 2011 would be a year of letting go of my history of control...of self and others...and allowing things to happen. And, boy, did things happen. Yes, both good and bad, but always in the end for the better.
STILL: For 2012 I wanted to grow both as an artist and human being, and remembered the verse in Psalm 46:10 'Be still'. I tend to feel like I have to do everything, you know, that sense of obligation. Not only because I feel I should but because I worry that I don't do enough. I actually went through a physical injury that forced stillness, and it seemed that everything that needed doing got done. And I felt so much more peace in my life by allowing it.
WISDOM: In 2013 I wanted to further my education as well as seeking knowledge and understanding of others and myself. Wisdom is considered a cardinal virtue, though because of my passionate artist's nature I struggle with stepping back and attempting to control my reactions...still a work in progress.
GRACE: My word for 2014. To me practicing grace is similar to gaining wisdom in my hope to extend grace to myself and others. Theologically divine grace inspires virtuous impulses and imparts strength to endure trials. I believe it is about compassion and understanding and also about acceptance.