“…maybe if we are surrounded in beauty
Someday we will become what we see.” ~Jewel
This post is longer than I want it to be but I’m much better, in general, with keeping my posts, messages, comments to people….shorter. Who wants to read like 20 pages of a blog post or e-mail or comment?! Lol But I still tend to get carried away now & again!
For the last few years I heard about the one word challenge where we choose one word for the new year and decide to live up to and honor it any way we can the whole year.
I never felt compelled to participate in this because I felt there’s too many words I want to live each day, not just one. It seemed uninteresting to choose one word to live & breathe each day for just one year. And many words or concepts are interconnected. So how do we choose which aspect to focus on? And I used to think, when the year ends, what happens to our word? It gets chucked out the window, kicked to the curb, forgotten, abandoned?
I remember at the end of 2013, I was having a horrible cluster of severe headaches and it was terrible. The word I clung to is “hope.” Hope that my headaches would soon end or that I would learn to live with the blinding, burning, aching agony, somehow learn to live with it. I bought a few things including a candle holder and notebook with the word “hope” on it. I was so hurt and the end of 2013 is one of the most desperate, agonizing, traumatic, but beautiful seasons of this life of mine. Even though I still feel the trauma of it while remembering, it really showed me my strength and how desperate but hopeful I can be. It showed me what I’m made of and how a single word can do so much, be so much, be so inspiring, so empowering. The memory, while painful, is also beautiful in my mind. It really tested my life philosophy that life is so beautiful and is worth holding onto, worth each battle, even with very severe pain, both emotional & physical.
My experience with headaches piqued my interest in the one word challenge but not too much. But I wrote here that if I were to choose a word for 2014, it would be “hope.” I wanted to go into 2014 with more hope and a conscious, intentional determination to find & feel hope. I still did not engage in the one word challenge very consciously but I did better keep hope alive.
You can read my December 2013 post here:
This year though, I received an e-mail, a subscription e-mail, suggesting I try the one word thing as an alternative to new year resolutions and for some reason I felt so inspired and compelled to participate the moment I began reading the e-mail and the word “beauty” was already in my head. I did not even have to search for or contemplate my word; it was just here in my head. I think it’s because my wisdom is deeper now than it was every other year that this challenge now inspires me enough to participate. Not that those who aren’t interested in this challenge are not as wise or even more wise than I am!
It’s just that I now see the wisdom of focusing on just one word. Or just one thing. It doesn’t mean we can’t also honor other words or incorporate them into our days. Or that once the year ends so does our focus on the concept of our chosen word. I won’t stop seeing beauty when it turns 2017. It’s just that the simplicity of focusing more on just one word for this challenge is very effective and organized. And we can take the skills it equips us with into the new year while choosing a new word to put more focus on.
Sometimes if we have multiple things to give much attention to, it can be distracting or not as clear.
For example, when I have multiple books out or multiple books on my Kindle’s home screen, I often don’t know where to start or start with one book then keep switching. I love reading two books or even three on the same days but having too many isn’t always good because I don’t focus on the couple I try to. It’s good to give attention to one or two then when they’re through, move on to the next. I have had good books I tossed aside and never read yet because I had too many out at once and kept getting distracted so gave up on them all for a while.
It can be the same with college classes or utility bills that we are in debt with, if there’s too many, we may not know where to begin or how to get organized.
One word for this activity brings clarity and organization.
My word is “beauty.” I vow to see and look for beauty in each day, every situation, every person, no matter what goes on. I see/feel beauty naturally and when it doesn’t come naturally some occasions, I make it a point to look & find.
But this year, I will focus even more on the beauty of life each day. When I say “see” I’m not just referring to visual beauty but all forms of physical and non physical beauty. We can use all the senses we are blessed with, however many we have. It’s often said we have five senses. Some say we have more. And some people have less than five. But no matter how many we have, we can use them to bask in all the beauty they receive. Beauty of all forms can engage our senses.
But beauty isn’t just physical. Haven’t you ever just felt the beauty of something or someone or your own beauty or beautiful feelings? I can often feel beauty, not just with my senses but feel it deep within. It can’t even be explained in words.
“Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.” ~ Markus Zusak
There are many practical steps we can take to participate in this activity. We can use journals, calendars, arts & crafts, social media, lists, various outlets….
I focus on and see and feel so much beauty but this year I want to make it more intentional and even more conscious.
One of my first steps to living in beauty will be better organizing my room. I am horribly disorganized in a physical way. My room is always a mess. I live with my mom, dad, and sister and my sister said my room is like a teenage boy’s room. Lol
I have food and candy wrappers around, clothes and books scattered around, soda cans, stuff just out of place. I disagree with a lot of people who say the condition of our room or house says who we are or a lot about who we are. Sorry but no my messy room will not tell you too much of who I really am within. All my room says about me is that I’m disorganized. Someone may interpret it as me being careless or apathetic or emotionally imbalanced but I’m not, I’m just a slob is all. Lol
In elementary school, I loved school and my schoolbooks and class but my desk was one of the worst! I crumpled up paper and folders and just shoved them in my desk. I had broken crayons and pencils scattered about. ( I miss those desks now that I think about it!)
In high school, which I also loved, in eleventh grade English class, my teacher held up my folder and notebook which were overstuffed, falling apart, crumpled up, to the class as an example of what not to do. Lol Awkward!
I have a beautiful mind and am passionate about the beauty of life and I love my books and things even though they are thrown around.
But it’s definitely more pleasant to walk into a beautiful room. Especially if we are someone who struggles with depression.
My disorganization doesn’t depress me but organization and a beautiful room can be uplifting to someone who is in an episode already. And when we’re already deeply depressed, I’m sure clutter and things out of place, can drag us down a bit more.
So I plan on organizing and beautifying my room completely! Not just clearing the junk but setting out more pretty things that stimulate the senses and emotions in a positive way, candles, knick knacks, decorations, flowers, pretty colors…. There’s also things I want to get rid of because they contribute to not just taking up space they aren’t worth but they contribute to negative energy or are somewhat draining to me.
One thing I have laying around my room are celebrity gossip magazines. Eww. I do not read those. EVER! But my sister and me sometimes cut stuff out of magazines to glue into notebooks and stuff and we have a bunch of various kinds or magazines laying around the house. The one magazine I cannot stand to have near me is the celebrity gossip magazine. No thank you. I don’t think it’s ok to trash talk celebrities or stalk them or harass them at every street corner or air out their dirty laundry without them wanting us to, or make up and perpetuate lies about them just because they chose a job that comes with fame and fortune. They are not different than I am. I would never want gossip magazines or blogs or things about me and people constantly on my ass watching my every move then reporting it to the media or others. That would suck! Also, I do not judge people who read them. When I was young I used to read them myself. I used to try to sneak around in stores reading them without getting caught because we’re not supposed to read without buying. Sometimes they still catch my eye, rarely but still happens. I wasn’t horrible for getting into celebrity gossip. My sister loves celebrity gossip and my grandmom does. It’s just not my cup of tea anymore. I like stuff that others think is terrible to love. (like fiction horror stuff! And some people can’t stand horror books and movies/dvds just being near them like me with the magazines. It doesn’t mean they think less of me for loving it.)
But that’s beside the point here anyway. My point is those magazines do not aid in my Beauty/one word challenge. They actually go against it. They don’t take up much space but they contribute to unpleasant feelings when I glance at them. I usually throw something on top of them so I don’t have to see them. But soon I will get rid of them completely! Things have an effect on our energy whether or not we fully or consciously realize it. Something that affects my energy or vibration a certain way may not have the same effect on others. It’s important to tune in and see how things affect us. Something that I find exhilarating(like being around lots of people, for example) may be life draining to someone else. It’s important to go deep within the self, pay attention, and see how things affect our energy.
On the website (above) for the one word challenge they give seven ideas to effectively integrate our word into our everyday using a calendar. I probably won’t be using a calendar but I will be using a journal and put the date on each page, hopefully at least once a day. My handwriting is terrible though and it so frequently contributes to me giving up on journaling. I write like a 1st grader but worse. But as part of my beauty challenge I know I will find beauty even through my horrific handwriting.
On the website they suggest a paper calendar or planner but also mention that most tips will work with a digital one. They also suggest maybe dedicating a specific planner or journal to our word, which I will be doing.
Here are their seven tips and my thoughts about them.
“1. Make a list of actions you can do daily, weekly or monthly that focus on your word and help you integrate it into your life. Then schedule them into your calendar.”
This is really good for staying motivated. I’m horrible with keeping up with things. I get so wrapped up into doing other things and then my goals get kicked to the curb. By scheduling them into each day, incorporating our word into our life each day, not only are we more likely to not give up on it but it will be more threaded throughout life each day, maybe having a deeper effect.
“2. Collect quotes and sayings about your word and write them down in the daily or weekly section of your planner.”
This is one of my favorite ones because I love quotes & sayings & clichés! They are so powerful, quick, and uplifting! They are brief but say so much in just a few breaths. I think I will try to find a quote or song each day or week about beauty of some sort and write it in my beauty/one word journal as well as share here sometimes.
The song I shared above, I’m Sensitive by Jewel is a great song about inner beauty and surrounding our own selves and each other in beauty. It’s about being kind to each other. It’s a beautiful song.
“3. Create a simple bookmark with your word. Take a piece of cardstock or scrapbook paper and write your word onto it with a sharpie. Punch a hole at the top and attach a ribbon. Use the bookmark in your planner to mark the current day.”
This sounds really fun! I think I will!
Maybe I’ll use these!
(the little nose is my dog, Woody’s. Lol He was interested in my circles.)
I got them at Target a couple years ago but never really used them much.
“4. Write, doodle, draw or paint your word on your daily or weekly pages, or assign a fixed spot to write it down in your monthly overview.”
This is really good for maintaining our focus on our chosen word. Allow it to seep into even our daydreams and lazy thoughts.
“5. Keep a record of things that happened relating to your word. Did it teach you something? Did it surprise you? Write it down!”
Yes, our experiences each day can strengthen our focus on our word and our determination to honor that word can help us stay positive in situations that may tempt us to succumb to unhappiness or other unpleasant feelings. I have an example already. I had a psychiatric appointment recently that I did not feel much like going to just because. Sometimes I have to wait hours in the waiting room when my appointment should have been over in fifteen minutes. The people there are not always pleasant to interact with. The workers often treat us like we’re nothing just because we are financially struggling and mentally ill(at least I suspect that’s why – they don’t treat each other or the doctors in this manner, that I know of). They act in a very condescending, rude, abrupt manner, sometimes. Not all of them but enough of them. Not the nurse I talk to, she’s sweet, or the peer specialists who are also mental patients but very advanced in recovery. They are very friendly. It’s a free mental health clinic and I am very blessed and thankful I have access to it. It’s not always a walk in the park having to deal with it but there are so many opportunities to find beauty like on my walk there, the air on my skin, things I can take pictures of, even glimpses of beauty seen in the people who act in rude ways(they still have good things about them!)…., the other patients I sometimes talk to, the people I meet on the way sometimes. Broken people attract other broken people. We often just sense each other. So I’m always finding someone new to talk to whether another patient or someone hanging around the clinic or neighborhood or at the busstop. There’s a couple busstops near the clinic. I usually walk the half hour instead since I love walking. It’s good to keep a list or book of our inner experiences of how this activity goes for us. It helps organize our thoughts, see what’s working well, what isn’t, and we’ll always have it to look back on.
“6. Take a look at your to-do list: can you use your word as a guide to tackle your tasks? If you for example chose “Simplify” and you have 35 items on today’s list, you know what to do… :)”
Yeah this is similar to the above answer. Just incorporating it into our everyday tasks. This will have more of an impact. Our everyday chores, tasks, encounters are great opportunities to get in the habit of living up to our chosen word. And it can make these tasks more interesting if we incorporate our word’s concept into them. In my case, it will be more mindfully finding beauty in each mundane encounter or situation, even the more unpleasant ones. Finding beauty or creating beauty in ugliness or dullness. Using our word to tackle tasks can stimulate our creativity. We can find new ways to integrate our word in each day, thread it throughout our everyday. Maybe your word is even creativity or creative and this activity itself honors that word. If your word is “calm” or “peace,” you can make it a point to do mindful exercises while doing each mundane task you have to do. If you are often late for work or somewhere else important, you probably aren’t very calm on your way there almost being late! That’s so distressing! So you can either start leaving earlier to be more calm or still be late but focus on breathing (and driving! If you drive to work or wherever it is) to calm your nerves. Those are just some examples.
“7. Cross off or circle the dates in the calendar to indicate that your word has been present that day. A year-at-a-glance calendar can serve as a tracker for the whole year.”
Yeah this is really good for getting us in the habit of actively “using” our word each day. If you are a calendar user already (I’m not) then it’s probably even more effective than a journal keeping you on track because you already use it. With the journal, it’s a new activity I have to remember and find motivation to keep up with, challenging but fun! Also, marking the days that our word is present, we can keep track of and look back on our progress and better maintain our one word goal.
While this activity can be practical like with journals and physical actions taken, it can also be an experience in our heads, just to honor our chosen word in our inner world, summoning feelings and images that relate to it.
I want to find beauty everywhere and share it with others through photos, quotes, blog posts, Facebook posts, conversations on and offline….I do this anyway but this year, I will be even more mindful.
I will also live in love, compassion, kindness, inspiration….and other lovely words…but beauty is my word for this challenge. And beauty includes love and inspiration and other concepts. Compassion, kindness, & love are beautiful and when I engage in or feel them, I will also be honoring my chosen word, “Beauty.”
If you are also doing this challenge, I would love to know your word and/or how you plan to honor it each day! So let me know! You can write it in the comments here, write me an e-mail @ firstname.lastname@example.org or write your own post on it and send me the link! I hope to think of some more creative ways to live in Beauty! ❤ 😀
Got any ideas? If you have anything to add, like creative ways we can incorporate the concept of our word into our everyday, let me know! I love knowing people's ideas!
Even if you haven't chosen your word yet, you can now! Or whenever you want! I just decided to engage in this fun & inspiring activity a couple days ago! And my mind is already even more in the habit of seeing beauty in mundane and unpleasant situations. It's never too late as long as we're alive!
Here are some ideas I thought of: serenity, inspiration, love, patience, gratitude, peace, kindness, creativity, light, motivation, astute, organization, beauty, alive, truth, acceptance, wonder, awe, confidence, clarity, discernment, tranquility, play, playful, , humor, laughter, lighthearted, health, enthusiasm, positivity, optimism, forbearance, magnanimity, humbleness, humility, independence, joy, openness, receptive, passion, tolerance, bold, assertiveness, fierce, gentleness, nurture, strength, wisdom, tact, spirit, attitude, persistence, compassion, hope, Earth, oneness, heart, sky, fun, mindfulness, music, song, minimalism, simplicity, growth, happiness, zen, balance…
Maybe you want to choose a word that already resonates with you in a deep way or maybe you want it to be a bit more challenging and choose a word or concept you struggle with. Either way is fantastic!
When we choose a word, we can still live all these other words too but our focus for the challenge will most directly be on the one we chose for it. There are so many, many creative ways we can come up with to live the word we choose.
Check this out for more fun & inspiring ideas for this new year! They are alternatives to the new year resolutions.