How Will I Be Changed?

This time last year, to the day, I wrote about how I had begun engaging in the process of choosing a word instead of resolutions to guide my year. I was resolute about giving up the habit of making new year’s resolutions; and how they had little sticking power in my experience. For the year of 2012, I had chosen the word ‘nudge’ and at the end of that year, I realized, with stunning clarity, how big changes and new understandings had their genesis in a word of such gentleness. To be nudged is not dramatic or even perceptible in some cases, but over time, a series of nudges allows for great change. I let myself be pushed.

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As 2012 rolled over into 2013, I began my reflection on what word to choose. I invited Nudge to come along for the ride, with me, into the year 2013 and asked her to help me with my new word of Give which again, I must say, chose me.  It was a word that admittedly, kinda made me a little nervous! I tried to say no and convince myself that it was a different word that just hadn’t appeared yet.

I was wrong about that; ‘give’ just wouldn’t give up. It wouldn’t go away. I know, only now, that I really needed the push in that direction.

It turned out that it was the right word after-all.  And for reasons I couldn’t have fathomed. I assumed that the idea was for me to be the one to do all this ‘giving’ and I was ambitious enough to initiate the task of composing a long list of ways that I could give during the year. I will be honest, though, and tell you that deep down, I was squirmy and uncomfortable with this task and as such, never really was completely successful in accomplishing that mission. I was just too embarrassed to tell you.

Instead, I found that in quiet, ordinary, every day life, I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments:  give that car the room to merge ahead, wave them on nicely; give that person your full attention – remain quiet and let them talk; spend a few moments in conversation with the building custodian when leaving work, give that compliment to the woman in line ahead of you with the gorgeous hair; tell the person who helped you that they made an impact; express gratitude to the ones who are there for you all the time; give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over.

As I glance back over my shoulder at this last year; I realize something important was quietly occurring all along.  I see that in giving we also receive, and that I had some big lessons to learn about this. I was afraid of the word ‘give’ but not for the reasons I thought.  It’s not always easy to receive.  To allow in love and support from unexpected sources, when you are expecting judgement and shame? Being able to receive the giving of that is large.

Were there moments when I did not give, or give in?  Of course.  It would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise. The push-pull and tug of war of me-vs.-them was ever-present in so many moments.  But I can also see, now, that the times I remembered to give, are ironically when I also received the most in return. Peace, Gratitude. Understanding. Laughter. Knowing.

It felt different. I wish I had written down every time I commented how the Universe just seemed to have my back, when I was most vulnerable and most uncertain about what was coming next. I’d have shoe boxes full of notes to myself.

I didn’t complete a check list of ‘giving moment’s that I thought I was supposed to do, and yet, I think I am able to accept that. It feels far more authentic to weave the idea of giving and receiving into quiet, simple and gentle moments. At first, my logical brain needed it to be a project: linear and attainable. My spirit needed it to be fluid and meaningful, never finished but instead, simply a way of being. Sometimes it happened in the hardest and most painful moments. Sometimes it was just something so simple. When friends I had not met in person would text, when I somehow needed it the most, and say, “you got this, girl!”, or listen fully to every detail of an unraveling of one life and the beginning of a new one. Or when my son showed me his resilient and adaptive soul, over and over again. Or when honest conversations brought me closer together with those I already held close to my heart. Or when giving myself over to the snail’s pace of a 93 yr old mind with dementia and I receive more stories, more layers about what I know as family. Or when giving in to a moment and a new friendship is formed before my very eyes.  

Yes, it seems fair to say that the word “give’ chose me for reasons I could never have anticipated and I feel changed because of it.  The year had not yet concluded when I was presented with the loudest whisper of all, when something inside me said ‘we have to help her‘ and we did. Again, I was on the receiving end and was graced by my beautiful friends and their unbelievable generosity and compassion, but more importantly, by their faith in me and willingness to take my lead. But even more so, I received the gift of making a difference in not one but two lives. A mama and her still-on-the-way baby boy. I received the gift of being richly rewarded and affirmed for taking a risk.

Nudge and Give were working in tandem and what an awesome team they make.

A new year has begun and it’s time to choose a new word, or perhaps be open to what chooses me.  Like when naming a child or a pet, it takes time to see if the word and the year are a good fit. This one just won’t leave me alone; it even started showing up early.

For 2014, I bring along Nudge and Give, they have been so good to me and by now we are such close companions. We travel well together and this year we add to our growing word family:

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done on purpose. deliberate. intended. conscious. 

In the process of reflecting and writing this, I came across this sentence:   You have to want it more than you are afraid of it not happening.
Bam.  There it is.

And yes, just like other years, it scares the shit out of me.

What will this require of me? What path(s) will this lead me down? What changes will I need to make? What sacrifices? How will I be challenged?

How will I be changed?

There is only one way to find out. Let’s go.

Happy New Year and what is your word? I would love to know.

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57 thoughts on “How Will I Be Changed?

  1. Wonderful post, Bonnie! I love Intentional for your 2014 word. If I had to pick one for the year, it would have to be Fearless. I have several challenges, projects, and ideas that scare the crap out of me, but I am determined to push through that fear and make them happen. Oddly enough, I have the word already tattooed on my foot (a memento from the first time I went skydiving). Here’s to living and Intentional and Fearless 2014 and beyond!

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    • Jessica! Happy New Year to you! Thank you so much, so happy to see you here! 🙂 I love Fearless..that is awesome and I totally can understand choosing that word..and to be honest it’s wrapped up somewhere in “Intentional”. I have total confidence in you this year. and love that you have already gone skydiving…someday! And yes, here is to living fearlessly and intentionally in 2014! Ps..I just published a new post and WISH I had seen your comment first so I could have included Fearless!! But you are there in spirit!

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  2. I love the way you presented this journey you are on, your openness to allowing the words to “choose you” and I’m glad I stumbled across your blog.
    I am actually on the same track this year, having mentioned it a couple times on my blog but mostly having had the words “intentional” and “focus” scrawled on my heart at the end of 2013. My goal this year is to live intentionally in whatever form that defines itself, to focus on people and relationships and on being present in the moment (whether I’m working or if I’m with people or what have you).

    Good luck on your next year of everyday adventure, with three great words to guide you along the way!

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    • Hi there, I am glad you stumbled your way here too, it’s great when that happens. Great that you are on the same track with letting a word be your teacher and guide for the year; so much comes from that. I like, too, of course that intentional is one of your words; I will look forward to seeing how that shows up for you. Good luck to you too – wishing you a fantastic year with many good things to reflect back upon. And welcome! 🙂

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  3. I love the simplicity of taking on board the meaning of a word to challenge you. It seems less formidable than a detailed SMART plan. You write beautifully.

    feel free to read my blog where posts are also based on one word – one word that leads to achieving success. debzbennett.wordpress.com
    the ‘one-word theme’ is not crystal clear but they are: confidence, rest, initiate, process

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    • Deb, thanks so much, I am glad the idea has resonance with you too! It’s been such an incredible process to be open to. And thank you so very much for such a generous comment on my writing, that goes a very long way with me. Very much appreciated.
      I would love to visit your blog and see what you are doing based on the idea of one word. Looking forward to seeing! I like those words yo have: confidence, rest, initate, and process..to me the invoke the idea of balance in the larger picture. So glad you are here.

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  4. Will you think me totally weird if I tell you the word that popped into my brain after reading you marvelous new post is… flat-footed. Now what on earth am I supposed to do with that?!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    • Not any more weird than I already think you! 🙂 No! Not at all, it’s a fascinating response, I think. Says to me the idea of being sure, grounded, focused, and steady. Not sure if it means those things to you or not, and really that is what matters the most. I want to hear more….

      Soooo glad to see you ‘here’!

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  5. I’ve been following your blog for a few months, but I tend toward lurking online. That is to say: I observe, but don’t interact. This time, I felt I should get involved. I like the concept of having a word instead of a resolution.

    I’m caught between two words, though. Work and Better. They seem to get along. Maybe I’ll keep them both.

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    • Matt, I am so glad you decided to interact, it makes such a difference! I am glad you like this concept, it’s been such a game changer in such unexpected ways for me over the last few years. I think that if you have two words who want team up, go for it! They do get along! Glad to know you are here and hope you decide to join the conversation more often! Happy New year to you – and your words!

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  6. A wonderful, beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I can’t wait to hear how “intentional” works out for you! My word for this year is “accept.” I used to think it was a negative, like it meant I was rolling over and taking it, but now I realize it’s about making priorities and being open to receiving. We’ll see how it goes!

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    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate that. It’s been quite a big year and to see it through this lens was more than I expected. Intentional is daunting, and has already made itself present to me! 🙂 I really like the word you chose, and just that you are a word-chooser too. It’s remarkable really, how one word can really the a source of growth and direction. “Accept” is a formidable challenge, I will be looking forward to how it goes for you too. Here’s to a wide open 2014!

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  7. Oh Bonnie, this is so beautifully said, and it’s been such fun to travel with you via your blog over the course of this past year, as you have both given and received. Your willingness to try new things, move out of your comfort zone, admit your fears and face them anyway, all have been so inspiring. May your intentional year bring you many more surprises, joys, opportunities for growth, revelations and moments to reflect. Big hugs, L

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    • Lori…ah…it’s always so good to have you stop by and share, your reflections are always spot on. I love that you have been traveling along here and I have received much from you all along the way. That just continues here, now. I am changed because of what happens here, who knew!? Wishing you a year full of all good things and big hugs to you too! B

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  8. What a beautiful post, Bonnie 😀 I’ve been sitting here after reading this and wondering what my word will be this year. Several things happened last year that pushed me to the brink and the word that has been wandering in and out of my head for several months now is ‘here’. No matter where I am, I am here. I guess this comes from too much travelling to go and visit my sick mother. When I travel to visit her I get terribly homesick but when I come home I miss her and hope she lasts until my next visit. When I think of the word ‘here’ it grounds me a little. If I think of a better word, I’ll let you know 😉

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    • Dianne! I have missed you! I really do think of you often, blogging sister. It is soooo good to have you back (you are back, right? :)) It sounds like this last year was really challenging and it tugs on my heart that your mom is not doing well. I have experienced that, being far from my own mom when her health was declining and it was the hardest thing ever. I will hold her and you in my thoughts. I think your word is beautiful, there is no need for ‘better’ – like the quote says, there are no rules. You are pulled in two important directions – I hope you can find peace no matter where “here’ is. Did I mention that it’s good to have you back? 🙂

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  9. Beautiful. Love the past, eagerly anticipating the future! Thanks to my friend Vicki Flaherty for pulling me along, as she always does. My word? Wonder. 🙂

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    • Maureen, thanks so much and I am so very glad that Vicki led you over here, it’s great how this little, but amazing, community knows no bounds. Love your word – it’s so open to so many wonderful possibilities!

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  10. It feels only right to read this now that I’m home and in my kitchen…thinking that we’re having this conversation over coffee at the kitchen table. I nod and listen to the words that you have written, for I can hear where the emphasis would be placed. You have been nudged this year, you have given and been given to this year – and this synergy is only going to expand in this coming year. Intentional? Ok, I’m with you..And I am so so proud to be..xox

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    • Mims…oh my goodness, I love that you can imagine (and now I can too) this conversation at your kitchen table. Yes. It has been a YEAR – as you know, probably all too well 🙂 and it’s all good, for the lessons have given me so much in so many ways. It all feels a little larger than life. That Universe, she knows what she’s up to. I am soooo glad you are with me on welcoming Intentional into the family. Let’s just hope Intentional and Bogey are not from the same litter! 🙂 (couldn’t resist!). xoxo

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  11. I followed David Kanigan’s post back to you and am so very glad I did. I, too, am holding a word this year. Thrive. And I’m hoping to let it seep into my days as Nudge and Give entered yours.

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    • Sandy, welcome! I am so glad you are here and I saw your comment over on David’s blog about finding a place to rest. That is just one of the loveliest comments/compliments ever and want you to know how much I appreciate that. I think your word is amazing and will surely seep into your days in both subtle and amazing ways. I hope you share some of that! Looking forward to more conversation.

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  12. so I’m on the couch reading this and my oldest daughter is sitting next to me doing her homework. She’s watching me read and just asked me why I’m smiling so much. Can’t help myself after reading your beautiful words. Having come to know you better, it all jibes so well with the many discussions we’ve had. What a beautiful beautiful person you are, Bonnie. I have much to learn from you about patience and waiting.

    One of my favorite of your lines above: “give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over.” The controller in me (who is quite controlling and often shuts out the other parts, haha) needs to work on that. Don’t always rush in.

    I’ll be coming back to read this again as You’ve written a beautiful treatise on how to live well. Thanks for baring all on this, Bon. Inspiring.

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    • Liz, wow! Love that image of you and your daughter sitting together on the couch and her observing you while you read. But back to my wow. Your comment just means the world to me..that who I am comes through my writing is something I cannot quite get my head around. But my gratitude that it does is off the charts.

      That ‘giving the moment a chance to happen…’ truly did require me to change my ways in the moment. Making a decision to wait, and it was fascinating to see it return dividends so soon; I suppose that’s the Universe again, wanting it to be so obvious what I need to learn.

      You have a wonderful transparency about you that teaches me, you should know that. Thank you for your easy, open and always accessible friendship.

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  13. This is an amazing post with such beautiful insights. Love the quote that David shared on his blog, and this one, too: “It feels far more authentic to weave the idea of giving and receiving into quiet, simple and gentle moments. At first, my logical brain needed it to be a project: linear and attainable. My spirit needed it to be fluid and meaningful, never finished but instead, a new way of being.” Count this post as giving in a major way!

    And, WOW what a family of words you have – with the latest sure to provide amazing new discoveries. Here’s to discovery, adventure, possibility on the journey ahead, Bonnie!

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    • Hi Vicki, thank you for your thoughtful conversation and for seeing that phrase that gave me comfort on the heels of feeling like I didn’t do what I had initially thought I was ‘supposed’ to do. You have given me a gift in seeing what I see! Yes, here is to looking ahead to possibility on the journey ahead! Happy New Year Vicki!

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    • Frank, love that phrase! That’s perfect and yes, the inner voices are full of much wisdom. It is just our job to quiet and focus ourselves enough so that we can hear them. So glad you came over from David’s blog – you’re welcome here anytime.

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  14. Beautiful as always, Bon. Mine is presence which is intentional’s first cousin. Being more present each moment is what I hope for. If I am, I know I will miss less amazing revelations. I will know better my daily vocation as well as intention because I am listening in each moment. Thank you, Bonnie, for inspiring me to be a more intentional, present person in a world so harried and busy. The only thing left is for us to find moments to see each other so we can practice our words on each other. Soon, please?

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    • Tiff, thank you my friend. I think your word is beautifully chosen and yes, first cousins are Intentional and Presence. Just as we are bonded, so are they. The ‘four’ of us need to sit and enjoy that glass of wine we have gifted each other for the holidays. Yes, soon. I am intentional about being in your presence. xoxo

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    • Yvonne! Happy New Year! Thank you, so much. I really mean that. It’s such a moving experience to throw myself open to these words and see how they play out in my life in such tangible ways. Let’s see what 2014 has to bring! Hope you are well, it’s always good to connect here with you, or over at ‘your place’

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  15. Love this post Bonnie. This passage hit me head-on:

    Instead, I found that in quiet, ordinary, every day life, I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments: give that car the room to merge ahead; give that person your full attention – remain quiet and let them talk; spend a few moments in conversation with the building custodian when leaving work, give that compliment to the woman in line ahead of you with the gorgeous hair; tell the person who helped you that they made an impact; express gratitude to the ones who are there for you all the time; give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over.

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    • David, I can’t say thanks enough, really. It means the world to me to know that this holds such meaning for you and for others. I stop and take pause at the gift of knowing and feeling that, I really do.

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  16. If these last couple of years have been you unintentionally, then look out…for there is no limit to what you can accomplish on purpose! Your are an amazing woman Bon, and seeing you spread your new wings and fly has been inspirational to say the least. Your question “How will I be changed?” is a fair one, but I believe at the core of it, it’s how you will affect change in the world around you just by being who you are…because you do, and you will continue to because I believe, it’s in your beautiful nature and loving heart to help and do what you can to make things better. I love you my friend.
    (sorry if this is muddled…early and on 2/3 into my first cup…but I hope you know what I’m trying to say.)

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    • Ah, Rhon, so goooood to have you here. I know you’ve travelled a long and winding road of late, one with a few more twists and turns from what I can see! You are amazing and how do I say thanks for what you’ve reflected back to me here? See, it’s more of the being the wide receiver when beautiful friends like you gift me with so much. Here’s to an amazing, changing and better 2014 – for you, for me, for all. love you my friend. xoxo
      ps..not muddled at all, I hear you loud and clear! 🙂

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    • Dana, first, thanks so much for stopping by here. And second, what a beautiful word – the word itself rolls off the tongue and I just love what it represents. Wishing you a year full of colorful and vibrant renewal!

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