I am beginning this year not with resolutions but a theme.
As a Christmas gift, my daughter-in-law, Linnea, enrolled me in an online class called One Little Word. You choose a word that represents something you want to invite into your life and then receive monthly prompts and tools throughout the year that will enhance the concept’s influence on you.
It’s one of those why-didn’t-I- think-of-that ideas. The leader, a woman named Ali Edwards, must be doing very well with it, and deservedly so.
Choosing a word can be a complicated process. When the family was all together in Linnea and Jesse’s new Vermont home over the holidays, Linnea told us how she came up with her word for the year. She set out certain criteria, looked at lots and lots of words, discarding them all, and then suddenly the right one appeared.
Linnea thrives on research. I do not, so I decided not to look for a word until I was good and ready. But once the mind gets something in its head, so to speak, it’s hard to let go.
A day or so after Christmas, when I was meditating and trying not to think of anything at all, words kept floating to the surface. Purpose. Steady. Desire. Finish. And one by one I dunked them down under. They kept coming and I kept letting them go because they weren’t right and I didn’t want to be thinking.
And then the word flow popped up like a bubble and I felt the warm happy in my diaphragm that I’ve come to associate with rightness. I let the word go and finished my meditation but I knew I wouldn’t have to research further.
Other words I’d thought of were should words. I should have a stronger sense of purpose. I should finish what I have started. I should be steadfast, assert my own desires more strongly. Flow, by contrast, represents both my deepest desires and my strengths—my flexibility, adaptability, and desire for harmony and movement. Flow is not only about me as an individual but also about the rhythms in family, community, and life itself.
As a writer I like that it’s both noun and verb, one syllable, and sounds like what it represents.
The cryptic online definitions of flow are good signposts. Consider the rich images of the verb:
- Move freely from place to place
- Move in one mass
- Circulate in body
- Be said fluently
- Be available in quantity
- Be experienced intensely
- Emanate as result
- Hang loosely
- Move toward land (tides)
- Change shape under pressure
All of these represent how I want to be and what I want to experience. Only one definition, in the noun form, struck me as totally unnecessary for my life right now: menstrual blood.
A theme song is already running through my head: My Life Flows on in Endless Song.