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a word to guide the way

liz lamoreux

My word of the year for 2012 has been whole. It has guided me throughout this year and truly acted as a companion during moments of uncertainty. Last year at this time, I wrote a post for Roots of She about how I hoped 2012 might look like if I lived from a place of "wholeness." I'm sharing it below because I think this is a beautiful exercise to do when thinking about choosing a word as a companion for the year. I have updated the closing of the post with a followup and to make it relevant for 2013. Tomorrow, I will share about my word for 2013. 



Living from Wholeness

For the last few years, I have worked with the practice of choosing a word to focus on throughout the year. I choose my word in December and then spend time thinking about it and journaling about it in early January. And I create a necklace with my word that I wear as a reminder throughout the year. This year, I also followed along with Ali Edwards and her “One Little Word” class.

I love how choosing a word invites me to let go of having resolutions I might or might not keep, and instead gently pushes me to look forward with self-kindness and think about how I most want the next year to unfold. As I think about all that could happen in a year, I want my word to be a companion that brings me back to center amidst whatever beauty and uncertainty await.

My word for 2012 appeared during a conversation with my friend (and incredible coach) Nona Jordan. As we talked, the word that kept appearing was “whole.” We talked about how, through my work I invite others to shine a light on their paths and their stories, and how I believe that in any given moment we can hold all that is real and honor it. We can hold the truth, courage, beauty, fear, and sadness that one moment can bring and still see the joy that surrounds us. This is living with an open heart. This is living with your whole self.


And then Nona asked me a question that has deepened my experience with choosing my word: “What would this time next year look like if you leaned into living from a place of whole(ness)?”

As I thought about this question, I felt those pinpricking tears on the back of my eyes and began to breathe deeply as the answer settled around me, inside me. Here is a glimpse into some of the journaling I did after our conversation:

2012 was the year…

I showed up as me and shed how or who they think I should be.

I gave myself the gift of yoga several days a week.

I said “thank you” more.

I started fewer emails with variations on “I’m sorry it has taken me so long to reply…”

I trusted the answers I heard within.

I said “no” when my gut told me to.

I created stronger boundaries.

I shared the truth more.

I spent more time breathing than reacting.

I stood tall in the beauty and the shit that is each day, that is living, and I stayed true to me.

I gave myself the gift of knowing I am enough and believing it.

I learned to have more patience with my husband and remembered each day that he too is enough.

I spent more time nurturing relationships with my family and friends than I spent online.

I continued to let go of the expectations of others.

I opened my heart to love in ways I never thought possible.

As I read through this list again, I think I might stand in front of my bathroom mirror on the morning of January 1 and say, “As I focus on living with a whole heart in 2012, this will be the year I will show up as me and shed how or who they think I should be. I will give myself the gift of yoga…” and so on. I will say these words out loud and let these intentions sink into my cells.

Follow Up

As I look back on 2012 and the list of the ways I hoped to live from a place of wholeness that I wrote in my journal, I'm choosing to be gentle with myself. This year I learned that coming from a place of softness and ease is a piece of living from wholeness for me. No, I didn't practice yoga several times a week in the way I intended, but almost every day I did pause for a few moments to breathe, usually over a cup of tea, and to just be right here choosing to pay attention even on the days that were the most intense. This is living from wholeness...listening to what I most need each day to be able to show up as my whole hearted self.

This word whole will be one of my teachers and guides for the rest of my life. I will return to it again and again, and in 2013, I intend to begin each month as I did in 2012: writing in my journal using the prompt, "The ways I hope to live from a place of wholeness this month..."

An Invitation

As you look to 2013, consider choosing a word to focus on as a practice throughout the year. This word could represent what you hope to manifest or the light you want to feel as you experience all that is to come or the companion you feel you most need right now. Maybe you already have a soul mantra or phrase or quote that you use as you navigate your life.

After you choose your word or phrase, I invite you to think about what this time next year might look like if you gave yourself the gift of really living your word or phrase. Consider making a list that begins with “2013 was the year I…”

And if you want to carry your word with you, I'd love to create a Soul Mantra for you so you can keep it close.