This will be my fifth year engaging in the “One Little Word” practice. I find choosing a word to contemplate for the year works both as a lens to the outside world and to all the inner workings going on in my heart and mind through time.
Last year my word was “weave” and yet it seemed all I did was unravel. That’s okay; sometimes it is the anti-word at work just as much as the chosen one. I learned a lot about myself. But come the end of November I was ready to stop the disintegration and figure out a way to pull myself back together. I couldn’t even write my own words in the notebook I kept all year – I just kept throwing other people’s poetry, art and photographs into the sleeves.
I was eager to move on to a word choice for this year but it has been difficult. Another writer’s description of the activity as akin to picking out a new purse – checking for zippers, inside pockets, snaps, straps and heft – feels like what I’ve been doing. My ears have been picking through words for over a month, consulting the dictionary, thesaurus, quotations, inspirational phrases, —- ad nauseam.
There are so many things I want to pay attention to but I need a word that describes more than just being responsive. I want my consciousness to be deeper because of attending.
This is the first year I’ve chosen a word with such a short definition: attentive, aware, conscious.
My OLW for 2015 is “mindful.” Not “mindfulness” – and I can’t really explain why – yet – (surely at the end of the year I’ll be able to tell you why.)
Right now, what I can say is: mindful for me means thinking and caring deeply and trying to be really aware. I want to nurture my vulnerability as well; it is not the cautious kind of mindful I want for myself.
The little strings across my heart are vibrating to this poem by Derek Walcott these days:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life,
whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.