Some years ago I read a memoir titled One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber. I adopted her idea of choosing One Perfect Word for myself each year, and have since shared this idea with friends. The idea, as I understand it, is to meditate on what might be of help to you during the coming year .. something you believe you might need to do, to try, to become in the next year. According to the book, the word is Heaven-sent. It will flow into your life as the word begins to manifest itself in your mind, and you’ll suddenly know that’s the word for you for the coming year.
I thought about this on a walk one day shortly after finishing the book. The word flooded my mind. The word LESS. I wanted LESS of many things in my life. Less drama, less house work, less yard work, less food, less of everything. LESS. That was it. So I wrote it down by my computer and during that year ~ 2011 ~ the word came more into focus. I cleaned out and organized file cabinets, dresser drawers, closets, kitchen cabinets and more. The results were soothing. I especially loved being able to hang a picture inside my closet. It makes me breathe a little slower each day. I also learned that I needed less worry, less grief, less remorse. I needed to eat healthier and thought about the word LESS every time I opened a bag of chips. Before I knew it I lost eight pounds.
This one word worked so well for me during 2011 that I selected the word BALANCE for 2012. I began to balance the time and effort of a project to the outcome. Was it going to be worth all that energy? Or could I choose a less difficult project? Whether this was a fancy cake or a difficult knitting project, BALANCE was the key. If I spent less time and energy on a project, I’d have more time in my life for reading, walks and quiet times, all things I loved.
Eventually 2013 rolled around, and I knew I needed more GRACE in my life. Grace for myself. Grace for others. Even grace for the blender, the toaster, or the computer when they decided not to work on a particular day. I’d think, well .. really, I’ve had this for how many years? It’s been a good friend all this time. I even found grace for the car and the washer & dryer, all needing repairs during last year. Grace. That was a wonderful word to have. I stopped blaming a lot of people for a lot of things, too. I just needed to give them a little more grace, with a little left over for me, too.
And now we come to 2014. Time for a new word. For this year and I have selected NEED, as opposed to WANT. I already see this manifesting itself in my life, and it’s only Jan. 3rd. The other thing I know now is that the focus of the former words does not go away. It stays, often in the way of compassion. I am concentrating on NEED this year, but LESS, BALANCE and GRACE are still rooted in my heart.
If you’d like to try this, just ask yourself, ‘What word could influence me this year? What do I really want to have in my life? Is it more of something? Or less? Do you want more order in your life? More compassion? More energy? Or less chaos? Less control? Less anger? Even less disappointment.
Three years ago the word ‘less’ set me on a path that I have decided to follow. Now I know that choosing one perfect word each year is a gift that keep on giving, year after year. It’s also a favorite book I like giving to friends, because it works.