Thursday, January 19, 2012

Word of the Year 2012

Happy 2012, friends!

I know its been, like, a million years since I last checked into this blog and updated it.  I will post again soon with some big updates and my myriad of excuses for not posting since October 2011... but for now I just had a revelation that I felt compelled to share.  I hope this post won't be too airy fairy for you - its quite different  (and a bit more personal) to anything I've posted before - and just warning you now, its a very wordy, winding kinda post :)

So I was cruising through my Google Reader yesterday and I noticed this post by Layla of The Lettered Cottage.  I should precede any further explanation by stating that I LOVE this blog.  Lovely ideas, lovely decorating, lovely people (not that I know them personally of course, but they do seem very lovely - and judging by their gazillion followers, I'm not the only one who thinks so!)

Anyway, I started to read this post called Word of the Year about a lady called Ali Edwards.  I think this concept is best explained in Ali's own words as they appeared in this post on The Lettered Cottage:

"In 2006, I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January – a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. I invite it into my life. I live with it. I let it speak to me. I might even follow where it leads.

Choosing a word each year came about as an alternative to a list of resolutions. I wanted something I could hold close and actually develop a relationship with over the course of the year.

Some years my word has made a major difference, and other years it’s been a more silent companion through the challenges and celebrations in my life.

The action of choosing a word (or having a word find you) is full of potential and possibility. And here’s one thing that’s totally interesting: sometimes a word pops into your brain and it doesn’t make any sense right now. Give it some time. Let it percolate a bit. I have often found that our hearts speak to us in very unique ways. Maybe it’s a word you need to hear, but you just aren’t ready for it yet. Again, be open to the possibilities."

At this point I was feeling a bit dismissive - I briefly thought about trying to think of a word, then immediately thought:  I have too much on my plate to be trying to dwell on a word I dreamed up on a whim for the rest of the year, and trying to apply it to my life.  And just as I was about to engage the mega scroll on my mouse and speedily skim the rest of the post, something bizarre happened....  A word just popped into my head!  Did I have to spend the next half an hour thinking if it was THE word and where I could apply it?  No, I did not!  I immediately understood exactly where I wanted it to fit into my life.  I'm tellin ya, it was freaky!!

The word that my brain decided to scream at me?  RETREAT.  Initially (like in the first 45 seconds) it was about a parents retreat - something that, if money was no object, we would build as a second storey addition to our existing home.  I was just thinking about creating a vision board for this the other day, so its relatively fresh in my mind.

As I often do though, I immediately follow a thought about a material want with a mental slap on the hand, and think to myself that I should be wishing for something more spiritual.   (I don't know why I do this).  And then straight away my brain seemingly engaged and reminded me that retreat is not just something to plop on top of my house - it also means to withdraw...  I can't say it any better than this definition I found at

a. The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.
b. The process of going backward or receding from a position or condition gained.

2. A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. See Synonyms at shelter.

a. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
b. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, or study: a religious retreat."

To me, retreat simply means peace - whether that be by finding a place of seclusion for myself, or withdrawing from a possible conflict.
You may ask, why is this word suddenly so important to me?  You see, today our lives as we know it are going to be changed forever.  My Mum is moving from interstate to live with us in our home.  We are overjoyed that she's chosen to live with us, and I am really looking forward to spending more time with Mum, and for her to spend more time with Alex.  A small part of me, however, would be lying if I said I didn't have some teeny tiny concerns about how our family will adjust to the addition of another person to our household and our established family dynamic - as does Mum.  I have two main concerns - the first is conflict.  I'm not worried about others losing it, it's me who will be the problem... the fact is I can get pretty full on when I'm feeling stressed or overwhelmed - hence the need to remind myself to retreat from conflict while we all adjust, to talk things through calmly as they arise, to consider others' feelings not just my own - it is a period of adjustment for us all.  The other concern of course is how we will all find our own personal space in this new arrangement.

So you can see how this word, retreat, really has meaning for me right now... it really fits with my life and the challenges and joys that 2012 will bring.
I need to really have my new word at the forefront of my mind especially if there are challenges, to remember that sometimes I need to be a bit more altruistic in order to facilitate my goal - a peaceful, happy household.  I know it is achievable, and I also know that others in my home will not have to try quite so hard as I will to be more selfless... not an easy admission to make!  But there will be lots of great times to focus on too, and I am looking forward to those :)

I have no idea how I will go keeping my word close to me, but I'm going to try very hard to really live and breathe this word in all senses this year while all members of our household adjust to living together harmoniously and finding our own individual retreat in a busy household.

As part of this, I will go ahead and create that vision board for our parents retreat - you can get more info on vision boards by simply googling, or you can have a look here at Christine Kane's blog, which I think explains it very well.  You know what they say - where focus goes, energy flows.  So why not, it can't hurt!  (I'm sounding very Oprah today aren't I?  Lol)

I am linking this post up to Layla's Word of the Year post over at The Lettered Cottage - thanks so much Ali and Layla for the inspiration and direction.  And welcome to Queensland, Mum!!! xxxx

Bye for now :)

The Lettered Cottage


  1. what a great word for 2012! I hope you'll have a very peaceful, relaxing year!

    I've written about my word of the year on my blog too, if you wish to read about it!

  2. Love your word!-I am your newest follower from Layla's party-Stop by for a visit!