Give Me a Word: Third annual Abbey giveaway

Two years ago I began what has now become an annual tradition at Abbey of the Arts during this time of new year reflection.  I offer the same invitation this year, again with some prizes to give away on January 6th, and this time with a free gift for everyone who participates.

*Everyone* who shares their word for the year and a brief description in the comments below also gets a *free guided meditation recording* from the Abbey with an *Embodied Examen Prayer for the New Year.*  It is a great way to reflect on the past year and tend your dreams for the next.  To claim your free gift, read through the instructions below and when your word for 2012 emerges, share it in the comments (scroll to the bottom of the page) and then email Eveline, the fabulous Abbey admin at and request the link.

Then share this invitation with others!  Help spread the love and opportunity for reflection!

Read on for more inspiration:

In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to God and to their own inner struggles at work within them. The desert became a place to enter into the refiner's fire and be stripped down to one's holy essence. The desert was a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered.

Many people followed these ammas and abbas, seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life. One tradition was to ask for a word –  this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime. This practice is connected to lectio divina, where we approach the sacred texts with the same request – "give me a word" we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.

Last year my word was sanctuary. Sanctuary has multiple meanings: the sanctuary in a church is the place where the holy of holies dwells, but we also create sanctuaries for animals needing protection or for persons fleeing persecution. The layers to this word shimmered throughout my year, but especially the sense of finding sanctuary within my own heart, to feel at home in the world.  This was the grace of this past year, its fierce lesson for me.  This year my word is *savor* (click the link if you want to read more about its meaning for me).  It came to me in a moment of silent prayer as I reflected on the call I am feeling these days to deeply savor each moment of my life, to immerse myself even more in the present moment.  I am eager to discover what the word holds for me this coming year.

If you want help in letting a word choose you, scroll down for several suggestions.

  • What is your word for the year ahead? A word which contains within it a seed of invitation to cross a new threshold?
  • What word, phrase, or image is shimmering before you right now inviting you to dwell with it until it ripens fully inside of you?

Share your word in the comments below before Friday, January 6th and then email Eveline at for your free gift.

You will also be entered into a drawing to win one of several prizes from the Abbey and beloved Abbey partners:

Leave your word for the year ahead in the comments below plus a couple of sentences describing your choice. Please note that I have my comments moderated for those who are new to posting here (meaning I need to manually approve them) so it may not show up immediately, but should within 24-48 hours.

You can earn additional entries in the drawing by posting this invitation to Facebook (make sure to link to Abbey of the Arts of Christine Valters Paintner so I see it) or Tweet it using #AbbeyoftheArts.

Letting a Word Choose You

For some of you the word may have come right away, but for some you may desire a word to ripen within your soul these coming weeks and months, but one doesn't seem to be coming. So here are some suggestions for allowing a word to choose you:

  • Release your thinking mind in this process, this isn't about figuring out just the right word to improve yourself this coming year. The word comes as gift, often your sense of it being "right" is more intuitive, a more embodied sense of yes. The word (or phrase) is one that will work in you (rather than you working on it). Remember that a word that creates a sense of inner resistance is as important to pay attention to as one that has a great deal of resonance.
  • Lectio divina is one of the primary practices we have in Christian monastic tradition for listening for a word or phrase that shimmers or calls to our hearts. Lectio is traditionally applied to scripture, but can also be engaged to pray with life experience. Allow some time for prayer and in your imagination review this last year, honoring it as a sacred text. As you walk through your experiences notice which ones stand out, call to you for more attention, or shimmer forth. There may be more than one, but for this time of prayer select one of them (and you can return to others in future times of prayer). Enter into it with all of your senses. Remember it in all of its detail. Experience it from this place you are in now. Notice if there is a word or phrase which rises up. Then allow that word to unfold in your imagination and welcome in images, feelings, and memories which stir in you. After a time of making space for these, begin to ask what is the invitation or call rising up from these noticings? Where is God calling you to a new awareness or action in your life? Close with some time of silence.
  • Approach a soul friend, a spiritual director, or a wise elder for your word, as in the desert tradition. They might need some time to ponder this with you. It is always wise to consult with a soul companion or community when testing the fruits of prayer.
  • Create a time of retreat for this holy time of year. A couple of hours is enough. Make space to sink into silence, journal, reflect on your experiences of the year past. Write about your dreams and deep desires for the year ahead. In the space of contemplation and stillness, notice if there is a word, image, or phrase which rises up.
  • Go for a contemplative walk where you aren't trying to get anywhere. Your sole purpose is to be as present as possible to each footfall. Listen for how your inner life is calling you forward with each step. Be present to the gifts of creation around you (even if it is the city pigeons and trees planted down the sidewalk). Listen if they might have a word to offer to you.
  • Listen to your dreams in these coming days. As you go to sleep, lay a piece of paper and pen by your bed as a sign of your willingness to receive the wisdom that comes in dreams. Consider strong dream images as possible words calling to you. Pay attention to synchronicities through the day. Are there images or words which seem to repeat themselves? If so, take note.
  • Allow time for the word to ripen. This may be a slow process. If you hear a word calling, sit with it for a couple of days. Listen attentively to the stirrings of your heart in response. Eventually there will be a tugging inside of you, where you feel yourself drawn again and again to this word. Allow yourself to be in a space of unknowing with this and practice being present to your anticipation knowing that things of the soul unfold in their own time. This is a journey of transformation and the word may not make immediate sense to you, but trust that over time more of its meaning will be revealed.

When the word emerges, please share it with me and others in the comments section below. I am truly blessed by the sharings offered there – it is such a gift of hope in this time of holy darkness (and if you share by Friday, January 6th you are entered into a random drawing for a chance to win one of several prizes!)

If you want to be notified of more Abbey gifts and offerings, consider subscribing to our email newsletter (which includes another free gift just for signing up!)

458 Responses to "Give Me a Word: Third annual Abbey giveaway"

  1. Maggie says:

    The word 'Conciliation' came into my head as I was reading the article.
    Whenever I have a squabble with my partner I know that until we can resolve our personal differences peacefully there will always be war in the world – for that is just a squabble writ large.
    I found this definition – 'The action of bringing peace and harmony; the action of ending strife.'
    So that is my word and my wish for 2012 – that we may all get closer to being able to manage our differences in a peaceful way.

  2. Barbara Munyak says:

    Expectation – related to Mary – I am feeling a strong call toward Mary and all of what her "yes" meant and what she expected to happen in her life. I don't know what to expect this year but anticipate some changes and not sure what to expect.

  3. Martha Louise says:

    Hello… the word that came immediately to me is the word "Gaze." I came across it while recently taking the on-line course with Christine about honoring our ancestors. This word has stayed with me, comes to me on and off during this Advent season as I have gazed into the faces in the manger my father gave me years ago… and I gazed into his eyes in a favorite photo of he and I. He died in November of 2010. I will meditate on the Divine Gaze, and gaze at creation this year much in the same way one might gaze at an icon.

  4. Betsy Kitch says:

    becoming A word with at least two meaningx/

  5. Karla Grauberger says:

    I just finished writing & sending my final church newsletter article, as the worship & music committe chair for the past 3 years. In that article, I thanked the congregation for joining with our committee to create a holy, extraordinary, and yet very ordinary SPACE for Hope to gather (our church's name is Hope). In reading this invitation, SPACE returned to my heart and my mind. I sense a deep calling to sit with space, to let it speak to me in the space of silence and noise, peace and chaos. I am creating new heart and spirt and mind space in moving on from a position that's been an anchor for me in the midst of 3 years of lifestorms; it was a space where I was given the gift of permission to be real, to lead by being strong enough to ask for help, for space from the "tasks"of my role at times. And the gift of space to speak what I felt the Holy calling us to, even when it wasn't always a "popular" call. (Sometimes I felt like Jonah to the Ninevites, other times, like the adored Queen Esther) Sigh…yes, I will breathe in and breathe out space in these coming days. It has so very many layers, my mind is racing, but for now, I will just be still, in the space of silence and hope. I will not allow fear to overtake this space, though it is trying, and there must be a time that I listen to and learn from it's warning, that space is not now. Christine, though I don't stop by nearly as often as I once did, I thank you for continuing to be a voice of wisdom, challenge, call, indeed a "space creator" in my in-box! May you be blessed in this Advent-Christmas-tide-Epiphany, winter season, and in the new year as you "savor" the sacred and profane! Thank you for sharing your gifts; you bring blessings that are front and center and yet to be revealed. Namaste.

  6. Mary Lazzaro says:

    This word speaks of wholeness to me; an incorporation of all I seek being brought (inhaled) into myself as a dwelling place. As this embodiment I express it in my being, creating, living, loving and exhaling.

  7. betsy says:

    My word for next year is "Wait".
    One point is to reply slowly and thoughtfully to all.
    To prepare for a coming transition but again to approach it waiting for God's words.

  8. Kathryn says:

    The phrase 'peaceful heart' has emerged for me for this next year. Many things are unknown. All will be well with a peaceful heart.

  9. Anna says:

    The word that chose me is release — from all that weighs my spirit down — the material things, as well as the burdens of spirit…fear, doubt, the not enoughness in my life.

  10. Suzanne says:

    The word that has chosen me is emptiness. Not in the sense of a void, but in the sense of possibilities. My life has been full of loss and busyness these past 2 years. This year, I need to release and allow healing and grace to enter. To do so, I must release the tension and grief, lean into them, and leave space for what I must learn.
    Emptiness like silence, like a desert.

  11. Jet says:

    "Freedom" is the word that came to me ….a word with many possibilities. Freedom from unhealthy attachments, freedom to be playful and creative, freedom to give freely from the heart….Freedom.

  12. Sally Brower says:

    My word for the year is FLAME. Newly called to St. Patrick's Episcopal, I am doing the creative work for a new worship service with fire imagery. It recalls St. Patrick lighting the new fire of Easter on the Hill of Tara in defiance of the pagan king and the nuns of St. Brigid keeping the sacred flame burning. Ten years ago, one of the modern day Sisters of Kildaire said to me, "You're going to be keeping the fire of Bridget going, aren't you now Sally?" It also reminds me of what we become when we totally surrender to God – all FLAME. I pray this year, that God will do God's work in me, and I will be FLAME, lit from the Fire of God.

  13. Suzie says:

    My word is NOURISHMENT. I seek what truly nourishes my body, mind, and spirit. Not false "counterfeit treats" , but what deeply nourishes me. How might I find what I must have? through listening to my instincts, and playing at the edges of what I know, want, and need, and understanding that sometimes these are at odds with one another.

    NOURISHMENT–I'll find it through Presence, learning, patience, and having/receiving!

  14. Amanda says:

    My word is "Release". I have deep wounds from childhood that have only come to light in the last few years. After spending time trying to understand they "why did these things happen", I feel it is time to release them. God is healing me from within but I must allow this process to happen. In releasing I will be able to reach out to others who may have had the same experiences and show them that our Loving God will help us forgive and be restored.

  15. Shirley Esterly says:

    My word chose me earlier this year. My husband and I are fulfilling a 2 year work commitment in Tel Aviv, Israel. We love to go to the old city of Jaffa. Last summer at the Flea Market in Jaffa I purchased an old offset print piece of the word "dimension" in Hebrew. The word literally chose me as I was very intrigued with the way the hebrew letters looked. It is on a well-worn wood block with metal forming the simple letters.

    I am an emerging paper collage artist spending this two year period as a somewhat monastic time to work in my studio, explore and expand my skills and creativity. I plan to use the Artist's Rule book to go through the 12-week process on my own starting in January.

    Dimension directs me to my own personal and spiritual growth and expansion in my art work. The fact that I found your offer to select a word for 2012 indicates to me that I am already in the process of the Artists Rule.

    Needless to say, doing this process in Israel and having my word be in another language makes it all the more special and unique. One way to explain dimension is that it is a harmonious relationship of parts to each other and to the whole – balance, symmetry. I am seeking growth in every dimension of my life. Thank you for all you do.

  16. Maureen says:

    My word is FORGE, with the meaning of making one's way forward.

  17. My word is life as in: "I set before you blessings and curses, life and death; therefore, choose life". I have set aside the years surrounding my husband's long illness and death, and am moving on. God has spoken to my heart that I have a life to live, and I must live it!

  18. Taruni says:

    My word is Worthy. You are worthy, I am worthy, the universe is worthy. I recently read a quote (sorry-can't remember who) and to paraphrase: You can search the world and find no one more worthy of love than you. I love that! So often we don't feel we are worthy of being worthy! This is an act of despair and negation. It does not make us humble, it gives us an excuse for not being loved or living to our highest potential. I want to remind everyone (esp. me) this year that we are indeed worthy!

  19. Sandy says:

    My word is "envelope". It calls me to open my heart, my purse and my arms to those who need a hug, a dollar or to be loved.

  20. Yvonne says:

    My word is "Behold." Initially the word which surfaced was "witness" but it wasn't quite right. The call coming from deep within has something to do with being present to what is, as a witness, acknowledging that I am not the one in control. Then the word" behold" presented itself and began to unfold. For me, the word implies sense of deep reverence as well as surrender. It reminds me to simply "be", while I" hold" – lightly- what is before me.

  21. Joan Marie says:

    My word for 2011 was HOME. My word for this year is SIT as in sit with doubt or joy or hurt or whatever is there in the moment to be with. So, without leaving home, I can travel through my heart, through the years, through so many places back to myself & the lively, precious, lightfilled, one-and -only moment. "I welcome each moment as a friend with an undefended HEART." In 2012 I SIT.

  22. Empty.

    A verb, an adjective. Emptiness in the Zen tradition is a lot like Fullness in the Christian tradition. How does it feel to be empty/full all at once? What action am i being called to in the coming year, and what rest? What decisions and what surrenders?

    Last year's word for me was Stretch. It was a true companion for 2011 in ways it would a book to describe. Or a song.

    Thanks to Christine and the Abbey for this invitation and community to help hold our words.

  23. Kathy says:

    My word, expansiveness, came out of a conversation with my Franciscan spiritual director. My life and ministry are in transition and she encouaged me to see it as a season of expansiveness. It's a very inviting word to begin a year…

  24. Kathy says:

    Compassion, particularly, self-compassion. This word has arisen on several fronts in my life and is here to guide me in the coming year. The compassion in which the Trinity holds me inspires me to treat myself with compassion as I move through life, especially when old hurts surface. As I make decisions in my work and teaching of iconography, I treat others with compassion. I see more clearly each day that I deserve the same.

    Thanks for this opportunity to share this revelation of a single word (Word) making such a difference in my life.

  25. claire says:


    As in enthusiasm, gusto, aliveness, joy, optimism, fire, chutzpah…

    Last year was 'essence'.

    As a woman of 65, it seems that it is time that I be filled with elan :-)

  26. amy watson says:

    My word for the year is Truth. I wish to live by my truth. I wish to believe the truth and not lies. I say this because I am someone that has believed lies in my life because it was more comfortable to do so. It will be the hardest thing I have ever done to live in truth this coming year.

  27. Nancy Fuller says:

    Silence – inner (and to the extent I can) outer silence – so that I can hear what is important.

  28. Diane says:

    is the word captivating my heart for this coming year.

    Still in the afterglow of the Honoring Saints and Ancestors Retreat we finished a couple weeks ago I have heeded the invitation to mark a calendar for the new year with birthdates and deathdates of those who have gone before. I look forward to a year of deepening my awareness of their continued presence in my life.

    The "threshold" has come to represent for me that liminal space where time and space as I've known it in such a linear way has been expanded and enlarged.

    These lines from a poem that came to me when I bought the calendar express well the heart space I feel drawn to inhabit in the coming year, "Love now illuminates all of the tenses ~ past, present, future encircle each other. Beginnings and endings embrace one another…"

    It is definetly a New Day!

  29. Carol Dorgan says:

    My word is "silence". It has been with my during Advent. It is associated for me with Mary, sheltering the Word and then giving birth to the Word as Jesus. I try to honour that silence within and around me, to develop my awareness that, as Merton says, that silence is God.

  30. Seraphica says:

    SPLENDOR as I was reading your email; I asked the heavens what would my word be for 2012 and this word came up. I asked Spirit if this is the word for me or should I change but no other word came up so it is SPLENDOR. As my life is a celebration and dedication to Lord Yeshua HaMashiach and Lady Miryai Magdalene, this word to me means grandeur, glory, brilliant distinction as it relates to Kingdom come order and rest. I walk in the echelons of heaven on earth if I keep my mind in perfect peace amidst chaos and disorder. Shalom.

  31. Melanie says:

    I live in conflict with my job because it is bound by the ever-tightening constraints of the institutional church, constraints which no longer make sense to my heart and mind and soul. The word "calm" came to me immediately as a message to let the answers reveal themselves, rather than forcing them, as I discern whether to stay or go.

    • Kel says:

      having travelled a similar journey, I'm in awe of anyone who can put the word 'calm' in the midst of such a journey…. may it be so

  32. Julett says:

    My word for 2010 was awareness and for 2011 was humility. Intentional seems to be settling in to best describe my meditating on a word finding me for 2012. Discipline seemed not quite right, although it is a part of intentionality – yet a desire for more order or self-discipline in my life is at the root of intention. I want to go about this calmly, tenderly, justly and with great clarity. So I think a beginning prayer each day will be to examine my goals for each day – small steps that lead to great progress in becoming who God wants me to be. I have to work against my habit of procrastination so that is why gentleness with self will be required.

  33. LaceLady says:

    STILL ~ chose this word for Advent, and am choosing it for 2012 Word. Synonyms: still, quiet, silent, noiseless, soundless. Still implies lack of motion or disturbance and often connotes rest or tranquillity. Quiet suggests the absence of bustle, tumult, or agitation. Silent can suggest a profound hush. Noiseless and soundless imply the absence of disturbing sound. "Be still, and know that I am God". This has already become an interesting and changing word. God's richest blessings to all.

  34. jan jett says:

    Patience–with this word I will try to be patient with myself as new opportunities come and go; I will strive to be patient with others as events "try my soul". And I thank God for patience shown to me even when I don't deserve it.

  35. Diana says:

    Release. My word for 2012 reminds me to breathe. To let go of tension, impatience, and the need to be right. To stop justifying bad decisions and character flaws. To grieve and release injuries (actual and perceived). To quit hoarding meaningless stuff and excess weight. To shorten my to-do list and relax my daily agenda. To greet my day with expectation, curiosity, and a fresh batch of grace.

    • Barbara says:

      Diane, your word Release and my Relinquish are very similar, and our goals are both alike and different. If would you like to partner through email, perhaps monthly, we could compare notes and encourage each other. Our lives are undoubtedly different, as our perspectives will be, but it might be interesting and helpful. My word comment appears further down the line, if you want to look for it. Sine my email isn't public, you could check my website to reply. Whatever your decision–have a very Merry Christmas (and I hope you win one of the prizes).


  36. Janice Caine says:

    My word is ripen…….to be completed in maturity….
    I will be sixty-six years of age soon, the same age my Mother was
    when she died, very suddenly, twenty five years ago. This year is
    also a time when my husband and I will be moving to the coast,
    of western Canada, a place in my heart. I pray that my journey
    is only just beginning, that I will ripen into a very wise elder and

  37. Laura says:

    My one word is EMBRACE. I just moved back to Illinois after spending 11 years in Arizona. I defienitely crossed a threshold and evolved into a more prayerful, contemplative person during my desert expereince but, the transition back to the midwest has been a bit bumpy. (Discovering "Abbey of the Arts" has been a real godsend for me!) 2012 will be about embracing who I am with joy and love, embracing emerging communites, and returning the embrace of our Lord who always has me in His arms. God Bless everyone this new year! :o)

  38. Leanne Hunt says:

    My word is "witness". As someone who is visually impaired, this word has troubled me for years, as if I wasn't qualified to fulfil Christ's great commission. Yet, at last, I am beginning to perceive that witnessing happens in the heart, not the physical senses. Next year I am starting a prayer guide's course with a view to training as a spiritual director, and the word "witness" reminds me that one of the chief roles of a soul companion is to witness another's faith journey. Just as a tree falling in a forest isn't significant unless it is witnessed, so events in peoples' lives have to be acknowledged for them to feel meaningful enough to learn from.

  39. Rosemary Grundy says:

    My word is "eruption". My prayer during 2012 is that there be an Eruption of Peace for the peoples of the world, through laying down of arms and ceasing of war; that there be an Eruption of insight in humanity, that we may know the wisdom of compassion for the most impoverished of the earth; that there be an Eruption of wonder for Earth our home so that we grow in understanding of her fragility and that we learn to protect her; that there be an Eruption of quiet, reflectivness, inner musing; deeper awe of the Presence of God; mindfulness that we the people are connected to all of life in spirit and in reality.

  40. carolyn sargent says:

    From Jack Gilbert's 'A Brief for the Defense': We must risk DELIGHT….we must have the stubbornnesss to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.
    I'm inclined, after flirting with some related words, to accept the invitation of the word – and the sentiment – that would not go away; my word for 2012 is DELIGHT.

  41. Elaine says:

    My word for the next year is Reconciliation. I am inspired to live more deeply into what it means for me to participate in God's vision for a new creation ( 2 Cor. 5). I want to understand and experience not only God's reconciling of me to Himself but his passing on to me, to us, the ministry of reconciliation.

  42. Hazel says:

    My words are "highly favoured one" and they came to me via our priest.

    2011 has been a difficult one for my husband and me, with family and health issues which have taken every ounce of strength at times, and now I face surgery again on Jan 3rd; yet on two occasions in the last week my priest has addressed me with these words in apparent earnestness. Seeing my quizzical look he said, " I mean it", so I know these are words I need to ponder, and allow to search and challenge me.

    Ps. 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favour and honor; … I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation. …

  43. Madonna Jones says:

    My work is sabbath. What I need in 2012 is a time to rest. A time to let the fields I work in lie fallow. Many things are changing in my life and I am pulled in many ways with my work as a liturgist/musician, a mother of three almost grown children and so many other hats I wear. What I need is just time to be. To listen. To discern. To once again find the joy that once was so easy and so much a part of me. I need to re-position. I need Sabbath.

  44. Elaine Wiedemann says:

    My word is ponder. Fr. Philip asked us to ponder Luke's gospel of today. I thought not only should I ponder the reading , but, also reflect,weigh,consider profoundly all that is spoken to me this day and each day Elaine

  45. Beth says:

    CHANGE is my word for the coming year. Planning a major move and major lifestyle change in the new year, all for the positive. Wanting to concentrate on the positive aspects of change, so that all goes smoothly and it becomes even easier to move between the worlds I love with grace and energy.

  46. evelyn hanna says:

    Enchantment. Contains fascination, delight, beauty, attraction, bliss, rapture, captivation. The way I want to see my world and my life this year.

  47. Raven Ridge Gal says:

    DIATOM: microscopic organisms with glass-like shells that come in fantastical shapes only a Creator could imagine. As phytoplankton, they are food. Dead, their beautiful shells are called diatomaceous earth and are used for many practical purposes. Can I bring the beauty and service of God to others in 2012?

  48. Elaine T says:

    LUMINOUS My word is luminous as is every leaf, face, cloud, pillow and the whole world luminous on this my first day after eye surgery. I also recall that in a poem that I wrote about a street person, I described him as God's luminous person. I used to look at the, for some, distressingly handicapped bodies of my special ed students and see their luminous personhood. And so we are all each and every one luminous with the unquenchable mysterious radiantly lovely gift of the light of our very lives, our love light. Luminous is the color red, the cat's eyes, the waters of the Salish Sea, the rocks on the shore, the bread on the table, the faces across the table, the candle flame. My task is to see, really see the luminous, such a delightful one!

  49. Barbara says:

    My word is relinquish. It came to me earlier this year, but it holds so much richness that I need to continue with it for 2012. Relinquish–a gentle laying aside, or giving up of unneeded possessions, of habits or ways of thinking that I have outgrown. Relinquishing: a way to be open to God's will and what He is saying and offering to me in each moment of the day.

  50. Robin says:

    My word is patience.

    Spiritual direction, presentations, ordination, breast cancer.

    Patience in short supply and sorely (pun intended) needed.

  51. Nadine says:

    The word I chose this year is :"seeker". I am seeking Christ like the Magi of old. I have seen signs but I am not always on the right path so I need to stop and ask for help. I have been on this journey before but I begin again.

  52. Shandeen Lundgren says:

    My word for 2012 is SILENCE.
    Silence my mind hear the voice of God
    Silence my body to experience the excercise I need
    Silence my heart to rid the negative garbage
    Silence my eyes to see the gratitude given me through Creation

  53. April says:

    Two nights ago I dreamt of a bird but when it flew away I realized it was a turtle. I have been drawing images of sea turtles. Loving woking with what that image might have to tell me. A creature with weight and gravitas that knows how to fly. thinking of it as a Solstice Angel at the moment

  54. My 2012 word is PRESENCE. It is my goal for the coming year to be present and welcoming to all experiences that present themselves to me.

  55. Cat Albers says:

    My word is "wonder" and for me it means I will let the amazing nature of every experience come through and not hold back. I also plan to "wonder as I wander" and let things unfold, divinely. Everything is just as it should be.

  56. stinuksuk says:

    My word "star gift" this year was goodness. I somewhat dismissed it as easy when I first looked at my star gift. Yet, it was a reminder to me to see the goodness all around me and to be in touch with the goodness of God. This year I was enveloped in goodness, despite challenges. The goodness of finishing an interim and the goodness of the good bye I received. The goodness of moving back home full time. The goodness of spending a week with my sister and enjoying the summer off to tend my garden and to read and to get the house back in order and clean. The goodness of my dear grey, Jett, whom we had to ease his way over Rainbow Bridge. The goodness of a few more months with him. The goodness of an unexpected trip to Switzerland to attend my last aunt's memorial service and to share what made her so special to my sister and I. The goodness of time with extended family and a week in Tessin with my closest cousin. The goodness of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly who drank from my butterfly and fluttered over me three times in gratitude. The goodness of a very part-time interim helping a congregation to heal and to move forward. The goodness of LH's congregation to pick up our health insurance. I have been saturated with God's goodness this year and it has been a wonder and delight.
    I won't know my star gift word for the new year until Jan. 1st, when I invite the congregation to select a star upon which is written a word. I am already anticipating what this new word will be and how God will slowly reveal the fullness of its meaning in my life.

  57. Chris says:

    My word this year is 'presence.' Too often I'm pulled in too many directions living as a fragment of myself in each one. One definition of presence that I found is that it's defined by tracing the path from Presence to Feeling to Thinking to Creation and finally to Experience. I've been working on going back to my thoughts and feelings in a moment so I can make a better choice, catching myself heading in negative or limiting or habitual directions before I'm too far gone. As well as making time to full inhabit my writing and reading and the creative process. There's a spaciousness and clarity to this idea of presence that calms me down and makes me feel that there is plenty of time.

  58. Mary Beth says:

    My word for 2012 is "window." This is important to me in many ways.

    In 2009 I changed jobs and was moved into a small room without a window. I loved the work but hated the enclosed feeling; it felt like a punishment for 2 years.

    Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to move to a new space with TWO (2) windows. It's on the third floor of an old building and I glory, glory in the light, the views, the rain, the birds and squirrels.

    And my husband had cancer treatment this year. We are looking forward from a sad and bad year to a new and healthier, happier one. We are looking into the window of the new year for our future.

    What will we see?

  59. jennifer prior says:

    As I prepare for open-heart surgery on January 5th, the 12th day of Christmas and the celebration of the Epiphany, it became clear and like an epiphany that my word for 2012 is 'open-hearted'. I want to become more 'open-hearted' in my life, to be more generous, to be less guarded, to be more joyful, to let go of old hurts and resentments, to welcome Love and all the opportunities to love.
    I feel much gratitude for the heath care system in Canada that has connected me with one of the finest cardiac surgeons in our country. He practices at St. Michaels Hospital in downtown Toronto, a hospital known as the 'urban angel' that is reaching out to me in rural Owen Sound. My family doctor is a Lutheran, my cardiologist is Muslim, and my surgeon is most likely Hindu … it is wonderful to consider how God works through all peoples.
    Please keep me in your prayers and share with me where I can pray for you.

  60. Melanie says:

    The touching and most delicate word I have been thinking of today is"KINDNESS!" I think of it because kindness can melt an icy heart. I think of because their is an honest interest in others when it is displayed. With the love of kind voices I state that I too am proud of myself and the stictuitiveness this years difficulties have brought out in me. From art to music to poetry it's wonderful to have the expression, the audience and the friendships. With love.xo MELANIE

  61. John Dieker says:

    The word that has been put on my heart is "healing". I've had a very challenging year physically, and with that has been the emotional and mental strain that goes with physical pain. I've never experienced this before in my 56 years….but God is soooo good. He's put on my heart "healing", not only for physical, emotional, mental….but Spiritual! I feel hope as I have not felt in awhile, as well as embers that are burning brighter in my soul. I look forward to 2012 with a renewed enthusiasm to get to know my Lord and Savior in a new, fresh, and deep way. There is going to be healing, probably more than I know, which brings anticipation for this coming year ahead. Blessings…jd

  62. Christine says:

    from Margie O'Connor:
    My word is harmony…as in surrender to harmony.  As  the holidays arrive all six children and their partners and my grandchild come.  On any given moment of chaos one of the children will yell out:  "Mom what's our mantra?"  "Surrender to harmony"  Peace returns with a smile.  It's written on the firdge for all to see.  It reminds us there is enough love to go around.
    Love to all of you this holiday season.

  63. My word is unfurling. For me, it has to do with opening slowly, in my own time and space of stillness. My early morning quiet time is the space I give myself to unfurl.
    Peace & Light,

  64. Carol says:

    my word is "opening" – opening myself up to new experiences, being more aware of my surroundings and hopefully blossoming in my creative endeavours.
    Carol aka Traveller

  65. Russell says:

    AUTHORITY is the word which has come to mean so much to me.
    My work and commitment is in 'bottom up' community development in some of the poorest places in Scotland. I am keen that local people are the AUTHORS of the stories and the dreams of what can happen in their lives. My greatest wish is that local people can have real AUTHORITY in their lives where too much has been 'top down' and imposed by, what we call, the 'authorities'.

  66. Joan Decleene says:

    My word for 2012 is rejoice, I will rejoice in the presence of God, so that whatever circumstances I find myself in, I will rejoice that God lives in me. As I rejoice in Him, He also rejoices in me. I am never alone and that is truly cause to rejoice always.

  67. Diane Marie says:

    My word for 2012 is PEACE. This year was a very tumultuous year for me emotionally, physically, and financially, and those difficulties are not yet resolved. As I pondered a word for 2012, three days in row, from three different readings, the word "peace" shimmered for me in my morning lectio divina. I'll begin my 2012 devotional journal with two quotes for reflection:
    1) The Prayer of St. Francis, which begins "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace …."
    2) Philippians 4:4-9 "Rejoice in the Lord always … And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus … and the God of peace will be with you."

  68. Olivia says:

    My word for this year is WARMTH. I want to bask in the warmth of human kindness and reflect it back. I want to be warmed by God and to be a warm hospitable person to others. I want to reclaim warmth as a positive thing despite the crisis of global warming.

  69. Katarina says:

    It's got to be "groundedness," the gift I asked for at the end of the Awakening retreat in September. This word (this gift) will be awakening within me for quite a while yet.

    At least I hope so. I really need it.

  70. ann cline says:

    My word for 2012 is Savor. I intend to savor each day, each moment. to be in the now with those people, things that are important to me.

  71. Kamala says:

    My word is Opening, opening to change from within and to taking in, being open to, changes outside myself.

  72. My word for 2012 is GLOW. I have recently opened a gallery space for intuitive and mystic arts in Denver, and a Glowmapping studio ('artful listening to illuminate your vision').
    The word Glow has been with me since the last months, and it shows up everywhere.
    For me this means stepping in and stepping up as a creative monk for myself and other, after participating in Christine's wonderful artist/monk class. To me "Glow" represents the inner light, my connection to Spirit, the light of the Sun, and the joy and shine that radiates from me and other people when they courageously and responsibly follow their calling.

  73. It's been inspiring and quickening to read everyone's words and comments. I love that so many people participate in this. Thank you, Christine, for sharing such a wonderful tradition.

    My word for 2012 is "juice." It embodies many things for me to meditate on, practice, and manifest: life-blood, essence, presence, joy, process, fruitfulness.

    Each year that I've done this a color has chosen me as well. My color for 2012 is purple.

  74. I'm calling 2012 "The Year of YES." The power of this word is in it's simplicity, and in being able to apply it in every area of my life. YES is the antidote to over-analyzing, over-thinking, and resistance. It's my R.S.V.P. to an invitation from God. It's the courage to trust Him, and the ability to return – again and again – to the truth of Him. YES is graciously accepting God's gifts, including the ones that come wrapped in challenging, frustrating, irritating, difficult-to-unwrap packages. And it's using those gifts wisely in a way that honors Him. It's the recognition that God wants only good for me and that, as a child of God, "good" is what I deserve. YES also makes room for my humanness, my forgetfulness. It's big enough to hold the "no's" of my fears, doubts, and insecurities without judgment, giving me the awareness I need so I can find my way back. Back to YES…to my dreams, to God's dreams for me, to hope and possibility and love and faith and miracles.

    It's truly amazing how much meaning a single word can hold, and I'm sure as the year goes on new layers of meaning will be revealed for all of us. Thank you, Christine, for creating a space for this powerful practice!

  75. Joanie says:

    This will be my third year choosing a word for contemplation throughout the year. The Word practice has become one of my most deepening and cherished practices.

    BreakThrough – that's my word this year. It arose within me a few weeks ago, early for me. But that is definitely the word. For me, it represents soul breakthrough, in my ART as spiritual practice, my Work as spiritual practice, my LIFE fully as God's, not my own — as well as intuitive understanding, God's wisdom within, really being able to overcome those places where I hit the same wall over and over. Opening up to Spirit's guidance in more profound ways, LOOKing at what is necessary, prayerfully requesting soul redemption, and breaking through – however the Lord chooses to unfold it in me. (He's always up to something beyond my measly understanding, after all!)

    Thank you, again, dear Christine, for this profound practice.

  76. Cynthia says:

    The word that came to me is wholeness. The word sought me out. I have just finished a year of cancer treatment. I plan to use this year as a search for wholeness as I decide what this new future holds.

  77. Patricia Lewis says:

    My word for 2012 is "praying"….for others, as well as for myself…for those people I know, and for those I do not know, but who God places in my path.

  78. Melissa says:

    The word is FALLOW, the land — the inner landscape — lying at rest, aware… allowing time to do its work within.

  79. Mary B. says:

    My word is "yes". It found me rather quickly and, though I sensed that it was the one, I took some time with it. It seems like such a simple word but my reflections reminded me that it is not. A "yes" to life, a "yes" to God, includes many things I might really prefer not to accept into my life. But I trust the word will teach me and so I say "yes"…

    • Eileen says:

      I think this is my word too – "yes." Often, I stand near the edge wondering if I'm ready for the next step, wondering what it is, wondering if I have what it takes….This year, I want to say "Yes" to life, to trust this mysterious journey and my place within it….and to trust the Giver of all with my consenting "yes."

  80. marian says:

    My 2012 word is 'compassion' …
    from contemplating the Advent text from Isaiah 40: "Comfort, comfort my people," says God, "speak tenderly…"

  81. Madeleine Visagie says:

    I have recently been fiercely resisting the word 'discipline', hence there is no doubt it is my word for 2012! Having been at home for a few years I have got used to doing things at my own pace – otherwise known as procrastination. Neglecting regular practice of my spiritual disciplines, as well as committed creative time – not to speak of physical exercise, is causing me to feel restless and unfocused. I will focus in the coming year on seeking God in the regular practice of these disciplines again.

  82. Kathleen says:

    This was an amazing practice as I tried to find my word, I tried many on for size and nothing seemed quite right. I paged through my inspirational books and then released the issue this morning I realised that was exactly what my word is"Release". to release old patterns, the past, grudges and issues. To release expectations and allow life to flow. to release my life to god and allow divine plan to manifest. Release needs for perfection,material goods and illusions. To release my work out into the world (I am an artist) and allow it to do the work it was meant to do. Release.

  83. Carolyn says:

    The word is question. Have I listened with an open heart and mind to the Divine calling within me? Have I interacted with my fellow humans with compassion and tolerance? Have I given freely of my love and encouragement to those who need it? Have I given thanks for all that I have be it great or small? At the close of each day how will I respond to the QUESTION " What have I done today?".

  84. Maureen Kusick says:

    My word for 2012 is healing.
    It came to me as beginning a new sense of wholeness and one with the spirit.

  85. Louise Crossgrove says:

    My 2012 work is "acceptance". This past year has been about letting go of past ways of doing things and being resistant to the way I was evolving, changing and unfolding. As I let go to make space for something new, I found I was rejecting a lot of possibilities that were presented to me. I have been frustrated with what seems to be a holding pattern in my life. Acceptance came to me loud and clear. Enough with the resistance and wishing I had more control over my life. Now is the time to accept all of who I am becoming; to accept the gentle nudges to move in a direction I have never gone before. With acceptance, I am free to move past fixed boundaries, test my creative wings and maybe, just maybe, I can finally live with confidence with my whole heart and soul.

  86. Shelly T. says:

    My word for 2012 is "TrailBlazer". It was given to me by a Soul friend and felt foreign at first….but as I try this word on each day like a piece of new clothing, it becomes more comfortable. As I am looking to find my way back to my artist self, I found this definition to be timely…"trailblazer – someone who helps to open up a new line of research or technology or art". I am looking forward to fully exploring this word in 2012!

  87. Ruth Bigler says:

    Last year the words fear not jumped out at me so strongly so I chose the word unafraid. I found out why this word when my husband became ill with pancreatic cancer and died Dec. 4th. Again this word is sounding in my heart and mind as I face this new year without him after 55 yrs..

  88. It almost seems too simple – that's the spiritual paradox I guess. I have been given the word 'Love'? A word that suffers much from having only it's one 'word' in English yet many more in other languages. Today is the feast day of John the Evangelist, known for being the Beloved disciple and whose Gospel is the Jesus of Love. Wh spoke so much about the relationship between loving God and each other that his own followers complained and asked 'Why?' – he replied, "Because it is the first law of the Lord, and if you follow it, you do enough ". I believe that, once the surface is broken this word will come to inspire more and more so I look forward to a year with the many aspects, nuances and expressions of Love

  89. Laurel J Simon says:

    At first I thought my word was "hospitality". Then, after sitting with it for a few days, it changed to "acceptance". During prayer this morning, I wrote the word "acceptance" in the middle of a blank piece of paper. Out from it, in crossword puzzle style, came the Serenity Prayer which is "The Welcoming Prayer".
    There is much to welcome daily as I practice living in the present moment…I pray I am more "welcoming". My word for 2012 is "welcoming".

  90. Mary says:

    Manifest. I am working on the manifestation of my call to let loose the creative being inside of me.

  91. Laura says:

    I believe my word will be "birthing." As I look back over my journal from recent months, this seems to be where everything is pointing. It will be exciting to see how that plays out!

  92. "Co-create" — God, of course, is the Ultimate Creator, but each of us can cooperate with God's grace to make the world a better place. I want to think about what it would mean to take seriously that God wants to lead me in my daily tasks, writing, painting, even cleaning house (something I hate) to "co-create" something positive, maybe even something graced and holy, something that maybe is a mirror of God's love for us. Dare I dream of such a thing?

  93. Beth says:

    My word for 2012 is "Enough". When this word first started occurring in my meditations, it felt very negative. But the more I thought about it, I realized how much I need it. I struggle the most with feeling strapped for time, for information, for money, for accomplishments, for sleep. But I have Enough. I often get sucked into a chasm of worry over whether I'm the best mother I can be, the best wife, the best person. But I am Enough. With God, there is Enough.

  94. cycthia tedesco says:


    these past 2 mos. have been difficult ones for our family & as a result of lessons learned & still learning… my word is PATIENCE. to offer PATIENCE to others & to ask for PATIENCE in return & blessing. in art & life, art & practice all requires PATIENCE… at least for me… to offer myself the gift of PATIENCE in 'GIVE ME A WORD' quite literally & in the waiting … PATIENCE…

    all blessings to everyone in the soon to be New Year & a sincere thank you to Christine & all who make these on-line programs possible!

  95. Jess says:


    The world has a sense of urgency. My time is scheduled. My thoughts are crowded together. I long for silence and peace. In 2012, I hope to find some stillness.
    I plan to begin each day with minutes of silent meditation. As the year unfolds, I want to increase my silent time. I am eager to see where this journey will lead and how my faith will grow.
    Finding my word was a challenge, but a meaningful process. I am thankful a friend shared this website with me. This is something I need and welcome in my life. Thank you.

  96. Dilys says:

    To learn to be content as St. Paul was content. I'm not sure what this type of contentment is and that is what I am hoping to learn in 2012.

  97. Carol says:

    The word that comes to my heart and mind are esteem.
    I want to take greater care of self worth.
    It is surprising as my patterns become apparent that I need to nurture this.

  98. Tracy says:

    The word 'open' came to me. It is both a description and an action. I want to be open, and I want to open myself more to accept life as it is, and not waste energy resisting what exists. I also thought of it as blooming – a flower bud opens to its full beauty in time, with light and nourishment. Open!

  99. Paulita says:

    blossom ~ "blossom of fire" shimmered for me in the poem you sent out recently, Christine, where you invited us to play with lectio divina ~ I have been weeding extraneous commitments from my life during this winter break. it feels like preparation and making room for me ~ my spirit and my sacred work ~ to blossom this coming year.

  100. Joy says:

    "loving kindness" . . . this came to me while I was with my spiritual director, being drawn to seeking truth and simplicity in and through relationships. I immediately feel a softness and gentleness in my heart to balance my more common side that is wanting for justice.

  101. Faith says:

    My word for 2012 is SABBATH.
    For some time now, God has been inviting me to set aside time – a full day, weekly – to REST, FOCUS and WORSHIP HIM. This is not just to be about going to church for a few hours … it is about intimate, relational time listening to Him, receiving His unconditional Love, Grace and Comfort.
    I began reading a book called "The Sabbath" by Abraham Joshua Heschel. The Jews have obeyed and honored the command to KEEP the Sabbath in such a way that I believe we can learn from it – and that is what I wish to do.

  102. Thea Haavet says:

    The word that came to me was space. When I review the last year – I see that it has been all to full with activities and work. Next year I want to create more space in my life – first and foremost space for God, prayer and meditation – like going on a long retreat – but also free space for nothing. Space in my heart and space in my calendar. Space that gives room for new things to happen – or just for rest, relaxation and play. More empty space in my calendar and my life – life-giving space. Probably I will also buy my first flat this year – and create a space that is good for both praying and playing. So more soul-space in many ways this upcoming year.

  103. Siggy Peel says:

    My word is gratitude. Treasuring and making time for relationships. Simplicity, Birdsong in the morning.

    • Pam says:

      Mine was also gratitude… see my comment, but I love your description – especially simplicity and birdsong in the morning. We must see eye to eye.

  104. Sandi says:

    My word for 2012 is ACTION. I've spent a lot of time in the cave this last few months and its time to come out a DO, not just ruminate and ponder and imagine. Its time for the execution phase. Oh, I know I'll still need to retreat from time to time to gather strength and check in with the soul and creator to make sure I'm ACTING intentionally and truly, but the time has come to put something of what I've learned into DOING.

  105. Rachel Diem says:

    My word for the year is 'open' – when I saw Christine's invitation several images and phrases came to mind, and 'open' was common to them all. The most persistent of those – the passage from Revelations (3:20) – is about welcoming the divine – and all the other associations radiate from that one.

  106. Last year, RENEWAL, came to me — and it was a year of renewal — renewing my faith in humankind, my belief in wonder, and my inner joy.

    this year, the word that has risen within me is SUPPLENESS.

    The thoughts that have already appeared as to its relevance in my world is that fact that for me, Suppleness means to be less judgmental, critical, disparaging of others. It means to keep my heart and my mind soft and supple, open to creative expression and seeing of the world around me.

    Thanks for this — it is the third year I've participated — and I am grateful.


  107. Ted Zaragoza says:

    The word that chose me is "authentic". I will continue to be myself as well as become the self I am. Blessings.

  108. My word is "welcome." I like that it can be a verb, noun, or adjective. I like that it can be so metaphoric–a way of describing both the inner and outer life. I look forward to what it has to teach me.

    Christine's podcast on Hospitality this month as well as her book The Artist's Rule strongly influenced my word choice. The idea of inner hospitality is very much like (if not the same as) the Buddhist idea of mindfulness. However, referring to it as inner hospitality strengthens my understanding of the concept. It also helps me weave the idea more deeply into my Christian faith.

    I have been using The Artist's Rule and Joyce Rupp's book, Open the Door, for my morning devotions since the beginning of November. It has been amazing for me to see how they compliment each other. They are both filled with so much wisdom that I could see myself using them again. If you have not read The Artist's Rule, I highly recommend it!


  109. lisa says:

    My word is rest- to pause- to be supported- to support- to be at peace.

  110. Kyle says:

    My word is "Expectant" – I am filled with a sense of expectation. It seems like God is telling me to expect change and in that change blessing. I am eagerly awaiting what God will bring to my life.

  111. When I walked the neighborhood with my husband I smelled the wood smoke from a fireplace, when I heard a tree full of birds chirping, when I ate my bowl of butter pecan ice cream with delight, when I watched a movie and saw the beautiful costumes of the actors–I was nourished. Nourish is my 2012 word for the year. I bought a small calendar and placed the word nourish on its cover and spine. I've renamed the months to remind myself how I'm nourished: for instance, February is "fragrance" month. Deeply exploring and nourishing myself with God's gift of beauty through my senses will help me as I explore 2012.

  112. Nancy Flowers says:

    Nourish! Last year my husband was diagnosed with a serious illness and my word ( though unofficial) was nurture. It meant" to care for" both of us.
    It was a year of swaddling each of us with comfort necessary for healing. This year I want to go further—Nourish: supply with what is necessary for life, health and growth!
    I loved that the previous comment chose the same word and her idea of keeping a calendar. I am going to do the same in a new journal—which I will purchase this week.

  113. Susan Vander Woude says:

    Being PRESENT is the word that is calling me for 2012. Being intentionally present to whatever is asking for my attention in my day helps me to slow down, enter in, and notice in a more relaxed way.

  114. Pat says:

    "My" word is FEROCIOUS. Visual images and poetry with the common theme of "tiger" emerged, causing me to ask the Lord what was the significance of "tiger." The word "ferocious" came with the understanding that this would be a season requiring ferocious faith, tenacity to the core principles of the Christian faith to which I adhere, in the face of impossibility. I must say that it is daunting to think about, but I'm grateful for the warning!

  115. Angie says:

    My word is "enough" – This word challenges me to live "being enough" in all that I do. It challenges me to accept life as it is; myself as I am; others as they are. I commit to practicing being "enough" throughout this coming new year.
    I also allow "enough" to seep into my being and open me to new ways of perceiving and living.

  116. Linda says:

    My word this year, is to "savour". I've had my first grandchild this year, and I realize how quickly children grow. I want to savour the innocence and the zest for life and all things new, as I participate in his life. I also want to savour each moment of life as it comes to me. I tend to live forward….waiting for some event, a certain friendship to develop….I want to savour the "now"! Also embracing the savouring that comes with cooking a fabulous meal, savouring the touch of fabric, as I hopefully get back to some quilting. There is so much to savour!

  117. Mary Ann says:

    The word bubbling up in me this year is MINDFULNESS.
    Mindfulness…of the past and its diminishing hold on me…of the present, the gift of this moment in time…of the future as yet unseen.

    Mindfulness…of my physical body, movement and exercise…of nourishing my physical body by eating mindfully…of my self and my journey to wholeness that has brought love and acceptance of beauty and flaws….of the mindfulness that there is beauty in scars and that the scars and twists and turns in life make us who we are.

    Mindfulness…of God's beautiful creation that surrounds me…of birds singing, rejoicing in the rain…of cool winds that stir the soul, hitting my face with the breath of God…of the beauty to be found in each moment if we stop, look & listen.

    Mindfulness bubbles up from within me.

  118. Lorna says:

    Last year's word was 'hark.' This year I am embracing 'paradox.'

  119. Ellen says:

    SIMPLIFY is what has been coming to me. Life has been so full, demanding and difficult recently. . .and I am drawn to finding a way to simplify life, both time-wise and possession-wise, in the new year. If I had a secondary word it would be DELIGHT. .. one can always use more delight in life! Also a bit of an antidote to "full, demanding and difficult."

  120. Deborah Abram says:

    I thought at first my word was Grace and then it was Lighten up. But hen was at a store and saw a candle that had Serenity written on it. I saw it anf flet aaahhhh-felt Grace at work and my body just let go -lightened up. My word for 2012 is Serenity.

  121. Heather Keens says:

    My word for 2012 is Freedom.
    I was surprised, it's a big word but I know it's the right one. I'm a bit apprehensive about finding out exactly what Freedom means for me; I know it is an invitation to cross that threshold. Already two "supporting" words have appeared – Release and Take Courage.

  122. Sr. Elena says:

    The word that keeps surfacing for me is "SEEING-HEART".
    What does my heart see that I cannot see with my eyes?
    What am I seeing with my eyes that my heart may not be
    connected with in a (seeing, loving, caring) way?

  123. I asked to be given a “word” and as I drove thinking on this, a large raven flew in front of my car than further down the road, a red tail hawk. I thought, Oh to soar, then went about my business of the day and coming home I thought further and “wings” came to me, that is what the winged messengers were telling me…wings.
    Well…My third message of accepting this indeed as my word came from the Birthday Proverbs as I was arranging and found, “The Ladies Birthday Almanac” from 1956 and opened and read for my birthday, Jan. 12, 1956 Proverb is Malachi 4:2, …the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.
    I too can fly into the divine truths and aspire in all I do this New Year along with healing in my WINGS!

  124. […] we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into. –Abbey of the Arts, blog post of  Dec.21, […]

  125. Vicky says:

    The word that came quickly when I first asked and has not wavered over the past few weeks is: "create". It is often followed with the line from Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God…" I am curious about what the new year will bring!

  126. Roxanne Morgan says:

    The word that has chosen me for this next year is HOPE. Both verb and noun, both abstract idea and Person. It has been chasing me down all fall, and has overtaken me. From DWELL last year now to HOPE. It will be an adventure :)

  127. Barbara says:

    This year's word is actually two of them: second naïveté. I first became aware of this concept on Claire's blog.!/2011/11/un-nouveau-regard.html
    Br. David Steindl-Rast wrote of it in his book the Music of Silence (p. 34-37 ). It comes from the philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Second naïveté is to experience with the wonder of a child what one has assimilated with wisdom. Or something like that … I will explore it this year and I knew this was my word the moment I read it back in November. It suits the "me" I am getting to know.

  128. Alina says:

    RELEASE…as in what can I let go of; what must I hold on to.

  129. ElizaBeth says:

    The word that flashed for me is 'acceptance'. For reasons not at all clear, I must go deeper into acceptance and find a new peace. Adventure in the letting go, to be sure. I hope it is also invites celebration in the process.

  130. Mary says:

    My word for 2012 is "consideration." It calls me to pay attention, meditate, believe, and show kindly awareness, respect, and thoughtfulness for others.

  131. Meghan says:

    My word for 2012 is "Godcidence." I understand that it's made up, but it came to me in a number of ways. First way is this: I chaplain in a senior home, and a woman spent a lot of time telling me small stories of how grace entered broke through all throughout her life. At the end she said, "everything is a Godcidence!" I just loved it.
    The following week, I was standing in the chapel that hosts Portland, Maine's regular Taize service, and a bird flew in. The sparrow flew around the room 3 times, then around my head 3 times, and then left. Someone in the back of the room said, "whoa, a bird!" Another said, "whoa, the Holy Spirit!" I also had the sensation of the Holy Spirit. The sparrow returned mid service and repeated the dance of before. I was touched. Grace broke through.

    • Helen says:

      WOW!!! I just love your word. Thank you for sharing it with us. What a priviledge to be doing what you are doing. I think seniors cxan offer to us something of the same simplicity as children.
      May you be blessed with your word throughout the year and although it will not be mine it will be part of what I sense is surfacing for me. I am still pondering with mine as there are two calling me. May see if I can be as creative as the person you were speaking with and make on up out of the two.
      Blessings of deep peace on your year

  132. Tanda Ainsworth says:

    My word for 2012 is JOY. In reflecting on Song of Solomon 2:10 I was touched and invited by these words: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come." My mantra for the coming 366 days will be: In this moment I reclaim my JOY!

  133. Pam says:

    My word is GRATITUDE. I'm sure I've used it before, but it is so important. I think of it like a light switch in a dark room. If you can find the smallest thing to be grateful for, it opens a small light that can grow. But, we do have to remind ourselves to be grateful and to actively search for things that inspire our gratitude. Thanks for this idea of word selection. It gives me a head-start on Lent.

  134. Christine ~ thanks for highlighting a lovely way to start the New Year! I've been choosing a word (or letting it choose me!) for several years now. It's amazing what power a word (and the Word!) can have. Last year's word was Recovery, and how much I needed to recover from! I'm still waiting for a word for 2012.

    I linked back here in a post on my blog today.

    Happy New Year and God bless you!

  135. Diana says:

    The word that has chosen me is "restore," and Joel 2:25 rings within me: "I will restore the years the locusts have eaten." Much has been "eaten" in my life over the past few years–relationships, finances, hopes, and dreams. I sense the fulfillment of God's promise in my word for 2012.

  136. JoAnn says:

    ~ pilgrim ~
    ~ has been emerging for a while ~ and then recently, the qualities of inner and outer came forward ~
    pilgriming within ~ being ~ listening ~ receiving ~ responding ~ pilgriming without
    "Put yourselves on the ways of long ago
    Inquire about ancient paths:
    Which was the good way?
    Take it then, and you shall find rest."
    ~Jeremiah 6:16
    with deep gratitude ~

  137. Eve says:

    My word is Courage.

    I facilitate a weekly Monastery of The Heart community locally and that word kept popping out at me every time we read the closing prayer at the end of each meeting.
    After reading your post I encouraged the group members to think about their word and told them what mine was.

    It was very interesting to see how differently people may see us as compared to how we see ourselves. I saw myself as shrinking away from or avoiding the things I think I know will end up badly or cause pain. The others did not see me that way at all and so in the process of choosing and sharing our words we are learning a lot about each other. And we are learning how we can support each other.

    Thank you for this reminder to look for our Words.

    Happy New Year!

  138. Timothy Yerrington says:

    "Beloved" is my word for 2012. It is in knowing and living as a "beloved son" that I can receive Abba's heart for me and in turn can love others freely without expecting anything in return.

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

  139. Bet says:

    My word for 2012 is "Watch". Recently I realized that God has been answering my prayers (particularly my prayers for our children) in very unexpected ways and that I didn't realize it until after the fact. I want to WATCH for what God is doing in my life!

  140. Karen says:

    My word just came to me today- last minute, of course! My word for 2012 is "Beloved".

    Life circumstances of 2011, along with mid-life wisdom, have brought me face to face with hurts of my childhood, guilt of a long-ago divorce, loss of relationships with changes in locations and life situations, and grieving the loss of a wonderful career. It has been quite a journey. God has been my healer and my comforter.

    In 2012, my daughter will be married. This is a delight and joy, but she plans to have the entire family in a vacation home for a week, all together, including my former husband. No need to share details, but I'm feeling quite stressed about this already.

    Yesterday, after a restless night, my new husband and I opened the Bible for our morning devotions, and it was our wedding passage: Colossians 3:12-17! I wept as we read it again, as we were reminded of how we are to live our lives as God's beloved.

    Despite my flaws and my failures, I am still a beloved child of God. I can live this new year in the knowledge that God continues to love even me. I am to remember that my former husband is also a beloved child of God. I hope to regard and treat everyone as God's beloved! This is what I want to remember and to live- in 2012 and always.

    "As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

  141. Gayle says:

    Play – creatively.
    This past year was almost consumed in caregiving. Those responsibilities are winding down, and it is time to restore myself.

  142. Barbara says:

    Last year I dwelled in SILENCE
    listening in the stillness
    to the WORD.
    Abba spoke , whispering in my heart
    Psalms sang their poems to me,
    and I sat in SILENCE.
    The silence took me
    into myself
    where I found my voice
    to begin speaking the WORD
    even as I listened
    in SILENCE.
    I hear the WORD
    in the silence and in my poems.
    WORD is my word.

  143. Shannon says:


    I'm struggling much with this word, but know it's the right one. It has something to do with grace, and the acceptance of it. And, with restoration of the broken and seemingly ruined parts of me.

  144. Lucia Van Ruiten says:

    I bless this night’s sacred space of pondering and entering into

    the sacred threshold of 2012.

    holding my greatest treasure-

    Jesus of Nazareth who companions me to journey

    “The Beyond Within” (Fritz Kunkel )

    I give thanks for all my life-experiences

    woven so mysteriously and creatively into this moment of reflection

    as I graciously nod to my emerging Word for this year –

    “ EMBRACE “ to embrace with open arms eagerly and willingly –

    aligned (BRACE )

    as a very skilled person (ACE)

    to the work of LOVE’S transforming power –

    as I DAILY bow, bend and bless

    the dawn- the dusk- and the dark’s hour.

  145. Jean Rummelhoff says:

    PAUSE,…. as in sacred pause; pausing when triggered; pausing to appreciate a thought, a feeling, a person, a moment,….pausing before speaking; pausing before a meal to give thanks; pausing to let someone go in front of me; pausing to make a connection with another human being,……

  146. The word that has chosen me for 2012 is : EXPLORE. I love this word because it gives me permission to not only explore my new country..France…but also to delve into almost any area of life: relationships, spirituality, history, art, business ideas, etc. To explore, I don't have to be an expert or do it perfectly; I just need to be open to something new. I might not even explore fun things; I might choose to experience the fragrance of poverty or otherness or take a taste of a new discipline.

  147. Bill Westervelt says:

    My word as I sit at a crossroad in this life is "Passion", and more exactly, the lack of it in my life or my ability to see what I'm "passionate" about. Without passion I feel I've lost direction and motivation and desire.

  148. Nancie Chmielewski says:

    My word is Pathway.

    This word has manifested itself in my dreams–waking and sleeping. I look, I seek and know that I must keep my feet on the pathway. where it will lead is the trust walk, the adventure, the grace.

  149. Peg Conway says:

    My word is "dare." It came to me early on but I wasn't sure. After a few days, it became clear that it's definitely the word. It connotes action, boldness. There's a new enterprise I want to launch in 2012, and I need this word to spur me on when doubt creeps in.

  150. My word is hyphenated: "follow-through" as in, follow-through with my ideas, dreams, hopes, to-do list. I first thought of "Birthing" but that wasn't quite it. Then I thought, "productivity" and, nah, that wasn't quite it either. A day later, "Follow-through" came to me and *click* I knew this is my word for the year.

    muchisma hugs–

  151. My word(s) for the new year that finally came are: dying to…

    There are many things, oppressive systems, that I am part of that I need to die to or encourage a dying to so that new growth can come. So my prayer is keeping open to the places where people are thirsty, hungry, and in pain so that I might die to that part of it that makes me part of that system.

  152. Deborah Hansen says:

    My word is "spacious." During Advent my word was "Presence," and I came to see that my presence to my moments very much depended on the Presence of God in my moments. My awareness of this Presence as a LOVING Presence opened up within me a space of abundance and freedom I never knew existed. In the coming year I want to know and rejoice in this spaciousness of Loving Presence.

  153. Sally LaFaver says:

    My word for 2012 is “Soul”.

    Soul is a word that I seldom use. It’s a shaky word for me. I’m not sure just what it means and I’m not sure at all what it means for me. I avoid using it, even while being somewhat curious about it.

    Yet, recently the word "Soul" has been making itself more present. A few weeks ago on a cold morning I looked out the window and saw a snowy icy road. But what caught my attention was the car parked at the curb directly across the street from my front window. On the driver’s door with at least an inch of snowt, the word “soul” was written in very large capital letters. At the moment I thought it was “curious” and went about getting ready for the day. But over the next hour or so, I continued to be drawn back to the window and the sight of the word “soul” written there on the car, as if it were a message meant just for me. In another hour the sun had emerged, the temperature risen, and the word “soul” had disappeared.

    Off and on I remembered the moment, but didn’t seriously think about it until Christine’s email about choosing a word for 2012. Even then, I thought of several others, but “soul” continued to shine through those thoughts. Finally, it seemed as clear as it could be. The thought of living with the word “soul” in this new year is enchanting, disconcerting, mysterious, challenging and I think right. To make choices this year that have soul for me, to live mindfully with soul, to become acquainted with my soul, to have a much deeper understanding of it and relationship with it … seems to be my direction for 2012. “Soul” is my word.

  154. Kate Jobe says:

    Over the last four or five years, I have been establishing my yearly intent via a word for the year. My word is for this year is AUTHENTICITY. While contemplating upon what my word for 2012 would be, I did a short writing exercise suggested in Julia Cameron's blog. The exercise focused upon writing for 10 minutes about the time in your life when you felt the most empowered. This exercise revealed some surprising observations and while writing it, three words came to me as "contenders" for my word for 2012. After the writing was completed, I meditated with the intent to meet the spirit of the soul energy of the word that was to be my intent for 2012. "Authenticity" appeared, as a woman who referred to herself as "Divine Authenticity." I loved meeting her spirit and look forward to embracing her energy and walking in her footsteps throughout the next twelve months.

  155. Camille says:

    My word is "transform". It is not so much to cut away, as to shape-shift. To me this word is an invitation. We rarely know what we are transforming to; it is an action of willingness.

  156. Laura says:

    My word for 2012 is precious. To me this word intones a spirit of cherishing all that is in existence. To deem something or someone precious means that I see them with the eyes of intense appreciation, love and protection. Creation in all of its beauty and possibility, all of it is precious. For this year I want to grow in my realization of this word.

  157. cHaRiTy! says:

    : refreshment of strength and spirits after work; also : a means of refreshment or diversion : hobby

    Origin of RECREATION
    Middle English recreacion, from Anglo-French, from Latin recreation-, recreatio restoration to health, from recreare to create anew, restore, refresh

  158. Cathie says:

    My word for 2012 is luminal. I am poised one step from the threshold and am eagerly preparing to step over into yet another luminal space.

  159. cathy says:

    my word did not come in quiet meditation or a soul-full walk ~ it came after i fell on black ice and broke my left wrist. my wise chiropractor mentioned that the left side is about the feminine and receiving. and subsequently i have already been receiving much grace and love from others. so when i read christine's invitation to consider what word is choosing me this year i knew that my word is receiving.

  160. anne says:

    embody (as a verb) ~ personify, represent, integrate, stand for, encompass, realize

    embodiment (as a noun) ~ tangible and visible form of quality/belief; manifestation and expression of my soul and essence

  161. Kathy says:

    The word is "action"

    Happy New Year!

  162. MaryEllen says:


    Each insight I've embraced,
    Each exploration I've resisted,
    Each journey into the unknown,
    Each question that has lingered,

    has shown me that the
    Sacred within
    in fullness.

  163. Regina says:

    My word is "pilgrim". I've been thinking about how I'm on a journey to some holy place – destination unknown – and how I need to spend sometime recognizing the holy places and experiences I have along the way.

  164. LA says:

    My word for this coming year is release. There is so much physically, mentally, and spiritually that is weighing me down and now is the year for me to work on letting go that which no longer serves.

  165. Claire says:

    my word is 'earthed'.
    i read richard rohr's 'preparing for christmas' during advent, and the overwhelming message of the incarnation and embracing the physical world…
    so i sat with that for a while, and saw myself as an electric cable (don't ask!), with frayed wires and sparks flying…
    than the word came…
    i must be EARTHED, rooted, grounded before i can make use of – and be used by – the divine sparks within me :)

  166. Kayce says:

    My word is BE. 😉

  167. Deb Richards says:


  168. Patti says:

    My word for the New Year is "Beloved".

    This word came to me a few months ago as I looked at some deeper childhood wounding and losses. It is still difficult for me to believe that even as a child, I was beloved.

    My daily mantra is, "I am beloved and have always been beloved by angels and the Divine."

  169. Amy evans says:

    My word is transformation

  170. Sandra says:

    I have been given some wonderful opportunities in the past year and hope to see them ripen if I remain faithful to the process.

  171. Cori says:

    The word I give to others this year is "communitas"

    A concept first written about by Victor Turner after his anthropological work in Africa, "communitas" is the idea of belonging to a group that is unstructured by hierarchy which dissolves the lines that separate and define us. To be in communitas means to be equal with those you are with in the present moment, it can not be held onto or created, it happens when one or more people move through liminal space together.

    While on retreat we enter into communitas where lines of division cease to exist and we meet Christ in one another. Without judgment and demarcation we offer our deepest selves to God and to one another. When we offer spiritual direction we offer our time and sacred space so another can enter into communitas.

    • Colette says:

      Thanks for word, Cori. It really jumped out at me among all the words that are offered here…speaking to the experience of a group I am involved with.

  172. Gay Getz says:

    My word for 2012 is the same as it has been for several years (I haven't exhausted it yet!) – SPARKLE! I came across it at the last Sacred Circles conference at the National Cathedral. I had a chance to try some body glitter, and put some (just a little!) on my face. It didn't wash off!!! All through the conference, people would look at me and remark "You're sparkling!" What an affirmation of my path. I determined to make choices that would make my life and my world sparkle, and what fun it has been!

  173. janet says:

    My word is NOW.

    My plan/resolution/desire is to live more in the present moment, to be aware of the person(s) with me, to be aware of all that is around me, of what is happening NOW, not the past few moments, or what is to come in the next few hours, but the beauty, the miracle of the NOW.

  174. Priscilla says:

    My word is 'wild'.

    This comes from a quote I found a month or so ago from William James. In effect he said that there's something wild at the center of the universe, and that it's ours to find and live out in our lives.

    I'm going off on sabbatical shortly, and connecting with the 'wild' is what I want and need.

  175. Andrea Cox says:

    Hello Christine,
    This practice is so powerful and the words that chose me for this years practice are:
    Love and Devotion.
    Thank you.
    Alles Gute und Liebe im neuen Jahr.

  176. Lynn says:

    My word is DEEPER.

    My previous experience of going deeper has seldom been what I anticipated or expected. I trust 2012 is going to be a year of astonishment and wonder as the year unfolds.

  177. Judy says:

    My word is "mystery." My desire for this year is to better identify what it means for me to, daily, choose life in the mysterious paradox of death and life.

  178. Charmion Burns says:

    My word for 2012 if "new." This came from doing lectio on the q1uotation in the first chapter of "The Artist's Rule"–

  179. Karen says:

    My word is "flower", as in "to flower"…. Like a plant that is established and rooted and nourished, then flowers in the spring. I have spent the last few years doing a lot of inner work and feel strong and grounded within myself, but my challenge is voice, and sharing myself with others. I am often too content to just be content in my introverted world. I don't really crave recognition, but sometimes I do need to offer what I have to others.

  180. Mary says:

    Learning that I am a part of everything and everything is a part of me, because everything is of God and spirit.

  181. Mary Ellen P. says:

    Wisdom-This word came to me from my spiritual director. My other option was Welcome, but I believe that what I need to do is Welcome Wisdom into my interior life. Sophia(Wisdom) is patiently waiting for me to welcome her and I hope to grow in wisdom as I go through the trials and joys of 2012, as an artist, knowing God is in everything I touch and create, praying my creations will bring to others wonderful wisdom also.

  182. Mandy says:

    Three words stood out for me including "zest" and "nurture". However, it was the word "Grace" that called my name. Grace! For me is to seek and to rest with and commune with God each and every hour of each and every day. To learn to be aware of God's presence. For this year to be a gift both "to and from" God. To walk and live with God in the silence of God's Grace. To recognize and see Grace flowing through all and everything … To seek and come to know God. To be still and know God's Grace. And to give thanks with heartfelt simple, gentle gratitude.

  183. Imogen says:

    My word is waiting. I am looking to start a new career this year and I am not sure exactly what form it will take. I am going to become a Spiritual director but I am also considering developing my art in some way. I feel God is saying you are waiting for the right time, the right opportunities and that is good. Have a waiting heart.

  184. Chris Zydel says:

    I couldn't find just ONE word so I came up with three which actually form a phrase which is MAGICAL SPACIOUS ABUNDANCE.

    Last year I felt very squeezed by my many commitments and so I am longing for a sense of spaciousness this year. I am ready to let go of feeling it is all up to me so I am allowing the spirit of magic to take me where I need to go. And since magic comes from the world of spirit I am reminded that my continued devotion to spirit is the source of all the abundance that I will need.

  185. Karen says:

    Advent. It is a season of waiting and anticipating, and even though it is past on the church calendar, it is still the season I am dwelling in.

  186. Linda says:

    My word for 2012 is ACCEPTANCE. It is a word that has been showing up in a myriad of ways in my life throughout the past year. At first it was an antidote to my tendency toward resistance to accepting things I cannot change. I wrote affirmations about how I easily and willingly I accept "what is". Apparently I was not ready to truthfully affirm that thought because I found myself failing miserably at the little tests that came in rapid succession inviting me to practice the affirmation. Nonetheless, I persisted in reciting the affirmation. Then came a totally unacceptable experience with someone I care about. I did not handle it well. For several days I forgot all about my affirmation and allowed myself to be tossses to and fro in my emotional hurricane. One night a still small voice got my attention and I began to sort through my wounded feelings. At the root of them I discovered my unwillingness to accept something that I could not change in my relationship with my friend. Two more words started dancing in my room in the wee hours of the night when Spirit calls to me. The words were " humble tolerance. " They had the power to awaken me to heart-fully enter into the process of acceptance that I now welcome as a gift. Once I accepted the gift I realized that one layer of my resistance was coming from the parts of myself that I don't accept. From there I have been in a process of embracing a new level of understanding that revealed to me how I am accepted by God and I am enough just as I am. The message was not new but believing it is new. My affirmation has not changed but the inner landscape of my "knowing" it to be true in my heart has. My soulvision for 2012 will be to follow the signposts of acceptance as a goal, a practice, and a symbol for my inner work. So far the best part of my journey with this word it that there is a positive aspect I had not considered before. God's acceptance of me is something I cannot change and that is something I am now willing to accept.

  187. Cathy Stevenson says:

    My word for 2012 is "ponder." This word always intrigues me, especially as I read at Christmas time of "Mary pondering all these things in her heart." This year it has spoken to my spirit in new ways…of my need to "ponder" and not just react, to take time to look deeper into my life, to marvel at what God is doing through me, to be cognizant of what God is bringing to bear all around me.

  188. Claudia says:

    My word is "Solitude"

    My life can be quite busy but I love "hermit times". Making more time for solitude so I can be more open to the Mystery is my hope, and my word for 2012 (and beyond).

  189. Charlotte says:

    My soul continues the lament of a year fraught with loss. I start 2012 weary from grief and burdened with anger and anxiety. The dark veil of winter obscures clarity of vision pushing hope just beyond felt reality. This year I want to keep that potent word, "hope," as present as I am able, to guide me through the black night of recovery.

  190. Jamie says:

    My word/phrase is: Sacred Story.

    I hope to more fully understand, know, hold and respect my own story as sacred. And to treasure it.
    I hope to understand that each person has a sacred story. And I hope to treasure it.

  191. Debra says:

    My 2012 word is "promise." I desire to believe and have faith in God's promise to me and unreservedly live in what I feel is my promise to others.

  192. sheila says:

    My word is 'generous'. It has surprised me but is the word that will not 'let me go'. Generous can often so easily be used in connection with money but I have been really blessed this past year by the 'generous listening' that has been given to me and that I, in turn, have been able to offer to others. So this is perhaps an opportunity to consider the word 'generous' in so many other contexts and I am looking forward to it.

  193. Deb says:

    The word that has found me is "Initiate". The word is offering all sorts of images so far – healing, receiving, dedicating, entering into the mysteries; I have a vision of stepping more deeply into the holy spaces and inviting others to follow me. I feel the word is a calling to birth new things and awaken newly to life.

  194. Deborah Black says:

    I wanted something else. But I got " brave", (or "be brave"). It came from an unexpected source, a quote on the facebook status of a Canadian broadcaster: "2012 is for the brave"!
    So it shall be. Because it spoke to me, that catch in the throat, prickly skin kind of speaking. And I know that of all that I could have chosen as a watchword, it is my walking through fear that will test my meddle, and maybe I will even learn what to 'be brave' means, for me.

  195. Tarianne says:

    My word for 2012 is "birth" and includes its many forms – birthing, birthed, giving birth, etc. This word has grabbed me for a couple weeks now and has shown up everywhere. I am aware that birth is not all lovely, but can be a struggle, cause pain, needs to be breathed into. Something (or someone) is being birthed in my life and I look forward to meeting that something or someone!

  196. Wes McIntyre says:

    My word is "Reality." In the story of the lost son or prodigal son (Luke 15) he has an experiencing of "coming to himself" or "coming to his senses." It is a key turing point in his story. He confesses that he has "sinned against heaven and before you (his father). It is as if he is saying, "I have gone against / lived over against reality, against the way things are, against heaven itself." This recognition, this awakening to this in his life carries the seed of new hope. He is no longer blind to his lostness. He sees it. All to say that I feel the need for a shift in how I see reality; something that offers more hope; something that allows a less adversarial stance, less aggressive response to the world around me.

  197. Caroline says:

    My word came to me on Christmas Eve and as I sat with it for a few days it became stronger, speaking to me also from week 5 of the Artist’s Rule and the Rumi that Christine quotes there. Etty Hillesum’s spiritual journey is one of the most extraordinary I have read. She writes in September 1942:
    'Hineinhorchen – I so wish I could find a Dutch equivalent for that German word. Truly, my life is one long hearkening unto myself and unto others, unto God. And if I say that I hearken, it is really God who hearkens inside me. The most essential and deepest in me hearkening unto the most essential and deepest in the other. God to God.' (Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943, p 519)
    This is a particular quality of listening, inner listening. The translation from the German ‘hineinhorchen’ into ‘hearken’ does not completely capture what Etty means, and Etty herself cannot find a word in Dutch (the language of her diary), which captures her meaning. Etty was deeply influenced by Rilke and my word for last year ‘unfold’, came from him. So my word is hineinhorchen.

    Smelik, Klaas A D ed., Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943 (Cambridge: William B Erdmans, 1986).

  198. Judith Sornberger says:

    My word is "vessel."

    I looked back in my journal at two dreams in the last few weeks that had seemed to shimmer for me. In one I had met my male-poet doppelganger–a man living in rich poverty, and I thought a word might wink at me from that journal entry, especially because in one "room" of the dream my mother–now deceased–had sung a song about how much she loved her daughter. Although I could hear her, I couldn't see her, but that was enough. But the part of the dream that yielded my word for the upcoming year was in some writing I did about the ending of the dream–a part I'd forgotten.

    Outside of this man's shack I found a large glass vessel. I remember that I thought of the word "vessel" when I first saw it. I decided to clean it up. It was really caked in dirt, and I kept rinsing and rinsing it with a hose. Finally, it came clean and was a deep reddish purple–so beautiful. My discovery felt like finding the holy grail sitting sitting around in plain sight but obscured by neglect.

    In my life–and my work as a poet–I will be thinking of myself this year as a holy vessel for the Spirit. Or perhaps it is each poem that is a vessel. I will work to keep this vessel's beautiful colors clear, to attend to it regularly. I vow not to neglect it, however busy or distracting my world becomes.

  199. Angela says:

    My word is "tell," both in the sense of the verb–to tell stories–and the noun–a new city (a new year, new life) built on top of the ruins of one's own life and the lives of one's ancestors.

  200. Rebecca says:

    My word is Longing. My body, mind and spirit are often restless. I want something seemingly constantly. I usually scratch that itch of "want" with distraction. Distractions come in the form of food, the Internet, planning for the next thing. I am so aware of how these things don't satisfy. Beneath that little niggling want or desire is a true and deep longing. It is a longing for what is Truest and Deepest. A longing for Beauty and Nature. A longing to be loved and to Be Love. It is a longing for God. God is in every moment. Truth and beauty and love is to be found every where when I pay attention. This year I pray that I will listen with constancy and depth to my Longing.

  201. cate says:

    My word for 2012 is "reflection", and it holds within it my deep longing to be a quiet pool holding, expressing and giving back all at once, light and grace and the grandeur of this magnificent world we are all walking through together. The word originates in the Latin reflex/reflectare meaning "to bend or bow", and thus it also expresses reverence, humility and belonging.

  202. Victoria says:

    My word is Nobility–
    No rank, position, or power can prove one noble; truly noble is one who is generous of heart; and through expansion of heart and mind, naturally embodies a nobility of character and manner. As the heart expands, one's horizon becomes wide, and we finds greater and greater scope in which to build the kingdom of God on earth.

  203. Kory Wells says:

    My word is LESS. It immediately causes me discomfort, because it sounds like I might want to be less than I am now in terms of a creative person, a friend, a mother, wife and daughter, a worker, etc. But that still small voice says I need to focus on less in my life: less stuff, less noise, less that I attempt to do. I need to experience – on a more sustained basis than I have in the past – how less IS more.

  204. Deborah says:

    I thought initially my word would be relational…but it is:
    "Bridge" ~
    I had a dream and in it I am telling some friends that a particular friend (named fay) had died (In reality she did die this past September) – In the dream, though, my friends did not hear me even though I said it twice.
    Fay was a vibrant, curious, intelligent, thoughtful and relational person – and indeed, she had a painting or photo of a bridge above her fireplace in her living room ~
    I take this image, in part, as a reminder of Fay (in me) and the "bridges" i am going to cross, make, see, find etc. in this new year ~ My friends can't hear me or my impression of me ,in the dream ~ Perhaps my impression is too small and this Bridge is going to call me to expand…..

  205. My word is "dispirited". Only because the word chose me and not the other way around can I accept and confess it. The word came to me in the night while I was lying on my bed, and I heard it all night long. It sounds negative, and it is, because that has been the reality of my life for some time now. But I recognize the challenge it presents: to be reunited with my spirit, to find the inspiration that will give me the strength I need to live authentically and fully. I have already acted on this revelation, and, while it was painful, I know it is a step in the right direction…

  206. Anneclaire Le Royer says:

    My word for 2012 is — 'awaken'. Time is short; opportunities abound, and many challenges as well. To become fixated on the wrong things alienates time in a sense. I long to open to Him in whom I live and move and have my being. My time is in God's time. I would like to gently 'awaken' within His time this year.

  207. Kath says:

    The word that seems to continue to surface for me is linger… I desire to linger more each day… to linger over the beauty of words; to linger longer with dear friends and family; to linger in nature so I can soak in more of its beauty… to linger lovingly in a contemplative approach to life, to love so I may evolve as a more loving and listening woman deepening my relationship with the God who lingers with me daily.

  208. Judy Olson says:

    My word is "abundance"! I am inspired by the abundance in the natural world and see no reason why I should not live in abundance in 2012. How many blades of grass in my backyard? How many needles on the pine tree?!

  209. The word that immediately popped into my head was "Flourish." The online "Free Dictionary" defines it:
    1. To grow well or luxuriantly; thrive.
    2. To do or fare well; prosper.
    3. To be in a period of highest productivity, excellence, or influence.
    4. To make bold, sweeping movements.

    I pray that my family, friends, and myself will flourish in 2012 in ways that celebrate all the wonderfully positive meanings of the word and more!

    Bright Blessings!

  210. Stephanie says:

    My word is "softly".
    It connects to my word from last year "surrender" which allowed me to surrender to personal chaos around me at work and in the world. Even so, I took notice of a building anger in my surrendering. Perhaps I wasn't truly surrendering very well. So this year I want to add the word "softly". There is so much noise in the world – I want to be a softer being. To help me renew these words daily, I ordered two Land's End tote bags with the words stitched onto the totes. Rather than placing my name on the bags, I put "softly" on one bag and "surrender" on the other bag. In this way, I will "tote" the words with me to both work and play.

  211. Donna Fyffe says:

    My word is more of a phrase 'every encounter a blessed encounter'. This phrase has been with me for the past two years. It calls me to look into the eyes of the other to truly see them. It reminds me to of a desire that someone is better because we connected. At times of conflict, I'll recall my desire and it shifts my energy with the person. I have more miles to go before this becomes a way of being but for now it is a sacred call that keeps calling to me.

  212. Beth Knight says:

    Anam Cara – my word for 2012 is soul friend/Anam Cara. Those Anam Cara that I deeply cherish live 5000 miles away in Alaska. I am missing them so. I am in a second year of adjusting to a new life chapter in Florida. My heart yearns for a true spiritual friend to be present with, look into each others eyes, encourage one another, take walks outdoors, laugh, cry and pray together. I am married and have a wonderful husband and a grown daughter. Yet, moving from my home in Alaska to Florida has felt disorienting on many fronts. As I learn from this season I wait , trust and pray for Spirit to send a flesh being Anam Cara.

  213. June Goudey says:

    My word is release, as in discharging stale energy from the past to welcome new healing energy for 2012. I am moving from a time of intense ministry to others to a time when I will open myself to new vocational possibilities. To make room for the new I need to release past memories of trauma that have limited my body energies for 60 years. Over time there have been many releasing moments; yet in 2012, I am finally prepared to say good bye to that which is deadened and release a new spiritual energy for my own good. Because it's time…

  214. Mary Hickey says:

    My word is creativity. I feel called to explore the energy that is released when one unites with the creature energy of the Divine. Alone and with fellow artists, I would like to explore the relationship of prayer, meditation, contemplation and the creating of art work.

  215. Margaret says:

    My word is "compassion."
    At first I wasn't sure, but it seems to keep bubbling up around me–in articles, newsletters, even on a homemade gift given to me by a friend. I need to practice compassion for others, but I also am focusing on compassion for myself. This will be my most challenging arena, but one that I feel is key for learning how to truly be compassionate. Somehow, I think compassion for self and for others are linked in this focus for me in 2012.

  216. vicki says:

    BELOVED is my word this year. It is a discipline for me to look at myself and believe that I am a beloved child of God. It is also a discipline I need to employ when working with my female inmates at the county jail. Beloved – loved for simply being who and Whose we are. Given and received freely – no strings attached. Simply beloved.

  217. Sallie Douglas says:

    My word for 2012 is share. We all have an abundance of God-given gifts that we take for granted. This is a great time to share them with others!

  218. Shawn says:

    My word is "open." When I am open to God's leading in my life I am always amazed at the people and places God allows me to encounter. I feel as if I am coming upon a threshold that will lead me to something new on my spiritual and life journey. How open am I willing to be to this and all new experiences? My daily prayer is that I can remain open to the movement of the Spirit in my life and the lives of those around me.

  219. Betty Chrastka says:

    My word is "desire." I'm aiming toward making what I desire conform to the spirit rather than material things. My desire seems to be leading me to desire more time with the Lord.

  220. Susan Dougherty says:

    My word for 2012 is "nudgelings". (those "somethings" on the edge of awareness that are even more subtle than nudges) I want to take time to be still on a regular basis and attend to those subtle bodily-felt movements within me so that they can unfold to reveal a life-forward direction. And then to respond wholeheartedly to whatever the Holy is inviting.

  221. Pat Ferrone says:

    I offer the word "Nowhere", which can be broken down into "Now-Here" a mantra that reminds me to be present to the present, especially when I sit to meditate. It focuses me in the gentlest of ways and allows me to sink into the mysterious and deep stillness of the Holy.

  222. Janet says:

    My word for 2012 is pilgrimage- as 2011 ended I ended a ministry and as 2012 dawns I begin a new ministry of teaching and pastoral care at a new church in a different congregation. 2012 feels like a pilgrimage to me- following the light, not quite sure where I'm going, hopefully learning about trust and faith along the way.

  223. Anne says:

    My word is "courage" – at Christmas Eve service, I asked the children what they thought Jesus would have us remember about his birth and life. Without hesitation, a young boy said, "to have courage!" I was surprised and delighted with his response and it has been percolating within me since. It has been a difficult year at church and personally – full of loss and sadness. The grief is lightening and I look forward to a new courage this year – courage to heal, to accept love, respect, praise, loss and grace – courage to accept my mistakes and my gifts; courage to love and enjoy my place in God's creative kin-dom.

  224. Judy says:

    My word is obedience. The biography, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, has repeatedly moved me in his desire to know the will of God and do it. As I also note in Scripture, obedience to God's will is about living fully in peace. I am reminded of a professor's statement that "God's will is our well being".

  225. Sarah says:

    My phrase is "stand your ground," which truly puzzles me, so I am looking forward to this phrase working on me this year so I can see where this is leading!

  226. randi kander says:

    LISTEN is my word. I talk too much for one thing, and for the second, our church's theme for this year is "Listen, God is calling." It's from an African song that we sing frequently. When I heard that last Sunday it rang my soul like a bell. I'm adopting that as my personal theme for the year as well. And for the third thing, I spend too much time doing urgent things rather than important ones. My plan is to listen to my heart and soul and discover the things that are truly important to me.

  227. My word for this year is "attend." I do not mean this in the sense of being physically present at an event, but to "attend with the ear of one's heart" as St. Benedict invites us to do. It is so easy for me to go about my daily life without paying an ounce of attention to what is going on around me or within me. This year I want to change that. I want to be truly attentive to God, myself, and others and respond accordingly.

  228. Julie Szolek-Van Valkenburgh says:

    My word for 2012 is MUSIC. . . .music brings me joy; music introduces me to new worlds; music takes me out of my head and into my spirit; music expresses that for which words are not adequate.

    The past two years have required much letting go and surrendering as I was laid off and entered the world of unemployment with my family that I supported. This Christmas I found myself connecting with the Little Drummer Boy and with people in Whoville from the show, The Grinch, as I contemplated how I would be able to buy gifts for my family. I realized that in the Drummer Boy, the gift that he gave was music and that was enough, and in the Grinch after everything had been taken from those in Whoville, they still were able to sing joyfully on Christmas day.

    I feel blessed knowing that music will accompany through this year and further on this journey that I have been on for the past two years.

  229. […] tradition for my friend Christine Valters Painter of Abbey of the Arts (stop by Christine's blog and add your word there – and get a […]

  230. Susan Richmond says:

    Open my heart.
    That phrase keeps surfacing in my quiet time of meditation. At a contemplative service I regularly attend, we sing a chant with those words which seem to have worked into my soul. As mother, wife, colleague, friend, daughter I hear its resonance calling me. Open my heart…open my heart…

  231. Wronda says:

    My word is CHANGE. I knew as soon as I heard it, and I recoiled, that it was exactly the right word. It's full of the unknown – chaos and adventure. Change.

  232. greer ryall says:

    My word is AUDACIOUS
    To live so fully into the joy of potential the result cannot be contained. To suck the proverbial marrow; let it transform into the fireworks of life with you as the cannon. Be the unstoppable kaleidoscope of who you were meant to be.

  233. claudia campbell says:

    The word that chose me this year is "consent". This word evokes a deep yes from my heart, mind, soul, and body to all that is and to all that is yet to come. The ability to consent stems from a deep trust in God's love, mercy, and goodness. My prayer is that I would be open to everything that presents itself to me in the coming year without judgement or resistance and that I would say yes to all the ways God wishes to reveal the divine in my life.

  234. Karen says:

    My word is TRUST. This past year had some difficult challenges, and some pain and hurt — some of it my own, and some belonging to others. I have been meditating on these experiences and the sad realization that I participated in the making of hurt. Trust was one of several words that showed up in my journal. The following night I had a dream in which I was perched on a rickety structure, trying to find a piece of wood to step on so that I could get down. Where to step? I was filled with fear that I would fall. As I understand it right now, "trust" is about learning to trust myself again, and to trust spirit.

  235. Lin Cashman says:

    The word that chose me is WONDER. I immediately wondered about this word; did I hear correctly! But as I'm pondered it, I love this word. It is full of so much possibility. It's meaning is not only to think or specualte curiously and sometimes doubtfully; It is also to be filled with awe — to marvel — a feeling of amazement — a cause of suprise — even a miracle. I want to walk this year in WONDER fully awake to all it's gifts, callings and possibilities.

  236. My word for 2012 is the Hebrew word "Shema" which means to literally that+is from+there+eye+listen. Listen is "there" (a sound coming from somewhere) followed by "eye" (having a look). This is skill that I would like to develop further this year as I learn to listen with my entire being of what is all around me in sound, sight, touch in full sense. My goal is to be able to sense everything from my heart as I feel God's presence all around me.

  237. Therese says:

    Truth – I want this year to be a year in which I live my life by the truth.

  238. Kel says:

    three strikes and resistance is futile!
    a session at abbey of the arts, in my studio and on flock
    looks like my word for 2012 is nourish

    1. To provide with food or other resources necessary for life.
    2. To foster the development of or promote growth.
    3. To keep alive, maintain, nourish a hope: keep a feeling or belief in mind.

  239. Deb says:

    WATCH is the word that has chosen me! I have been noticing that I have been moving from Active to Watch. I am now sitting back and watching as life unfolds; i watch as Goddess leads my journey; no longer am I actively trying to direct my own; but most of all I am Watching as my life and others move along the cosmic journey. It is a new way of living; and it suits me for this year! Watch!

  240. Sarah Louise says:

    The word "here" leapt out of the page as I was reading the invitation to submit a word to describe the year. So "here" it is.

  241. Laura says:


    May I be focused on the ONE God
    May I be ONE with the Trinity
    May I be ONE myself, whole and undivided (lessening of the false self and growth of the true self; Parker Palmer's notion of "wholeness")
    May I live into the fullness of being completed–ONE–by God, not by my actions or words.
    ONE God, ONE true light and life, ONE Spirit.


  242. Chantel says:

    EMBRACE…this is the word that came to me. Their is an acceptance, an allowing, a willingness inherent in embrace; I embrace life and that which comes my way. There is love and passion in embrace; I intend to cultivate love this year. Enthusiasm resides in embrace; to embrace is to fully take hold of with gusto. I am excited to EMBRACE each moment, both the opportunities and challenges that present themselves. I look forward to embracing my year ahead and all that comes with it.

  243. Nena Price says:

    My word for 2012 is "action." I am very introverted and by nature contemplative. I want to couple contemplation and action more fully in my life. My starting point, however, is to surrender to the action of the Holy Spirit within me. From that, I pray that I can be more fully aware of the nudges, synchronicities, and the daily calls from God leading me to action.

  244. Mary says:

    MANIFEST is the word which immediately popped into my head and has stayed with me. It is not a commonly used word so it was very striking to me. As an adjective it means something readily perceived and obvious. I have always been very contemplative so this word calls me to be creative and to write, draw, sing, throw a party–do things in this world to manifest hope and joy.

  245. Judy Locher says:

    that surpasses all understanding!!

  246. Rachel K says:

    I love the word that has come to me, ACCEPTANCE. I accept it with joy and thanksgiving. My life blossoms when I do what is possible, when the need for the Perfect does not cancel out doing anything at all. Thank you for all of your inspiration. Wishing you and all my fellow monks-in-the-world peace and all good in this new year.

  247. CELEBRATE is my word for 2012. This year would be a huge success just remembering the accomplishments, the joy, the experiences in my year of 2011. So rather than place too many plans on the table in the first month of 2012, I will CELEBRATE my word – which, of course, just "came" to me after contemplating approximately 22 other words for several weeks now. Why is it one has a tendency to believe things just "come" when all along there's been preparation, nesting, warming, caring – and suddenly, unexpectedly(?) —— birth of THE word:)

    Happy New Year! Dianna

  248. Anne Marie says:

    This year God blessed me with the word RESTORE. After a year full of travel and family crisis it is clear it is time to tend to my own soul and restore the balance of peace, prayer, ministry, relationships, and ultimately…joy! I'm so excited this word was given to me through prayer and silence. It feels very organic and authentic for the year ahead and I am blissful thinking of what this consentration and intention will bring. Happy new year to all! May your words of intention bear much fruit!

  249. Marcia Wakeland says:

    My word is 'edge.' I'm attracted now to those places between one way of being and another–whether it is the edge of the sea as it meets the sand, the edge of my understanding as it meets with mystery or the edge of a relationship when it shifts from casual to connected in new and surprising ways. There are those edges of my ability to love, the edges of an argument, the edge of a cliff where toes curl between vista and fall. All are places of growing awareness.

  250. Bev says:

    My word is EFFULGENCE. This word was given to me in late November from an old prayer book. It may seem strange but because it is so odd and old it is easy to remember. It means shining brightly; radiant• (of a person or their expression) emanating joy or goodness. and it speaks of the radiating brightness and glory shining out from within us and also all around us and throughout all creation if we have eyes to see. The word never quite leaves me and when things are difficult it seems to pop up to remind me to look beyond the visible to the truth of Gods glory radiating through and even hidden behind what I can see.
    Thanks for reminding me to treasure it for the year.

  251. Christina says:

    Freedom is my word. This year I hope to make choices that bring me freedom…freedom to become the person God designed me to be.

  252. Sherry says:

    I just opened your email today on Jan. 2. It is also my custom to choose a word for the year and I woke yesterday with the word "savor" in my mind. How desperately I need the slowing down after 5 years of stress and moving way too fast. I am very blessed and the signs are all piled up around me. I want to slow down and focus on "savoring" each as it comes. It was a delight this a.m. to "savor" not having an appt. and being able to luxuriate in bed and in the glory of the morning.

    And now I am eager to read your thoughts on "savoring!"

  253. Lois says:

    I'd like another word…but "sacrifice" keeps coming back. I am searching for more depth than the traditional Christian meanings that cling to this word, to find the simple meaning for my life. Regardless, I know that I must also attach "joy" to it as well. So it will likely be "joyful sacrifice" in the broader sense. Thank you for helping me ponder…

  254. Pam Faulkner says:

    My word for this year is Peace. Last year was personally very stressful, so this year I am going to try & give it all up & be at Peace. I am also passing on this Peace to all I come in contact with & send it world wide. Many thanks for all the joy & insight you provide during the year.
    Peace & blessings to all, Pam

  255. Joyce says:

    In 2009, living through my husband's terminal illness, TRANSITION served me well. After his death, for 2010, RESILIENT was useful. EMPOWERED made 2011 an interesting year! The word that chose me for 2012 is SIMPLIFY! It is day 2 of this new year and my word is already manifesting in the choices I am making. Thank you for inviting me to community.

  256. Maxine says:

    My word for the new year is "authentic." Like so many of us, I wear many different "hats," and I would like to cultivate a sacred ground of authentic self that stays the same, regardless of which hat I am wearing at the moment (professional hat, home hat, artistic hat, etc.)

  257. cara says:

    Two words: Gentle courage.

  258. Lisa Wynn says:

    My word is "silence". This word has been coming at me from multiple directions. I have been searching for another word, but this word is being fairly insistent … arms crossed … tapping its foot … waiting for me.

  259. Mary says:

    My word for the year is embodiment. To embody all I have been and all I am becoming…..

  260. Mary says:

    My word is ASK. I chose this word because I think we (I) often think we have to do do do to obtain God's graces. But I know in my heart that he just wants us to ask. I don't think God wants our lives to be as complicated as we think they need to be.

  261. Terry Anderson says:

    My word is rebirth or birthing or being born into or something like that! Something about the birthing process has been mulling about in me for a couple months now. Nudging me awake sometimes……..a presence. So, while it hasn't chisled complete enough to hone out one word exclusively…'s this concept that I will be growing into in 2012. Happy New Year.

  262. Lisa Sadleir-Hart says:

    My word for 2012 is INTEGRATE. ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin integrat- ‘made whole,’ from the verb integrare, from integer ‘whole’ (see integer). My life's purpose is about integrating spirit with matter -heaven with earth- in service of Father Time and Mother Earth. Feeding the spirit and nourishing the earth to celebrate the fragility of our planet and bring her back to wholeness. When one integrates, she brings two or more things together to make a whole. In terms of humanity, she integrates when drawing together distinct groups of beings into equal relationship with one another. I'm looking forward to creating space for myself, my family, my community, my state and country and the greater world to put all the pieces together and manifest a greater whole…blessings to all as 2012 unfolds!

  263. Angela Mercy says:

    My word for 2012 is mindfulness. It came unbidden in early December, and I recognized it immediately. I want to be fully present and attentive to what is happening in any given moment. I want to be curious, open-hearted and accepting of my experience. I release any distractions, reactivity and judgments that get in the way of being mindful.

  264. Marilyn says:

    The word I received for this year is 'TRUST'.
    Primarily the invitation is to trust in God's love and goodness regardless of how an experience may appear to me. Typically I have judged life experiences based on whether they feel positive or not, rather than from awareness of God's love and wisdom based in His broader knowing.
    Also I am invited to trust my own heart more, confident God is speaking to and directing me through my heart rather than primarily my mind.
    My third area is to deepen my trust in others–particularly being more authentic and vulnerable, allowing my heart to be seen where I have tended to keep it hidden out of fear of being 'wrong' or rejected.
    Blessings, Marilyn

  265. Peggy Kern says:

    My word for this year is "stirrings". It's becoming more and more clear to me that God speaks in my heart, and if I want to learn to hear God's voice, I need to be more aware of, and pay more attention to, my heart's stirrings.

  266. Beacee says:

    My word seems to be release. It's such a multi-faceted word and will take a lot of exploring.

  267. Gayle says:

    My word for 2012 is Clarity. I want more clarity in all of the areas of my life, but mostly–
    –Deciding what is the real truth about relationships, however painful it may be, so I can work on them or move on.
    –Narrowing down my many interests to what my "True North" is so I can begin to concentrate on that. As I move toward retirement I need to figure out what my "Second Act" or my real life purpose will be.

  268. Mary Catherine says:

    My word is RISE. In my continuing journey of healing from the pain of divorce and of coming to know and claim who I am in God, I am now recognizing and receiving the gift of death – death to parts of my life that have hindered that knowing and claiming. I have hope in and welcome the resurrections which follow deaths. A spiritual mentor reminded me just last week that no boulder is too big to be rolled away to experience the life and love of the risen Jesus. In that, I heard the challenge to rise myself from the deaths in order to recognize and receive and share the risen. And so I look forward to and commit to a year of "rise-ness."

  269. JoAnn says:

    My word for 2012 – Compassion

    What we need more of in our homes, work, and areas we live. What we need more of in the world. Especially in this year of election of president in US, I pray for compassion.

  270. Martha says:

    Flourish – I want to grow beyond strength this year and stretch out with blossoms for life – blossoms that bloom simply for the sheer beauty of life.

  271. Joy says:

    My word for this year is *FREEDOM* – being free to be 'me'.

    Accepting myself and being OK with who I am. Allowing myself to do the things that I have not allowed myself to do, because of all the restrictions I have placed upon myself. Challenging my fears and doing it anyway. Living instead of existing. Being free. Being free to be me.

    Blessings to all for a truly wonderful 2012 ♥

  272. Denise Neuschwander says:

    My word came to me just before I got up to preach. I was listening to a Michael Card song about Joseph and the word "nurture" came to me. I will nurture my relationship with Jesus as a mother does her child: with play, read, work, and hold cloe to my heart my precious Jesus.. A couple of days after the word chose me, I was on FB when I saw that my daughter's friend, who is an artist, had a print for sale called "Nurtured." Ah, a God moment. The print should be here any day!

  273. Rosanna says:

    My word is SURRENDER…

    recently, different writings have found their way into my life, guiding me to notice my fierce devotion to defining my sense of self, my personal identity…while this time for self has been serving and healing me at many levels, I also find myself with a deeper longing to return , to increase my awareness of the universal connection shared with others, with Spirit, with the Divine, as ONE…this return requires me to let go, to open, to trust, ultimately, to SURRENDER to the love of the Divine…
    …and so, my word is SURRENDER…xo xo xo

  274. Linda says:

    My word for 2012 is "REMEMBER", as in re-member, or re-attach a member of the body that has become disconnected. I'm taking a course in narrative as healing, and as I write scripts about my personal story, and record my dreams to see if they offer any wisdom, I'm learning that "remembering" does bring new clarity and healing. I wonder what else the Spirit will reveal to me about this word?

  275. Shelley says:

    I think my word is "Grace". But I'm abit worried maybe I just want that to be my word, since I'm looking for grace and feel in need of it. I will sit it this a few more days and get back to you before the 6th.

    • Shelley says:

      Yes. My word is GRACE. (I guess it just seems too good to be true). Thank you, Christine, for this invitation to pay attention to our "word" for the year, and let it work in us. I look forward to pondering this more and remembering to be open to grace.

  276. Cat Charissage says:

    My word is "ease". Almost all of my life I've been "trying hard". I try hard to do all I can, I try hard to do my best. While I still believe in the great value of goals, it's too easy to become overwhelmed by the "more, more more" of trying ever harder. The words "grace" and "ease" have a restful fullness that I would much rather live with than such efforting. Ease.

  277. Sarah Jane says:

    My word for 2012 is RELEASE. I am drawn to letting go this year, old beliefs, limiting patterns, fears, stuff, and the illusion of "control". I am standing on the edge of that high cliff and ready jump…to fly!

  278. mary says:

    My word is "surrender" – surrender to Love.
    Right now I am feeling quite overwhelmed by too much work and too many responsibilities. I have always made myself "do" more – accomplish more – not give up. But, that has put me on a spiral that is life-sapping. It is hard to give up control – admit I cannot "do it all".

  279. Eleanor Linwood says:

    Hi Christine; I have been reading all of the other posts and the wonderful words and ideas that everyone has been putting forth out of their contemplation and prayer. It struck me that everyone was expressing what was indiviual for them or unique to them. I wanted my word to be uniqueness. Then I also considered that while we each have a unique word that speaks to the heart of each one of us, we are still all interconnected, a family. My word for this year is "resplendence" which speaks of the shining of each individual soul expression, but the brilliance of all of us will come forth as we come together as a world family expressing a common purpose of compassion, peace and love

  280. Beth says:

    A parishioner gave me a lovely old book called "Kept for the Master's Use" (Frances R. Havergal) which is a series of meditations on the hymn "Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to thee). I will be using the book for Lectio this year as I contemplate my word *consecrate*.

  281. Bob Knab says:

    There is mystery !

    spring –

    bread –

    wine –

    life _

  282. Sharie says:

    My word is "comforted". While walking around the Seward Park loop yesterday after hearing about the recent deaths of several people whose family's attend our church, I was feeling overwhelmed by the reality that death is unavoidable and uncontrollable, and that feeling grief is also unavoidable for those left behind. I have been struggling with my own grief most of my life and more recently after the death of my mother at the end of July.
    As I walked, the words came to me that I needed to learn to allow myself to be "comforted" and to trust God to be sure that my friends will be "comforted" as well and to do what I can do to be a conduit of that blessing on their behalf. "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." As I embraced the idea of receiving comfort as I walked among the trees. I realized that I could take in as much comfort for as long as I needed as I breathed in this gift. I also realized that as I gain more access and facility with this gift that I will be better able to offer it to others. So my practice for this year is to practice embodying the felt sense of being comforted in as many ways as I can!

  283. Gerry Stark says:

    My word is ABUNDANCE. As I continue to explore The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron with a group of wonderful women, I am struck by the limitless possibilities before me. Too often I have thought in terms of limited options or solutions to any given situation. Either or thinking rather than both and. By its very definition, abundance connotes an overflowing fullness. How will 2012 be different if I choose to experience life with abundance? Can a heart of abundance create transforming love for my life, my community and the world? A + BUN + DANCE …..sounds like fun!

  284. kathy says:

    Faith is the word that seemed to choose me ~ little faith… sounds like me ~ and faith the size of a mustard seed…. and it shall move. Wanting to allow faith to grow and move in and through my life.. deeper surrender when tempted to fear… trust in all the unknowns. Looking forward to the deepening of meaning of this word for my journey in the upcoming year.

  285. Marianne says:

    My word is "captaincy". I resisted it for a while as it sounded kind of bossy but my resistance made me realise there was something in it. I've been wrestling with the idea of being captain of my own ship/owning my own sovereignty, so captaincy is actually quite appropriate.

  286. BarbaraJ says:

    "Kindness". In the words of singer Jewel, "In the end, only kindness matters…"
    Kindness for others, and ALSO kindness towards myself.When I answer a request, I'll first ask "Is this kind to me?"

  287. Carolyn says:

    My word is CURIOSITY
    Thank you for providing this wonderful gift!

  288. Carol says:

    My word is "partnership" for 2012.

    All that the Universe wants to bring to us comes through the gateway of relationship… the receiving and giving… the nurture and encouragement…especially of our soul's purpose for being here. A friend has said, " We can't truly become ourselves by ourselves."

    I will be contemplating this word as I make a lifelong commitment in marriage to my beloved in February of this year. I promise to care for his soul as we co-create a life of goodness, wholeness, health and well being. It is exciting to be open to what we will discover about each other and what our contributions to the world will be through our love relationship.

    • Carol says:

      I forgot to mention that partnership will also include working with others to evolve human love and consciousness in the entire web of life.

  289. Sue says:

    My word this year is "Nurture."

    It flowed out of a sense of what I want in the coming year. I started with the word "safety" and then that wasn't it, and I realized I wanted to feel like I was in the womb, floating protected and safe but also developing into who I am.

    So I am mothering me and giving birth to myself this year–and being gentler with myself than I have been… so "Nurture."

    Thank you.

  290. Deb says:

    My word for this year is "balance". I have found that my self-spirit is out of balance, as is my life events with unemployment, injury, surgery and recovery.
    I realized today, through lectio of reading your first chapter on "Art Rule", that our search for self does not come from the observation of reactions without ourselves, or from emotions we internalize coming from an outside source, which are illusions of our internal monastery. I will seek to find balance of discovering my reality, living within my inner monastery, yet accept the challenge of contemplation, and humility to surrender to God's graces. I will seek balance of solitude, and community, as well as work and play. I will especially work to balance financial hardship with the lessons of the joy of poverty. In this way, I hope to find the silence, and peace of my moments.
    May God Bless and Keep All, Today, and Always,

  291. Linda Piotrowski says:


    It seems I've lived my life in anticipation of or response to other's needs and desires. It has become so that when given an opportunity to choose I become lost in thoughts of what others would want. I can't choose. I am facing some life changing choices in this new year. I want to choose wisely and well with attention to the will of God and mt heart's longing. Now to discern what that longing is. My word for 2012 is "longing."

  292. Marjorie says:

    My word is uncomplicated. Why not "simplify" I've asked myself. But it's just not shimmering for me like uncomplicated is. I have 3 part-time jobs all in ministry. A blessing but a lot of people and bosses to relate to and care for, which complicates my life. I have 4 kids, 2 step-kids and 4 grandkids, not to mention a husband. All of my family except one daughter live in the same city I do – a blessing but the more relationships you have the more complicated is your life. Twins home for a month from college with all their friends visiting, a new granddaughter on Dec. 15, family meals and interactions and responsibilities. As I enter 2012 when I will celebrate my 60th birthday, and make decisions regarding employment and relationships and commitments, I am asking my self…will this decision uncomplicate my life even just a little bit? I am blessed with a life that is full of very good things and relationships. I seek more spaciousness and uncomplicated times alone, in nature, with God to bring balance and to restore my own soul. I am up in the middle of the night writing this post, because it's a way to find alone time. Uncomplicated. That's my word for 2012.

  293. Monica says:

    My word is courage. It comes from the French word for heart. To be of good heart, to have inner strength, to be not afraid. These days, I feel in need of courage to face things that I would rather not have to face, yet they are unavoidable. So there is nothing else to do but go out into the midst of all that I am finding too much to bear and somehow carry on, hopefully, with heart, or with the hope of (re)finding heart in my life.

  294. "playful" God seems to be reminding me that all of life doesn't need to be so serious. It is OK to sometimes just play! It challenges me to be aware, to take a chance, to see what happens, to reach out without being concerned with the response, even to love without thought of the consequences!

  295. Amber Andreasen says:

    My word for the year is advent. The word and its definition were illumined towards the end of the Advent season: "The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important; an arrival or coming, especially one which is awaited; arrival that has been awaited (especially of something momentous)."
    I have sat with the word and with other words connected to it. But the word itself continues to rise to the surface. With the word, I sense hope and promise as I am invited to open to 2012 as a a year of my own homecoming and arrival in a new way.

  296. My word for the year is "Integrity." In my past, I have struggled with staying on the "upright/level highway." I have been bombarded with grief over several family losses, taken over by inaccurate thoughts about who I am in the world, and driven by the things of the world instead of the whispers from my Savior.

    After the Advent season, I was overwhelmed at how the Lord took away my grief. I realized, that I needed to give my family to Him. That they are His, as am I. This allowed me to stand alone, silent and still, and focus on what His plans are for me.

    He gave me the word, "Integrity," and in meditating on it, I saw myself re-branding myself as a writer/author and leaving my sluggard ways behind. He gave me a path to walk and wants me to be upright in traveling it. He wants me to be a mentor/leader for all those I come in contact with.

    The Lord wants me to be His Light again, and only a person of integrity can show how their heart desires Him so that others may see and know of His love.


  297. Paula says:

    The word, the Lord gave me for this year is WELCOME. I am seeing this year to be a year of welcoming all that He has for me, all He wants to do in me, through me, a year of welcoming Christ himself in my innermost parts. I look forward to what He has in store.

  298. Marguerite Theophil says:

    My word is UNFOLD. I am easing out of the need for directing or creating the changes I think I need. This word came to me in a dream where I thought I was losing layers of my being, only to realize that what was happening was a kind of unfolding and opening up, much like a lotus flower. I felt both vulnerable and strong, and I expect that will be my process all of this coming year.

    Thank you, dear Christine, for the space to share this, and to be able to read the beautiful words of so many other sister and brother travellers on this Life Journey.

    Many blessings to all.

    Marga [from Mumbai, India]

  299. Esther says:

    Thank you for the invitation. For the beginning of the year my word is wisdom. Wisdom to discern the way ahead; wisdom how to respond to people; wisdom listening within. I have devloped an Office of wisdom with psalms, songs, readings, collects etc…….

  300. susan says:

    My word seems to have chosen me this year-it is 'enough'. Learning contentment is a constant challenge for me and I have always seen reaching 'enough' as settling for something less than God wants. What I am currently learning is that 'enough' has more to do with balance than being a state of 'merely'. I hope to give my self permission to find 'enough' in the world around me, the people around me and in myself-to discover contentment and peace with what is provided me on a moment to moment basis.

  301. Cynthia says:

    My word actually emerged several weeks ago as I began my practice of Centering Prayer. The word …calm. Calm my thoughts. Calm my angst. Calm my inner chatter. And even more, calm my incessant efforts to "please" …my family, my employer, myself …even God (which may sound disrespectful!!). But yes, to be calm so I can hear God speaking. So the plans are for what He wants me to do – not what I "think" He would want me to do!!

  302. Megan says:

    This was my word last year and I feel like I am ready this year to embrace it.
    Silence for me is: to be quiet when I want to break into others' conversations; be quiet and listen when I want to only talk about myself; let someone else hold the moment when I feel like if I don't jump in I am not seen; and silence my mind as I'm silencing my own mouth when it is my mind that wants to break in and impose itself on my true self.

    • Barbara says:

      Silence. A wonderful word to live with for a year. Silence chose me last year for many of the reasons you mentioned and I am richer by far for having dwelled with silence for a year. This year "Word" chose me and even now am learning where it may be taking me.Blessings as you enjoy silence.

  303. Fran says:

    Interestingly, yours is the second mention of a word for the years I've come across in the last few days. I read in Guideposts about a word for the year. Several days later the word "positive" spoke to me. In church on Sunday I read the service for the penitent and confessed to God my tendency to speak critically or negatively about people and situations. Believing that the tongue is "sharper than a two edged sword" and we are what we think and speak, I am praying that God will lead me to positive thoughts and words in this year. My word has been affirmed to me several times. As I learn more about being attentive and quiet, I am in wonder about the ways God speaks and moves in my life. Thanks be to God.

  304. Nancy says:


    I knew right away what my word for this year was to be. I am to focus this year on my blessings and ponder how blessed I am.

  305. Sue says:

    My word for the year is "acceptance". There is a lot of family turmoil going on now and I have prayed and come to the conclusion that I can't change what anyone else is going to do. I just need to "accept".

  306. Carol Mazurek says:

    "Choices" is my word for this year 2012 and to look at the consequences of any choice I make and to also look at the benefits. Often I get stuck and choose not to choose. It can be a vulnerable place leaving others to make choices for you. For me it can tak a leap of faith wrapped in fear and courage or restraint to wait on God's wisdom in the "stillness" of my heart. To be God conscious and to look and listen for the synchronicities put in front of me wax and wanes within me. It will be a journey of decision and patience. Have a blessed New Year.

  307. Renee' says:

    My word for the year is "giving." I want to be a giver this year.

  308. Kathy Plourde says:

    My phrase for the year is Surprise – I am learning that my help and support seldom comes from the places that I expect and I keep looking for the expected and I want to look for the surprise and let go of expectations.

  309. Alexa says:


    'Praise the Lord O my soul.'

    'Rejoice in the Lord always.'

  310. Jan Lawry says:

    My word is "consummate" which according to the Webster's dictionary
    means "to complete in every detail." I want to complete what I start this year
    "in every detail" and then learn to pause afterwards and appreciate what I've accomplished before going headlong into my next task.

  311. Ailsa says:

    I have been thinking about and praying for, and it would seem, dreaming a word for the new year because I woke one morning last week to hear “wait.”

    On reflection it is most appropriate, not just as an instruction to stop all my busy-ness and be still, giving myself time to look and listen but also because of its archaic meanings: “to be in readiness for” and “to attend upon or escort, especially as a sign of respect.”

    So I have started, and am looking forward to, waiting in stillness: holding myself in readiness for that which will be revealed and waiting upon God in reverence in the experiences this year holds.

  312. Edward says:

    My word for the year is "humility"…I am who I am, doing what I have chosen to do, with things in life I wish were so and things I wish were not so…I welcome movement towards deeper acceptance of myself and my life as it is. There is much room for gratitude here……When I speak the word "humility" I connect to deeper levels of acceptance. It is a welcome prayer…

  313. Lu says:

    Reflecting on the teachings of the ancient Ammas and Abbas of the Desert, the word that chooses me for 2012 is "vulnerable".

    Brene' Brown's research suggests that while we relate vulnerability to fear, anxiety and unworthiness, it is also the openness that must exist if we are to welcome love, joy and true deep connection. This year I commit to waiting in and cherishing my vulnerability to see what joy awaits!

  314. Clare says:

    My word is "blossoming."
    I love the silent happening that blossoming conveys even when "blossoms" are not yet apparent. It holds a delicate yet compelling image for me for the coming year.

  315. Stephanie R says:

    The word that has chosen me is "wonder".

    I hear people saying Wonderful and I see it written, Wonderful, and I want to be open to the wonder of what God is doing in the world around me and in my life. I want to wonder more about who God is and who I really am in this world. I want my life to be full of wonder and I want to be awake, as Anthony de Mello, says, to see what is really true about life and about God and about myself.
    Carl Jung says, " The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." , so that is my goal for the year.

  316. Laurie Kelin says:

    "Winnow" chose me this morning. Many potent words have come to mind, but this one sings. Denoting the separating of chaff from wheat, it also means to closely examine. May I make friends with the wind in 2012 as the Spirit sifts and sorts, culls and curates, leaving only that which, by grace, will sprout, blossom, bear fruit, nurture, feed, satisfy.

  317. Jane says:

    My word for 2012 is “Soften.”

    Everytime I invite it in, my breathing deepens, my shoulders drop, and my noisy mind gets quiet. It seems to be at the heart of everything. A call to:

    soften my resistance;
    soften my defenses;
    soften my grip on old stories and the meanings I’ve assigned to them;
    soften the tension I carry in my body.

    I also found a lovely prayer to support it (“Guide Me Into an Unclenched Moment” by Ted Yoder). Something I’d copied down years ago and forgotten.

    This is a wonderful way to start the New Year! Thank you for creating and holding a place for all these powerful words!

  318. Linda Rufi says:

    The word "embrace" has given me an open attitude to welcome the joys, trials, adventures, sorrows, and what ever else God sees fit to send in my direction. I pray that I will be able to "embrace" the people and circumstances entering my life in 2012. And my "embrace" is not clutching or clingy, but open and cherished; much like a butterfly landing on your finger in the bright sunlight, shimmering and light. I will cross-stitch this word and hang it above my desk. My rule is, if it is in cross-stitch it must be true.

  319. Laurie says:


    It glows, shimmers, radiates hope and possibility and courage, and invites me to face the impossible with grace, humor and steadfastness of heart.

  320. Cindy R says:

    My word for the year is RESILIENT. In the last couple of months I’ve been noticing with wry humor some mundane manifestations of my change-adverse self – new sneakers I bought 6 months ago but haven’t worn because they’re different, same thing for reading glasses, a new printer for which it took me several months to do the very easy installation, despite my current printer being almost completely unworkable. That plays out on much more important levels too. I have a deep engrained belief that “something terrible is sure to happen.” That’s actually true, that’s a basic fact of this human life that both terrible and wonderful things keep happening. And in looking ahead into 2012, some hard losses, including my most precious Betony dog, seem very likely. Probably people around me would say that I deal well with changes and challenges, but the internal price feels awfully high sometimes. So I thought about ADAPTABLE and FLEXIBLE and FLOW, but RESILIENT it is. I like these parts of the definition: “capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture” and “capability of a strained body to recover.” With my word, I got the image of a willow, rooted but able to move with the weather, not to break. This year, I resolve to become like that willow and, as I sway in the storms, also to glory in the sky and the sun and wind and the rain, all the gifts that enable me to be here and to grow.

  321. Paula Grout says:

    Last Saturday in our newspaper there was an article written by a local rabbi on living gratefully. He said that feeling grateful is not enough; we must live gratefully. So that is my word for 2012: gratitude – gratitude for everything that people do for me on a daily basis. Living a life of gratitude means being grateful for my body and taking care of it. It means being grateful for the oxygen that supports my life and working to preserve it. It means saying thank-you and treating people with respect. According to this rabbi, living gratefully means not "polluting our community with bigotry, anger, fear, gossip and ill-will."
    Lord, help me to live a life of gratitude.

  322. Sheila O'Brien Lewis says:

    My chosen word is "beauty". I pray that I will honour the beauty within me, all around me, above me and below me this year in a most loving way.

  323. cheryl says:

    yes that is beautiful and resonates we me. The chineese honor the willow(bamboo) for its flexibility, endurance and this accomplished by its hollowness. All bamboo is always hollow, and this idea captures the idea keeping your interior mind/spirit empty i e ridding yourself of all your junkie stuff. I like it a lot!
    Have fun and u might need a garage sale!

  324. Colleen Williams says:

    Give me a word

    Hey Christine: I am changing my word to "SURRENDER/SURRENDERING
    for the new year 2012.

    Staying open to grace/ life's opportunities.

    Yes SURRENDER my word for the new year!

  325. Barbara Massar says:

    'Listening' kept popping up here and there in December but stayed just a blip along with non-judgemental and love, and did not come together until a few days ago. A crow was atop the bell tower of our church and I stopped to listen to his call. And there it was………Hark! Listen!…….over and over. Eventually I realized, with the help of a comment of a grace filled lady, that I was to strive to become a listening……to listen non-judgementally in love, for that is how God listens to me. So it seems the call is to learn to listen without judgement, without allowing anything in me to color what I hear. May God grant the grace.

  326. Elsa Plourde says:

    My word for the year is "tree". Last year, it was "presence" and the year before "self". In the first days of this year, I've heard trees calling to me, read some beautiful works about them and have been realizing that they are incrediably important to our lives. I want to pray with trees, to stand with them, be with them and learn from them. So, tree it is.

    • Tara Owens says:

      I love that, Elsa. Trees are important to my journey, too. I was talking about this with Christine at last year's Spiritual Directors International conference, and she recommended a book to me, which I now recommend to you: The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter.

      Beautiful exploring to you!

  327. Patricia says:

    I believe that my word this year is TRUST !

    I know that God has blessed me in so many ways all through out my life ….and now once again during this time of discernment and possible transition…..I need to Trust and remember that I am not alone.
    It makes me think of the "footprints" poem.

    "Be still and know that I am God" !

  328. Dawna says:

    My word this year is "emergence" and was given to me by my spiritual director last month when I asked her to look through my art prayer journal and see if anything struck her as seeming to form a thread. I thought then it might be my word for 2012 and since have found it cropping up all around. This practice has been a wonderful one the last two years. Thank you, Christine. I looking forward to seeing what emerges from emergence in this year ahead:)

  329. Lisa says:

    My word is REAL. It has come to me over and over and over again.

  330. Maya says:

    I had a hard time 'choosing' a word this year. 'Shine' came up, 'take up your space', and LIVE!. But then I saw the text 'Let your colors shine' on the blog og Alisa Burk, and I think that sums it up quite well. So this will be my words for this year.

  331. Charlene says:

    Deepening is the word which has chosen me, deepening spiritual practice through word and image by way of faithful practice of both lectio divina and art-making. Last year was something of a deepening year, and now I see how much richness is available with dedication to this deepening process.

  332. Gloria Tiede says:

    My word for this year is "astonishment". My intension is to to be flexible enough and wide enough open to fully experience the simple wonders of each moment. I feel astonishment when I practice this and it is the grandest way to live life.

  333. Iva says:

    It has movement and can be refreshing. It holds happy memories of earthly pleasures. It purifies. I am blessed that water has been kind of me. I have enough pure water to replenish me and I am thankful. I pray for those without and those overwhelmed by the power of water and for those who go without to become closer to the creator. It is my word for the year.

  334. margaret redman says:

    My word is invitation. I have been watching for it all of Advent and it came today. A rich word for me at this time.

  335. Ros P says:

    I think I have two words for 2012. I've been pondering and praying over them since I received your first email; one came to me immediately, but I wasn't sure it was the right one, so I pondered further, and another came along, and now neither of them will leave me alone. Heh.

    My two words are TRIM and MOVE. I need to trim a lot from my life: pounds, possessions, angers, fears; 2012 needs to be a lightening, loosening, simplifying kind of year. And I need to move more this year: physically I need to move a lot, as I feel I've rather calcified and succumbed to inertia, and I need to move on a lot of my plans and dreams that have been plans and dreams for too long. It is time for both purging and action.

    • Barbara Drewry says:

      Ros – So much of what you say is the same for me! Thank you for your words of sharing and wisdom. Bless you on your journey moment by moment…..Barbara Drewry :-)PTL Jeremiah 29:11

  336. My word for the year is Intention.

    This year I aim to enhance my intentionality with which I live my life and perform the day to day tasks of life. I do believe that no matter what I do in life, it is enhanced by intention.

    Thank you for helping me focus on this practice.

    • Tara Owens says:

      I like resonances. :) I hate to be commenting all over Christine's blog, but this word struck me, also. "Intention" was my word for 2011, and I resisted it so strongly. I didn't want it.

      I kept being prompted to look it up in a dictionary, though, and when I finally did, I saw that the word "intention" has another, medical, meaning—the healing of incised wounds. Aha! *That* was what I needed for 2011.

      I pray that your word will open up for you as it did for me—uniquely shaped into just what you need. Thanks for sharing and reminding me, Kathleen.

  337. Catherine Smith says:

    My word is emerge. A stepping out of the crowd to learn who I am most deeply in anticipation of once again merging with my (larger) community.

  338. cindy says:

    Clearing …

    This word has emerged to choose me.

    Winter is blooming in my soul. I find myself pondering memories of living in and walking through the snowy woods around Red Deer and Calgary, Alberta for I live so far south these days there is never a snowy day.

    Clearing …

    It is a place on the edge of the snowy woods I remember but perhaps it is also a state of being in this cold and wintery season of life.

    Clearing …

    There is much I have to learn about myself this year!

  339. Lindsay says:


    This word has been coming up to the surface in me for some time. I want to become more authentic, more fully the person God created me to me. I want to stop living in the box of other people's expectations of me and become free to be wholy me. Authenticity is the word that is resonates in me right now.

  340. though i threw it back in several times in hopes of snagging something with a whole lot more sass, my word is "stay." and perhaps as a consolation prize, or maybe because i lectio divina'ed during a 2fer special, my word is also "surprise." (i can never order straight off the menu, either.)

    • jeanne says:

      how serendipitous that us two jeanne's are right next to each other. I never order straight off the menu either and am reminded of that often. Stay Surprised jeanne. warm thoughts to you

  341. jeanne says:

    So many words that feel poignant for me. Several vied for my attention. I wanted one that fully embraced them all. Wheeew. I choose and have chosen before, 'BREATH'. My breath argued with 'patience' and 'now', well sort of. I decided that when I am fully present in my Breath; my breathing, I am in the 'now' and I have the patience to Be. In my mindfulness of my breath, listening, holding peace and silence with the inhales and exhales, if only for a few moments, I am removed from the chatter and noise of life's stories and can simply be with God, Oneness, Source. I am at One.
    Thanks for this opportunity to be reminded to lay my breath on the altar of life.

  342. mary anne says:

    My word is dwell…as I learn to dwell with God, no matter where am or what I am doing. I am often moving ahead so fast that I am not awake to God's invitation to dwell in God and with God, and God's dwelling within me,

  343. Kelly says:


  344. Brenda says:

    Two friends and I are going through The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom together. So, focusing of what word might come to for 2012 seemed like a natural extension. My word, "Beloved," popped into to my mind as I was working in the kitchen. I believe I am called to see myself as God sees me, as God's Beloved. To accept myself, to give myself grace and love.

  345. patricia boutilier says:

    My word for the year is "beloved". Just as the greatest gift I can offer my grandchildren is the sense of knowing that they are "beloved"….is to soak and dwell in the knowledge that I am also "beloved"….of the Creator, of the Earth, of my family and community.

  346. Kate says:

    My word is "claim." It is this year in which my intention is to claim myself, my power and my true gifts more fully, as well as to remember that in the covenanted relationship between God and myself, I can dare to make claim on God as much as God can on me and my life.

  347. Thérèse says:


    Say it out loud to hear the joy and power of this Greek word of thankfulness. Saying 'Efharisto' to whatever we notice and receive – easy or challenging – in life, opens upnew ways of looking at life.

  348. Carolyn Haon says:

    My word is "cobweb."

    This summer I watched a spider making her web. I became mesmerized as I always do watching this tiny creature going tirelessly in all different directions. I started thinking about my life and how many avenues I have taken to get where I am. The fine threads unbroken and the slight breeze that didn't blow her home away gave me so much to think about.

  349. miguel cortez says:

    My word would be Pan as in Pan de Vida—Bread of Life. In all its forms it is a source of life, a reason for life and that which we can provide in words, in actions and in giving. In all its forms it gives us the chance to give what God gave us in His Son….the real Bread of Life. Bless

  350. My word that keeps coming up over and over again is metanoia. We are all called to change,I certainly profess the desire to change, but yet I am so really reluctant to do it. I will lean into the wind more this year and explore what living this kind of transformation calls me to.

  351. Sasha says:

    my word for 2012 is Beloved (I see it is for Patricia, as well)

    I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.

  352. Dorothy Okray says:


    Although not a catchy, glamorous word, empathy….real empathy… would resolve many of the conflicts we experience in our lives….in our world.

    Walking the mile in someone else's shoes, promises a much more peaceful, loving environment. Rather than anger at some one else's actions or words, putting one's self in their place usually assures a compassionate attitude, from fights among brothers and sisters to wars.

    I hope to write it on my heart.

  353. Thank you Christine for your lovely Abbey of the Arts. I love all your great promps. So fun to read the slew of responses and I can relate to so many.
    For me,
    The flower that was smiling in the sunshine grows into a seed and falls to the ground. It cannot be comfortable for the seed to be pressed into the muck of the earth by the autumn and winter rains, snows and frosts. Most seeds lie there dormant for a time. Chemical changes are going on inside of the seed but on the outside all seems still.

    Different seeds need different conditions to cause them to germinate, some need to go through fire, some to go through an animal’s digestive system, some must be cracked by frost. Whatever it takes Nature seems willing to provide. The hard, outer shell of the seed yields under the pressures, disintegrates, cracks and falls apart.

    When does the seed turn from this decaying and leave behind what was and reach for what is to come? What is that exact moment, what is the word for it? I seek to know because that is my word for me right now. What is the stage of first stirring, awakening, the transition? Transpose?

    I am going with transpose.

    “As the emerging seedling begins to grow, its dependence on stored food diminishes and the transition to its own photosynthetic food production begins.” OnlineScience

  354. Laurie says:

    And the Word became flesh . . . .
    My word for this year is "word". Initially, the word “Sabbath” came to mind and it remains a critical path to the “word”, for without rest and worship, two components of Sabbath, I will not be able to fully access the word. I am feeling strongly led to commit scripture to memory this year. I am compelled to look at words in new ways, approaching them from not only an artistic and visual perspective but also incorporating the word through lectio divina in my daily devotional time integrating the calligraphic arts and journaling into my word studies.

  355. Janice says:

    My word is 'emerge' as I transistion to my new career from a legal secretary to a Holistic Nutritionist…being in the growing the stages of learning it is time to 'emerge' and to teach others how to nourish themselves……

  356. Cara Parker says:

    My word for 2012 is, "Possibilities". As exciting as this word is, I feel anxious when I state that it is my word for 2012. The reason is that I'm a perpetual planner – it's what I do as a business owner of a consulting firm, a wife, a mother, etc… The word "Possibilities" implies that I am open to whatever may come – and that doesn't feel good to me as I may not be in control. (yes, I'm confessing here) So, I'm adopting this word and will be mindful to open myself to just Be and let the Possibilities come!

  357. Beatrice says:

    A sacred word for 2012 emerging from my heartspace during Advent was "celebrate". I yearn to follow in delight, song, dance and commitment "celebrate": a blossoming forth of an attitude and approach of praise and gratitude toward the natural world and within personal and communal relationships.

  358. Tara Owens says:

    Oh, how I wanted "comfort" or "nurture" or, as someone else here heard "word." I've listened, and I've felt shimmers at the edge of my consciousness. Hints and teases.

    But when I sat in meditation today, my word chose me like a tackle hug that I wasn't expecting, and the wind has been knocked out of me.


    Oh, dear.

    Yesterday, a mentor gave me a phrase for my year which I know to be a true guiding star: "Resist reasonable."

    So, my word for the year—as I lay here gasping—is PASSION (resist reasonable).

    It's going to be wild ride…

  359. I think that the word given to me is 'look'. Something about taking time to see, to look again, following the photographing practice of my dad, who died last year. Also looking people in the eye, recognising the divine in them, meeting the divine in me. Thank you for these thoughtful and stretching practices.

  360. Deborah says:

    sim•plic•i•ty /
    1: the quality of being easy to understand or use
    2 a: the state or quality of being plain or not fancy or complicated
    b: something that is simple or ordinary but enjoyable
    3: something that is easy to do

    As I move into my "third age" the call to "simplicity" is becoming stronger. The Shaker song "Tis the Gift to Be Simple" plays in my head…

  361. sheila says:

    The word that came to me was journey. I feel like I have been on a journey for that past year, not necessarily of my own choosing or with a clear destination. May God grant me the wisdom, confidence and courage to read and follow my inner compass.

  362. Claire says:

    Last year my word was "ememy." I rolled around with that one a lot, allowing my heart to feel what my head knows (or vice versa), that I have no enemies unless I choose them. It was a very fruitful year of sinking into that word often, contemplating my realtionship to it. My word this year is "worthy". I hope to be worthy/I am worthy/we are worthy. Here's to this journey being as fruitful as the last.

  363. Cristina says:

    The word that comes to me is 'courage'. I have sensed a calling for a long time, to step beyond the boundaries of comfort and security. The word 'courage' is rooted in the old French word for 'heart', which infers that love is the root of true courage. In every area of my life where I am challenged and/ or called, I need to draw on the Love that has been given to me, and keep moving, trusting that Grace will bridge any gaps.

  364. Barbara Drewry says:

    My word for the year is DETACH. I have been so-o-o-o attached….even enmeshed….for so many years….and it's time. Time to detach in love. Time, even, to give back to God those for whom I am a stumbling block on their path to Him. Time to attend, mindfully, intentionally, and with my whole heart, to the purpose of my own journey on earth, so that when my final winter arrives, I will have a gift to return to the One Who has given these precious and priceless gifts to me. Thank You, Lord. Be with me now, I pray. :-) PTL …Matthew 13:52…

  365. Marcella Manzoni says:

    Grace, my one word for 2012. A theological term that has different meanings in different religions whether it be Christian, Hindu, Islam, etc. Grace relates to the Greek word chairo which means to rejoice, be glad, be delighted. Grace is often described as the moral quality of kindness. Grace teaches us to let go and let God. I hope that focusing on grace will encourage a practice of staying open and being open to receiving the sacred. To me grace means receptivity and allowing grace to happen. It also means giving up the blocks that are in the way of receptivity so that one can open to grace and that state of kindness towards ourselves and others. Blessed be, Marcella.

  366. Marie Woodward says:

    The word I have discerned for myself for 2012 is “meditation.” I already ‘pray without ceasing’ but much of this prayer is repetitive, rote, and a more or less conscious attempt to count, to account, to pray, to acknowledge and express gratitude for what is already here. My hope is that meditation would bring me to , awaken in me, the parts of myself that are asleep, that have been sublimated to, the workaday, conscious world of work, home and family. All of the work I do is necessary. All of the prayer that I do is necessary. But the prayer and the work maintain the status quo, serve the world outside of self. How can I come to recreate my world so that I can become my best self? I hope meditation will lead me there in 2012. Thanks for the inspiration. I never heard of this practice of “discerning a word” before. Marie

  367. Gerry Phelps says:

    My word for the year is energy. I hope to realize what desire the Creator has placed in me by following the thread of "energy."

  368. My word is "listen." So simple and yet so profound. When I first thought about finding a word, nothing was coming to me. I really didn't think I'd find one without forcing it, and then this morning, as I sat and wrote in my journal about my journey and the coming year, it jumped out at me. I need to listen more — not only to what God is saying to me but to what my children and husband are saying, to what my life is saying. "Listen with the ear of your heart." Amen.

  369. Jenny says:


    The fuel is in place. The site is secure through rain and growth. Verdant. This is a controlled burn, not a forest fire. Psalm 104:4…came forward from Chapter 9(?) of your Artist's Rule book…the chapter on nature.

    "God makes his ministers a flame of fire."

  370. Kjersten says:

    This word has resonated in me as last year came to a close and has only strengthened since. It is not a word I would have chosen. In fact, I am usually quite wary when I hear it used. The word is favor. I am eager to see the fulness of it unfold.

    For now I remain curious as to what true favor in Father's Kingdom looks like.

  371. Carol Darley says:


    In a busy life, intentionality is essential to not lose my way in spiritual discipline.

  372. Mona says:

    "Fluid Balance"

    These are my words for this year. Finding balance in action, in transformation, in spirited growth – this is my goal. To remain fluid as life's current sweeps me up and into my deepest core – this I welcome with gratitude, love and deep appreciation.

  373. Helen says:

    The words "awaken to the sacred possibilities" caught my attention just on Christmas. I had written them out with the rest of the words "being birthed deep within" and stuck them on a door in my home. Reflecting with them I realised that these words actually meant I was pregnant with "sacred possibilities" and the way to allow them to come to birth was to allow myself to do what Mary did and ponder. To sit in the silence, in the Presence and allow the Spirit free reign to bring to birth within me whatever is God's desire. My daily prayer, attentiveness to daily life, spiritual reading, being in nature will be the sources of 'things to treasure and ponder as Mary did. So the word that has called me through all of this is PONDER though I sense that PREGNANT also has a call for me. I believe that I am PREGNANT with much but it is only in allowing myself the time to PONDER that my pregnancy will bear fruit as I wait within the place of Mysterious Unknowing allowing the Spirit to work with in me and use me as a channel of God's Presence in the world.
    I call on Mary and ask her to assist me and show me how to PONDER and wait with patience. I just realised how many P words I have been using. Maybe there is something for them to share with me also. Possibilities, ponder, pregnant, presence, patience – I continue to ponder these.

  374. Ann Rundle says:

    yield your hearts…my word is yield. It has so much promise and trepidation. For me. to yield signifies a giving way to make a way for the Other and for others. A year of giving up control and joyfully, yet with difficulty embracing the changes that this brings. It's going to be a challenge to live this word in my community.

  375. Elizabeth says:

    Stillness. I know the strength that stillness offers me and I have been intentional as 2012 begins to clear the clutter out of my schedule so that I will be freer to listen to the still small voice. It's ever a challenge though, so I choose this word to guide me … into deep places … where I long to go.

  376. Rosie Huart says:


    Riches reminds me of so many other words like blessings, abundance, prosperity, love, gratitude. My intent is to focus on the riches that envelope my life. What I see, hear, taste, smell and feel is the vehicle that connects me to my riches.

  377. Manette says:

    I feel my resistance to this word, even as I recognize Her call. I have no children, yet in this last year particularly I have come to see how often I am called on to mother: to mother other people's children, the child in other adults, new and developing projects, groups I participate in, and myself.
    My father died this past year, and my own mother and I have been on our journey of forging a new relationship together.
    Mother carries all experience, through birth and life and death and birth again. She holds us. She holds the mystery.

  378. Janet says:

    Wow! Quite an informal word, true enough. And yet this simple word is used to express wonder and awe. And so, this is my word and my prayer for 2012. Help me Lord to keep my eyes wide open so that I may see the wonder and awe in all of creation. Help me to love all, without exception and to know everything belongs, just as it is. Help me to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Guide me as I accept your invitation to be fully present to the wonder of wonders in all of life. WOW !

  379. Rev Buck says:

    My word "NIMBLE" came only this morning. As I skipped up the six steps into our building I noted I may not be as nimble as I used to be. So that is my word for the year. It is all too easy to become too heavy, too comfortable, too physically and spiritually sluggish. This year's vision is to lose a few pounds, quicken the step, become lighter on the feet and less resistant to change and serendipity. Nimble!

  380. Stephanie Soon says:


    I received Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkerson for Christmas. It explores the differences between feeling punished and pruned by the Spirit. My prayer for 2012 is to allow the Spirit to prune me so that I might be a more compassionate presence in the world and in relationships.

  381. Sara A. says:

    Last year the phrase that came to me was "Lose the attitude". I'm still working on that. This year "Be present" resonates with me. It means to really pay attention to my family and friends even when I've heard the story before. (They may be telling me/ asking me something quite different in the same old words.) It means to cut down on all the blog reading I do and to zero in on a few that are real inspirations and helpful to my soul. I've spent over 70 years floating on the surface of my life. In what may be these last years it is time to really be present.

    • Jylnn says:

      I can resonate with your comment, especially the blog reading part. Every year during the week between Christmas and New Year I don't read any of the blogs I follow for the whole week. After that week I go through and weed out the ones that are no longer inspiring, ones that have gotten filled with snarkiness and hateful comments, ones that are no longer updated regularly…

      I find that the week without gives me the ability to see more clearly and whittle down the list each year.

      Being present is a wonderful phrase to take on for the year. Good luck and blessings.

  382. Alisun says:

    you believe in God
    believe also in me…. that's ME!
    annoying thoughts and ideas….BUZZ OFF!
    be here now and appreciate the moment

    my word captured me on january 1 and look where its taken me already!

  383. Ken Blackham says:

    I just returned to Pittsburgh from a trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Parade. We were going with the Friends and Family of the Franklin Regional HS Band. Two days before we returned, I posted to Facebook that I had completely run out of compassion and love for people (except my wife). After taking time to reflect on what happened, I had to remember that the chaotic, hectic flow of life requires time to make sense of it. Since private time was not scheduled in the itinerary, it was my responsibility to take personal time to integrate what was going on. So, to remember, I'm claiming the word SOLITUDE , since it is required in order to reflect and maintain sanity.

  384. Anne Chrisp says:

    My word for 2012 is attend. I have chosen attend because it is alert and active, yet quiet and receptive. It has connotations of paying attention and watching closely; of attendance – turning up and being present. Attendant is part of its word family, and carries the image of a doorman waiting expectantly for guests to arrive, discerning the invited, welcoming and ushering them over the threshold. In 2012, I endeavor to be an attendant to all life brings me.

  385. Kimberlee says:

    My word is forgiven. I don't have to be perfect, I can make and learn from mistakes, I don't have to be responsible and in control all the time. I can relax, move on from the past, and be more comfortable with who I am.

  386. Thank you so much for raising this! My word for 2012 is "embrace"–both the noun and the verb. The noun "embrace" reminds me that I live in God's embrace, and that I have no reason to be afraid. As a verb, it encourages me to accept the present moment as a gift from God, and to not just accept it but welcome it joyfully, whatever it brings, because God's presence and grace is here, with me, right now. To embrace the present moment and all it brings also means accepting and cherishing the people in my life–as the gifts that they are. Embrace–means accepting that I am loved and rooting myself in God's love, and then sharing God's embrace with others.

    Thank you for the encouragement to reflect in this way!

  387. Kathleen says:

    TO-DAY will be my word for all the days of this year. I'd been living with the idea of "unknowning," because I'm both living with a health issue that seems diagnosis- and treatment-resistant and struggling with some old learnings and beliefs from by religious heritage. But the word "unknowning" feels a bit awkward, a bit pretentious. I hoped for simpler syllables, a word that could also be a mantra. I thought of "day," because the day we are living is all: "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

    Not quite right yet. I want not just to receive the day, but to use it well–even, perhaps because of, the unknowing. So TO-DAY: The usual meaning and a salute, too, "To-Day!"

  388. Carolyn says:

    My word is responsibility.
    It's not sexy I know – but it's come to me so true and with such resonance that I can't dismiss it. This year I want to deliberately and consciously engage in the spiritual practice of taking responsibility: for my own actions, my own experience, my own growth, my health, my emotions. For too long I have outsourced my happiness and well being. I often feel entitled to having it provided: by husband, children, my job.
    This year is about discovering the freedom and power in taking responsibility. This response-ability is not a heavy burden put on me by others, but a choice made to step up to the plate with my whole self, to not step away or look to others in challenge or difficulty. Amen.

  389. Bethany says:


    This is the word that has been coming to the forefront the past few days. Mindful of my time with God, mindful of my stress levels, eating, interactions with others; this is what I find myself reflecting upon. "What is man that thou are mindful of him" Psalm 8 is one that I have never really paid much attention to. It was a recent lectionary selection. I think this year it may the time to seek more wisdom from those words and the art of being mindful of self and others. God is present, bidden or unbidden, if St. Anselm ( Yes?) is correct, so I mean to be mindful of the Presence!

  390. vonne says:

    surrender is the word that I have been given ………

    Past experience has shown me that if on waking I surrender the day to God I can relax into the day as I am guided as a co-creator with God minute by minute, hour by hour. It has helped me so much in the past and yet I forget this valuable gift and grace..
    I have more energy at present. ( I live with severe chronic fatigue) and have over the last few weeks been feeling myself getting excited at what I might be able to 'do' this next year ….

    So I am not surprised that God has gently, and with the humour of a loving God, planted this seed of a word in my inner knowing as of such importance to me at present. Not to dampen my abundant enthusiasm to be 'doing' but to protect me at the same time as helping me to fly.

  391. Elizabeth Walton says:


    After a week of searching, "Being" came out of the ether without any forethought. Being–such a simple word – of course, I am being. But
    am I? Am I present in life moment to moment to moment? Am I "being"
    in speaking, writing, playing, dancing, driving, and the myriad activities
    of the day? Or, am I on automatic pilot, channelling through "eager to please"
    becoming mode. Am I authentic? Love without expectations? Live now
    in the wonder, delight and astonishment of the moment.

    So, BEING, here, now, is my exploration, challenge, ongoing goal now and

  392. Sue Cash says:

    BEHOLDING ……. being present …staying with ….being held …holding .. a unity of presence in 2012

  393. Judith Minear, csj says:

    My word is Homecoming. This year feels full of invitation to deepen my coming home to myself, to Divine Mystery, to the world in new ways. So…I am opening myself to receive, to celebrate, to dust off, to prepare…to do all of the things we humans do when we welcome our prodigal selves back home!

  394. Catherine says:

    My word for this year is free …
    free in Christ to be that person He wants me to be, free from guilt or worry, free to create, live … be.


  395. Patricia says:


    The word was given to me during a quiet time. Not sure why. I suppose I often lack courage but more likely I misunderstand it. Along with the word I was led to Joshua 1:9 which will be my verse for the year.

    Whatever word I am given for a year it is a word I need, to ponder, wonder, think about and learn the sometimes hidden aspects and reasons for it being "my word".

  396. marianne says:

    Thank you Christine and all you other inspiring and nurturing pilgrims on the journey to transformation. My word is THIRSTY. I visualize myself next to a flowing stream, waiting to be watered within and given new life. I'm THIRSTY for the Creator's love and desire to go deeper and deeper into that Divine Life. And when I am parched, may I not stop searching and desiring.

  397. Rebecca says:

    The first word that came to mind as I went through this process was 'wrestle' and nestled in the middle of that word 'rest' emerged and I knew that this was the word speaking to me. I look forward to what 'rest' has to teach me in the coming year. I will begin by 'resting' in the present moment and listening to what truth lies there.
    Thank you Christine.

  398. Deb Buckhout says:

    My word for 2012 is non-dualistic. Instead of seeing the world as either/or, I want to try to see it as both/and. It is easy to see things in the light of black and white, good/bad, right/wrong. It is a struggle for me to look for the blessing in all conditions – even the ones that fall short of my expectation. I want to try to see the God, the Cosmic Christ, the Universe, in every person, every experience, every situation this year.

    Blessings on your journey!
    Deb Buckhout

  399. Joy Fry says:

    Fire ~ it showed up this fall and has lingered, wanting to be my word for 2012. The refiner's fire of transformation, "Living Flame of Love", passion and spark,and a dragon or two for good measure. Am shaking a bit in my boots. Last year was tree/trust and this fire seems to be quite a contrast.
    "O Living Flame of Love,
    pierce the center of my soul.
    Gently and lovingly awaken in my heart.
    There in secret dwell, and with thy sweet voice,
    Full of grace and glory,
    Fill my heart with love." St. John of the Cross

  400. sharon says:

    word is release/receive

  401. Carolyn says:

    Dwell is the word that came to me. How I dwell in God and with God and God in me. The verse that returned to me again and again throughout the season of Advent was the wonderful image from Isaiah of the Divine Light shining in the darkness: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwell in the land of deep darkness, on them the light has shined." I am a chaplain in a children's hospital and so many images from my ministry dwell within my heart, mysteries of life and death and the wonders of Holy Love. There is much of those dwelling places to be explored.

    Thank you, Christine, for inspiring me to follow these musings and to observe where and how they carry me through 2012.

  402. Jean Crane says:


    "Letting go" Kenosis means letting go of ego demands. This is definitely my word for 2012. I've been trying for 84 years (maybe not in the beginning of my life) to let go of appearances, grievances, beliefs, etc.

    This is the year!

  403. Karen vanWisse says:

    My word is RETURN. I have finally realized that staying (with a goal or a thought or a project) is not going to happen. But I always return. And I will return again and again, no matter how many times it takes.

  404. Brenda says:

    My word this year is imperfection. My desire to do things "perfectly" is the enemy of my actually getting things done or taking creative risks. By embracing imperfection, I hope to create with abandon, freedom, and joy, rather than fear and anxiety, to be lost in the moment and the process, rather than worrying about the outcome.

    I've struggled with the effects of my perfectionism for a long, long time. Just allowing myself to choose imperfection as my focus for the year already makes me feel like I've jettisoned some of the perfectionist burden!

    Thank you for your ministry.

  405. Cheryl Macpherson says:

    My word this year is soul wisdom.
    My desire is to live more consciously from that place of inner guidance and sustenance, to pay attention in silence, prayer and contemplation, and to listen deeply in order to be present in the world in ways that are truly life giving both for me and for all whose lives I touch.
    I love this quote from poet Mary Oliver, "This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness."

  406. Deborah says:

    My word this year is "release".
    My hope for this year is to let go of the "stuff" – physical possesions, mental and emotional fears – that holds me back. Stuff allows me hide or step back, to not be fully open to possibilites to which I am being called. Release also represents "releasing the shutter". One of the paths I am called to follow is expressing myself through photograph. Release reminds me to listen to and act on that call.

  407. steph A. says:

    Be present here and now, be present to others, to self, to God
    Receive the present as gift-ever new and changing.

  408. Linda Lee says:

    My 2012 word is vulnerability. I open. I release (breath), let go (breath), relax (deep sigh). I am in a safe place. I can be myself and share what's inside the sacred temple. I am loved. No matter what.

  409. Jane McDowell says:

    "Becoming" is my focus for the year. It is built on past lessons learned. "Becoming" opens wide to a present lived fully. "Becoming" into the future brings an inner journey of exploring hidden potential. I anticipate with relish the journey of becoming!

  410. Deborah Kirkpatrick says:

    "Coming Home" is my phrase, my theme for the coming year. How funny it is that in the year that I am planning a 6 month retreat away from my literal home…. the theme that invites me is Coming Home. It seems to be asking to be the title of my retreat. I have been coming home to myself in these past years…. and the longing in my retreat is for spaciousness to attend to my inner journey. To come home to my Self, to deepen and come to know my own deepest core and center.

  411. Maggie says:

    My word is "heartful". I'm not even sure if that's a legitimate word, but it speaks to me, nonetheless. I hope to open my heart more this year, be more loving in my relationships and strengthen my heart through running and practicing for a half-marathon in May. Also, the book, The Wise Heart, by Jack Kornfield, has played an important role in coming up with this word.

  412. Sheila says:

    Defy is my word for 2012. Many times I don't trust my inner voice…my inner wisdom and tend to listen to other's judgment of me. I tend to forge new paths and
    "dance to the beat of a different drum." I am many times too judgmental, insecure, and self doubting in my heart of hearts. I'll defy that voice too….and my hope is that I become my truest self and my truest Heart…and land in great big Huge Arms.

  413. Aneya says:

    This exercise really spoke to my heart. My word for 2012 is Beloved.

  414. Penny Perse says:

    My word is Live
    Struggling with health issues I need to LIVE in what I have available. To be content and know that God is with me as I live out His desires for the rest of my life.

  415. Joye says:


    This word chose me from among several choices. It calls me/us to pay attention, be mindful, stay awake, breathe deeply.

  416. Deb N says:

    My 2012 word is plumb-line . . . a reminder to be attentive to my true center…. and to be willing to plumb the depths for truth . . .

  417. Judy L says:

    that passes all understanding

  418. Arlene Rappoccio says:

    my word is attitude/ gratitude.
    I wondered why this year of all years I have welcomed a word. When I saw this post I realized what God was trying to tell me. It was time to begin each day with a good attitude and plenty of gratitude. So each morning since the new year on my drive to work, I pray Dear Lord help me to have a good attitude and plenty of gratitude. Amen. Since my drive to work literally is only 1.5 miles thats about all I get before I start my day. Thank you for reminding me who was behind 'my idea'.

  419. Tim Tyndall says:

    My word and focus for the new year is "EXPANSION". Since we are all part of the whole, resonance with the essence that is part of all of us enables us to grow and expand the possibilities both for ourselves and thusly ALL OF US. We do not often know how that will happen but in striving to reach beyond ourselves into the unknown we are frequently blessed with self discovery and surprise. When we are quiet and still, our inner voice entreats us to the NEW which aids our expansion beyond anything we may have thought possible.

  420. Tanya says:

    My soul needs more freedom to create without judgement.

  421. […] Christine Painter in her blog  Abbey of the Arts discusses the choice of a word in depth and asks these two questions. […]

  422. Toni says:

    My word is Health. I use it as a suffix.
    Spiritual Health
    Mental Health
    Physical health
    Social health
    Intellectual health
    These are all things I hope to have more of this year.

  423. Jojo says:

    My word is GRACE In the beauty and love of god,s sweet gift of this life to me now , I am grateful namaste

  424. Alfreda says:

    My word for this year is process. Better yet respect for the process and seeing the beauty in the process. All I have to do is yield.

  425. Kathryn Nicolai says:

    My word is Tolerance. I embrace others and myself without judgment, leaving expectations behind.

  426. Patricia Lewis says:

    My phrase is "look and see", sort of another way of saying "stop and smell the roses"…

  427. My word is I-Eye. Sickness took me into the galactic black hole of the Universe and on New Year's eve into the Mystery of Death… and Life Beyond…faith in the Risen One…Radiance of Morning Star and Sunrise on Life's horizon…abiding presence of the Living Dead – as we say in Africa.

  428. […] Christine Painter in her blog  Abbey of the Arts discusses the choice of a word in depth and asks these two questions. […]

  429. […] my many weeks where words stayed just out of my sight and hearing, I was inspired by the Abby of the Arts to seek and ponder a word for the year ahead. Christine Valters Paintner, the online Abbess of the […]

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