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Give Me a Word 2021


In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to the divine 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. The word which chooses us has the potential to transform us.

What is your word for the year ahead? A word which contains within it a seed of invitation to cross a new threshold in your life?

Share your word in the comments section below by January 6, 2021 and you are automatically entered for the prize drawing (prizes listed below).


As in past years, we are offering all Abbey newsletter subscribers a gift: a free 12-day online mini-retreat with a suggested practice for each day to help your word choose you and to deepen into your word once it has found you. Even if you participated last year, you are more than welcome to register again.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and you will receive a link to start your mini-retreat today. Your information will never be shared or sold. (If you are already subscribed to the newsletter, look for the link in the Sunday, December 6th email and at the bottom of each Sunday following).


Please share your word with us in the comments below

(and it would be wonderful if you included a sentence about what it means for you)

Subscribe to the Abbey of the Arts newsletter to receive ongoing inspiration in your in-box. You can choose daily, weekly, or monthly. Share the love with others and invite them to participate. Then stay tuned – on January 10th we will announce the prize winners!

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4 Responses

  1. My word is Simplicity. I have allready started simplifying my home and see how it helps me feel more at peace within … Simplifying helps me feel closer to God.

  2. My word is Refuge. I am looking forward to exploring it over the coming year although with some trepidation. Last year my word was trust and it led to us selling our house and moving to the other end of the country! However, God is good and we have been held every step of the way. I wonder where this year will lead?

  3. My word for the year is “Play” ~~ my 7 word prayer: “Play is my sweet gift of Peace.” My acrostic poem:
    Play, with time and an open heart, brings
    Love back to my embrace of life.
    All is well, as the
    Yellow flame in the cave of my heart
    brings sweet illumination. I bow
    to this secret joy, this sacred light.
    I was surprised this word came to me ~ one morning it arrived as I opened my eyes, and I felt such a sparkling joy of light enter my mind and heart. Everything felt blessed by this lightness of love, in a sweet gentle opening of possibility and Grace. Later, I judged it to not be quite serious enough, or spiritual enough, (some kind of work ethic impinging on my word for the year)…but it playfully returned in a dream: Our beloved dog, in the universal position of “Wanna Play?” ~ her front paws outstretched and sparkle in her eyes! I Had to go with it Then! :-)

  4. My word is Desire. Last year I crashed into how unpracticed I am at desiring… despite working hard throughout my adulthood to NOT put my needs behind everyone else’s! Maybe that’s the nuance: when I had turbulent teens, I focused on affirming what was, not wishing for other things. They’re no longer teens, and I’ve forgotten how to live desiring. Here’s to Desire during pandemic -!