Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Give Me a Word 2022

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, 2022 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 5th 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 9th we will announce the prize winners!

You might also enjoy

Summer Solstice Blessing

Summer Solstice Blessing*Radiant One,creator of the cosmosand the luminaries which light our way,bless this day of longest lightand the gift of the sunto bring warmth to our livesand abundance of growth,sweetness of blueberries,refreshment of lemons,nourishment of kaleand a thousand other kinds of food.We sing in

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Sharon Clymer Landis

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Sharon Clymer Landis’s reflection on the wisdom and love of a foster dog. I’m fostering a dog named Ladybug. She was caught

Read More »

79 Responses

  1. The words “Choose Love” rose up for me. I want to be more conscious of how I live love; to be aware in every circumstance if I am responding with love or not. One practice that assists me with this is the Examen…asking at the end of the day, How did I show love today? How did I not show love?

    With every breath, I breathe in God’s love
    and breath out my love for God
    Love goes before me
    Love goes behind me
    Love walks beside me.
    Opening my heart, love flows through me.
    May I choose love in every circumstance
    Walking, Driving, Working, Shopping
    Sitting with a friend
    Greeting the cashier
    With the homeless woman on the corner holding a sign.
    May I walk slowly seeing the beauty and goodness in all
    May I listen deeply,
    May I trust Love
    May I be Love…May I be Love!

  2. The word FLOAT choose me! Imagery of water always fascinates me. Flowing rivers, cleansing waters, baptism renewal all suggest regeneration and rebirth. But sometimes life is turbulent and I start drowning in details; struggling and thrashing for solid ground to stand on. The word float reminds me to take a breath, relax, and let myself rest above the turbulence until I regain the strength to return to the river, allowing myself a mini reprieve during the day.

  3. My word continues to be “hello.” As suggested in today’s message, it has echoed in the following days as others have greeted me. It is implicit in words like “join” when I was asked to join an online gathering or come, in anticipation of a visit.

  4. Attention. To God, to my health, to each person or task that is in front of me, and to grace as it unfolds in my life.

  5. My word is “otherness”. Already it is calling me to explore new routes on my daily walk. In an increasingly polarized, even hostile world, I also am called to make more effort to soften towards those “other” people I don’t understand and who often exasperate me. Perhaps I even need to watch the “other” news program at times. I also want to embrace new technologies – those “other” ways of being in the world that I have resisted. The journey begins!
    Once upon a time
    There was a word
    How it found me is mystery
    Every day it stalked me until I
    Rested in its invitation.
    Now I embrace my new companion, an
    Ephipany that will illuminate new paths
    Showing me new ways of being, of thinking,
    So that I am stretched beyond this place.

    B be patient
    E enjoy waiting
    L live my truth
    I imagine IT can be
    E embark awakened
    V validate each and every one
    E embrace Light’s thresholds

  7. My word is luminous, as in living in a luminous world, suffused with the presence of the divine.

  8. My word is LISTEN as in Listen, God is calling. The song came to mind first the day I took the walk. It just popped into my head almost as soon as I stepped foot on the trail. I noticed it, but I didn’t “Listen”. A day or two later I closed my eyes and the word left no doubt that it meant to be heard. LISTEN is the key, but the phrase that goes with it – God is calling is not to be left behind. All I can say is, I’m certain I’m in for an adventure.