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Give Me a Word 2023

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 5, 2023 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 11th 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 8th we will announce the prize winners!

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475 Responses

    Seeing the possibility
    Understanding that i can’t Run away
    Running prevents mE from kNowing happiness
    i don’t have to Do Everything.
    Real peace

  2. Humility…

    H Heartfelt willingness to listen
    U Understanding that holds and uplifts
    M Mercy that bathes us all
    I Insight that lands and lightens
    L Love that holds and uplifts
    T Tenderness that tempers each thought and action
    Y Yes, Big Yes, x3, Joyfully consent each tick of the clock

  3. I came late to this retreat and still juggling several words.
    The one that most resonates at this time is — simplicity.


    Centered in starlight
    Offering my heart openly
    New insights
    Found from the first
    Inspiring insights
    Delivered daily
    Energy expanding
    Never forgetting
    Ceasing doubts
    Everything is in me

  5. Stretch
    As high as the sky
    As low as the earth
    As boundless to the space before me
    As limitless to the time in me
    To the right and feel what beholds me
    To the left and be what embraces me
    Until the discomfort no longer holds
    Until the tension snaps
    And all that is left of the STRETCH
    Is the thin veil where I lay on the threshold
    becoming one

  6. Guide me through the labyrinth
    Cast light on my footpath so that I might see clearly
    When shadows fall help me be unafraid
    Quicken my steps when I need
    And heed me to slow down when I go astray
    Help my mind and soul to remain focused on your LOVE
    Be my constant guide throughout this life
    Beyond the Beyond and Beyond that also

  7. Praying
    To my
    Innermost being, and me