three word

I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions.

For the past several years, I’ve chosen a word for #oneword365, the details of which can be read about here. 1 I’ll be the first to admit that I often don’t quite focus on the word I’ve chosen all throughout the year, but I do find enough to mediate on and enough to challenge me that it seems worthwhile anyhow.

This year? This year, I have no damn idea what my one word is going to be. It’s annoying me, like woah.

I’ve certainly had words occur to me. In no particular order, three have stood out:

Immanuel.

Humility.

Kaizen.

I started with Immanuel, but something about that seemed too safe. God with us. God with me. Very comforting and certainly a needful reminder on a daily basis and most particularly when panic attacks strike, but I’ve spent the last few years bogged down in my anxiety and how it’s affected me and I am just over it. I want to move on. 2

Humility. Okay. Less safe. More, um, humbling. Not a bad dose of medicine for me, all in all. But it dovetails too much with Immanuel only in a “more of you, less of me” sort of way. 3

And then I landed on kaizen, which got me fairly excited. For those who don’t know, kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement. Continuous improvement? Sign me up!

As I look ahead into 2017, there’s so much I want to improve, some of which has already been in a state of improvement. I’m going back to school. I want to improve my mind, and yes, my socioeconomic status. I am – and have been since well before the turn of the year, thankyouverymuch! – determined to get back on track with healthy living and eating. As of this writing, I can honestly say that working out has become a regular part of my routine several days a week. I want to improve my relationships, to get to know my new friends on a deeper level and to rediscover my old friends, getting to know them as the people they’ve become in the years of our separation and to allow them to get to know the person I’ve become in the meantime.

Even if that person is sometimes usually a neurotic, self-absorbed mess.

I felt pretty good about kaizen, from the time it occurred to me on December 31, right up until I went forward after the church service on January 1, and received a word of prophecy. I babbled something, not about my #oneword dilemma, and the woman I was speaking to just looked at me and said, “You’re not a mother, but you have this incredibly comforting nurturing presence. Just by being in the room, you bring comfort to people.”

And then she prayed over me. “Immanuel. God with you. God within you. God all around you. God as your rearguard.”

And I was like, dang, maybe Immanuel is my One Word?

The upshot is that I still don’t have a single One Word for 2017. As the proud recipient of not only a Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis, but also an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder diagnosis, this does not thrill me. I feel like I haven’t got 2017 nailed down in my mind and at this point, we’ve lost a whole five days and how many more of the remaining 360 will I spend feeling all untethered and incomplete?

Don’t worry. I know how ridiculous that sounds. I mean, I still feel that way, but I get that it sounds a bit unhinged.

I have written and subsequently deleted several iterations of this post, hoping to find clarity through writing as I often do. And I have told myself what I recently told a friend: “Do whatever you want! Your One Word is for you and no one else’s opinion matters!” The problem is that my opinion very much matters to me and in my opinion, I should have a One Word and it should be a One Word, not a three word.

And now I’ve just sort of blown my own damn mind, because “three word” just reminded me of part of what I read to the husband today duringĀ our commute:

“Note this for now: the principle of one is lonely; the principle of two is oppositional and moves you toward preference; the principle of three is inherently moving, dynamic, and generative.”

Fr. Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance

So maybe it’s okay to have a three word. Maybe I can embrace humility, Immanuel and kaizen all in the same year.

At this present moment, that’s the first thing that has made total sense to me in this whole exercise. And with that frayed and unglued corner of my mind feeling a bit more settledĀ and secured, I think I am for my rest for now. Doubtless I’ll have something to write about any or all of these words in the future, but that will come when it will, if it does.

Just now, I feel a bit more whole. And I will take what I can get.

  1. the details of OneWord, that is. The details of my past words are scattered across the interwebs, but to summarize: focus, hope, adventure, abundance
  2. Wanting to and actually being able to not being the same things. I do get the sense I have a lot more to process before it’s all said and done.
  3. Give me any topic and I can probably find a way to relate it to my mental illness in about half a second, flat. It’s a gift. A terrible, pointless gift.

3 thoughts on “three word

  1. First of all; Happy New Year!

    I’m always one for making things your own, and making them work for you. So if three words feel right, then I think that’s what you should go for.

    That said, my initial thought as I was reading (before getting to the last bit), was that if “kaizen” felt right, then I think that would have worked well. Since from what I’m reading, it seems that “Immanuel” is kind of with you automatically anyway, an integral part of you (based on the woman’s comments). Which to me just makes it seem like you might not have to use it as your one word, since it’s already there. (If that makes sense?)

    Still, I think you should do what feels best for you. And if out of all your options the one that feels the most right is to use all three, then I don’t think anyone is going to come down on you for that. We all should change things to work for us, to make us feel as good as possible. Surely that’s the whole point of the one word anyway?

    1. Happy New Year!

      Here’s hoping 2017 will be less of an ass than 2016 was, eh?

      I think that of all the words I came up with for 2017, kaizen was certainly my favorite. Left out of the post was that, in the middle of my ridiculous fixation on my “need” to have a word, I prayed and asked God to whisper a word in my ear again (as I am certain he did with last year’s word of “abundance”), and kaizen was dropped into my mind, literally out of nowhere, a few hours later.

      Still. That, on its own, didn’t seem right and nor did Immanuel. Certainly “humility” is difficult to swallow, no matter the circumstances of how it came about!

      I do find that all three words make this beautiful pattern in my mind, and since the whole point of #oneword is for the good feels, well…. who am I to insist one a one word for myself?

      So, yes, I am rolling with three. Humility to remind me that Immanuel and Immanuel to remind me that there’s always room for improvement (kaizen) and kaizen to remind me of humility and…. The interconnectedness of all things (to steal shamelessly from Douglas Adams) really works for me in this instance, and I feel great about my three word, even though it’s not a one word. It’s certainly a one idea, which matters the most. To me.

      So hello, 2017! How are you greeting this fine new year?

      (Also, I will be in Malta in early September. Could not work out UK trip, for which am very sad, but… wanna come to Malta?)

  2. I think a three word – one word is a brilliant idea! Do what feels right, is what I think. (Not something I always manage to live by, but it’s how I’d like to do things.)

    Haha I’d have loved to go to Malta, but I don’t really think it’s something I can manage this year. My family wants to do a group trip to Spain, so I’m afraid that between that and visiting home all my travel money will be gone. I’m envious though, Malta is great!

    And I’m greeting this fine year by resigning from my job. I was getting too tired, so need to try something different. Going to another job that is three nights a week, and I’m hoping that it will give me more time to regain energy with less days spent at work. Fingers crossed!

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