I wasn’t looking for a Word Of The Year.
The past several (many) New Years I’ve looked for a Word to set as an intention, and typically I didn’t have to look too hard. Something always arose, and for the last few days of the old year and the first few days of the new year I’d think about the Word—JOY or HOME or NOURISH or whatever—and it would feel really meaningful.
And then I’d forget about it.
So this year, this wild year, I didn’t look for a Word. I didn’t want a Word. I have my SFDs and my 3Ms and I still don’t really think I need a Word. (In fact I considered making the S-word in SFD my Word Of The Year, just to be snarky!)
But a Word found me. On the first day of 2021, in my first practice of my first M (meditation). And the Word has come up somehow, somewhere every day since, including today and it’s only 10 a.m. as I write this.
There’s much to ponder about clarity, as a symbol, a personal practice, and a spiritual discipline. And even a political commitment—we desperately need clarity to separate our nation’s myths from its realities, and clarity to distinguish truth from fiction in our discourse.
On a personal level, I’m seeking clarity in my vocation and in my faith life. The past year has forced most (all?) of us to be honest about what remains when our “normality” is up-ended. I want to enter in to the next phase—whatever that is going to look like—with clear vision. I have a sense of starting from scratch, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s an opportunity we don’t get (or take) often… perhaps unless it is forced on us.
What clarity looks like, for me, right now.
- My favorite pencils, newly sharpened. Ready to write. I need to have the right tools, close at hand, and I need to eliminate distractions (even the very mundane ones, like blunt pencils).
- My yarn stash tidied and inventoried. I start every new year by reorganizing, culling, and photographing my yarns. I determine how much yardage I have on hand, and how much I’ve used in the previous year. I need to know exactly what I have to work with.
- SFDs and 3Ms. I need to determine what practices are most important to me, be realistic about them, and then build them in to my days.
As I enter this year with this new, unlooked-for Word, I’m taking on the practice of clarity as a very practical matter. I expect its deeper, personal, spiritual relevance to be revealed.
“My vision is clear.”
This morning’s reading in Yoga Mind was about setting a mantra. I know about mantras, but I’ve never had a personal one and to be honest I feel like it’s a little woo-woo, you know? But this is what came to mind as I breathed and sat. “My vision is clear.” This isn’t a statement of fact, but of possibility.
And I’m okay with that.
It tugs my abstract Word into existence, makes it a thing that is happening instead of just a concept.
It also feels like a declaration of faith, a prayer that is claiming the “not yet” in confidence that it will be. God, make my vision clear. Give me eyes to see truth and words to tell it. Let me look back, and ahead: where I have come from, and where I am going. Let me look around, here, now.
Give me clarity.
Make me clear.