“What lies behind us and what lies before us are
small matters compared to what lies within us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
All around the blogosphere people are selecting their one little words. Like magic, the words have descended. I’ve watched and tried to listen, look, notice, wonder about what mine might be.
2016 was the first year I faced with a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop fear. This year, those concerns still hover; those fears and new ones. I learned last year that anticipating the inevitable was a waste of energy. The shoe will drop and unexpected flowers will bloom. The good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow will always be. But, I can’t control or soften the blow of eventuality by pondering it. So thinking about my OLW for this year, I thought of words that would move actions toward the light even in dark moments.
I thought seriously about the word, notice. So much of what I need to do more of is simply to notice. Notice is the simpler idea around the word present. For a while, notice was on the top of my possible list that was long and rambling. Nothing was falling in my lap that felt right.
Last night, I thought of my dad, who at 96, is the bravest person I know. Someone I want to emulate. Someone who is so full of heart. And, I thought seriously about the word heart. I want to be that person who has tremendous heart. Some days I am that person. But I worried about the days I’m not. Days when my heart could not handle the task, and I set the word heart aside.
I wanted a word that could be small or a big. A word that did not require heroic moves every day. A word that could grow little by little. A word, if there were purpose and energy to sustain it, could get big. I thought about small actions. Smiling. An act that transforms. Just by lifting the sides of the mouth, everything gets a tiny bit better. Just lifting.
Lift. Could it work?
Lift student burdens and barriers so they can take next step.
Lift my eyes from the screen, my worries, myself to see, to notice.
Lift my hands to reach toward another who needs help.
Lift my voice to say what needs to be heard.
Lift my heart to help those who are hurting or fearful.
Lift the corners of my mouth to smile.
Welcome OLW 2017.