Each year I pick a word (or a word picks me!) rather than a resolution to focus on. I have learned from experience, resolutions come and go as evidenced by how crowded the gym will be in January and then uncrowded in February! Discovering a word and focusing on that word is sticky and becomes a trigger like a habit. A word tends to stimulate my thinking around situations, conversations, and interactions. A word helps me make a connection with what I am reading and learning. A word becomes a bridge to possibilities, opportunities and the door to curiosity.
My word for 2019 was “community” as in move from being a part of a group to being a part of “community.” Helping create and build community has been a part of my ‘on purpose.’ A true community is a place of inclusion and where people can be vulnerable while feeling safe. I ended 2019 forming a small diverse, equitable, and inclusive community of half white men and half MOC.
My word for 2020 is light. With all the disinformation, misinformation, and alternative facts, “fake news,” I’m going to be more intentional in finding the light. I also want light to help me look at situations and events with fresh eyes, to help me be more curious and to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Robert Fulghum, a storyteller’s storyteller and author of It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, tells of time taking a seminar on Greek culture on the island of Crete lead by Dr. Alexander Papaderous. During the close of the last day, Papaderous asked the class, “Are there any questions?”
Fulghum responds, “Dr. Papaderous, what is the meaning of life?”
After some silence and an intense gaze at Fulghum, he says, “I will answer your question.”
Out of his wallet, he pulled a small round mirror about the size of a quarter. He told the story of being a child during WWII and finding pieces of a mirror from a wrecked German motorcycle. He took the largest piece of mirror and scratched into its round shape and used it as a toy to reflect light into dark places. As Papaderous grew he came to realize the mirror was a metaphor for the purpose of his life…to “reflect light into the dark places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.” (pages 175-177)
I’m going to seek the light, share it and shine it in the dark places in 2020.