The 12 Words at Two Months

It is difficult for me to believe that we are already 2 full months into 2018, but we are, and so I am doing a stocktake of the 12 Words “project” (don’t know the noun; this one doesn’t feel right).

In January, Curiosity held itself quietly back in the crevices of my mind, and I often forgot about it until I saw my painting of Curiosity in my morning Listening Time.

It was like a shy, reclusive kid who could remain unnoticed without my active commitment to invite her in and pay attention to her.

I tried to create all kinds of different reminders to bring Curiosity into my mind during the day, but she still remained largely unnoticed in the course of my days.

However, I still learned a lot about Curiosity, and I love the sense of awakening that her presence brings into my life.

February’s word, Vitality, on the other hand, demanded my immediate and constant attention.

It seemed to be in my face all the time.

At the kitchen counter, while I was making dinner, Vitality would pop up and say, “Pay attention to me. Who am I?”

I’d ask myself several times a day: “What is Vitality? Where is it now? What does it need from me?”

It is like it pushed its way in, everywhere, and demanded to be seen, invited in, and paid attention to.

It was like once I asked it in, it wouldn’t go away or recede back into the shadows again.

Here is the “last word” (maybe) on Vitality.¬†Maybe, because, now that it has been invited in, it isn’t going anywhere.

March’s word is Eagerness.

I think Curiosity and Vitality will be a big help with Eagerness.

To the extent that I can be curious and allow the flow of vitality in and through me, I am guessing that Eagerness will grow and flourish.

But there will still be plenty to learn and experience about Eagerness, and I am eagerly looking forward to the adventure! ūüôā


The Last Word on Vitality (Maybe)

Today is the last day of February, and tomorrow, I am on to another of my 12 Words, Eagerness.

Vitality, to me, is the flow of creative spirit from within. It is the part of me that is always becoming, ever emerging and seeking expression. It urges me, and when I allow it, it radiates in and through me.

Its face and rhythm change.

Sometimes it is quieter and meandering, like a waning autumn stream, in the mountains.

Sometimes it is a torrent, like a current that is robustly fed by spring rains.

My “job” is to join the river and the flow, and for me, this is primarily done by frequent pauses during the day, breathing deeply into the flow of Vitality.

When I do that, I feel the rhythm of the flow in my body. I know that on some level, I am this flow. I empty myself to receive the insights and intuitions of the flow, and when it feels the right time, I move as the flow into action.

For me, Vitality is a flow of ephemeral moments, to be seized and and savored:

  • To reach out to someone or something in love and gratitude, in a passing moment.
  • To realize an easier way of moving through something, just as a river finds its way through the boulders.
  • To have that knowing that I am on my right path, and that all is well.
  • To embody a more visionary perspective in the challenges.
  • To act, with a knowing that it is the right thing to do.

Vitality asks much of me, as it flows with inspiration and radiating energy.

I must choose to join the river. It is a surrender to the flow of the deep wisdom of creative spirit emerging. But I am still, at times, reluctant to give myself fully to it.

I must respect the timing of the flow. Sometimes it is moving slower than I think I would like, or faster than I think I can keep up with.

Vitality always demands that I be present in the moment. I need to breathe and to sink into presence countless times during a day.

I need to be a clear space to receive and sense the flow of Vitality, and to radiate it back to others. Sometimes there are the boulders of my cluttered mind, and I need to open up spaces for the flow to make its way through, in its full flow.

Sometimes I need to clear away an ancient beaver’s den of old outdated beliefs and assumptions, so that Vitality can flow clearly and fully.

But as much as Vitality demands of me to be committed to allowing its flow, and as much as it needs clear space within me, I’m in.

In welcoming Vitality as my constant companion for this month, I have felt the joy of inspiration and the power of radiating energy flowing. I have had moments of knowing that this is how I want to be in my life, living as one with the Emergence of creative spirit from deep within.

Vitality is a commitment I am willing to make.



In the Flow of Vitality

In my exploration of Vitality, my February word, I am learning that Vitality is living in the flow of our creative spirit within, as it unfolds.

I have let this be my life’s practice for years, but I never understood that in this, is my Vitality, until the dots connected for me in my “listening time” this morning, as I continued to contemplate Vitality.

Then I remembered a Martha Graham quote that I have always loved. When I pulled it out, I noticed that she uses the word vitality to describe the flow of creative spirit within:

“There is a vitality, a Life Force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action.

And because there is only one of you, for all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that activate you.

Keep the channel open.‚ÄĚ

 By Martha Graham

Written to Agnes de Mille

Graham is specifically referring to the creative artist expression of dance, but I believe – I know – that our lives can be an expression of the creative spirit within us, unfolding and coming to life. And this process certainly isn’t limited to what we may think of as the more traditional forms of art or artistic expression.

I have seen this for over 20 years, in my profession as a life coach, when clients release into the knowing – the direction – of just the next step that is arising from within them, and they respect that deep knowing. They know the truth of it; they can feel the “rightness” of it from deep within.

Then, by paying attention to that deep inner wisdom, and honoring it, there is a creative unfolding, called their life, that’s very unique and completely authentic to them, that begins to be revealed.

What connected for me this morning was that this is Vitality, this “being” the creative unfolding of our life force or life energy, that which arises authentically from deep within us.

This is Vitality, this full engagement or fusion with the flow of our own unique creative energy.

It is very active and alive. It is empowered. It is real.

How do you keep your channel open? How do you live as the fullness of your own Vitality?

Vitality is Waking Up

Vitality is waking up to:

  • the generosity and stunning abundance in my life
  • the wholeness that is already present, not what I think needs fixing or changing
  • the infinite stream of opportunities to flow love from within, to others, myself, nature, conditions
  • love the journey, regardless of how foggy or messy it gets

What brings you alive to the vitality within?

The Pursuit of Vitality

Throughout my day, I find myself thinking about my February word, Vitality. I pursue Vitality, and it peeks its head around the corner, teasing me, only to disappear again, like a wisp from an elusive dream.

It’s as if I don’t know Vitality yet, but my mind is a portal through which I can pass, to begin to understand Vitality in my heart’s nature.

So, Vitality, for me right now, is a concept. It’s a compelling concept. I long to live with a strong sense of animated, radiating, alive energy, and a Yes to life, quite apart from any current physical condition that I may be experiencing in the moment. This idea excites and intrigues me. I want to live eagerly.

Vitality seems like a choice, but what are we choosing, and how do we choose?

For me, Vitality seems to be an energy that originates from deep within.

So, then, it isn’t that I find a Thing that is my “passion,” and then as I do that Thing, and it animates and awakens me, and then I am living and being Vitality. I feel like it is an essence that stands apart from conditions.

It’s an enlivening, animating energy that is already there. It’s my birthright, our birthright.

The questions for me now are: how do I invite this animating energy to be fully present, in and through me? How do I awaken fully to it, deep in my heart? How do I allow it to awaken me?

What is Vitality to you?



Meeting Vitality

The first question for me, when I meet a new word, of the 12 Words, is: What is it?

February’s word is Vitality.

I have the sense that I know more about what Vitality isn’t, than what it is:

  • Going through life distracted and preoccupied
  • Just putting one foot in front of the other
  • Walking through the day with a sense of obligation rather than purpose
  • Stoic forebearance

But, what is it?

I know it when I see it.

We have all seen people who are very challenged physically, or quite elderly, and who light up a room with their sense of radiating energy of aliveness and Yes to life. What is that quality of being that they are tapped into, radiating, choosing, or allowing?

Having seen and known people like that, I believe that Vitality is different than being an outstanding specimen of physical health. It is a quality of being.

And, I know it’s an inside job.

What is that quality or essence?

How do we “be” Vitality?


12 Words Now

Yesterday, I wrote about what curiosity, my January Word of the Month, has taught me.

I am a month into my 2018 12 Words adventure of holding a word a month in my awareness, exploring what it means to me, embodying it in the way that I live, and learning what it has to teach me.

What has it meant so far, to live with a word for the month?

I have loved living with a word for a month, and I’m already looking forward to my adventure with embodying Vitality, in February.

For me, it was like having an amiable companion in my walk through life.

When I was feeling good, curiosity felt like a playmate, showing me things that I would have otherwise missed. I saw things as if for the first time. I discovered many surprises.

When I was feeling a bit of a wobble, curiosity nudged its way in, as if to say “What if?”:

  • What if I’m not seeing the whole picture?
  • What if something else is also possible?
  • What if I look at this another way?
  • What might also be true?
  • What is my deeper truth?

When I remembered my commitment to curiosity, these questions emerged quite naturally and spontaneously, as if to ask them was to show respect to curiosity.

When I forgot about my word, I felt like I missed some of the richness and depth of my world.

I love having a word to companion me, and to inform me in my journey.

I’m very much looking forward to what I discover with vitality as my new companion, in February.

Curiosity is Awakening

This post is part of a series on 12 Words. Curiosity is my word for January.

I am understanding now that to me, Curiosity is awakening:

  • to things in a different way
  • to my senses, in a fuller way
  • to new possibilities
  • to things I haven’t seen before
  • to things I didn’t know about
  • to new perspectives and new paths

Curiosity is being with the unknown, with positive expectation.

What Curiosity Has Taught Me

My January Word for the Month, Curiosity, has taught me:

  • To embrace what is and to be curious about it, rather than fighting it.
  • That life is way more fun and interesting when I am actively curious, and when I see life as an adventure.
  • To use “What if?” even more often.
  • That getting curious about something immediately causes me to be more playful and light, around circumstances and beliefs. For me, this is a good thing.

To embrace curiosity, for me, is to embrace living with an expectant spirit, eager to discover.

It is an invitation to see even the most challenging circumstances in life as an adventure, and an opportunity, to express my creativity and love, from the deepest levels of my being. I won’t always “be there”, but to live with curiosity is something I want to aspire to.

I definitely want to be more curious, more of the time.

Curiosity is a wise and playful companion to have in my life.



Intentional Curiosity

This post is part of a series on 12 Words. Curiosity is my word for January.

As a coach, I’m very familiar with Curiosity. Curiosity is a hallmark of being a coach. As a coach, I know that the client has their own wisdom and perspective, and that it is not helpful for me to come to our coaching conversation with an overlay of my own perspectives and assumptions.

A whole chapter is devoted to Curiosity in the book “Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life.”

What is it to intentionally bring the energy of Curiosity into the living of my life?

It means being not only open and receptive but free – as much as humanly possible – of assumptions and preconceived perspectives, for myself, not just for my clients.

Additionally, to me, it means showing up to my life with a spirit of possibility, rather than limitation.

And, it always means that I’m committed to presence, being like a fertile field of awareness and “awake-ness.”

Fresh seems to be the sister of Curiosity. Being Curious is like standing at the edge of an unknown territory. This, I am committed to practice in my life. It seeing with news eyes.

How do you live with a Curious nature in your life?


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