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?

What is it to be Curious?

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

How do I start to explore the word for the month?

A logical place to start seems to be the dictionary.

The first dictionary definition of Curious that I came across surprised me, in its negative connotation: “Interested in what is not one’s own business.” That was enough to make me give up dictionaries as a starting place in this process.

Curiosity has always been a very positive concept for me.

There we other definitions of course, but I realized that what matters with the 12 Words is that I cultivate my own understanding of the word, and what it means to “be” that energy in the world.

So I thanked the dictionary and went on my way, committed to discovering my own personal meaning and value of Curiosity.

For me, Curiosity is opening myself to wonder. It is an invitation to clear decks and look at something in a completely new way.

It’s also with a positive expectation that I look at something with Curiosity. I’m expecting to find something surprising and wonderful.

Curiosity is about being alive and awake, so there’s a vitality about it, a new-ness of life.

But most of all it is about presence: attention and eager anticipation. It is welcoming of life.

What is Curiosity for you?

My 12 Words for 2018

There are a lot of people who find value in having a word (or words) to guide them throughout the year. They see it as a guiding light, or an intention, or a mantra to help them stay focused on what matters.

They discover their word by remaining open and listening to their inner guidance. It is something that comes to them, rather than something that they figure out.

In November, when I opened to the possibility of a word or words for 2018, twelve words flowed out from within. This has never happened to me, so I paid attention to it.

What came to me about this was that these words are qualities of being that I would like to embody. They are how I want to be in the world, the spirit or energy that I want to bring through my presence, or how I want to “show up,” during the next phase of my life.

As I explored this possibility, I felt as if a gift had been bestowed upon me. What a fun thing to explore in 2018!

Throughout November and December, my understanding of this idea deepened.

These are the questions I would hold as I explored each word:

  • What is it, for me?
  • How do I embody the energy of it?
  • How do I live it, in the world?
  • How will I keep it alive, in my life?

It was certainly convenient that there were 12 words, one for each month of the year.

The words changed during December. Four words “left” and four new ones came in.

They spread themselves into the months, and their order changed three times before January.

Here are the words and how they have now settled into the months (subject to change, of course):

  • January: Curiosity
  • February: Vitality
  • March: Eagerness
  • April: Receptivity
  • May: Engagement
  • June: Expansion
  • July: Flow
  • August: Intention
  • September: Generosity
  • October: Renewal
  • November: Whole-heartedness
  • December: Love

I’m really excited about this idea. It feels like a delightful adventure.

What is your word (or words) for 2018?

Inbetween Time

This morning, the woods are alive with large flocks of migrating Robins and Red-Winged Blackbirds. Their song fills the air, and it lifts my spirits, after months of quiet mornings.

We are in the Inbetween Time again, as the seasons begin to transition from Winter into Spring. One day there is snow, and the next, the sun is warming the earth and the bulbs are beginning to break through frozen soil.

There is a going back and forth, in these Inbetween Times.

Sometimes there is a going back and forth for us in our lives, when we are going through transitions, and this is OK, as we begin to grow in the fullness of who we are becoming.

Where, in your life, are you in the Inbetween Time?

Choosing to Be

480 frozen fog

I’m not going to go into the politics of the American presidential election. That was yesterday.

Today, I get to choose something else.

I get to choose who to be in all of this.

For me, this is a call to live a conscious life even more, and to choose love, even more.

My job is, and always has been, to do the best that I can do to live consciously, and to choose love over fear, anger, and hatred.

My sense of well-being is and always has been an inside job.

No one and no circumstance can take that away from me.

If I let them take it away, I am being a victim, rather than being the resourceful person that I was born to be.

Viktor Frankl reminds us of this, from the voice of one who was in a concentration camp in World War II. He said that all freedoms can be taken away from us, except the freedom to choose our attitude and our way.

I am not saying this is always easy. I’m saying I get to choose.

I am also not saying that I am going to deny my feelings. I am saying that I am going to acknowledge them and feel them, and then I am going to move onto a place where I can do some good.

I can do some good by choosing to be a loving person.

This may not be every person’s path, but it is my path.

It is who I choose to be.

Who do you choose to be?

What is your right path?

When You Need a Bigger Bus


I often think of the metaphor of a bus when I think about how I am being in the world, and about my life.

“Who’s driving my bus?” Is it the scared little kid, or the empowered, resourceful adult? I welcome all “inner parts” to be on the bus, but some of them…well, I don’t want them driving the bus.

Then there is the question of how much I’m carrying on my bus. You know…beliefs, assumptions, physical stuff.

The bus above is a Hay Bus. It is a converted School Bus that a farm in Marengo uses to deliver very large loads of hay to local farms, for horse and cattle feed.

When I saw it, I knew I was given a gift: When you need a bigger bus, it’s time to look at how much you’re carrying around. so the question came to me, for me: What can I offload from my bus, that I no longer need to carry around?

And I offer the question to you, too: What can you offload?

The Inbetween Time


Today it is cool, rainy, and I am shivering in the damp as I watch the leaves being blown off the trees. Yesterday was a cool sunny day, with a crisp, blue sky. The day before that, a hot, muggy wall of heat enveloped me as I walked out of the house.

We are in a transition from Summer to Fall.

We are in The Inbetween Time.

Every year, when we move into this transition time from Summer to Fall, I feel ambivalent, and, at first, a little disoriented. It always seems to me like it arrives suddenly, when I wasn’t looking.

I find myself wanting to hold onto the long days of summer, and the bright colors of growth.

I can feel the resistance in me as I am dragged into shorter days and brisk winds.

In The Inbetween Time, we are living some of the old, even though we know it is being dismantled. We can see and feel some of the promise of the new, but the details aren’t clear or sustained. The new is a wisp, rather than something we can hold onto yet.

In this time, if I let it,  Nature is teaching me how to be with uncertainty and change, how to be an explorer and an adventurer, and how to come to life with openness and curiosity.

The Inbetween Time is a powerful space of creative potential, if I can let go what I expect and where I think I am going, and instead be open to surprises and the gifts of the new season.

Most of all, I want to feel grateful for the gifts of absolute uncertainty and surprise that The Inbetween Time brings.

I want make space for what is coming, even though I don’t know what it is yet. In the last few weeks, I’ve had an instinct to clear my office, and my mind, for new possibilities.

For me, it takes faith to welcome the abyss, and to let the unknowing and the space just be, until clarity begins to form. I have to hold myself back from filling the space with what I know, in order to leave room for the unexpected. Nature gives me this faith, because Nature is a model of rhythms and cycles.

The Inbetween Time is a threshold, a suspension. It is a luminous time of transition, between what we know and what we don’t.

How do you want to be, in The Inbetween Time?


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