The Word in June
I know it is June. Still I would like to talk about choosing a word for the year.
We are six months into the year and I think my word for the year, Steeping, is finally starting to get some traction. What does it mean to steep? Well every year that I pick a word what happens is that I really do some serious thinking about what that words means before I pick it. But also after I choose it, the meaning gets deeper and evolves for me.
So initially to steep seemed to be about knowing what you know. As a life long learner, and terribly curious soul I could not really accept the idea that I know enough. So that was no longer part of steeping for me. I would continue to grow by reading, taking courses, working with other individuals to help me grow. I love this. It nurtures me. I seriously believe that ideas are beauty and I am always looking for beauty.
Steeping became about getting stronger. Leaving the bag in the cup long enough for it to really become a strong brew. The tea cup metaphor also resonated with me in that I wanted to get stronger where I was. I realized that for me it meant not spreading my wings so much as deepening my commitment to what I was already doing.
It also meant learning to appreciate my own wisdom. I wanted to appreciate and know what I have here with you as my community, with the good and kind people I work with, and with my studio. This has been a year to appreciate that. To enrich that. To steep with that. It has been a year to coddle it, to love it, to nurture it.
In the first few months of the year I barely recognized what I was to do with this word I had chosen. The thing about choosing a word, I have discovered, is that our life helps us define that word. Our life and our choices imbue the word with meaning as much as the word helps us direct our choices.
At times I felt like I was leaving the word behind only to find that I had made a circuitous road back to it. And this is part of carrying a word in our pocket for a year. Sometimes it is just there waiting for you to reach in and hold it for a while.
There is nothing wrong with forgetting it for a bit I am learning. Once you say it, write it down and like I did, write it nicely on my bulletin board it will remain with you. My job is to check in with it. To use it as a tool to reflect on how I am, how I am acting, and what is important to me. For to have a life is a beautiful thing and surely it is worth reflecting upon. We have the grace of these beautiful minds. We were meant to think about who we are and why we are here.
Choosing a word for ourselves is really just a key that opens our minds to self reflection, and self reflection is what helps us become more understanding not just of ourselves but of others. It is a key too. One that opens the door to empathy, community, and of course to love.
And how did I get from steeping to love? I think it is because love is what I seek. To give and to receive it. It is at the essence of why I hook rugs, why I write. I think of how much I loved to be coddled as a child and know that in so many ways I remain the same. So I carry that little word steep around with me in a cup, my hands wrapped around it, and I try to carry it with love and tenderness, both for myself and those I encounter.
Thank you for reading. And know you can choose a word you need for yourself anytime, and carry it with you for a day or a week, or a year.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick