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Words to Live By: Predicting a 'Generous' New Year

A-photo-of-Colleen-NewquistSeveral years ago, my friend Carmen Marti introduced me to the idea of choosing a word for the year instead of making a New Year’s resolution. I liked the idea so much that I encouraged our New Year’s Eve guests to write down their word and put it in a box to revisit the following the year. Everyone got into it, using crayons and colored pencils to decorate their piece of paper with their word written on it.

Over time, I must have tossed out the box, but I held onto the custom. Ever since that New Year’s Eve, I’ve chosen a new word every year.

The first year my word was “trust.” It was a year of change—a new job for me, the end of high school and the beginning a college for Aaron, an empty nest for me and Michael—and I decided “trust” was the word I’d need to keep coming back to. I needed to trust that everything would work out for all of us and I needed to trust in myself and my abilities, my instincts and decisions, and the path I’d chosen. It was a good word, a sturdy word. I trusted that it would see my through the year, and it did.

Word choices in subsequent years have included “true,” when I needed a guide to help me remember who I am and what matters most in my heart, and “listen,” when I felt the guidance I needed was inside me and all around me—I just needed to pay attention.

I’m mulling over words for this year, but so far I’m leaning toward “generous.” I’m feeling the need to be open and give freely. The wallet’s pretty empty right now, and when that happens, the worst thing I can do is get miserly and hold tight. The best thing I can do is be grateful for what we’ve got, believe in the abundance of the universe, and keep the money—and goodness—flowing.

I’m feeling the need to be generous of spirit—to believe in people, give the benefit of the doubt, to understand and accept that everyone has hidden burdens, and we’re all doing the best we can.

Most important, I need the reminder to share my gifts, often and freely. Reading the book The Tao of Abundance by Laurence G. Boldt last night, I came across this bit of wisdom regarding the circulation of ch’i, a concept in traditional Chinese medicine that refers to the need for the free flow of energy:

“As abundance is a part of the natural order of things, poverty is an indication that energy has somehow been blocked or impeded. ... If we are lazy or if we fail to give the gifts that are ours to give, material lack may appear as a prod to do what we are naturally here to do. Even if we are making plenty of money, but are neglecting to give our gifts, the energy is not flowing freely. An inner sense of lack, or poverty of the soul, is often the result.”

This coming year, I will choose to be generous  

1. liberal in giving or sharing. 2. free from pettiness in character and mind  3. marked by abundance; ample 

and enjoy the richness of a full and wonderful life.

Thanks to my generous friend Carmen for sharing this idea. Pass it on!