Dana’s One Little Word for 2014

Happy New Year from all of us at the Two Writing Teachers!

Have you chosen your One Little Word (OLW) for 2014 yet?  Which word will you live this year?  Which word will you invite into your life?  This week, each of us at the Two Writing Teachers will be revealing and sharing the story behind our One Little Word (except, of course, for Beth who is taking a temporary break from blogging while on maternity leave). We hope you enjoy, and we hope 2014 fills your life in ways you haven’t even imagined yet.  We invite you to please share your OLW in the comment section of the blog throughout the week!

In the past, I have heard people tell stories about how their OLW found them or suddenly revealed itself in their lives, almost from some divine inspiration.  I took these tales to heart and waited patiently for several weeks for my word to show up in my life.  But when the calendar page turned to December, I gave up the waiting and started a somewhat frantic search for my word.

I had been feeling overwhelmed.  Busy at work, busy blogging, busy being a mom, busy taking care of our house and our family, busy trying to maintain friendships and relationships in a busy world.  I had been feeling stressed and short on patience.  I had not been my best self.  Particularly, I had not been a very kind daughter or wife, often speaking with an edge in my voice to those I love the most.  I was tired, cranky, and oh so irritable.  So, I started searching for a word that would remind me to take a breath, to calm down, to relax.  I doodled in my writer’s notebook.

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I kept an ongoing list on my Evernote app.

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I liked all of these words.  I probably could have just chosen one, but I was feeling indecisive.  I kept looking.  I could not find my word.

Now, I am not a person who remembers my dreams all too often (I sleep like a rock).  However, one night I had this terrible dream that my Katie was trapped underwater.  It was horrible. Then, the very next night I had a dream that I lost my husband’s favorite possession underwater!  “What is with all the water?” I wondered.  I started thinking that maybe my dreams were a metaphor for the way I had been feeling… like I was drowning in the busy-ness of life, like I couldn’t get my head above water.  In that instant, my word found me:

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Float.  This year will be the year that I learn to float.  To me, floating implies a certain steadiness, a calmness.  I picture myself floating in crystal blue waters, breathing in and breathing out.  Moving gently with the breeze.  Calm and steady.

I will float at work when I’m feeling there is just too much to do.  I will breathe.  I will slow down.  I will move with the breeze.  I will float at home when the kids are demanding and impatient.  Breathe, steady yourself, float.  I will float when I’m tempted to use harsh words with those I love.  My words will float from my mouth, not spill.

I shared my word with my husband, and I am so glad I did.  Sometimes, I might need a reminder.

Just a couple of days ago, we took a family trip to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis.  Traveling by car with two young children can be stressful.  We arrived at the hotel and made our way downstairs to the indoor pool.  I spent New Years Day floating, literally, with my family.  I knew I had chosen the right word.  (There may have been some splashing, also.)  The next day, I was trying not to be bothered by the impending blizzard, the incorrect GPS directions, the late arrival to the museum, and the crowds.  As we stood in the entrance to the museum, looking at the map, my husband recognized that familiar look of stress on my face.  “Let’s float through the museum, ok?” he asked.  And we did.

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I started reading The Joy Diet by Martha Beck over winter break.  Guess what the first step to the diet is?  Do nothing for 15 minutes each and every day.  Do nothing.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Float.

I can’t know for sure what else the word ‘float’ will mean to me in 2014, but I do know that 2014 will be a calmer, steadier, float-ier year than 2013.

Please share your OLW in the comments!