Words. They have the power to heal. To hurt. Inspire. Encourage. Soothe. Dissuade, persuade and everything in between. One of my #SummitFriends, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, uses words to serve as a guidepost for the year, which she has been doing since 2013.
In a tweet, Jacqui gently asked if I would be participating in the 3 Words project:
Love your kind share (and the word, ‘faithful,’ which gives me the warm fuzzies. @AuntieStress, might you be assigning 3 words to your 2019?
— JacPoindexter (@ValueIntoWords) January 2, 2019
If you’re wondering what the 3 Words project is all about, Dorlee Michaeli (another #SummitFriend), provides a pithy description on My Three Words for 2016: Nourish, Simplify, Charge. “Nourish” is a word that pleases my palate, given my work as Auntie Stress, and also as a person who lives with a chronic, debilitating illness. Making time to do what feeds your heartmindbody plays a big role in the mitigation of stress. I’ve learned that “nutrition” for your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health is a self-care skill that is vital in the navigation of life, particularly when you have rheumatoid arthritis.
Since the inception of my blog on September 26, 2007, I had written a few word-themed posts. In Are You Keen for 2016, I chose 4 words. Words to Live By also featured 4 words. Back in 2009, I wrote about Two Words Full of Heart.
Yes, there were some posts that featured 3 words, like this one dated September 16, 2011: The Word Store. I was honoured to participate in the Loose Blog Consortium (LCB), a weekly blogging assignment. One of those posts was about Coping => Hoping => Renewing. Another New Year’s post that incorporated 3 words evolved out of an end-of-year teachers’ assignment: Stop! Start! Continue!
Words in a Different Direction
I had given some thought to participating in this exercise (thanks, Jacqui), but decided that I’d rather use a different guidepost. Since I’m not an expert in every area (*gasp!), I thought that I would work on using more start-thinking-differently questions. For example: What would [name] do in this situation? In one of those beautifully synchronous moments, I clicked on a Twitter retweet last week. It led to Jackie Yun’s post: You Can Lead (Better) with 3 Words. (She is also a #SummitFriend.)
Another question I’m going to implement before I do anything (I hope), is: What do I intend when I [verb] this? My intention (yes, that’s intentional) is to do whatever I’m doing as mindfully and as skillfully as I can.
Questions keep you in learner mode. They sprout from curiosity. While it may have killed the cat, it can do a lot for your own personal growth. How willing are you to step out of your comfort zone and into that scary, yet potentially exciting, beginner’s place? Are you able to admit that you don’t know something/anything/everything about a particular skill/subject/topic? What if you were to take an acting class, sign up for a language course, or learn to swim? Wade, splash or jump into higher education, like J. G. Chayko:
A university student, creeping up to 50 and battling #RA. Don’t let anything stand in your way. It’s never too late. It might take a little longer than you hope, but it’s worth it. I’m ready for you Writer’s Studio. #firstdayofschool #university #writerslife #education #hope pic.twitter.com/LbDWVDKXLR
— J.G. Chayko (@jgchayko) January 12, 2019
Imagine how that would feel if you began to gain some competence in your chosen activity? Pretty darn good, I’ll bet.
Taking on those sorts of challenges allows you to be a superager, as reported in Psychology Today, by Christopher Bergland:
Interestingly, it appears that laborious physical challenges or wrestling to solve an enigmatic riddle don’t necessarily benefit brain regions that are typically associated with “cognitive” or executive functions such as the prefrontal cortex. Instead, the neuroimaging suggests that doing something to the point of mental or physical discomfort with a ‘bring it on’ attitude has a neuroprotective impact on ’emotional’ hubs of the brain that serve many functions including coordinating all five senses into a singular cohesive experience.”
To fire up your question engine, you might start with the How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci workbook by Michael J. Gelb. Another suggestion is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Or check out the journals in your local bookstore. Many of them like the ones from Piccadilly can lead you in a new direction. (I recently bought one from them called Choose Your Own Journal.)
Hope and Strength. Courage, too!
“Strength and hope to you as you move through the new year!” Considering that 2018 leaned towards the second sentence in this famous quote from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times,” it was a welcomed wish from Jacqui. A dollop of courage would add a nice flavour to hope and strength, wouldn’t you agree? Inadvertently, I have written about 3 words. (As is often the case, these posts take on a life of their own.)
Courage, hope and strength is a pretty good way to start the year. I will add them to the 3 that I wrote about in Hope, as 2014 Awakens. Learn, change and grow, something that naturally occurs when stress is addressed and undressed.
How will you be a superager? What will you do when you are stressed? How will you do your best this year?
Happy New Year! May you find words that illuminate 2019 for you.