With the new year comes a new One Little Word…

Slipping into my sunroom, I have arrived at what is sure to be a temporary moment of silence and solitude.  I settle into the quiet, creasing my lonely notebook back.  It has been awhile, a while since I have written.


And that’s okay.

But the time has come to write again.  To shake off the mental cobwebs.  To be intentional.  Perhaps ask forgiveness from all of you reading this…for disappearing.  But know, I needed a break.

It is January now. And little words have begun to bubble up through what feels like a bit of a swamp, the swamp of my consciousness I will call it. I suspect many of us are experiencing this confusing, swampy inner being.  For me the swamp is a combination of gratitude and persistent worry, of wonder and unexplained panic, of hard-won confidence and metastatic stress. Perhaps those words aren’t quite right.  But it does feel more paradoxical than juxtapositional, if that makes any sense.

In 2020, we all suffered in some way. Or many ways.  And I am quite confident that the quiet desperation I feel to somehow begin anew, to turn a page, to turn a corner- turn something!– is shared by nearly all of you, dear readers.

We are all hopeful.

So I have now studied the bubbles that, for me, quietly ascended from the swamp as potential One Little Words for the coming year. What will be my word to guide and inspire me in 2021? The first (oddly) was BOLD. I considered that word for days, allowing it to roll around inside my head. . . wondering if it might be something to organize around. But, although I do love the aesthetic this word summons, the timing does not feel right to choose it.  Also, I do not want to select a word that could become some sort of didactic cudgel, which I see as possible. No, BOLD is not for this year.

Another bubble was RENEWAL.  Though this word felt somewhat comforting, such as the defining terms “restore” and “replenish”, it also exudes shades of fixing something that is wrong, which is, as you may know, a quality I consciously work to avoid.

And then the bubble I had been waiting for: POSSIBILITY. Yes! Although this word, for me, could be described as a dormant term from some powerful past personal training I completed, this word is perfect for 2021.  As I once learned, POSSIBILITY can be employed as an antonym for “attachment.”   When one takes a stand for possibility and remains distinctly detached from specific results, one is far more likely to experience the present with more freedom, more affinity, even more joy.

To say we exist in an uncertain world would be to utter an almost laughable understatement. But possibility exists. It is all around us. And I find that inspiring. As the title of my current read intimates, Looking to Get Lost, by Peter Guralnick, I find myself ready to get lost somewhere in a place teeming with possibility.

Yes, I am once again ready to believe in what is possible.

Let’s see where that takes me in 2021.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.


Lanny’s One Little Word for 2020

One of my great mentors once taught me that a significant difference exists between trying to fix something perceived as “wrong” in life versus living into a possibility. These are two separate ways of being in the world.

In contemplating a choice for my one little word this year – 2020 – I have spent a lot of time thinking about this important distinction.  The first way of being- attempting to right or fix a “wrong” – typically results in the constitution of thoughts that look, sound, and feel like strategies, defenses, or plots.  And although strategies, defenses, and plots can all produce desirable results – absolutely! – they are also ways of being that tend to lack such qualities as freedom, joy, and affinity for life.

So as I have considered a word to, in the words of Ali Edwards, focus on, live with, write about, craft with, and reflect upon for the new year and dawning decade, I have thought a great deal more about a word that could function more as a “North Star”, and less as a “how-to” guide.  For I wholeheartedly believe when we devote ourselves to living into the possibility a word can offer, we are more free; we are free to pursue life in ways that can truly light us up.  This is distinct from working to right something we have deemed to be “wrong” in our lives or “fixing” something (although there is definite value in this).

With this thinking in mind, I have chosen BALANCE to be my one little word for 2020.

As I have alluded to earlier here, I have selected this word not because of what is wrong, but rather because of what this word offers in terms of possibility.

What comes to mind when thinking about BALANCE?  A few contexts jump to my mind, and I will share a few of them here:

  • Balance, as on a bike:  Although decades now separate me from the experience of attaining balance atop a bicycle for the first time, I shall never forget it. It wasn’t easy.  It required hard work, perseverance, and focus…as well as support from others.  And it required a belief that I could do it.  But once I attained it, my gosh!  The thrill and the freedom I suddenly felt… so great! In choosing BALANCE this year, I plan to focus on and remember the sheer joy that can become possible when hard work and focus are combined to reach a goal.
  • Balance, as in a diet: It is common wisdom that in order to function effectively, our bodies need a well-balanced diet.  Working to get back to this principle in the coming year I know holds great possibility for increasing my energy levels, performance, and overall physical and mental health.
  • Balance, as in work life and home life: As a literacy specialist, I love the work I do with teachers and kids.  I also love my beautiful family.  In choosing BALANCE as my one little word this year, I am really taking a stand for a robust and heartening life in both of these areas.

It is hard for me to believe we are entering a new decade. I am sure many of us are feeling similarly.  I mean… 2020, really?!  It boggles the mind.  But I feel confident that BALANCE will be a supportive word this year, especially as I work to remain steadfast in my beliefs around ways to make a difference in the world.

To all of you who have taken some of your valuable time to read this post, allow me to express my gratitude to you.  May this year be one that holds great wonder, love, and possibility for you.  Happy New Year!