One Little Word

Choosing just one word, instead of making a list of resolutions seemed doable.  How hard could it be?  One word.  A single word to guide and inspire me, to remind me to center myself.  Yikes.  Resolutions might be easier.
I read other’s reflections on their one little word.  I was awed, inspired, motivated.  Maybe I could- maybe I should- do this. For a while, I thought my ONL was Be.  It spoke to me in a quiet way and seemed like it would help me to slow down, to appreciate each moment, to breathe fully. Many years ago I heard Anne Lamotte say, in her trademark blunt but spot on style, “Be where your butt is.” Those words have stayed with me ever since the night I listened to her say them.
Still, my word seemed not quite right.  I thought it might be missing something. It turned out that my word was missing two more letters.  Bend.  That’s it- my one little word for 2014.
Bend. I don’t actually love all of the dictionary definitions for my word. But there are a few, straight from Merriam Webster that speak to me- (v) to guide or turn toward; to adapt to one’s purpose; compromise… (n) the curved part of a path. Related words- reflect, meander, wind.  Words like stretch, challenge, respond, center, adapt and reach come to my mind.
This year I will navigate a bend in my life path..  There will be curves to respond to, and compromises to be made. I don’t know what every bend will be, but I will try to pause and reflect as I encounter each one. I will have to bend and stretch to reach deep inside myself to remain steady and available, physically and emotionally, for my children.
I will bend by taking time to listen and respond to my teenagers, even when they are being their most outrageous selves, and think how we might compromise.  When I remind myself to bend, I will remember to soften and to model being flexible whenever that is what is best or needed.
I will bend and stretch my body, making time for yoga and walks with my dog and friends.
I will bend and be open to the unexpected and unanticipated with my students in the classroom. 
I will bend and reach as a writer, learning and growing from those moments when my writing doesn’t follow the path I expect.
Bend.  I have turned a  page. I look forward to learning to bend in new directions.

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