For years now, I’ve chosen a word or a set of word(s) that represent the qualities that I wish to add, focus upon, or prioritize in my life during the new year. I gave up on making futile New Year’s resolutions, that, by February, lay in the dust bin of resolutions from years past. In 2020, I can’t seem to select only one or two words, so I have chosen three words that stir my soul, and one that I hope to interweave throughout every aspect of my life, not only this year, but every year. My words are: fearlessness, meraki, efflorescence, and curiosity.
In choosing a word(s) for the year, I state my intention to become more familiar with the word(s), and to experience the depth and breadth of the words in my life. More importantly, I intend to embrace the word to understand and learn more about my world, such as, why I make the choices that I make, think the way that I do, and how I can live a fuller life.
In my case, all of my chosen words speak to the doldrums that has gripped me for some time, and that have kept me from realizing the full extent of my creative passions and abilities. For years, I have called myself an artist, but I have been too afraid to act on it. For a time, I created my mixed media work. I even designed business cards, a website, and took an ”Art of Business” course. The website has yet to be published, and for the past year, I haven’t created anything of note.
I believe that the word “fearlessness” is obvious. How many of us are stymied by our fears? Although a healthy amount of fear is a good thing, too much can paralyze one to inaction. Fear is the source of many dashed or unrealized dreams. In my case, it has stopped me from pursuing my passions of painting, and from living my life fully. This year, I want to face my fears, and live in spite of them.
The state of ”fearlessness” extends, not only to my creative life, but to my life as a whole. It is a weighty invitation for me to live my life without allowing fear to limit my actions. A feeling of fearlessness opens us to new things and experiences, and propels us to undiscovered heights. Many children seem to be innately fearless, and lest we reign them in, they will leap headfirst into their chosen experience. My goal is to approach life with the fearlessness of a child, tempered by the wisdom of my adult years.
The next two are not well-known, but just as important to me. “Merake” is a modern Greek word that is often used as a verb, adverb, and some say adjective. It is defined as “the act of putting your soul, creativity, or love into whatever you do. Meraki is about imbuing whatever you do with such passion that it leaves an imprint of you within it.
Merriam-Webster.com defines “efflorescence,” a noun, as “the time and process of budding and unfolding of blossoms.” It is thought of as a period of great prosperity or productivity. When something is in the process of “efflorescence,” it is blooming, and I am not simply speaking of flowers. It applies to any creative, intellectual or passionate endeavor in which you engage.
By focusing on these two words, I intend to mine the well of passion, creativity and inspiration that resides within me. Whether it is through painting, learning languages, aromatherapy, or making natural perfumes, I want my life to embody both words to the depths of their meaning. By doing so, I want to imbue all that I do with my heart and soul so that it carries within it, a part of my unique and best self.
I chose the words ”meraki” and ”efflorescense” to motivate me to let go in the arena of my creative pursuits, painting, drawing, writing, and more. So, why did I chose the word “curiosity?”
Curiosity expands and pervades our world, and I intend to use it to guide me in the Roaring ‘20s. Without it, we stay stagnant, unable to step out of our comfort zone to expand our boundaries. Curiosity is not limited by space or time. It exists, welcoming us to uncover the truth of it all. It applies to both our outer and inner worlds. I want to learn whether curiosity buoys me or whether I lack the willingness to delve deeper to explore and answer the questions that populate my mind. Or, am I missing the opportunity to finally discover facets of myself and my world that lay brimming with relevant knowledge? Furthermore, I what can I do to invite more curiosity into my life?
It brings to mind the look on the face of my grandchildren as they tackle a new task, like learning to ride a bike or to negotiate roller skates. Fiercely determined, tireless, and undaunted, they forge ahead until they overcome any obstacle, and that is how I intend to approach this year.
The name of this blog is “Seeking Querencia,” and it is named so for a reason. I chose it because I longed to mine my thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and even biases, to expose answers to questions about where I’ve been and where I am going. I needed to learn more about me. At this time in my life, I need that more than ever. With each passing year, I feel a sense of urgency to answer the unanswered questions, and “curiosity” is my vehicle towards that end.
As a participant in the outer world, it, too, holds my curiosity. The outer world is ripe with fruit to peak my curiosity. For example, I find that there is much to discover about people with whom I am familiar. I know them, but do I really “know” them? In most cases, we don’t take the time to dig beneath the surface to know the most integral part of a person — their story. Knowing one’s story is a doorway to a more profound understanding of that person. Curiosity opens that door.
All in all, much like explorers discovering new lands, I look upon 2020 with anticipation and unfettered possibility. Where will it take me? What adventures should I look forward to? It is a certainty that some answers will be met with surprise and skepticism, others denial and still others agreement. What answers await me, both large and small? Will those answers raise more questions? It is no wonder that trepidation stands within me beside my sense of anticipation. It is a scary undertaking. Yet, as the year passes, I will think of the wisdom excerpted from Dr. Seuss’s “Oh The Places You Will Go.”
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. but mostly they’re darked. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?” ~ Dr. Seuss
The door to 2019 is closed. Two thousand twenty presents an expansive landscape of promise. Similar to the 1920s, this year will be one of positive change and excitement —my own Roaring 20s. It will guide me into the nooks and crannies of my mind, and the outer world. I feel like I am about to begin a class covering a topic about which I knew nothing. I am both interested and excited about the coming year. So bring it on!
I am also curious to know more about you. Take this as an official poke and prod. Come on, indulge me in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enlighten me with a few details about you. Be assured, I will do the same.
What do you really want to do in this your one life? I mean, that one calling that you’ve stuffed deep down inside, because it seems too impractical, a pipe dream, or impossible. The thing that you’ve been told or you’ve come to believe that you are not.
How many of us become excited at the thought of being a writer, a dancer, a painter, an architect, a doctor, or any number of occupations or callings? We think of it with longing and wistfulness, because we are too afraid or believe that we simply are enough. Is that true?
We have no way of knowing, because we haven’t tried. As the quote reminds us, “you have to do the verb, in order to be the noun.” We must learn to dance in order to be a dancer, paint in order to be a painter, study architecture in order to be an architect, and study medicine in order to be a doctor. You get the point. In this case, the “doing” is necessary for us to “be” the thing that is in our heart. It is as simple as that, because there are no shortcuts, and it takes courage and practice.
So, the question is: who do you wish to be? Once you’ve answered that all important question, take the necessary steps to make it happen. It won’t happen over night, but in time, it will surely happen. What are you waiting for to begin the life of your dreams?