My Three Words for 2016

This is an annual exercise invented by Chris Brogan. You can read more about it at http://chrisbrogan.com/3-words-2016/
My three words for 2016 are: Grateful, Deep, Invite.

Because I want to remind myself, frequently, to be grateful for the many blessings in my life, instead of resentful. Resentful of what I have and what I don’t have.

I know that in many ways, I have been blessed in this life. From my loving and stable parents, who are both still alive and still married to each other, to my education, my health, the house I live in, the people I live with, and this extraordinary job I have. But sometimes even blessings can be hard work or stressful or conflict with each other. So, even when it’s hard, and into every life some rain does fall, I want to remember to be grateful: to God, to my husband, to all of you who read this blog, etc. My life is better because of you/them. Thank you.

Because I have been spread too thin over the last year and a lot of my life has been necessarily shallow. So I want to go deeper this year, starting with deeper rest. Last year, I took all my vacation days but really it just meant I was working from home. I didn’t do a good job on my sleep hygiene, so I want to go to bed on time more often. Good sleep makes everything better, and regular hours mean better sleep.

Most of my reading was children’s fiction. I did read one whole grown up book and I loved it. Otherwise, I only read Facebook, poetry, Twitter, snippets of theology, and a lot of online articles about feminism, racism, management, and Adele. I don’t know if I’m willing to change this or not.
In my spiritual life, I think I need a silent retreat. I haven’t done one since 2004. So sometime in 2016, I think it’s time.

At work, because of a variety of circumstances, I have been doing too many different things, none of them as well as I’d like. But circumstances have changed again, and I need to recognize what that will free me up for. Getting deeper rest will make it possible to go deeper in all the rest of the areas of my life. (And how blessed I am that I get to make choices like this, which reminds me to be grateful, see above.) This also brings me to my third word.

I spent quite a while thinking that my third word was going to be let. As in let go, let God, let other people help. I need to remember that, most of the time, I’m not the only one who can do things. But I also don’t want to shirk my responsibility, or abandon other people to just get on with it.

At work, I want to invite more people into this dance with God, and the Religious Society of Friends, and me. One of the fundraising maxims I live by is, “Invite people into the kitchen.” This comes from a story that Kay Sprinkel Grace (one of my mentors) tells about Berthold Brecht once saying that the reason he chose one place to eat over another was not that the one didn’t have a delectable menu, but that the other invited him into the kitchen. In one place, he was an honored customer; in the other, he was a participant. I know which I prefer.

At home and in my local Quaker meeting, it is part of my role (parent, nominating committee) to organize other people to do the things that need doing. But my kids are old enough to make more of their own decisions, and at meeting everybody has other commitments too. How can I invite them into the work in a way that is encouraging and honoring and effective?

And I want to keep having guests at our house. I love dinner parties. I like introducing people I like to each other. I like cooking elaborate meals and playing board games and talking to people until way too late. (Not every night. See sleep hygiene, above.) This is my idea of deep fun.

So I want to try not to order people around nor guilt them to do things, nor freeze them out, but to invite them into all the fun I’m having in this blessed life of mine - at this amazing job, and my wonderful Quaker meeting and at my dinner table. Maybe even around the dishwasher.

So those are my three words for 2016. It’s funny how my three words for 2015 aren’t wrong now, but they aren’t what I need now, as much as they were a year ago. But when I look at the ones before that, Encourage, Long, Grind for 2014, and here for 2012 and 2010, I start to recognize the patterns of my life. Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose.

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Blogger Robin M. said...

So I tried. I never did take that silent retreat in 2016. But I did learn how to turn the notifications off from my work email when I was on vacation and that helped a lot.

I tried to keep these three words in mind all year, and I feel like it made a difference. I was more grateful, I did get deeper rest, and I invited people to help with the various crises that occurred over the course of the year. And I survived with my health, my marriage, and my employment intact. Here's hoping for a faithful and fruitful 2017.

1/02/2017 8:25 PM  

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