My new secret word-of-the-year: s***loads.

Fiona writes: What do I think when I look at this raspberry tart?

“I want a big piece.” “I want two.” “I want some chocolate afterwards.”

This year, I chose ‘enough‘ as my ‘word-for-the-year’. I wanted to find a way of feeling satisfied with what I already had.

Today, I went walking on the Malvern hills with my friend. We talked about what might be holding me back from being satisfied about where I am now. Why do I keep hankering after the money to buy a cottage in the country?

She asked me what my life would actually be like if I earned lots and lots of money. I couldn’t imagine it. I could see myself buying my little cottage outright and then being poor again. I could just about see myself buying a few clothes from a favourite (out of my budget) clothes shop, but then my fantasy skipped to giving my spare money away to charity.

As we spoke I realised I was challenged by the idea of wanting or having an excess of anything. I couldn’t allow myself to want or have more-than-enough money. I would be ‘over-indulgent’. I would be greedy. I would be taking stuff from those who needed it more. Bad bad bad!

My Dharma teacher’s own teacher would say, ‘If you’re going to sin, sin vigorously’. She was suggesting that if we are tempted to do something ‘wrong’, we should do so whole-heartedly – in this way we more quickly learn what we need to learn.

I wondered if there was a way of owning more of my greed – of settling into it further than I usually allow myself. Of luxuriating in it, like a bubble bath.

My friend suggested that, as well as a public word-for-the-year, we should have an alternative, sinful one to represent the shadow of what were seeking. Mine would be ‘more’ or, even more deliciously, ‘s***loads’. My friend’s ‘word-for-the-year’ was clarity, and so we decided on ‘What the f***?’ for her.

After our walk, we went to a supermarket and wandered the aisles, singing our words. She had no idea what to buy. I didn’t need anything, so I picked up extravagantly expensive bread, a magazine, goat’s cheese… piling the food up high. It felt wickedly liberating.

I also gave myself full permission to get a rich indulgent pudding. And I found that I didn’t want one. My ‘permission to want s***loads’ allowed ‘enough’ to really be OK. Not in a fake, I’d-love-to-be-seen-as-this-virtuous way, but in a very real one.

Our secret alternative word-of-the-year phrases are both working very nicely for us so far. What’s yours?


I don’t just want the usual number of people to sign up to our Eastern Therapeutic Writing and Writing Ourselves Alive ecourses starting next week. I want s***loads. So go and register now – it’ll be good for me!


Raspberry tart by Darwin Bell via Creative Commons, with thanks.

Comments & replies

14 thoughts on “My new secret word-of-the-year: s***loads.

  1. Rhiannon

    I like this, Fiona. The idea of giving yourself permission to do what you personally consider impermissable. It seems a way of discovering where your boundaries lie instead of where others have said they should be, as you did when you did not want the pud once you allowed yourself to have it. Okay then, my word for the year. As someone who has always put others first and her own needs second, a world class people pleaser even to her own dertiment, my word is ME -and b****r what anyone else says or wants. Even writing that feels “wrong” and “selfish” on one level but on another it feels immensley freeing.
    Rhiannon v

  2. Fiona Robyn

    Thanks both. It felt risky to post, but I’m (probably) glad I did. Love your word, Rhiannon. I wonder what the opposite of your shadow-word is – your equivalent to my ‘enough’. Maybe something about a balance between your needs and others?

  3. Maggie - Yarnsongyoga

    Love this, Fiona – absolutely love it.
    I’ve been reading this week about virtue – that virtue is no virtue if it is either forced or brings pain, unhappiness or longing. It seems easy for us to be hard on our self. My word ended up ‘serious’ – not to be serious but to be serious about what I want. The opposite? Perhaps play – or as my daughter says ‘break rules’. I like that one.

  4. Lynn Tatro

    This reminds me of the introduction to the book I’m currently reading, Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. A. Weil. He opens with a recounting of a trip to S. America where he was obsessed with the idea of having a drink at his favorite juice bar in the big city while he was in the middle of no where where it was very, very hot. He couldn’t get it off his mind and even schemed what kind of drink to have and how and when he was going to get it. Then, as soon as he got back to the big city and was about to execute his plan to get that juice drink, he realized it was cooler and he really didn’t want it. He was completely finished with the whole idea that had become his quest for happiness and comfort for several weeks.

  5. Fiona Robyn

    ‘Break rules’ – I like it a lot. Thanks Maggie.

    I also wanted to copy this comment from from someone Google+ – spot on.

    “Like last year, I have chosen three guiding words this year – Stillness, Purpose, Growth.

    So my shadow words would be – _Chaos, Pointlessness, Stasis.

    Or, if you wanted it a bit more colourful –

    This is doing my f@@@ing head in

    What the f@@@ am I doing here?


    Comatose and dying.”

  6. basho42

    Fiona, thanks for your thought provoking post! Life these days is about experiencing and allowing the “essential” Mary to come forth and “be”. Seeing and understanding the many nuances that make up who I am, accepting all of me, the shadow and the light, and understanding there is no difference between the two and the many, it is all one in the same and then I find myself in the center of it all. So, my words would be deserving and grasping. Really knowing and feeling in my heart that I deserve happiness and love and joy and comfort and at the same time keeping my hands open wide for the allowing of things and recognizing that nothing is static; everything is changing…even my wants/needs/desires. Maybe that’s a description of truly being in the present moment!?!

  7. Jill

    This is hilarious, and fabulous. I thought about it for a bit, my public word for the year being “retreat” (practice, rest, balance, transformation), and I think my secret word of the year should be “balls to the wall,” if for no other reason than it makes me laugh.

  8. Sue

    A word for the year AND a shadow word for the year!! Oh, wow, that is wonderful 🙂

    Very wise. I’m glad you posted, Fiona.

  9. Josephine Faith Gibbs

    My word is Okay (I am okay no matter how I feel, all is well, it’s okay if I mess up, it’s okay that someone around me is being foolish, etc.) Still thinking about what the shadow word might be – Not Okay just doesn’t quite have the feel about it. It will come to me soon, I’m sure!

    My dear, wise husband often says: What We Resist, We Strengthen. Identifying our shadow words and giving ourselves permission to venture there punctures that resistance. Freedom is good!

  10. Carrie

    I love this blog post too, Fiona, and it has inspired me to write about my secret word of the year (post to be published soon!). My ‘public’ word for the year is Play. So after some thinking, I have decided my secret word for 2012 will be Mischievous. I am injecting more fun into my life this year, but what my shadow side would like is to get up to mischief! (in a harmless, but fun way) Thanks again for the inspiration and great blog post!

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