What will you choose for your word of 2014?

Summer berries by NanagyeiSatya writes: Blackberries. Seek the plumpest, the darkest. Take the glossy drupelets between your thumb and forefinger and feel the squishy give. Squeeze and pull it from its white core, and it will come away happily. Pop it into your mouth. A sweet, tasty juice explosion.

Every December, I choose myself a word to guide me during the following year.

This word has power. Even when I forgot the word entirely, when I look back at the end of the year I can see how I’ve been nudged in the direction of ‘faith’, or ‘enough’, or ‘letting go’.

To choose my word, I think about what I need. I think about what I’m currently working on (am I trying to relax more? be kinder to others?) and I think about where any resistance might be.

The word that comes to me this year is ‘ripe’.

I have a tendency to pull at the blackberries that aren’t ready yet. The ones that are still shrunken, hard.

I think I know better than the Universe about when something is ripe. I think I know how things SHOULD be, and I force them to comply, with manipulation, with impatience, with a dissatisfaction at how-things-are.

I thought that our local Buddhist group ought to be growing a little faster. We had good stuff to offer, and the same half-dozen people were coming. It made me uncomfortable. I put up more posters, talked about it wherever I could, and when people showed interest I tried to ‘get them to come’.

Looking back, I can see now that our little group needed time to be soaked in the culture of our form of Buddhism, and to settle into the practice. There are no short-cuts to this. We are a completely different group now, and new people will have a very different experience. Maybe we’ll get bigger next year, and maybe we won’t. I don’t know if we’re ripe yet. I’ll keep turning up every week and putting up the posters. I’ll take the pressure off anyone who shows interest, and I’ll leave the rest up to the Buddha.

I am looking forward to trusting something else to be in charge of ripening. What a relief. What a heavy load of responsibility I can hand back. I will continue to do my bit – looking after the fruit by watering and feeding it. I can even give the fruit an experimental squeeze every so often. But I am not the one who decides when the time is right for harvest.

What word will you choose for 2014? Let us know in the comments. I look forward to reading them.


I’d like to remind you of this new delicious daily inspiration offering to accompany you during the January Mindful Writing Challenge (FB sign up here). And if you could do with some time out with a slice of cake, my novel The Most Beautiful Thing is 99p / $1.99 today. It’s nearly Christmas after all : )

Image: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Nanagyei

Comments & replies

64 thoughts on “What will you choose for your word of 2014?

  1. Christine de Jong

    My word for 2014 will have to be “attention”
    I will try in every possible form to have attention, for life, for the people in it,for all the possibilities arising,for future goals I will set myself, and for the gratefulness for everything, everyday…..

  2. Jill Bray

    My word is Courage.

    Sometimes I find it very hard indeed to cope with or even just to get through the daily, monthly, yearly tasks, not only for myself, but for one whom I support. Despair is what I often feel, and anger because of the time which is leached from me, time I need so desperately for myself just to clear the backlog of tasks awaiting before I can even contemplate moving forward, and think about writing again. At 73, I need looking after in ways which are just not going to happen. I am tired of being a carer, a task I have undergone for over 40 years, several of them with two people simultaneously. I see no end or comfort for me.

    1. Sher Mattison

      I think it takes ‘courage’ to pick the word ‘courage’ as your word for 2014. Why do I think that? Because now you’re committed to gain back control of areas of your life where you feel you haven’t had any and that takes COURAGE! I know because I was there at one time. You’re going to have a life changing (for the better) year!!

  3. Jade Bennington

    “Ripe” is a sensual, colorful word that is rich with multiple meanings—what a great choice!

    My word for 2014 will be ‘bead’. I feel like for the past few years, I’ve been scattered and fearful and have been taking one step forward, two steps back without really committing myself to anything. I chose the word ‘bead’ to remind myself that great things happen in small, continuous steps.

    In 2014, I want to remember the passage In Brenda’s Ueland’s book If You Want to Write, the one in which she writes that the art of writing is like a child stringing beads in kindergarten, happily absorbed, and quietly putting one bead on after another. I intend to be kind to myself as I commit myself to a meaningful project in 2014, one ‘bead’ at a time. 🙂

  4. Hilaire Wood

    I thought you might like my poem about ripeness, Satya. Wishing you joy over this holiday season and much ripeness in 2014! Hilaire x

    You test the plum in your questioning palm
    and with a faint ‘suck’
    which is also a sigh
    it slips into your innocent grasp –
    ripeness is all that’s required,
    defines the moment
    when something luscious
    falls into your hand
    as if simply waiting
    for you to ask.

  5. Françoise

    Yippee !
    Is that a word,?? but this is precisely exactly what is meant, nothing specific, nothing contained, but an explosion of what is….moment to moment…..
    A reminder to avoid taken myself too seriously in 2014, hence being able to laugh at what life presents me with and more specifically at my reactions.
    Yippee ! To be a helper to lighten other people burdens, to bring fun and joy where despair and negativity may be, to bring a loving touch with a positive attitude to whatever has to be faced.
    Yippee! To let the the pandora box open up creating a firework of what needs to be experienced, to be released, to be faced.
    And most of all…..Yippee! For having fun while in this physical form and enjoy…..

  6. Fi Phillips

    Much of the same will still be present in my life but I feel I’m seeing it all with new eyes, or better eyes, so my word is ‘refresh’.

  7. Daman aka Keith jones

    ‘A simple life making one more available to respond to the world….’.

    My word today is:


  8. sharon

    I often struggle when asked to make an intention.
    Gratitude,hope,abundance,courage,respect,and so many others come to mind.
    2013 has graced me so beautiful in all of these intentions.
    For 2014 I choose abundance,in its true sense.
    I already feel all the abundance around me in nature,community,Yoga,friends and family.
    he next year I want this to grow.
    I want to help create abundance for myself & others in any way I can .

  9. Peggy

    The word “Clarity” came to me seemingly out of the blue the other day, when I posed the question what next year’s word might be. With it came that little internal bell-ring that happens when I know I’ve hit on the truth of the matter.

    So. Clarity it is.

  10. Heather Walker

    My word will be RELAX. Often because I am tense and lack confidence I don’t project the person I really am. I’m better expressing myself on paper than when I am with people. So 2014 I want to come out from behind the pillar and be the me I know is inside.

  11. Lisa Cihlar

    I’m skimming through all of these replies and thinking I don’t have a word when suddenly “seed” pops into my brain. I garden, I keep seed notes for poems, a tiny seed can grow into a dandelion or a giant redwood. Works for me. So “seed” it is.


  12. Sher Mattison

    My word is LIVE!
    First I will explore and define what it means to really LIVE (at least for me). And then I want to pursue the definitions and feel like I am really living. So much of my life (and its a lengthy one) I have found myself saying ‘WHERE DID THE TIME GO?’ I think now its because I haven’t been engaged in what it means to LIVE. I’ve gone through the motions but haven’t really lived.
    Anyway, I’m excited to see where it leads.

  13. Elaine

    My word is choice — I choose where to put my attention and my energy – let me choose the important things, mindfully and consciously.

  14. Carol Glover

    My word is flow. I watch the river as if flows creating channels through rock and hard soil. Each bend gives new direction and opportunity for a shift in the view. One of my best teachers is a book entitled Don’t push the river it flows by itself by Barry Stevens. A reminder that there are reasons for delay, change and different views. I can feel the word river flowing when I choose not to be stopped by the barriers I create in myself.

  15. Raine Geoghegan

    Surrender – Surrender – Surrender

    Allow life to happen naturally, allow what is to be.

    Surrender to the breath, to life, to creativity.

    Blessings for Christmas and the Solstice.
    Raine Geoghegan

  16. Andree

    To dedicate time and effort to the people and things I love; to commit, with purpose, to my chosen course of action; to continue on my path and persevere despite hurdles; to keep the faith.

  17. Lori Carlson

    My word for 2014 is ACCEPTANCE. I am often impatient and waste so much energy worrying over the who, what, when and how’s of life. For this upcoming year, I will work on accepting each moment as it comes and being still in that moment.

  18. Libby Leaper

    Since I anticipate being very busy, particularly in the first part of 2014, I think my word will have to be ‘Calm’. I will try to be like a swan – all serenity on top and paddling like a demon underneath!

  19. BadgerMash


    Not just because “crepuscular” has always been one of my favourite words, but because I have realised that I am crepuscular – I love dawn and dusk best of all times of day. So in the coming year I shall honour those times as best I can each day, whether by silent, momentary awareness, or grand gesture or anything in between.

  20. Kathie Sutherland

    I like this idea of one word because I so easily get caught up verbosity! My word for 2014 is “discernment”. Right now I am learning to completely own my reactions and experiences. Discerning what is mine and what is other requires discernment.

  21. Daphne Radenhurst

    My word will be ‘outgoing.’ I have just been reading a blog about talking to strangers which impressed me. I am an introvert and I live alone, and I often hold back when with others. So this year I am really going to go out of my way to be more communicative and friendly, especially to strangers.

  22. Caroline Howlett

    Guilt-free. I know it’s two words really! I beat myself up about doing enjoyable and not necessarily useful or worthy things with my time, given that I can’t work through illness. So I should allow myself to do the creative things that I enjoy & am good at, even if these wern’t what I thought I’d be doing with my life. Or even doing nothing. Watching clouds. Listening to birdsong. Just being.

  23. Cindy Bene

    My word will be “purge”. I have entirely too many worldly possessions and I must streamline my life. I feel I will be much lighter and more free if I don’t have all these things tying me down.

  24. Tarka

    2014 is going to be “Wholehearted”, a substantial, mouth-satisfying word, changing every aspect of my life. A wholehearted approach to 2014 means a year of following my dreams without excuse, embarrassment or escape clause. A wholehearted embrace of and engagement with my loved ones, no longer pre-empting rejection by disconnecting. A discarding of the tactics I have used to numb pain, instead to live wholeheartedly with discomfort and learn from it. A year of filling my whole heart with the daily small wonders of which I have been oblivious from the narrow window of my false prison of to-do-lists and worry.

  25. Maureen Hall

    My word is ‘persistence’ . I have a tendency to start things and then let them slide – so this year I’m going to be persistent in writing; in meditating; in piano practice. And I am pinning my word up in various places round the house to remind me when I start to slide!

  26. Sharon

    My word for 2014 is “myself”. It sounds very selfish but I want to put myself in every action I take. I need to think how each action I take will affect “my-self”

  27. Pat Blakey

    My word is acceptance. I need to accept that maybe I am not that important to some people and just get on with living!

  28. MJ

    My word for 2014 is going to be “MYSELF”….for my whole life I have taken care of others and left ME out of the picture; now it’s my time!!! I promise to please myself with better health, more fun, and trips. Don’t think it’s really selfish…thinks it’s just time!

  29. Susan

    I toyed with ‘thrive’, ‘blossom’, and ‘bloom’ — but ‘flourish’ has that little extra sizzle of self-care I so need to tend to this year. (‘Tend”, actually, was another one that made my short-list . . . )

  30. Amel

    My word of the year is “Disentangle”. I need to practise disentangling myself from any emotional connection or baggage so that I can take a step back and celebrate other people’s beautiful moments with them without drowning in grief when their beautiful moments are the ones that acutely remind me of what I will never have. I want to disentangle myself from those heavy weights that make me want to crawl or drown in my grief so that I can stand up and continue my healing journey.

  31. Joanna

    What a lovely idea. A word to focus on through the year.

    So that will be my word, Focus.

    As a photographer by passion, this word means so much in the context of the visual. However, it also has the connotations for focusing on the moment (moment was the word that initially came to mind) focus of attention, focus on breath, focus on the positive, focus on life, focus on the possibilities; all things to “pull” into sharp focus.

    Focus can also be softened, so to me that means, softening focus on the less positive, constructive things in life. The harsh word of another, the harsh word to another, the snap response, a negative thought, pushing back into soft focus the things that don’t aide one in living.

    Focus it shall be for me for 2014 . Thank you for the inspiration and for focusing my mind :o)

  32. Jean S

    OBSERVER. Because being an observer means that I am being in the now. My thoughts and the patterns they follow are just the software my mind has used in the past and wants to use in the future. If I can remain an observer then I will not be preprogrammed by my thoughts. But then every moment will be free and new.

  33. Jean S

    OBSERVER. Because being an observer means that I am being in the now. My thoughts and the patterns they follow are just the software my mind has used in the past and wants to use in the future. If I can remain an observer then I will not be preprogrammed by my thoughts. And thus every moment will be free and new.

  34. Nonnie

    Although I am not a Buddhist, I have signed up for you Mindful Writing. I probably should have asked when i signed up, but will it make a difference that we are not of the same religious faith? I’d love receiving an answer from you. My email is norma_ruttan@yahoo.com

  35. Anne Stormont

    My word for 2014: PRESENT
    to aim to be more in the present
    to give the present of kindness to myself and others
    to present myself as me

  36. Faith

    Healthy! Covers the bad habits of overeating, under-exercising, under-sleeping, over-committing, not meditating, not doing qigong, stressing over stupid stuff, etc. And it has good, positive connotations.

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