The Word of the Year. {reverb13}

Via Michelle Margaret Fajkus
on Dec 1, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

Your Words, Now....

Welcome to December. Welcome to day one of reverb13.

Reverb is a  personal and communal writing practice that provides a means to reflect on the year that has passed and set intentions for the coming year.

For the next two weeks—from December 1 to 14—I’ll post a daily writing prompt here on elephant journal. Wanna play? The challenge is to participate every day. Get more details on how to join in at the bottom of this post.

Here is today’s prompt:

Encapsulate your 2013 in one word. Why that word? What would you like your word to be for 2014? Why?

My word for 2013 is newness.

A ton of new things happened to me, and it required me to maintain beginner’s mind as much as I could. It was a challenging and rewarding, joyful and exhausting year.

For next year, I’ve decided on flourish. I’ve decided to flourish.

Flourish is both a verb (thrive; prosper) and a noun: something that is added as a detail or decoration; a dramatic or fancy way of doing something; a sudden smooth movement that is likely to be noticed. (Read the rest of my personal response.)

How to Reverb

You are invited to participate, as privately or publicly as you wish, as frequently as you wish, in as few or as many words as you wish.

Keeping your writing in a private journal is one route. Or, if you want to share what you’ve written, add a comment below. If you’re into hashtags, it’s #reverb13.

It’s been an amazing year and I’m looking forward to looking back!


Like elephant journal on Facebook.


Editor: Bryonie Wise

Image: elephant journal Archive


About Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle is a believer in the power of poetry, circles and stories. She has been practicing yoga for many lifetimes. She shares a tiny cabin with her partner, daughter, cat and dog at Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands where she enjoys writing, reading, playing, teaching, learning, walking in nature and daydreaming. Michelle has been a columnist for elephant journal since 2010. Her mindful, inspiring essays, articles and poems can also be found on The Tattooed Buddha, Rebelle Society, LeanPub, and her site, Yoga Freedom.


54 Responses to “The Word of the Year. {reverb13}”

  1. andrea says:

    word for 2013: upheaval
    word for 2014: cultivation

  2. andrea says:

    word for 2013: upheaval
    word for 2014: cultivation

  3. Connie says:

    I love the word "Flourish" and all of it's connotations. I think that will be my word for this coming year.

  4. @KaberLion says:

    2013 was a rough year. I spent a lot of time on self-analysis and soul searching and when I wasn't busy with that I was just watching videos or reading fiction. My sobriety is no longer an acute struggle but it still hampers me. In spending all this time alone, I haven't pushed myself to engage with others and so I find myself turning back into the cycle of self-absorption and distraction. I'd have to give myself the word "doldrum" for 2013, meaning stagnation, listlessness and despondency. I realize how depressing that sounds so I'm focusing on the word "steam" for 2014. It invokes images of slowly pumping but ever-accelerating engines, potential energy converted to the kinetic, heat, power and movement. Perhaps this REVERB is just the impetus I need to get my steam going. Thanks, Ms. Margaret!

  5. SamanthAshli says:


    This year was my first year in the world as a single entity, as an independent woman. I left an unhealthy marriage and flew home. I started back at step one. I had a

    suitcase of clothes and next to nothing to start. I was buried in failure and regret. With a $1000 loan from my parents I bought a big clunkin’ set of wheels. I named her Betty, partially for Ugly Betty and partially for Betty White. I started a new job and was promoted, twice. The pay is still minimal and it’s not my dream, but it gave me two feet to stand with. I quit smoking January 1st of this year. I have had one relapse moment in Feb or March, but have been smoke free since. It’s been a huge accomplishment for me after 6-7 years of a pack a day, at least. I’m no longer a slave to the addiction that was smoking. I got an apartment and painted it purple. It was therapeutic and rejuvenating to finally have a place to call my own. My dog arrived and I drove five hours to get her from the nearest doggy airport. I got a roommate. I grew a garden. It’s been a mess, but I’m in the driver’s seat, rebuilding my future one heavy clump at a time. Also beginnings because I’m ready for another year of adventure and love. I’m ready to really step up and continue to blaze my own path.

    • yoga freedom says:

      Wow! Thanks for reading and commenting. Congrats on quitting smoking and so many other life changes. That is a huge step. Here's to new beginnings! Namaste, Michelle

  6. Heidi says:

    My reverb word for 2013 is scared. I’m so tired of being scared, and at the same time, proud of pushing forward in spite of the fear. 2013 has been a year of close calls for me, both good and bad, and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling scared about what will happen next.

    In 2014, my word is triumphant, because I want to experience that at least once next year.

  7. Jyoti Wind says:

    Great challenge…shared it with my women's writing groups and writers list…thank you!

  8. signifyingsomething says:

    This is my first reverb13! Day one, my word is 'Britain'.

  9. sherri says:

    Stagnation. I didn’t do anything about my life falling down around be. Honesty.

  10. Christine G. says:

    Love this challenge! 2013 – playful 2014 – love the word Flourish!!!

  11. CAM says:

    Because I have never cried so much in my life. My year has been full of transition, disappointment and heartbreak. I am still struggling to find the ground beneath my feet.
    Am hoping to find meaning to all this pain as a path to my own awakening.

  12. Maria says:

    2013 Grow is my word. Mom had a stroke last March. Everything has changed and boy how it has grown me and shown me where I need to let go and move on and accept the reality of the life I live and the people I live with.
    2014 Now is my word for 2014. No more putting off. No more wasting time. No more waiting. Do it now. Write now. Travel now. Forgive now. Recognize now. Get grounded in now. Use now.

  13. Sabrina says:

    2013: Stuck
    What a depressing and confusing year. Just towards the end here do I see a glimpse of healing and focus emerge. I finally can grasp the idea of a vibrant purpose and intend to take hold; cultivate this newly found energy.
    2014: Emerge

  14. Carole says:

    2013: Release. 2014: Thriving.
    I had to let go of expectation in painful ways, but as the year progressed I began to really understand the meaning of attachment and how disabling it is. And now I look forward to thriving in ways undefined.

  15. Robin says:


    My one word for 2013 is Transformation.

    I went to a month long rehab program last December and my life has been so amazingly transformed; family relationships, friends and most of all my relationship with myself. I am enough!

  16. somethingsundone says:

    2013: joy

    Dark and in-between moments: there have been four deaths, a divorce, lots of anger, illness. A decent man turned into something else entirely, everything tipped end over end.

    When the sky cleared, what remained was a lust for life and a pure and reckless wonder. This didn't happen at 18. I think that I didn't trust myself enough. Late bloomer, a la Ron Sexsmith?

    I've run and drank and danced and gotten laid, fallen in love and gotten dumped. I lived for the kisses on streets and the dirty laundry, for the washing of sheets. There was the occasional pizza night and I watched Firefly again.

    I slept in a pile of clean clothes for a month straight, and didn't really worry about it. I made jokes and made fun of myself while laughing wildly. Through all, we had our full bellies and friends.

    I am grateful for the otherness that has made the joy happen, for all of the disastrous catalysts of 2013. When people tell me they're sorry, I don't know what to say. I want to wish everyone a year that is this abysmal and wondrous – but only if and when it's needed.

  17. Jennifer W-Fields says:

    I've enjoyed participating in Reverb the past couple years and I look forward to writing along this year as well.
    2013: Persevere
    2014: Prosper
    I will be blogging at:

  18. Terra says:

    2013 – Realigning – within and with others, physically and emotionally and spiritually
    2014 – Realigning – because it is a never-ending process in this world

  19. valturner says:

    My word is open. Or it’s courage. Or it’s strength. Evolve. Expand. Illuminate…. No, it’s OPEN.

    I’m lucky enough to have had the kind of year that a plethora of words can encapsulate. It isn’t that a lot of things have happened. I suppose it’s that less things have happened. That I have created less drama. That I have increased my capacity to tolerate my experience of life as it is, complete with all its catastrophes, and that I’m no longer reacting and running and escaping and creating more catastrophes. This year I learned to let life run through me, not over me. __

    Less happened. But less is more. And less is still every bit a wild ride. Less is singing my heart out and strumming my guitar with my harmonizing, box beating girlfriend. Less is pouring my passion for knowledge and service into my career in women’s health with skillful hands and careful words. Less is realizing that having children with huge limitations is vulnerable as hell and so much to carry, but that vulnerability is also the strongest thing I have. Less is knowing when to let go of one trapeze swing and reach for the next, surrendering to all that happens in between. Less is coming out of closets and having difficult conversations that are never as scary as I thought they’d be. And realizing that the fear that once bound me so tight as bud, faced squarely, is the same ingredient that releases me to open and flower.__

    In 2013, I opened. __

    I’d like to encapsulate 2014 with the word GIVE. Where else would an open heart go?__

  20. Loving the #reverb13 challenge! Word for 2013: evocative, because every experience was reminiscent, reminders to reawaken the dormant in me. Word for 2014: gratitude, because conscious moments of thankfulness turn around perspectives, energies that no longer serve us.

  21. sunyataru says:

    Landing. I always have difficulty with relatively unimportant decisions, or choosing a favourite colour, say. So choosing just ONE word? Well, thank you, Michelle, for that challenge. Luckily, "landing" landed in my lap, and seems to encompass all the runner ups.

    I’ve always considered myself to be rather earthy, grounded, kapha. It wasn’t until I found myself crash land that I realized I had even left the ground. It was a journey through air and water, and a good measure of fire – both the kind that burns and the kind that refines. Nevertheless, this coming back to earth, this coming back to self has been such a welcome blessing.

    Mostly, we think of landing a plane, but it is also a place on a shoreline or in a safe harbour where a boat docks. It may have gates to let water in or out.

    Landing is also a termination, and a site for loading or unloading passengers and cargo. Sometimes, it is a disembarkation, where we are set free from a vessel that has carried us. There is runner up #1: release.

    Landing is also a corridor, or a resting platform between stairwells. So many of us are feeling that this year. A pause after an enlightening and turbulent journey. Runner up #2: rest.

    (Sorry. I cheated.)

    Flight. Who knows how this will manifest. So I will just straight up word nerd this one, thanks to the

    a. The act or process of flying through the air by means of wings.
    b. The ability to fly.
    c. An exuberant or transcendent effort or display: a flight of the imagination; flights of oratory.
    d. A series of stairs rising from one landing to another.
    e. A soaring mental journey above or beyond the normal everyday world a flight of fancy; a transcending of the ordinary bounds of the mind.
    f. A number of beings or things flying or passing through the air together; a flock flying in company.

    Note that I have chosen to omit all references to escape. Not on the agenda…though an exotic vacation may be!

  22. Kristy says:

    2013: growth. I’ve completely changed my life and dove in on my healing journey. I moved cities without a plan acquired a new community, took my yoga teacher training and started teaching, am now in a growth-inducing partnership, and have started questioning and working through past patterns and wounding…I’m doing the work and asked for (and received) a lot of help along the way.

    2014: also love “flourish” … time to put my skills and learnings into some real action!!!

  23. Zena says:

    My word for 2013 – "Improvements" As I created a list of phrases, that came to mind, all in one way or another depicting the reasons I can honestly say are evidence that life is better this year – it was a pretty long list too I might add – I was humbled to comprehend how far I've come, in spite of how tough life has been. The word I choose for 2014 is "amend". Keeping the list I created and being open to amending as much as possible, from that list, throughout the coming year – will be very powerful.

  24. korina says:

    My word for 2013 is breakthrough. I was finally able to break through some foggy issues in my life, into clarity and healing.
    My word that I choose for 2014 is delight. I want to delight in my own life, I want to delight myself, I want to delight others. I want a delightful life of healing and serving and wholesome living.

  25. Kelly says:

    2013 word – Impermanence – Everything in my life shifted this year. Joy turned into sadness, Death of friends and birth of new family, love into loss, and my view on life has drastically shifted. I can say I have felt this year. I have experienced every emotion fully.
    2014 word Journey – New life, new dreams, new people, new places, and along the way trying to be in the moments not looking to my past or future.

  26. Todd says:

    2013: discovery. I discovered the love of my life and I also discovered myself in many ways.
    2014: Creating, because I want to live my life as an artist. Finally…..

  27. Todd says:

    2013: discovery. I discovered the love of my life and I also discovered myself in many ways.
    2014: creating because I want to live my life as an artist. Finally…

  28. Paula65 says:

    The word for 2013 is reawakening. For a long time, after the death of my mother and finally getting a divorce from someone who literally and figuratively made me physically, mentally and emotionally sick, I feel like the person I was before I got married. I have this joie de vivre again and I'm happier than I've ever been. The word for 2014 will be transformation. I plan to make some changes and evolve into the butterfly I know I am.

  29. Kelly says:

    2013 word – Impermanence – Everything in my life shifted this year. Joy turned into sadness, Death of friends and birth of new family, love into loss, and my view on life has drastically shifted. I can say I have felt this year. I have experienced every emotion fully.

  30. Anna says:

    How do I sign up for this?!

Leave a Reply