November 30, 2022

My 2023 Word of the Year.

“Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words can not only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.” ~ Tony Robbins

Words can build us up or knock us down.

They can motivate or humiliate. Words can lead us to our peace or lead us astray.

Instead of resolutions, it is my New Year’s tradition to choose a new word to inspire me for the upcoming year.

I usually have it engraved on a bracelet so that I can meditate on it each day.

In the past, I have chosen words like bravery, confidence, truth, and love. My hope is that I will learn the lessons I need to grow; that my everyday actions will reflect the characteristics of my word; that I will reflect on it in times of struggle and conflict; and that my word will inspire me to be a better human being.

This year, I have been experiencing a word block. It’s not that I feel like I have learned all the lessons and have no need to grow. I just haven’t been inspired.

Then, as these things often happen, I was struck by a cosmic bolt of lightning during a discussion in one of my Facebook groups. The facilitator was talking about how we are all light and that even when we are in our dark places, the light is still there, waiting for us to remember it.

Sometimes we can’t see our own light, but others see it in us and it brings them comfort. She called on us to be luminaries and share our light with others.

And that is when it hit me: illuminate!

What a perfect word for 2023, a word to help remind me of my light even in dark times. 

It is an action word that I hope to use in big and small ways to bring light to others.

If I am feeling down, I can look at my word and remember that darkness is sometimes necessary in order to see the light. If a friend needs a pick-me-up, my word can guide me to shine a light on all the wonderful characteristics they possess. If I am angry, I can shine my little light on that anger and see better what is pushing my buttons.

Merriam Webster defines illuminate as:

>> to supply or brighten with light;

>> to make luminous or shining;

>> to enlighten spiritually or intellectually;

>>to subject to radiation;

>> to set alight;

>> to make clear;

>> to bring to the fore;

>> to make illustrious or resplendent;

>> to decorate with gold or silver or brilliant colors or with often elaborate designs

There are so many opportunities within this definition.

I will decorate my shiny new silver bracelet with a beautiful engraving of my 2023 word choice.

It will encourage me to find the brightness in everyone I encounter, instead of looking for faults and criticizing. It will inspire me to speak or write more words that will be of benefit to those around me.

Through it, I can aspire to illuminate the truths that are sometimes hidden in the darkness.

And most importantly, I can radiate joy and share it from my illuminated heart to all those I encounter.

In 2023, I will be an Illuminator!

What word will inspire you in the coming year?

If you are interested in doing a more in-depth dive into the practice of word of the year or are looking for word suggestions, let this list guide you. 

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