What could be more poetic than focusing on one little word for the new year?
Strange as it seems, finding the right word for the year is feeling sort of like finding a name for a baby or pet.
I've always loved naming things--nicknames, character names, and etymology--what the "names" of words mean themselves. In college, I found a baby name book, and I spent long hours wondering how the meaning of a person's name might influence his or her character. In writing short stories, I found that I was indeed influenced by the meaning of my characters' names; though sometimes, given the wily nature of fictional characters, their personalities veered in the opposite direction of what I had intended.
When the time came for my husband and I to choose names for our pets and our children, we undertook the responsibility as we might a research project. The old "How can you ruin on the playground?" And "Will it make any nasty words in another language?" (which we didn't want, by the way--a la Nicholas Cage in Saturday Night Live) Of all the things we did, my favorite means of testing was to try yelling each name out the back door, as though summoning the kid to dinner. "Fernando!" "Wesley!" "Ainsley!" These didn't have the right ring, clearly. All fine names, but didn't suit for the sound we were seeking.
When we found the name Ada, and later the name Esme, we knew right away. Even before they passed all the tests, they just felt right. That's how it is, I guess.
Now to naming the year 2009 for myself. Since I heard about the "one little word" last week, I've been absolutely taken with the idea. I want to honor it. So just as I would with finding any other name, I've been letting ideas come to me from what I'm reading, and what I'm saying, and just seeing how they feel. I've been researching and percolating.
Last night, as I was feeding the cats, it came to me: "Enjoy!" I said, and set down their plates of Fancy Feast. And I stood there, cats winding about my ankles, and felt that little Eureka-moment. Exactly.
Enjoy. What a lovely intention. En- as in "to put into," "to go into," "to cover or provide with," "to cause to be," "thoroughly," And Joy--which you know.
While I will admit to the appreciating the hedonistic element of this word, it's really something else that draws me to it. What I like best about the word enjoy is that it's about being actively present, and forcing, ever so gently, a mood. It puts the power on me to make things joyful, to provide joy, to find joy, or put joy thoroughly into things. It gives me responsibility for my own happiness, which is where it should be, right?
And so, my dear 2009, this is what I will do with you as a year, what I will name you. Enjoy. I will find the joy in the littlest spaces, the least expected spots, my lowest moments. I will cover my world with joy. And cause to be...(in).joy
May you enjoy, too, all of your 2009--all of it.
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