One Little Word | Community Member Feature: Michelle & Heather

From time to time this year I'll be sharing stories from people who are embarking on the One Little Word workshop journey at Big Picture.

My hope is that their stories will inspire you as you make your own word visible in 2012.

Today I'd like you to meet Michelle and Heather:

NAME | Michelle
2012 WORD | Learn

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE "LEARN" | I chose learn for my 2012 word because I often find myself craving to know more about everything. I choose "Learn" this year so that I would be more intentional in the areas I want to focus my learning, rather than always jumping from one idea that interests me to another.

HAVE YOU DONE OLW BEFORE? IF SO, WHAT IMPACT DID IT HAVE? | The first year I choose a word was in 2011, the word actually choose me. A post on Ali's blog on December 1, 2010 prompted me to write down a word that encapsulated 2010 in one word and imagine a year later what word would capture 2011 for you.

I wrote: 2010 in one word…Chaos. It has felt like we are chasing our tails all year. Our business was so consuming so we stopped, but the rest of the year has been a whirlwind. Some self imposed, some imposed on us. As we are winding up the year, work for me has been more crazy than normal with a structure reorganization. And November brought us heart break in the sudden bad turn in my mom’s health. Now that we are in December, I am spending my evenings in the hospital, my days at work, the few minutes I have in the morning with my boys and squeezing in Christmas shopping on my lunch hour. As I look to 2011 I hope for Peace. Time to enjoy our life, time to enjoy our boys, and some freedom from everyday worries. No life is perfect, but I pray we have some peace in our days.

Little did I know when I wrote those words, that we would be faced with more before the year would end. Ten days after I wrote this, my mom passed away. The focus of my word "Peace" helped me persevere through the rough months of mourning our loss, while battling off depression. Having a word to focus on helped me change how I reacted to stressful situations and it helped me to work through the huge loss I felt when I lost my mom. I never imagined choosing a word would have such a profound effect on me.

WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST HOPES FOR 2012 | I hope in 2012 I will open my mind and heart to new experiences that push me to grow and learn new things.

NAME | Heather
2012 WORD |

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE "FOCUS" | My word for 2012 actually started speaking to me in the Fall of 2011. Last year, I chose "explore", and really made a connection with it. I found myself reaching for new things constantly, always seeking new experiences, really making exploration a way of life. I explored my environment, photography, the world through the eyes of my toddler, literature, my relationships, and so many more things, all the while thoroughly enjoying the process of documenting my experiences with the help of Ali's prompts. Still, as much as I embraced the concept of exploring things, I wondered how much better life could be if I was able to pick a few of these things that I loved to do or think or feel, and really hone in on them. And so the word "focus" chose me, I really didn't choose it.

HAVE YOU DONE OLW IN THE PAST? IF SO, WHAT IMPACT DID IT HAVE? | I love how my word for 2012 blossomed out of my previous years' chosen word. This has created a sense of continuity in my life that I know I will carry through this year and beyond. My word last year, the first year I actually declared one, was always in the background of my thoughts and actions as I went about my daily life. It didn't become so much a project in and of itself, but a way of improving and enriching a life that I already loved. The process of documenting the experience in Ali's class gave me a tangible product, my album, that made my word and it's impact even more real to me. Furthermore, the memories that I created with the help of this simple concept are priceless. I love that result most of all.

WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST HOPES FOR 2012 | I sincerely hope that I make a deep and lasting connection with my word again this year. I can't wait to watch it evolve and change and grow over the course of the year. It really is a journey that I'm so excited to be a part of.

Thanks Michelle and Heather for sharing your One Little Word stories.

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