Word of the year 2016

In 2011 and 2012 I chose words of the year.  Then, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, I struggled to do so.  The struggle made me realize that I hadn’t chosen words in 2011 and 2012 so much as been chosen by words.  Trust and light just bubbled up in my consciousness, made themselves known as themes and priorities and metaphors.

This year that happened again.  My 2016 word of the year presented itself to me over and over in the last few weeks.


I’ve written about ease before.  The word “ease” is part of a loving kindness meditation I have repeated to myself many, many times.  In June 2012 I wrote of ease:

That’s what I want.  Everything else I say I want can be folded into this single thing.  I want to live with ease.  To let the clouds of my emotions and reactions skid across the sky of my spirit without overly attaching to them.  To let the weights of sorrow and joy, which are part of my life in near-equal measure, slide off my shoulders rather than staggering under them.

And yes.  That’s what I want.  Everything I wrote then, three and a half years ago, resonates now, even more brightly, with the undeniable urgency of something I need to acknowledge, embrace, and own.  This is what I want.

I’ve mused many times on the invisible calculus that brings certain quotes and poems to mind at certain times.  It’s similar to the way I can’t forget the case of my oft-abandoned novel, the fact that my default tense in writing is present, the strange timing that causes me to look out the window at the moment of sunset more days than not.  All of these are glimpses of the vast design, as far as I’m concerned.  The subconscious mind brings things to us without us logically understanding how or why, but their importance cannot be denied.  I love these experiences, these ways that something beyond our comprehension glints through the fabric of our lives, this reminder that there’s something out there larger and more complex than we can possibly imagine.

I believe that is at work in my sensing of the word ease wherever I turn.  And ease is inextricably linked, for me, to another phrase that I think and write about often: let go.  It has to do with releasing my white knuckle grip on my own experience, with continuing to relinquish my attachment to how I thought it would be, with accepting the ways that my particular wiring and wide-open heart predisposes me to both heartache and joy.

So, with wide open eyes, arms, and hearts, and a deep wish for ease, here we go, into 2016.

Do you have a word?  What is it?

38 thoughts on “Word of the year 2016”

  1. Ease is definitely good. My word for the year came to me in a similar way, after struggling for it last year. This year (and yes, I’m serious), it’s nachos. 🙂 You can see more on my blog post from January 3.

  2. I had a similar experience this year. I’d sort of decided the whole “word of the year” thing was not my thing (didn’t even try last year), but a word chose me. I’m not comfortable with it, but there it is. In fact, the word I wanted was yours, but I think I need to do some other things first.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2016. Here’s to pink knuckles: Cheers.

  3. “To let the clouds of my emotions and reactions skid across the sky of my spirit without overly attaching to them.” I love this so much, Lindsey. Wishing you ease this year. Perhaps I’ll adopt it as my word, as well. xox Kate

  4. I felt the ease as I read this. It was beautiful and as palpable as an exhale. I can feel it coming your way❤️.

    Mine is sacred. I want to allow everything in and bow to it all.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Oh, yes, ease sounds just right. I hope 2016 brings it to you on many levels. My word came to me too, and I tried to fight it at first but then surrendered: soar!

  6. Great choice. Interestingly, I am the reverse. I’ve had a word for the past few years but this year, each time I tried to make a choice, it felt forced. No word for me…. at least for now.

  7. Yes. Letting go… I’ve been writing about that a lot lately but hadn’t really thought about it in relation to ease. It’s true. May you ease into the New Year and find what brings you joy.

  8. Ease is so lovely and has a calming notion to it that is perfect for a new year. I, like you for the past few years, do not have a word this year. A few drifted in and out of my mind as 2015 ended but none of them took a real hold. I’m also definitely more in favor of being chosen by a word than the other way around.
    Happy New year to you.

  9. As often happens I found your words resonating with me. Several years ago I picked “let go” as my word of the year, and it has pretty much remained for the last few years. It’s a tough thing for me However, this year I found a word that rephrased my thinking, but still captures the sentiment, “relax”. It somehow feels more positive and optimistic. I’m writing because your process and choice of words seems to mirror much of my thinking, and I appreciate your sharing. I. also, appreciate the honesty and thoughtfulness of your writing.
    Happy New Year!!

  10. Ease…I like that. I love the feeling when I’m moving through the day and it just feels right. I’d love that every day as well. My word for this year is trust – trust the journey. I’m looking forward to reading more about how your word transforms your life this year.

  11. I’d settle for that feeling half of my days!! Trust was my word in 2011, and I still think it’s my favorite. xoxox

  12. I like that a lot – the shift from let go to relax. Seems to signify a settling, in a good way, or a sinking in … thank you so much for your kind words. xox

  13. Me too. It took me an embarassingly long time to realize that that’s what my “choosing” really was – being chosen. xoxo

  14. Thank you! I need to watch that- sounds/looks remarkable. All the kinds of balance that you described resonate. xox

  15. Oh, I love that. Sacred, and letting it all in, and bowing to it all. I’m so grateful to know you, dear friend. xox

  16. Thank you, thank you. I hope you adopt ease as well, and hope we both spend the year mostly in that state. xox

  17. Leap is marvelous. I love it. Your photographs feel like a leap to me – a reminder that there is much to leap FOR, and TOWARDS. xox

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