Reflections on Choosing my Word for the Year

For the past five years I’ve been choosing my word for the year – or has the word been choosing me? Last year the word that guided my journey was “Vulnerability”. I didn’t really want it, yet it kept showing up.

Surprisingly, vulnerability helped me to navigate through the final edits of my book, The Chocolate Pilgrim. For example, being open to showing others my “less than perfect self” resulted in my choice to include stories about my challenges raising my young children. I had an intuitive sense that vulnerability creates connection, and the writing process has taught me much more.

I sought to create connection with a particular audience through my book. I had ideal readers in mind and believed they would feel supported by what I chose to reveal from my past. Writing became an act of faith, as I put my trust in the process of writing, persisting until the end (even when I would have much rather been doing laundry!). I continued to write in the face of self-doubt and fatigue, carrying on in spite of the voices of the inner critics, remembering that by tapping into my vulnerability my story could reach far beyond the walls of my studio. Throughout my writing process, I kept remembering that there was at least one ideal reader out there who would no longer feel so alone. At least one reader who might decide to take a courageous next step because of my sharing.

Now, when I am at a book reading and share selected excerpts, I am revealing an honest experience of myself. Afterwards I love to take time with audience members who want to speak one-on-one. Often, I hear tales of emotional pain or difficult experiences, along with stories of healing and transformation. I am in awe of the ways that sharing my stories creates these connections so quickly.

I used to think that being vulnerable means you’re being weak. I’ve learned otherwise. When I allow myself to show emotion or reveal imperfection – ideally without shame – others feel safe to connect with their own tender places. That level of connection speaks to the power of vulnerability. I’m not done learning about vulnerability by any means, but this year, a new word has emerged.

My word for 2018 is “Opening”. I will continue to share with an open heart, to the best of my ability. I am always surprised by what twists and turns each year takes, and yet, no matter what, my chosen word acts as a guide.

What is opening for you now? Is this the year you take a courageous next step and move towards your heart’s desire? Is this when you make a choice to say yes to your creativity? If writing is something you’ve long dreamed of, then wait no longer. Contact me through my website at www.mariemaccagno.com and let’s have a conversation.

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