Amy Ward Brimmer

mother daughter wife teacher writer dreamer sister worker seeker activist minister healer student human


Three Words

I have decided to experiment with a way of framing my work and life this year, an approach which has often been suggested to me from sources both personal (people who know me well) and professional (experts who do not). I’ve resisted this advice in the past, feeling like it’s gimmicky or limiting somehow. Over the past few weeks, however, I’ve quietly tried it out and it feels helpful. It is simply this: choose three words for 2016 that will guide and inform everything you do.

One blogger, Chris Brogan, recently caught my attention as the latest to recommend this practice. The idea is that the three words inform decision-making, serve as touchstones during uncertainty or confusion, and challenge me to ask deeper questions about my motivations and assumptions. Chris points out the advantage of choosing three words over several or just one: the power of triangulation. Each of the words (or more accurately, the concepts behind the words) reinforce the other two and are in turn nuanced by them.

Choosing my three words was a wonderfully insightful process. I saw more clearly what I value, what I feel I lack, what I’m good at, what scares me, and what brings me satisfaction. That alone was worth it, and you might consider what three words you would choose, even if you don’t plan on holding yourself to them all year. In considering several options, I intended to strike a balance between small, specific action words (“build”) and large, universal ideas (“compassion”), but I’ve ended up with some mighty big, slightly intimidating words, and that’s okay. My three words feel friendly and demanding in equal measure, and I’m surprised at how easy it has been to turn toward them without effort when I need to.

My three words for 2016 are:
  • Prosperity 
  • Interdependence 
  • Love
Rather fundamental, especially the last one. I will be writing about each of the three in the coming weeks, and about how relating to them or using them as guiding forces plays out in my developing work. For now, here’s some working definitions and a few initial thoughts on each.

Prosperity - a successful, flourishing, or thriving conditionGood fortune, success, profitability, affluence, wealth, ease, plenty.

This makes me quite anxious, and I have my Spiritual Accountability Group to thank for that. They rightly challenged me to take a good hard look at this, and now I’m motivated to end my ambivalence about money and success and seek to understand what it truly means to prosper. It also reflects my desire to address issues of class and privilege more directly this year. Some initial questions that arise include:
  • What am I doing to thrive, how does my work help others thrive too?
  • How can I more easily recognize “scarcity mentality” and embrace present-moment abundance?
  •  What’s wrong with making lots of money?
  •  How does money reflect, or not reflect, how I value my work in the world?
Interdependence -   the quality or condition of being interdependent; mutually reliant on one another. [Here’sa cool video about one example of interdependence]

This makes me feel so enormously joyful and grateful and safe. It is my antidote to despair. I have taught that everything is connected for 25 years and I certainly know body-mind unity. Yet it is only recently that I have been able to live in the flow of all that is (not constantly of course), sensing the complexity of how everything I can experience is interwoven and affected by everything else. We’re all in this together. Relevant queries might be:
  • How can I trust interdependence and act from that trust?
  • How does remembering interdependence help to develop compassion?
  • What do I gain from my fierce independence? Does interdependence negate that? How does my individuality fit in?
  • How does working with myself or one other person serve the whole of creation?
  • How does my work with groups reflect my understanding of interdependence?
Love – There are so many definitions, as we all know. This is a link to some of them.

I suppose this could or should be a guiding word every year. This year, I have reached a point where I need to understand Love in a fresher or deeper way. Like the song Both Sides Now, I really don’t know Love at all. I experience it, I share it, I crave it, I am provoked by it, I have potent memories of it, but honestly? It feels like I am just barely waking up to Love. I have so many questions, it makes me chuckle to think of it. Here’s a few:

  • Is Love our default setting?
  • Love can manifest any way it wants to. How do I cultivate Love skillfully?
  • What is the relationship between power, vulnerability, wellness, and Love?

My three-word framework has already made a difference in my confidence level and my ability to relax into everyday living. Somehow, having these big ideas as reference points assists me in navigating my life. I look forward to learning more as I go and sharing what I discover.

I honor the Light within you. Namaste.

1 comment:

  1. My three words for 2016 are...