My Word of the Year for 2017

Choosing a “word of the year” has become one of my key intention-setting strategies in my annual life planning ritual. That word becomes the compass with which I plot my course for the year and make decisions day-to-day.

In 2016, my word was “light.” The year before that, it was pleasure. But for some reason, arriving at this year’s word proved more challenging than in years past, when the feelings and experiences I desired to create for myself practically shouted, “pick me! pick me!,” before the end November.

I knew right away what I didn’t want to feel and experience over the coming year…

I didn’t want to continue to struggle so financially. I didn’t want to leave gaps in consistency in my business. I didn’t want to be burdened with so many to-dos or so much physical and mental clutter. I didn’t want to have to worry so much about my health or spend another minute in a hospital. And I especially didn’t want to feel afraid, meek, and disempowered.

However, when you’re working with intentions, both positive psychology and spiritual manifestation principles advise you to frame them affirmatively rather than negatively. This trains your brain to look for confirmation rather than obstacles and failures, making it easier to continue building momentum toward attainment of your goals.

The first words on my list related to success and strength, but they chaffed on me. I saw them leading to bigger and more stressful to-do lists and LOT more mental clutter, which would not have bode well for my desire to BE well.

The words fierce and bold were in the next set of strong contenders, but I realized they too were not in harmony with how I wanted to live my life, even though I hadn’t yet determined exactly what that looked like.

I considered purification (too boring) and consistency (too rigid) and Zen (too clichéd and probably too unattainable). I tried on resilience, but I was already living that on a daily basis, and space, except I couldn’t see how I’d proceed with that in a meaningful way.

To further complicate matters, something I also aspired to focus on in 2017 was embracing my feminine spirit through more creativity, more appreciation of beauty, more fluidity and flow, and more community with my global sisterhood. My list of possible words continued to grow wider and wider in scope.

As December 31 grew closer without me having the slightest inclination of clarity, I set aside a few hours to revisit a trusted favorite, Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. Although I’d never relied on the book for this specific purpose, I was hopeful it would help me sort through my thoughts more systematically so that I could finally narrow down what it was I truly craved.

Sure enough, the perfect word blossomed from within the depths of me onto the pages of my journal. My word of the year for 2017 revealed itself to be:  FLOURISH.

My Word of the Year for 2017 | A blog post from Jill of ArkFlourish
intransitive verb

1:  to grow luxuriantly :  thrive

2a :  to achieve success :  prosper
  b :  to be in a state of activity or production
  c :  to reach a height of development or influence

3:  to make bold and sweeping gestures


Flourishing is a process, not an action. It can’t be forced into fruition or ticked off a checklist. It requires careful cultivation and nurturing, along with plenty of sunshine and water. It also requires regular cycles of active growth and rest, and a willingness to face fears and to withstand threats and changes.

The word flourish encompassed my desire to be more consistent and prosperous not only in my business but also in how I treated my body and my home and space. It presented possibilities of greater boldness and vibrancy (of being visible and stepping beyond my comfort zone), but in ways that were still soft and organic. It was certainly feminine. Most of all, it finally gave a resounding voice to my yearning for something more, something different than what I’d been experiencing over the last couple of years.

If you don’t already have your own word to explore in 2017, you’re welcome to plant a few seeds along with mine.

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