It’s been a rather, um, interesting year so far. And by interesting, I mean in the sense of that delightful Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times”.
I started 2014 feeling incredibly positive about what the year would bring; just over four months in and I’m still a bit in shock at the Lemony Snicket-like series of unfortunate events that have challenged me in ways I did not expect. A few times, I’ve felt a kind of paranoia start creeping in, convinced that I had a big ol’ target on my head. As I’ve struggled through grief, conflict, and loss, the universe hasn’t felt very loving lately. Ironic, then, that the word I chose to guide my year was love.
I first encountered the idea of choosing a word of the year while reading Christine Kane’s blog, and 2014 marks my seventh year of following this practice. I chose love specifically because I felt that I’d been resisting much of my experience. I wanted to be more present, engage fully with life, trust in the universe’s guidance, and practice loving what is. I toyed with words like grace and surrender, but the more active nature of love ultimately best summed up what I wanted to focus on.
In the midst of tears, I have wondered whether I shouldn’t have chosen an easier word for the year, like, I don’t know, maybe fun, or joy? I’ve wondered if I should change my word, though I know in my heart I’d be doing that from a place of fear, and that love and I aren’t quite done with each other yet. Even though the last three months have been difficult in many ways, I can now see that I’ve had what amounts to a crash course in love in its most profound human and divine sense. I’ve learned that sometimes the most loving decision isn’t the easiest. I’ve learned about expressing love for others and myself through both selflessness and selfishness, about the gentle and fierce faces of love, and how to give and accept loving support.
Towards the beginning of the year, when things were still going fairly smoothly, I started working on an Android app that would allow me to display my word of the year as my phone’s wallpaper as a way of helping me to keep my word in my awareness. I hadn’t anticipated just how bittersweet the moment would be when I finally used the newly released app to set my wallpaper. The app displays the word on a background of a photo from the phone’s gallery, and I chose a photo with a great deal of personal meaning, a poignant reminder of what love really means.
If you have an Android phone, and would like to display your word of the year as your wallpaper, the app is available in the Play Store. The wallpaper that it creates is fixed in place, overcoming Android’s propensity to stretch static images across multiple home screens or scroll the image as you swipe between screens. You can change the font, size, color and placement of your word (via drag and drop) to best suit the background on which you’d like to display it. The app is currently only available for Android, though the plan is to release an iOS version later this year.
While I hope that your year so far has been somewhat less “interesting” than mine, I hope too that the app is useful to you on your journey with your chosen word, whatever the experience so far has been. The app gives you the option to share your wallpaper via social media; if you choose to do this, I’d love to see what you’ve created!
Photo credit: JM Scott (Flickr)