Category Archives: Word of the Year

Embody Joy

2021 is here, and the wall calendar in my home office still reads 2020. Written in dry-erase marker are events and intents that came to an abrupt halt on March 20. No day retreats, art journaling in-person events, or word of the year in-studio workshops happened. I did not travel to training or business events and instead logged many hours with Zoom.

Steady, my word-of-the-year for 2020, became a daily mantra. Like a child learning to ride a bike, I kept my eyes in front of me and hands on the handlebars. I wobbled a bit but I didn’t fall.

I sat in my studio New Year’s Eve with a few family members preparing to ring in the new year. Much different from years past was the subdued nature of the event. No raucous activities downtown, performances to attend, crowds to get lost in. Just me, two sisters, a niece, and three small nephews cutting and gluing and pondering our intentions for 2021.

I did not reveal my word at the stroke of midnight as in years past. I share it with you now as a reminder that it is never too late to sit down and set that intention.

I knew in October that embody was my word. By December I knew it was a phrase.

Embody Joy

This is the art journal page created New Year’s Eve. It hangs in a frame in my studio to remind me of my intention for 2021. Can you find the word Joy hidden in it?

Maybe the shock of all that happened last year makes setting an intention for this one feel daunting. I look at my planner, already a week behind, and wonder the point of everything. Not an encouraging mindset for someone inviting others to more of themselves!

May I encourage you to try? Take that next gentle step forward. Just as I opened my laptop today and spent 30 minutes writing to you, however imperfectly, spend 30 minutes considering where you might want to go in your story this year. Reach out to be seen and heard with kindness and intention.

Let’s step gently into 2021 ready to embrace all of the gifts and the griefs fully, as only humans can. Let’s do it together.

Happy New Year!

Word of the Year 2020

My word came to me in October. offering two months to ponder and confirm that it was, indeed, the one.

firmly fixed, supported or balanced, not shaking or moving

regular, even, and continuous in development, frequency or intensity

Art journaling feelings around what I desire for 2020 confirmed my choice. I created two practice pages before designing the official page.

The first was arranged at the Intention Day Retreat. It holds the themes but not the word.

This page inspires me as I prepare for 2020!

The second I assembled while processing on my own.

I love the dog on this page.

2019 was my favorite year, yet. Flourish was the exact word I needed to get moving and take steps towards growth. So many good things happened, including the start of my business, Heart Path Story Coaching.

I love that in 2019 my friend, Angela, and I shared the same word! Here is her post about it! I look forward to reading about her choice for this year. We each flourished in our own way, proving that a word can be both general for many and specific to each person.

I recently took an online quiz that offered to choose a word for me based on my answers to questions. It came up with stand.

Looking at my art journal pages, I see how that fits in with the word I chose. There are a lot of standing images, including the dog!

I shared my untitled page during the final art journaling session of 2019. I loved the observations participants made for me. This is the beauty of the process. You choose and arrange images subconsciously that make sense when you and others name what is seen.

I love the polar bear. He is my favorite.

Comments such as This doesn’t seem like you. The seating feels structured and the gears appear rigid, not like the free-flowing Julie I know. But when I look closer at the pattern on the floor, I know that whoever is sitting in those seats is going to receive goodness.

The polar bear was noted. I knew he had to be on the page. Something about his presence and posture evoked the feeling of my word. Another participant said, That’s Steve!

Last year felt playful and open-ended as I set an intention to Flourish. From where I stood at the beginning, I knew that any movement would be forward. I truly felt like a plant that was emerging from the earth, poking its head out of the soil and into the sunshine before twisting and sprawling and blooming in a season of rapid growth.

2020 is calling me to be steady. To continue on a path of steady flourishing. To stand firm in what I have started and work on making progress towards specific goals. It is time to settle into more of an intentional routine.

The structured seating and clock-like gears are my reminders to stay steady and focused as is the runner on the path. Tho people stand on paddle boards, balancing, moving steadily forward. And the snail is playfully obvious.

This is a year to be steady in 2020, a phrase which only came to me after I chose the word.

Now it’s your turn to share. Please do in the comments. Happy New Year!