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Have you started a diet? Renewed your gym membership or decided to walk more? Maybe you have resolved to cut down on Facebook time this year . . .

Along with such New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends each year choose a guide word to help navigate the unknown paths of the next twelve months. Last year I began my own tradition with the word Advance. You can read about why I chose it here.

My Special Word

This year my word is Whole-hearted!

A few months ago I heard Brené Brown’s TEDx talk on expressing vulnerability. Though I’m generally not a fan of  self-help books, her presentation piqued my interest enough to read The Gifts of Imperfection, her short book (130 pages) labeled “Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life.”

Credit: Goodreads

Credit: Goodreads

 

On the first page appears her definition for such a life:

“Wholehearted living . . . means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Dr. Brene Brown, author/researcher/professor, has collected thousands of stories in the course of her qualitative study on authenticity and wholehearted living, which she describes as an act of faith that “requires believing without seeing.” (91)

This description sounds very much like my definition of faith, fueled by grace and joy, a faith I tasted first as a child hearing the blessed words of an old hymn at Bossler Mennonite Church: True-hearted, Whole-hearted, in which the men and women in the chorus belted out antiphonally: “Peal out the watchword, silence it never / Song of our Spirit, Rejoicing and Free . . . King of my life, my Savior will be.”

 

Quotes on Wholeheartedness

Maybe stories are just data with a soul. ~ Brené Brown

Never shy away from opportunity and wholehearted living. Never be fearful of putting yourself out there. The courageous may encounter many disappointments, experience profound disillusionment, gather many wounds; but cherish your scars for they are the proud emblems of a truly phenomenal life. The fearful, cautious, cynical and self-repressed do not live at all. And that is simply no way to be in this world.”
Anthon St. Maarten

Marianne could never love by halves; and her whole heart became, in time, as much devoted to her husband, as it had once been to Willoughby.    ~ Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.     Deuteronomy 6:5, King James Version

 

A Look in the Mirror

Last year, my good friend Sandra Cornelius gave me a mirror for my birthday. A survivor of many serious health challenges, Sandra took up the practice of placing mirrors in various rooms of her home during her recuperation, declaring with an inscription that she is beautiful even though she may have felt otherwise at the time.

With this object, granddaughter Jenna is learning the concept of self-acceptance, which is vastly different from pride or self-importance. Just as Aibileen, the maid, praised Elizabeth’s young daughter Mae in the novel The Help, Jenna is also hearing that she is kind, smart, and important.

JennMirror2

In the month of January, named for the ancient Roman god Janus, we look two ways, with gratitude and perhaps a sense of relief for having survived 2015, and with anticipation and hope for the new year ahead.

Thank you for being my companion this year. I hope 2016 will be your best ever.

Happy New Year!

Have you made a resolution or chosen a special guide word for 2016? Looking back, what are you particularly thankful for this past year?

Coming next: Moments of Discovery, Keys to a Riddle

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