For over a decade there has been a trend to ditch traditional New Year’s resolutions and pick one word to concentrate on for an entire year. This idea was made popular by Jon Gordon in the book “One Word That Will Change Your Life”. The key takeaway from the book is that instead of creating endless goals, you can simplify your life by picking one key word to focus on that sticks. It is a very personal word that just for you and once you discover it you live it and share it.
I love goal setting and I typically use January 1st to reflect, plan and frame my year. Sometimes I am successful in picking a year long goal and sticking to it such as my One Year Booze Snooze. Other times I have failed miserably on a long term goal like my plan to exercise for 365 days.
This year, I decided to try something new so I’m jumping on the “One Word” bandwagon.
I didn’t just randomly pick my word today. A variety of thoughts have been brewing in my mind for a few weeks so I decided to use January 1st to bring some organization to those thoughts. I woke up early, made a cup of coffee, grabbed a pen and paper and sat in my favorite chair with a cozy blanket. I spent a couple of hours reflecting and praying about my life before my family woke up. I found the quiet environment ignited a stream of consciousness and I couldn’t stop writing. I brainstormed everything from things I want to change about myself, things I love, things I need to give up, desires, dreams, and things I want to accomplish. Initially, I circled at least 15 key words that I jotted down at various moments during my reflection. I spent time thinking about each circled word and whether it connected to almost everything I was writing down.
I kept crossing out words until I found my word and when I did, it was perfect.
Now that I found it, it is time to live it and share it. I can’t just pick my word and hope it remains my focus for a year. I know myself better than that. I need to dissect the word, I need to uncover what I think it means, and I need to put a solid “why” behind that word. In addition to writing this word everywhere and keeping it in my face, I need to share it with friends and family. I also need to unpack the meaning of this word which ultimately will become a reference for me to review throughout the year.
My One Word is BLOOM
BLOOM is a beautiful process of BECOMING
A flower blooming is a perfect visual example that growth is a process. Growth is developing, progressing, unfolding, and evolving over a period of time. Flower species have varying bloom periods, but the general growth and development process is the same for all flowers and this life cycle is a representation of how lovely development and change can be.
In order unpack the meaning of this word, it might help to uncover what each stage of a blooming flower’s life-cycle represents:
Stage 1: The flower begins as a seed full of potential and rooted in dirt.
At this stage in a flower's development the seed is just a miniature version of the beautiful plant that is ready to sprout if cultivated properly. Even though a flower starts from a tiny seed in dark and dirty soil, it becomes something beautiful. As it is cultivated, a tiny root called a radicle anchors the plant and absorbs water. These roots continue to extend which allow the flower stem to start making its way upward and past the soils surface. Once the flower’s leaves begin to bud and develop, the flower’s root structure typically stops growing and it’s main job is to support the flower. A gardener will recognize when a flower isn’t growing or blooming and ask themselves what might be the reason? What needs to change so this seedling can thrive?
The takeaway for stage 1: “Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature” - Gerard de Nerval
A seedling is a beautiful representation that in life there is always potential and that even small ideas can grow into big things. That you can push through challenges and dirt in order to bathe in the sunlight and grow in places you never thought you could. And if you are rooted and nurtured properly and intentionally, you can thrive.
Stage 2: The seedling grows in strength and complexity which allows it to push through the dirt, grow into a stem, bud leaves, thrive and withstand challenges.
For a flower to bloom, the soil needs to be conducive to growth. The soil needs to nourish the flower and if it doesn’t then something needs to be added and mixed in. No matter how knowledgeable a gardener is and prepared they are to nourish a flower’s growth, they need to be adaptable because nature always throws curveballs. A gardener is great at adapting and changing things up so the flower has the best possible chance to thrive.
As the flower stem thrives new leaves form at the top of the stem, and the flower is growing in complexity. This strength helps the flower withstand weather, turbulence, animal disturbances and competition from other plants. Even when the weather is bad and on the darkest of days, flowers can grow, bloom and remain strong.
The takeaway for stage 2: “A flower bloom provides hope”
This stage of flower development is a reminder to choose what helps your heart bloom. Surround yourself with people who allow you to blossom, but also recognize that ultimately happiness blooms from within. It is a reminder to ask yourself what nourishes you? What do you need to change in you life if you want to grow? Like a flower can withstand weather, you are still growing even if you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, confused or weak.
Stage 3: Beautiful flower petals emerge as tight buds giving a flower shape but hiding and protecting the inner core of the flower.
A flower bud is small, simple, and beautiful in itself because it has grown from a seed, sprouted from the soil, increased in size and complexity and is clearly striving to reach its potential. The petals are what give a flower its unique shape. But there is so much more beauty that lies under the petals that are tucked closed to protect the heart of the flower. These petals are just waiting patiently for the perfect time to bloom and the petals to unfold revealing fragrance, true colors, beauty, imperfections, confidence and maturity. Healthy blooms need a mixture of water, sun, nutrients, proper soil, strong seeds, love, and care to grow. Blooming is about synchronizing efforts with the right time of year and the conditions that are best for reproduction and survival, and the growth represents a flower’s overall health. A delicate flower may need extra nurturing to bloom and possibly if it has too much growth too quickly it can cause strain on a fragile flower. Whereas another type of flower’s growth is slow and steady before actually blooming.
The takeaway for stage 3: “Every flower blooms in its own time.”
Since flowers only open when the time is right and the petals can’t be forced open, this is a good reminder that everything comes to you at the right moment. You need to be patient, grateful, and be gentle with yourself. You’ll bloom when you are ready.
Stage 4: When the time is right, the petals open confidently and maturely revealing it’s most intimate parts. The bloom oozes color and fragrance which radiates and draws good things towards them.
The act of a flower’s petals unfolding to reveal its inner most intimate parts exudes confidence. The petals sometimes discolor and curl after they open, and maybe even fall off. But these imperfections don’t change the reproductive core in the center of the flower. The imperfect petals don't stop the flower from being attractive. The fragrance and bright colors of blooming flowers radiates and draws good things toward them. Blooming flowers attract birds, bees, butterflies and humans. A blossoming flower doesn’t really dream of bees, but the blossom is so attractive the bees show up uninvited. Humans on the other hand sometimes will walk right by a flower and not even notice it while others may stop by and enjoy the elegance, grace and beauty.
The takeaway of stage 4: “Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful” - Jim Carrey
The image of imperfect petals unfolding is a visual reminder to have confidence in your own beauty and imperfections, recognize that some people will notice you and others won’t, and that it is okay to open up and show your inner self mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and intimately. Rupi Kaur said, “Bloom beautifully, dangerously, loudly or softly. However you need, just bloom.” Blooming petals remind you to be bright, sunny, positive, spread happiness, hold your head high, and rise and shine. Believe in new beginnings and do so with positivity, enthusiasm and spunk. When your inner self is flowery and bright, the difficulties of the outer world seem a whole lot easier so it is best to stand tall and find the sunlight. Be the flower that people find beautiful and hard to forget and remember to unfold, let go, allow yourself to bloom.
Stage 5: The most intimate parts of the flower, the reproductive organs, are exposed and the flower is now influential.
Once a flower is fully bloomed the inner core of the flower is revealed. The stamen contains the male parts of the flower and the pistil contains the female parts. Some flowers have both parts and are able to reproduce on their own. Some flowering plants cross-pollinate, which means pollen from one plant is taken to another plant of the same species which creates genetic diversity and makes subsequent generations stronger and more adaptable. This part of the flower radiates femininity and intimacy. During this stage of growth the blooming flower is extremely influential and capable of amazing things. The reproductive process creates an opportunity for other plants to bloom. At that point, the bloom may wither and ends its life cycle but new flowers form.
The takeaway of stage 5: “One day you will look back and see that all along you were blooming.”
It is important to recognize the heart of who you are and that you are capable of amazing things. You can radiate and attract others and you can inspire others to grow. It is normal to go through various seasons in life, good or bad, where you are searching for your true colors, exploring your imperfections, and developing your inner beauty. But even after you reach the end of these particular seasons you can take the best of what you learned and how you grew during it and use that to nourish the next “bloom” and recognize that all along you were blooming.