The word


Happy new year, lovelies!

I’m writing this post from my bed. Turns out a virus was contributing to the tiredness I mentioned in my last post and I’ve been in bed for the last three days… oh the JOY of it all. I’ve been waiting to get this sick since I returned from the book tour but somehow it never manifested. I now see how I haven’t really given myself a moment to breathe since I got back, so the moment I let myself relax the virus snuck in and here I am, in bed, forced to stop. Not a huge surprise but still rather annoying.

This wasn’t how I was expecting to write my word-of-the-year post. This is the fifth time I’ve purposely chosen a word to guide me through a year, and I’m always amazed at how powerful this practice is. My word for 2012 was BRAVE and I’ve wrung so much brave out of the last 12 months I’m not sure i have any left. “I have to be brave. I can do this” was my mantra on more occasions than I can count, right up until the 23rd of December when a visit to the doctor ended with a referral to the hospital on the 31st (now the 7th of January, thanks to the virus). I have to be brave. I can do this.

When I choose a word for the year I have in mind not only what i want to bring into my life but also what I know I’ll be facing in the new year. BRAVE made sense for a year filled with so many new experiences. BRAVE convinced me to move back to London. It persuaded me to join a dating site. It got me on every single flight last year and carried me through the overwhelm of being out in the world when i prefer to be at home.

I know BRAVE hasn’t finished with me yet. These last few months of unravelling have brought up a lot of stuff that needs to be aired and refolded, so I’ve reached out to a new therapist here in London and am starting the year with an improved support network in place. This feels like the best gift I can give myself right now, and it’s in no small part down to BRAVE for giving me the courage to look at what needs doing… and doing something about it.



So yes, choosing a word to guide you through the year is powerful stuff. I’ve known for a while what my word for 2013 is. When I reflected on all I wish to bring into my life, in all the different ways that might manifest, the word that felt right was… OPEN.

I want to be OPEN to new opportunities, new possibilities, new adventures

I want to keep my eyes OPEN to all the magic around me and capture it on film

I want to stay OPEN to help and support when I need it, and to be brave enough to reach out in the first place

I want to stay OPEN to all sides of my self, not rejecting parts that aren’t ‘good enough’

I want to be OPEN to new ways of thinking, new ways of being, new ways of living

I want to move through this new year with my heart OPEN — no more hiding, no more fear, no more waiting

Heart open. Eyes open. Mind open.



What’s your word for 2013?

109 responses
  1. Vickie

    my word for this year is ‘grow’

  2. Cate

    Hi, Susannah,
    I happened across your book then your blog while ‘shopping’ on Kindle! I’ve found so many ‘connections’ here that I wanted to drop you a note. I have been doing what I call my ‘mantra word’ since 2003, when I learned about it during a workshop in Los Angeles. In fact, I was just blogging about my ‘word’ yesterday.

    I’ve also been having fun the last few years putting together for myself and friends ‘mantra movies’–basically slideshows with photos and music, expressing what I’d like my word to express in my life. (You can see my for this year’s word–alchemy–on the blog post!)

    I picked this word because like you, I went through a devastating life experience about 5 years ago, involving a lot of loss–my home, my business, my relationship. At the end of last year I was finally able to ‘extricate’ myself and take a leap of faith in moving to a new town in a new state, following an inner voice and my passion for history. I’m still in a ‘transition’ phase, but I chose my word with the hope of transforming what has been a very dark period in my life to one filled with light.

    I would love to know your thoughts on my blog for women, and would love any connections you might suggest. I want to reach out and share my story with the hope it might resonate and prove useful to others, to bring some ‘light’ into their lives…to be a forum for sharing our stories.

    Thanks so much for sharing yours.
    Cate Neilson

  3. bessie wilson

    [ bi g?l ]
    charm somebody: to win and hold somebody’s attention, interest, or devotion
    deceive somebody: to mislead or deceive somebody ( literary )
    cheat somebody: to rob somebody of something, or cheat somebody out of something ( literary )
    pass time: to pass time in a pleasant way ( literary )
    be•guile•ment NOUN
    be•guil•er NOUN
    Synonyms: entice, lure, charm, captivate, mesmerize, hypnotize, fascinate, enthrall, put under a spell, appeal to, attract

    I really liked the first definition of beguile. I chose this word because it made me think of a certain quality some people have, a charm and the desire I have to be at ease in social settings and to be endearing in how I am, how I live and how I relate to people.

  4. Kathryn

    my word for 2013 is po?wi?cenie (dedication).
    Because I am dedicating myself more fully to writing this year.

  5. Kathryn

    opps, that’s meant to be Polish for ‘dedication’ but it appears to have replaced the polish symbols with question marks. ah well :)

  6. Anne Jutras

    My word : thoughtful to myself (fidèle à moi même)

  7. Andrea Wickham

    I filled out my workbook last night and my word is Open too! And I didn’t realise it was your word too till I read this post. Here’s to 2013, a year of being open to new things!

  8. Marcelle

    I finished the workbook. Thanks very much! It’s much easier to visualise the life you want once you have clearly defined it.
    My word is courage and I’m planning on getting some temporary tattoos of my word in kanji so that I can be reminded of it often and so that other people won’t know what it says :)

  9. Lizzie

    My word for 2013 is Opportunity. I don’t know what the year holds, maybe leaving my current job and trying to launch my website and approach shops to sell my makings, maybe travel to central America, maybe thinking about becoming a Mum, I’m not sure.
    I think rhythm is another important word for me, I need to get into a regular routine so I get things done.

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