one word for 2017

“When you are joyous, look deep
into your heart and you shall find
it is only that which has given you sorrow
that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again
in your heart, and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
― Kahlil Gibran


I was given my word for 2017 while doing dishes. My mind wanders a bit when my hands are occupied; I make some of my best art when my body is moving on autopilot. It is a luxury I rarely enjoy, thanks to my physical limitations.

I don’t remember, four months later, how I came to the word. It was all very rambly, I suppose. It is one of my favorite things to feel my way from one topic to another color to this feeling. At the end of the process, however, I had a word that stunned me with its strong voice:


I spent 2016 searching out “NOURISH” in the midst of extreme stress (a cross-country move and another physical collapse), I thought I should give up on words, but these yearly words are for me what David Whyte calls a “beautiful question,” a thing that keeps me connected to my self and to others around me.

So I walked into this year with “delight” – as my word at least, if it didn’t quite fit my mood or my experience, and here I am in March now, wondering if I got it wrong, wondering if “delight” is possible for me, wondering where to begin now that I am determined to begin again.

I have a sense that my questions are much more than the word, and that the word itself may be the answer and not the question. I am willing not to ignore it, and to say it out loud, and perhaps I will be able to face it a little more in the coming weeks, to pause with it and lay aside my anger at being made vulnerable.

I have been here before, and birthed hope and dreams and a change in my life. I don’t want to be what I was before then. I’m just not sure how this new journey will change me.


Are you reading here and feeling similarly about something in your life? Do you have a word for this year? What “beautiful question” keeps you real? What makes you vulnerable? What does “delight” mean for you?



“…So the ability to ask beautiful questions, often in very unbeautiful moments, is one of the great disciplines of a human life. And a beautiful question starts to shape your identity as much by asking it as it does by having it answered.

“And you don’t have to do anything about it. You just have to keep asking. And before you know it, you will find yourself actually shaping a different life, meeting different people, finding conversations that are
leading you in those directions that you wouldn’t even have seen before.”― David Whyte


3 thoughts on “one word for 2017

  1. Carolyn

    I got here through your Instagram link. What a delight. You started it off with Khalil Gibran. This treasure was gifted to my mother when she turned 16 and this tradition has continued in our family for three generations. It’s been awhile since I’ve read your blog. I knew about your move from Charleston, but am not privy to the other details. I have noticed an absence and then sprinklings of your work , and now maybe a resurgence. Know that your photos do bring delight. Please keep taking them and sharing them. The majority of us are overwhelmed in life and online and hardly take the time to “like” anything, even when we are moved by something we see. I hope you are able to recover, and truly believe that little daily “delights” make one’s own heart contribute toward healing, either emotional or physical.

  2. SimplyDarlene

    I don’t have a word. I have a to-do list. And, no, exercise and weight loss and eating better and stuff like that aren’t on it. Instead, things like: stop driving so fast on the dirt roads that I blow tires, get my own rifle, drive a race car (on a racetrack), and get a tattoo are on my list.

    Live into the things that make me, me.

    — What question keeps me real?
    Why do I do the things I do? Because other people’s expectations have overridden my desires and dreams so long I’ve forgotten not only *how* to dream, but *why* to dream.

    — What makes me vulnerable?
    Not knowing my “whys.”

    — What does “delight” mean for me?
    To take in, and accept unabashedly, bits of joy over and over again. Like the way dark chocolate melts on the tongue, the way coffee steam smells of energy, the way my 13-year-old son wants to sit next to me and watch superhero movies, the way I feel when I accept God’s love as really real, the way rain runs as it makes its own tracks down windows, the way my dog slides her head beneath my dangling hand, the way I’d like to feel more.

  3. Julie

    my word is light.

    in all the senses.
    not dark.
    not heavy.

    and as much as that might be focusing on less stuff, or eating better…
    first and foremost, it comes in quiet. in processing. in shedding the weight my heart carries.
    and while I like my lists on paper…
    sometimes it’s easier to type thoughts.
    I censor them less, because there is a backspace button.

    and then it is so much easier to see.