“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