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Word of the Year 2021

teasels and sunset - Snapdragon Studio

Normally it takes me ages to decide on a word to take me through the year.

I will begin the search in mid December - writing lists, walking, meditating, perhaps going through a little course like Susannah Conway's - and then sometime over the Festive period, often on Hogmanay itself, a word will settle out of my sifting thoughts. A word whose particular meaning resonates with what I want to bring into my life.

The word I picked for 2020 was 'soar'. The image of the buzzard that roosts by the Studio was in my mind - soaring high against the blue, free and easy.

Mine was not a 'girl boss' version of soaring, it wasn't full of ambition or striving, I wasn't standing in front of the bathroom mirror proclaiming 'I will soar'.

Rather it was a 'riding the thermals' interpretation. Soar for me was a 'take it easy' word.

Soar turned out to be the perfect word to carry me through this weird and rootless year - a reminder that taking the easiest path, going with the flow, is often most effective. A reminder that doing less and being intentional is often the right thing. It helped me accept a lot of things that I would normally have railed against in a very exhausting way. It helped me develop patience - the buzzard will wait and watch for the moment to launch himself into the air. It gave me a measure of trust.

But now - as I begin to feel hopeful for 2021 - I find my word for the year is already here. I don't need to go searching for it. It has moved into my brain and made itself at home.

My word for 2021 is Enough. Enough for me means

  • Deciding what is enough in my business, my life, my plans, my income and letting that free me from the feeling of never being done.
  • Recognising that I am enough as I am. My body, my mind, my health - all enough, exactly as they are now, not as I wish they were.
  • Drawing a line and saying that I have had enough - enough of corruption and cronyism, enough of the way we treat people and our fellow beings, enough of the 'this is just the way it is' assumptions. Enough. (And then it means doing something to improve things.)

I would love to know in the comments if you choose a word and, if so, what difference you have found it makes.

Tags: life learn

Comments: 7 (Add)

Stephanie Brickwood on December 4 2020 at 10:19

Hi Jane ,not tried this practice before but can honestly say Enough has been a bit of guiding light for me ! With that in mind it's probably time to have that in the background and find another word !Once again thankyou for inspiring thoughts and deeds 💚💚💚

Ruth Singer on December 4 2020 at 11:43

Oh yes that's a great wholistic word to guide you. Mine this year was balance which was about right. Next year is Share, which has so many resonances for me in work and outside.

Angela on December 4 2020 at 18:48

Evening Jane, I've not consciously had a word in mind, however, for the past few years I've found myself saying 'Breathe'. Perhaps this year I will give this ritual some considerations, although I have to say Breath has served me well, but having read your journal am interested to see if a word reveals itself to me....

Kelly Cheesley on December 4 2020 at 20:56

This year mine was Cultivate. It’s about taking slow and gentle steps towards a goal, growing something special and only dealing with one thing at a time.

I’ve not started thinking about next years word yet so thank you for the prompt.

Brenda on December 6 2020 at 14:09

For the past few years I have had a word for the year. It has given me focus. I think of my word (I actually made an oracle card of it) and try to embrace/live it. 2020 it was fierce. That word pushed me to do a few things I had thought about but wasn't ready for (might never have been ready for). Looking forward to thinking of my 2021 word.

Sue Adlam on December 6 2020 at 23:08

Enough sounds like a fine word! One that I have been trying to embrace for some time.... 2021 is the year to go with it instead of constantly striving. I need to just be. Thank you for your words of wisdom and inspiration Jane. Sue x

Andrea Thomas on December 7 2020 at 20:51

Thank you. Word of the year has been sitting quietly in the back of my mind, rattling abit occasionally but my word settled in my lap yesterday and I held it.
I’m full of it and more keeps coming as now I am aware of it. I have a year to mull over it and add to my list. You were apart of this, so thank you muchly 💜

Snapdragon social

I am a bit of a womble.  My Studio is a layering of things that have been found, things that have been saved, things that have been given to me - I like to be surrounded by a bit of history. ⁠⠀
I am known as an avid skip diver so people kindly keep me things.  This weekend I am off to pick up 13 sash windows rescued from a skip.⁠⠀
This is my dye cupboard - the mordants and other powders, the piles of fabrics and yarns, my newly started record book and the glue to paste the swatches in.⁠⠀
It has had a hard life - the back is patched with hinges as plates, there are many, many layers of paint and a door has gone missing along the way.  It is perfect.⁠⠀
Back when I grew flowers commercially the area that is now ‘the orchardy bit’ was rows and rows of spring bulbs.⁠ In the years where the deer didn’t eat the tulips they looked magnificent, stripe upon stripe of pure pigment. ⠀
When I turned my back on growing for money, we simply took out the beds and levelled it, turning it back to grass.⁠⠀
The tulips quickly gave up - never brilliantly perennial here anyway, they took the opportunity to fade out fast.⁠ Well if you don’t want us . . . ⠀
The narcissi loved it though and every year appeared back in their serried rows through the grass. ⁠There was something disturbingly grave like about them.
My planting  ever since has all been an attempt to disguise that - feathering the edges, making little islands, trying to make it all look haphazard.⁠⠀
Gradually it is working - this is the edge of what would have been a bed of Narcissi geranium (best vase life, along with best scent) - now happily interspersed with a pheasants eye and a little lemon coloured one I have lost the name of.
And the hedges beginning to vibrate with that gloriously specific spring green.
This week has been about experimenting.⁠⠀
Experimenting with all the ways to dye with daffodils, experimenting with the new e-course part of my website, experimenting with shooting and editing videos on my phone.⁠⠀
My business hero is @sethgodin and his mantra is 'ship it' - a way of saying that the best way to learn is to make things and get them out in front of people before they are polished and 'perfect'.⁠⠀
So I took his advice and combined all three experiments. Today's newsletters will have links to a free e-course all about dyeing wool with daffodils.⁠⠀
I have been absolutely amazed by the colour you get from faded daffodil flowers (see the second photo). It is a bright, yet somehow soft, golden yellow which is now adding an amazing zing to my pile of plant dyed fabrics.⁠⠀
I am prone to obsessions.  My brain hones in on topics and rabbit holes away, a constant background chatter to my life.⁠⠀
It annoys the people I live with as my world shrinks to one topic. ⠀
My camera roll shows me it is three years ago this week that I returned to natural dyeing with plants, concentrating on using only the plants growing within a couple of miles.⁠⠀
Three years of experimenting with plant after plant, three years of googling and reading obscure articles and piling up samples. ⁠three years of conversation about mordants and modifiers. ⠀
Three years is a short time in such a slow craft. A blink of an eye. ⁠⠀
But already I can see a difference in my skill.⁠⠀
This is a corner of the cupboard where I stash my fabrics and yarns building up enough for a project.  These have all been dyed this year - with barks and cones. ⁠⠀
This week I am dyeing with bright deadheaded daffodils and the golden yellows will join these soft terracottas and pinks while I dream up something to make.
I grow very few white flowers. ⁠⠀
White summer flowers tend to mark in the rain - white roses look like discarded tissues, white dahlias spot brown.  Even cosmos purity - which I do grow - goes droopy and grey in a way that the coloured versions don't.⁠⠀
The petals of spring bulbs however seem rain resistant - so I can indulge my love of white flowers and enjoy them backlit by the morning sun on the Studio window shelf.
Bright and light and pretty.
I am spending a lot of time in the greenhouse at the moment - playing an endless game of jenga with my seed trays.⁠⠀
Many of the seedlings are for the community gardens - being planted out gradually under fleece. We are biding time, taking the cautious route so that we minimise the risk of everything being wiped out by a very cold night.⁠⠀
We still have a full month of frosts to go here - little ones of -2 or 3 are manageable, an extra covering of fleece, some bricks to act like a storage heater.  Most hardy seedlings will recover from getting their tips nipped a bit.⁠⠀
Last year though we had a really cold night in mid May, when growth was going well and sappily. It blasted the blossom and killed many of my hardy veg too. Slightly too late to resow.⁠⠀
Speak to the older generation of gardeners and they all sowed and planted out much later than is the fashion today.  They perhaps had a point.
I wrote in my Friday letter this week about the sudden lifting of the uncertainty and inertia that had been dogging me for a few months.⁠⠀
It's always easier to write about these things once they are resolved - do you find that?  Once I am unstuck and lolloping along happily again, I can look at it all and not get sucked down.⁠⠀
Of course all this talk of getting going again, of new plans and exciting things . . . . it all actually means hard work. ⁠⠀
Head down, working through an actual written plan kind of hard work.  Not always my natural strength.⁠⠀
So yesterday I rearranged the studio window shelves and cleared the working table, ready for an uninterrupted start today. ⁠⠀
An attempt to keep momentum.

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.


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