An Intentional Word of the Year

The delightfully quirky 2007 movie “Waitress” easily fits into the top 10 of my all-time favorite food movies. Keri Russell stars as Jenna, an unhappily married waitress living in the deep South. Jenna is also a pie maker extraordinaire, so obviously the story revolves quite a bit around the pies she creates. What I especially love about her pies, however, is that she names each one of them based on the emotions she is experiencing while making them — similar in a way to another of my favorites, “Like Water for Chocolate”, but without the mystical aspects of the cooking in that particular movie. Jenna’s baking is more down to earth and realistic, as she demonstrates in her “I hate Earl” pie.

Movies are wonderful in how they take us away from our worlds and into ones of fantasy or adventure. However, it is in the real world where we must live, work, and breathe, so following certain rituals helps us try to get through it. For instance, the ritual of making resolutions is one of the biggies a lot of people follow at the beginning of each new year. I quit making resolutions a long time ago, because, like most, I just can’t seem to follow through with them. Fortunately, a new trend called Word of the Year has emerged, so I decided to give it a twirl.

The standard “rule” is that you are to pick 1 single word as your guiding beacon throughout the year — one that resonates with you deeply and keeps you from going astray. You are instructed to meditate on it, post it all over your house, chew on it, draw pictures of it, and so forth and so on… 1 word…

Unfortunately, I am not a 1 word kind of person. I tried. Seriously I did. However, all I could do was narrow it down to 4 words. I simply could not let any of my words go, but at the same time I felt strongly that I needed a way to join them all together. Then a friend said to me, “We don’t have to live in each other’s boxes. It’s okay to break those kinds of silly rules or modify them to fit our needs.” OMGosh, I’m an artist! Why on earth do I make things so difficult? So, my Left Brain told me I should pick a mother word, then my Right Brain told me told me to draw a pie…

I’ll have a slice of Intentional Pie, please.

In the English language, the word intent is the thing a person proposes to do — the thing that is intended. However, just because something is my intention, or that I seriously intended to do it, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen or that I will do it. The problem with the word intention, too, is that it is more often used after I didn’t do something, hence the phrase “good intentions.” But, when I use the word intentional, there is now some meat on the bone, because I am deliberate, willful, and even purposeful in what I want to do. I refuse to end another year saying, “It was my intention, but… (insert appropriate excuse here). Instead, my year is going to end with, “The combination of my passions and my intentional actions enabled me to have a remarkable year designing exquisitely beautiful tea towels, napkins, and tablecloths.”

But, there is a price to living an intentional life. Some things must go so that others can take their place, and that’s where my 4 new supporting words — breathe, transform, balance, and transcend — come into play. These are words I have long been familiar with, yet I have never claimed them as my own. Through the act of intentionally allowing them to come into my life, I suddenly feel a new energy — like I have 4 little helper elves sitting around my desk just waiting to step in and relieve my stress, whisper fresh new ideas in my ear, show me alternative solutions to problems, and to even help me to write this post with a more confident and discerning eye. The irony is that although I am my own boss, I had to give myself permission to let this positive energy envelope me! In the process, today alone I gave up 4 old words which had been hanging around for way too long — procrastinate, anxiety, dread, and fatigue.

I once took really good care of myself. For the most part I eat healthy foods, but the changes I need to make go beyond food and into the words and actions that I allow to dictate my life. I have let too many things in (that are actually good things on their own), but now I have no room for the most important physical, spiritual, and creative aspects of my being. This got me to thinking about a book I read several years ago by Dorothy L. Sayers. Written in 1941, The Mind of the Maker approaches the subject of writing and creativity from a Christian perspective, but with the logic and reason associated with the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. It was Ms. Sayers who penned the The Writers Trinity — the Creative Idea, the Creative Energy, and the Creative Power. This concept spoke volumes to me at the time and still does. She wrote that “the 3 are 1 and that none can exist without the other,” just as it is with Christianity’s concept of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I love this. Just as these aspects of creativity cannot exist without the other, my Words cannot exist without each other, because each supports and builds on, and takes from and gives to, the others.

So, this year I will be intentional as I breathe, transform, balance, and transcend:

  • I will express and manifest my unique brand of art and designs into the world, give myself permission to pause and rest before I move on to the next thing, and simply and most importantly, I will remember to breathe.
  • I will change the structure of my nights so that they will involve more sleep, transform my body through exercise and continued healthy eating, and I will approach the creative process in a fresh new way that doesn’t always involve the computer.
  • I will go beyond the creative boundaries I’ve limited myself to in the past, transcend the expected outcomes with fresh and exciting new looks, and I will climb over the roadblocks others have put before me because they are stuck in their own little boxes of rules.
  • I will strive to achieve equilibrium in my daily routine, and will enjoy the balance I experience with work, study, and play.

And you know what, I think I’ll have another slice of that intentional pie.

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  1. My name is Normand. I live in Stuppach, Austria.I randomly stumble on
    I just want to say that I liked your blog post about “An Intentional Word of the Year”.

  2. Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to grasp so much approximately this,
    like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you simply could do with some p.

    c. to force the message house a bit, however instead of that, that is wonderful
    blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  3. Michelle Reynolds says:

    I loved the movie Waitress, all the best for 2013 esp with all your words.

    • Thanks for your comment, Michelle. Hmmm, maybe I should do a series of posts on my favorite food and travel movies. In the meantime, here’s hoping your January has started off with a bang and that the rest of your year will be fabulous!

  4. Terrific words, seems like its all about self nurturing and learning to adore yourself again. How divine. I believe we all need to remember what that feels like :)

  5. THAT is incredibly well written! Way to go, Sharon… and knowing you, I would never limit you to 1 word! Cookbook? great idea! and keep promoting your blog. I think you’ve got something really special here.

    • Awww, Nicky, thanks so much! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to truly communicate just how instrumental you have been in lighting my fire for blogging, surface pattern designing, etc…. But, you did, and you’re awesomeness overwhelms me! Hmmm…. I’m feeling a big thank you post coming on with links and kudos to all the women who have helped me with my transformation these past 6 months. That number keeps growing every day, but it was you who lit the match! Thank you, my friend. <3

  6. this is colorful and sassy! I love it! the pie, intentions, transcending! Here is to a happy new year!

  7. Of course it’s a pie <3 I am loving your words and intentions. To a fabulous 2013 my friend!

  8. Love love LOVE your Intentional Pie. Wishing you a wonderfully creative and refreshing New Year.

  9. Deegy Landers says:

    Now that is a pie one can really enjoy! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. This is amazing, Sharon.

    And as I was reading it, I just kept thinking, “She needs to write a cook book.” Or some kind of book. Your writing is fantastic + you could easily add in all your intentional pie ingredients!

    Thanks so much for sharing! Wishing all the best for you in 2013!!!

    • Great feedback, Becky! Thanks so much! Who knows, one day a cook/book may appear. Wishing you a great 2013 as well. Now I need to finish reading about everyone else’s words, including yours. It was all I could do to make myself stop this morning and go to work!

  11. Dear Sharon, Intentionally directed words to yourself! Not always easy when you get in the groove of writing for others, supplying ideas for others and sharing your creative being energy with those who hold out their hand. Excellent self-directed message that really wants to be your own!! So specific-so important.
    You will do it!

    Becky S.

    • Thanks, Becky. Because of the nature of this post being so self-directed, I almost didn’t even tell anyone outside of our WOTY group about it, but after reading nuggets of wisdom in what others had posted in their blogs, I decided to reveal it to others. It was pretty much an emotional version of my business plan, which felt like I was showing my underwear to the world. :)

  12. Wow!!! This is so complete in every sense of those chosen words. You are a superb wordsmith!
    I just LOVE your image of the pie tying in all your concepts: it is breath taking, it’s transformative.
    You have managed to balanced all that is you the cooking, the design and the “Sharon Landon” style in one transcendental pie! Amazing!!!

    • Oh, Lisa, I dearly love how you used my words in your comment! As I mentioned elsewhere, that gave me little heart flutters. Now I must follow your lead and create some amazing art and pattern designs!

  13. Very well said, may your intent be fulfilling for 2013!!

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