two sides of lent

for lent this year, i will abstain from social media. gut reactions to fasting from the following channels:

  • facebook: obvi. y’all can wait until after easter for me to post photos i take from my brother’s and friends’ weddings–if i manage to take photos from my brother’s wedding.
  • twitter: will i be surprised if my follower count drops dramatically? nope.
  • instagram: the app on my phone’s been on the fritz, so that should be easy-peasy.
  • pinterest: not as difficult.
  • tumblr: ditto.
  • youtube: ooooh, tricky.

it’s easy to tell myself i’ll fast from facebook if i use the other channels as crutches. hopefully, this will force me into a regimen that requires me to cope in productive ways.

my hope is that this lenten season will dovetail with my one word for this year, that the less i consume, the more i’ll create. that what i do consume will be more wholesome: books! real newspapers! house of cards (not so much)!

it’s kind of the opposite of a paleo diet, i guess. books, magazine articles and longform journalism pieces are processed and refined much more than blogposts, statuses, tweets, and even some shorter-form news articles.

right around now, i miss google reader. most of my content comes through my facebook newsfeed, tumblr, and some twitter. should be interesting to see what i’ll “create” without these sources of “inspiration”.

also. these posts will probably not have cool images because i typically find them on social media. so, enjoy this one:

my one word for 2014 is…

first, i’d like to list the runners-up for this year’s #oneword365

  • courage
  • flow
  • integrity
  • persist
  • perspire
  • through
  • yield

after some hemming and hawing and being paralyzed by too many choices, i landed on this, eventually:

create ≥ consume

i wondered if “create” should be my one word of the year. then i was fixated on the symbol, and wished there were a way to make a suffix my word of the year. alas, i can’t, for by definition a suffix isn’t a word in and of itself. and i could only append “-er” to a limited number of adjectives, which was a problem because i grew increasingly convinced that my one word should be a verb.

but that also troubled me because i felt it would psych me out from the get go. i caught myself judging myself harshly, within a system of feast or famine, all or nothing. and i realized that such judgments were myopic and unfair to myself. how could i rail against and try to dismantle a false dichotomy over others while still bound in one of my own?

i realized that i would erroneously interpret words like “create” (or other verbs for that matter) as a mandate to fill a void when the reality is that i have been active, i have been crafting words, and getting stuff done.

my problem isn’t, “i’ve done nothing and now i’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”
my opportunity is, “i’ve done some pretty good stuff. let’s see if i can do more of it — and better.”

and so, i present to you, for the remaining 325 days of 2014, my #oneword365:


more writing. more exercise. more reading. more singing. more creativity. more initiative. more diligence. more confidence. more clarity. more surrender. more prayer. more trust. more faith. more hope. more love. more grace. more selectivity. more depth. more growth. more respect. more justice. more mercy. more kindness. more patience. more peace. more dancing. more risk. more reward. more vulnerability. more freedom. more praise. more joy. more wisdom. more experience. more insight. more memories. more fruits and vegetables.

i figure more of the good will overtake the junk. so if i can just focus on building upon the progress, however little, i’ve made, and be faithful to continue, the excellence will follow eventually.

prelude to one word 2014

this year’s the third year i’ve participated in #oneword365, or really #oneword[365 – t days since 2014 started].

last year, i never did join officially because i was at an impasse, which is why i’ve not been able to start at the very beginning of the year. for 2013, there was a tie between “focus” and “confluence”: the former was a challenge to grow deep in a few things, which is tricky when you’re a jill-of-trades; the latter was a way to embrace being a generalist, a way to defy a largely binary mindset.

“confluence” barely edged past “convergence”. only retrospectively and with the aid of etymology do these seemingly synonymous words distinguish themselves from each other. confluence = flow together; convergence = the process of coming/meeting together from different directions. sometimes the meeting of waters–rio negro and rio solimões–mirrored the juxtaposition of life in new york and life in northern virginia,

and sometimes the ways my worlds kept colliding made me wonder–“how do you know [insert name here]?”–if the more fitting word is “convergence.”

there’s also the way the years end and begin increasingly fluidly as i get older. while i tend to plan and take my time with most endeavors (e.g., selecting my one word 365), i’ve made other efforts fairly quickly.

like reading through the entire bible in one year. i’ve been on a bible-reading plan that would have me finish in 250 days; i began this plan in november, and i’m hoping to finish it in less than 250 days. like jon acuff said somewhere on one of his blogs, why wait to start something like that?

i think having a january birthday, albeit the penultimate day of the month, helps my personal sense of chronology align with the rest of the world’s. 2013 was an interesting year in that i felt like it was filled with do-overs:

  1. i turned 30 which is a pretty big deal — y’know, Jesus begins his ministry at that age, mom had me and my brother at that age, la dee da.
  2. a couple months later, on good friday, i move back home.
  3. autumn means “back to school” which i associate to fresh starts, even though i’ve been out of school for a while. how pavlovian.

so really, in the span of twelve months, i had like, three new year’s moments, which all serve as my license for having three words for 2013. or maybe i will save one of them for 2015. maybe my internal clock runs like the jewish calendar, same same but different.

so there it is, a retrospective on my one wordthree words for 2013.
next post: my one word for 2014.