Recently, I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui to attend a wellness programme. It was a truly wonderful trip that offered new experiences and great learning opportunities; I came back refreshed, invigorated and empowered to think more expansively around life and work.
Before I went, I had heard of the word ‘Aloha’, which I took to mean ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’….and indeed it does. However, I discovered it actually has meaning beyond this surface use and a symbolism that goes beyond one neat dictionary definition.
The literal meaning of aloha is ‘the presence of breath’ or ‘the breath of life’; Aloha is a way of living and treating others with love and respect. It’s about sending and receiving a positive energy and ultimately about living in harmony with yourself and others.
Since my return home I have taken aloha as ‘my Word’, because seeing or hearing it reminds me of the feelings I experienced in Maui and hence energises me in my day to day life.
We don’t need to travel to exotic climes to find a meaningful word that resonates with where we are at this point in our life and supports us in setting and maintaining intentions.
Choosing a word for yourself is a powerful tool and, as such, has been much discussed in many blog posts or on social media. You may have seen personalised jewellery created to include a special word, wall art or, for those whose word has a lifetime connection, in tattoos!
So, why does it work?
In essence, your Word taps into your intentions. It reminds you not just what you want to do, but also who you want to be. Unlike setting a resolution, which often comes from our minds and can therefore be driven by lots of ‘shoulds’,
a Word contains energy, images and meaning, which are things our hearts and souls can get excited about.Christine Kane – Founder & CEO of Uplevel You
Of course, just choosing the ‘word’ alone won’t make transformations occur. You need to engage with it and let its energy guide and shape your actions.
How do you choose a word?
STEP 1: As MyIntent.org suggests, choose one or two of the following questions and jot down the first words that come to mind: What is a goal of yours? What brings you joy? Is there something you want to let go of? Is there something you want to improve upon? What energises you or make you feel like your true self?
It is the latter question that connected so much for me and ‘aloha’. I was exactly the same person in Maui as I am at home and realising that that was perceived positively by the people I met, reinforced my self- confidence and the belief that I can extend my reach.
STEP 2: Think about what might hold you back from embodying this word? Maybe past experiences raise uncomfortable feelings or associations. These triggers can heighten your personal awareness and ultimately help you address the obstacles that have previously been in your way.
This may sound counterintuitive, but a great example is an athlete I know who has a two year plan to compete in a long distance event. Historically, he has associated the word ‘patience’ with passivity and sloth; however, he now needs to embrace it in order to build up fitness and endurance levels and avoid injury. By reflecting on how impatience has served him in the past (or not!), he can address those former obstacles and move forward constructively.
- Don’t worry if you have two or three words to start with. It may take a little while to narrow it down. However, ultimately, you need to just have one.
- Pick your word! Say it out loud, write it down somewhere you see every day (ideally in the morning). No need to rush to get it permanently inked on your body, but sharing it with someone else means that you will have encouragement and accountability.
As we approach the end of the year, why not start to think about choosing your word for 2020.