Selecting a word of the year has been my practice for ten years now. Each word usually comes to me a few months before the new year (except for 2020, go figure). But this year instead of a single word, I’ve been drawn towards the transformational idea contained within two words:  

Both/ And

The polarization of our society thrives on the notion that life is as simple as two choices.  However, in my contemplative faith practice, I’ve been challenged beyond the dualistic limitations of either/ or thinking for a while now.  

Two things can be true at one time.

Why do we struggle with this so much? I’m talking about making room inside my heart, mind, and body to recognize that life is complicated and that’s ok. Both/and offers a pathway forward from what I’ve come to see as the more limiting and maybe even dangerous either/ or thinking that is the norm.  

Life can be beautiful and painful.
I can be content and also press forward.
Faith can be embraced and questioned.
I can be secure and undone.
People can be different yet accepted.
The heart can be sad and grateful.

The other important lesson from both/ and thinking honors the complexity between your reality and mine. You can be in pain from the circumstances of your life without mine being any less significant or painful. We are not in competition with each other as humans.  There is room for your joy and suffering, and there is room for mine. 

While my word choice may seem a little unconventional this year, I believe that it is the perfect choice to follow last year’s word: pivot. B/& is a heart-opening kind of word that can only be embraced when you’ve moved directions. I think it’s also a creative and connecting word. It’s a reminder to embrace, remain open, stay vulnerable, and be willing to see life through another set of lenses. We are complex beings, fearfully and wonderfully designed, made up of integrated systems that function best together, despite our differences. 

Choose joy * Illuminate * Truth * Flourish * Relentless * Aloha * Reveal * Restore * Pivot * B/&