One Little Word 2014 | December Dare

Here we are at December already, can you believe it? Did you have a word this year? How did it go for you?

I have chosen a word (or a word has chosen me) every year since 2009, and have found that these words invariably invite reflection, sometimes inspire powerful change, and always add richness and depth to my inner life. I would recommend the practice to anyone.

So, as we arrive at December 1st, I'm reflecting on my daring year, and starting to think about which new word I want to bring into my life in 2015. (I'm thinking about Leap, Deeper, and Open, so far.) Stay tuned later this month as I narrow down to one and kick off the next round.

Meanwhile, I have one more dare to set for this last month of the year. Here's the story:

A friend and I were recently emailing about 2015 and how it is feeling as it approaches. She quoted Zora Neale Hurston's line, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." She added that "there are also years to simply be, to till the rich and silent soil within for no sake or ambition beyond the richness of how that feels."

This line has stuck with me, and I have been turning it over in my head ever since. Something about the imagery and the idea won't leave my mind. What would it be like to "till the rich and silent soil within?" Do I even have any rich soil to till? How would I find it? What does it mean to "have no ambition but to simply be?"

I'm not typically one to ask such questions or aspire to such things, but something about it won't leave me alone.

It is with all this in my mind that I recall that December is typically a hectic month for me, with many joys but also many chores, errands, obligations and stressors. So, perhaps that is why the notion of tilling rich and silent soil is so appealing... as an antidote to December's craziness. Perhaps it's a poor month to try it, or perhaps the best month of all....

In December, I dare myself to focus inward and discover the richness of simply being.

I'm not sure I know how to do this, and it doesn't come naturally, which makes it the perfect fodder for a monthly dare.

I'm going to consult some experts, do some reading outside of my usual genres, and try to open myself to some new ways of thinking, new states of being. I hope it will bring me some peace and quiet joy during this busy season.

Thank you to my friend Kristin for inspiring me with her beautiful and thought provoking words.

And thank you to all of you for following my daring journey this year.

Wishing you all a rich and joyful holiday season.


Because I love lists and keeping track of things, here is my running list of the dares I have set for myself this year so far:
JANUARY | In January I dared myself to let my days evolve naturally. A natural goal setter, I wanted to see if I could resist the urge to set new year's resolutions and daily/weekly goals. What would happen if I just went about my days without specific goals? (Find out what happened here.)
FEBRUARY | In February I dared myself to fight Resistance. I'd just read Pressfield's The War of Art, and his concept of Resistance resonated with me, particularly related to the writing of my book. Could I fight off Resistance? What would happen if I did? (I recapped what happened here.)
MARCH | In March I dared myself to prioritize my health. Doing so opened up a new world of clean, whole cooking, (see some examples of what I ate here) and led me to a community of bloggers and instagram posters that I continue to avidly follow.
APRIL | In April I dared myself to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge by posting a writing prompt, and a response to it, every day of the month except Sundays, for each of the 26 days of the alphabet. It was so much fun, and re-energized my writing habits. (See the prompts I created here.)
MAY | In May I dared myself to read more and to keep up with my daily writing in the range of 1000 words per day. (Read about it here.)
JUNE | In June I dared myself to truly embrace summer for the more relaxed season that it is. I wanted each day to be taken as a whole, and I resisted the urge to stake out a list of expectations. (Read about it here.) 
JULY | In July I dared myself to keep writing, despite the self doubt. It was the halfway point of the year and I brought myself back to the reason I chose the word "dare" in the first place. I wanted to write, and I was afraid. Still am, but it's not going to stop me. Read the post here.
AUGUST | In August I dared myself to embrace minimalism, starting with my closetRead the post here, and the 3 part update on how it went herehere and here.
SEPTEMBER | In September I dared myself to establish some new routines, to help me stick to the intentions I set for Fall. I came up with a daily schedule, to better make space for activities like yoga and writing. I also worked on routines related to family interactions (warm welcomes, fond farewells and a better bedtime routine.) Read the original post here
OCTOBER | In October I dared myself to reduce screen time and increase creative time. Read about it here. 
NOVEMBER | In November I dared myself to finish drafting my first novel. I was close, but needed the extra push of a dare to get to the finish line. I finished the draft on November 18th, and was inspired to write a poem about how it felt to write a book. Read the poem here, and the dare post here

MORE INFO | As a way of bringing to life my 2014 One Little Word, DARE, I have set a specific dare for myself each month. It's been a fun way to push myself in ways I might not have otherwise. The concept of One Little Word is inspired by Ali Edwards, who runs an annual workshop which I have taken in the past and highly recommend. I have been choosing a word (or letting the word choose me) since 2009. Past words were: BUOYANCY (2009), RESILIENT (2010), HOPE (2011), CURIOUS (2012), EXPAND (2013) and DARE (2014).


  1. I love the beautiful words of your friend! December is probably both the best an the most difficult month for your "dare". The quote will be on my mind too in the coming weeks...
    I am also starting to reflect on my word (which has also been "dare") and what it has meant to me. I think that it has indeed inspired some positive change both in my work and my private life.

  2. How beautiful, L. I'm moved that my words stayed with you and the way in which you turned them into a December dare. I look forward to hearing about this process, this shift from doing to being, from external to internal. I have no doubt of the extravagance of riches within you. xx

  3. And another book rec. for you, Laurel: Trying Not To Try by Edward Slingerland. I saw him at the Mind Life conference in Boston last month, he teaches at UBC, and is a wonderful speaker and writer. Am reading it right now myself. Highly recommend!