This month, we draw a New Years practice from our Soul Matters guides. 

Catholics speak of a time in the third and fourth centuries when people would go to the desert and seek out monk-like hermits for guidance and wisdom. This tradition is referred to as “seeking a word.” These wise “desert mothers and fathers” would offer people a word or a phrase to ponder for weeks, years and even a lifetime.  

The idea behind this practice was that a simple word – when reflected upon with discipline – has the power to create possibilities in us and in the world. These words weren’t instructions as much as invitations to open oneself in new ways. As one write puts it, they are about deepening and unfolding, rather than fixing and improving. 

So this New Year’s lets lean into that work of unfolding, rather than fixing. Forget about making a list of resolutions to improve yourself. Instead try out this ancient practice of picking a word that will help keep you open to new possibilities throughout the year.  

We’ll explore a set of creative doorways to seeking your word, and then offer you a chance to spend a little time with your word to get your practice started. All are welcome!