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A Struggle with Words: How Mindfulness Maneuvered Its Way to the Top

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Mindfulness was word number four on my list. I had demoted it from one to two, then to three and finally four. After weeks of thinking about my words, writing them down in bright colors, both in script and print, and trying them on as if they were cloaks and scarves, I scribbled magical, fortify, and deliberate onto a piece of yellow paper.

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My word for 2016 is mindfulness. I spent the first two weeks in December deep in thought about which word to choose.


Actually, let me back up. I didn’t want to choose the word mindfulness, if I’m going to be completely honest. I wanted a more sparkly word, like magical.

Mindfulness was word number four on my list. I had demoted it from one to two, then to three and finally four. After weeks of thinking about my words, writing them down in bright colors, both in script and print, and trying them on as if they were cloaks and scarves, I scribbled magical, fortify, and deliberate onto a piece of yellow paper. I marched out to the living room and proclaimed to my husband: Yay! My focus words for the New Year had been selected.

As the end of December approached, my intuition continued to speak loudly. My conscious, too. This was a double whammy!

My intuition, in my gut, was telling me that perhaps I should backtrack and choose mindfulness as my word for the year. My conscious was throwing thoughts at me in every direction, which sounded like this:

  • Magical is easy, isn’t it, Shannon? It’s a word that you can define on your own terms. 
  • Fortify? You are pretty good at fortifying things—such as your relationships and your business and your marriage. Another easy choice, hmmm?
  • Deliberate…now that’s a pretty good one. But, you do make deliberate choices 99% of the time. So why would you pick a word that you already have a strong relationship with?

These thoughts came like ping-pong balls bouncing off the gray matter of my brain. I tried to swat them away. I tried to halt the ricocheting. I spent time justifying why these words were the right words for me in 2016—and that’s when I knew they weren’t the right words at all.

I knew that my conscience and my intuition were both right: I needed to pick a word that would help me grow this year, as a human and spiritual being. I needed a word that required me to be mindful of it and work towards achieving it. I needed to NOT take the easy way out.

Racing back to my office, I found the yellow piece of paper, crumpled it up, and threw it away. I reached into my drawer, grabbed a pink sticky note, and wrote my word for 2016: mindfulness.

2016 Mindfulness

 Mindfulness is the act of being conscious and aware in every single action. When we practice mindfulness, we remain present. We are not worried about past decisions or things that must get done in the future. And…because we remain present and without worry, happiness and peace prevail.

I don’t know about you, but I want an abundance of happiness and peace in my life! I want to be alive in each moment—and learn how to slow my thoughts down so I can enjoy each moment to its fullest extent.

It turns out that the word I was avoiding is the exact word I need the most in 2016. It’s going to take some work, because acting mindfully is a practice. But, I’m up for the challenge!

Did you choose a word to guide you in 2016? If so, I’d love to hear about the process you used and the word you decided upon!

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I realize that I need to slow down–multi-tasking doesn’t really work long-term!

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I love that I have learned to be reflective and make changes based on what I find within.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

I am currently in India volunteering at a Leprosy Colony. It is life-changing!

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

My mind races at a million miles a minute. It makes me scattered at times.  This is why my word is mindfulness!

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my…intentional life.

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About the author

M. Shannon Hernandez

M. Shannon Hernandez

M. Shannon Hernandez is the founder of The Writing Whisperer, and her mission is to help business owners and authors become thought leaders, through the use of strategic content, so they can positively impact more people. The Writing Whisperer was named one of Top 100 Websites for Writers by The Write Life in both 2014 and 2015. Shannon continues to inspire others as a content strategist and copywriter through her blog, guest blogs, and podcast appearances, and she has been featured on CBS Radio, Reinvention Radio, The Huffington Post, The Write Life, and Melinda Emerson’s Small Biz Lady. She travels the nation and speaks regularly at conferences, association meetings, and networking events.

Shannon’s memoir, Breaking the Silence, chronicles her exit out of public education, after 15 years. Shannon is currently working on her second book, where she is exploring what it means to live courageously and how to create a life you LOVE. Throughout her travels, volunteer work, and everyday experiences, she will face personal fears, examine the feelings associated with those fears, and explore her role in society, as well as what she learns about humanity along the way.
Website: http://mshannonhernandez.com/
Website: http://www.thewritingwhisperer.com/