Sunday, January 16, 2011


For this upcoming year, I wanted to organize my new year's resolutions in a positive and encouraging way instead of a listless list of don't this, don't that and less of this, less of that. 

My great friend at school, Beth, told me about this scrapbooker, Ali Edwards, that chooses one word a year to encompass her goals and dreams for the upcoming year. She calls this program, One Little Word. Here is a beautiful composition of her readers' word selections.

I really like this idea of choosing one meaningful word to weave my hopes and aspirations into, in a way that would be encouraging and inspiring instead of intimidating or shameful. So last week, I began my extensive word search for just the perfect word that would simply and intricately illuminate my ambitions. I'm not sure how many people know this about me, but I am an extreme perfectionist about things that are important to me; I may not notice dishes piling up in the sink, but I will spend hours organizing my classroom and writing emails(or blog posts) to make sure that it's exactly right. So finding this one meaningful and perfect word was definitely a challenge!

One day on my way to work, I was listening to some TED talks, and found one talk that seemed to reach out and vibrate inside of me, like when you know something is meant for you.

I definitely won't be able to accurately articulate how beautiful her talk is, so just watch to it! What stood out to me is that she speaks about having courage and compassion to connect. She describes, "Shame is the fear of disconnection." Isn't that so true!? Fearing vulnerability is such a natural and ingrained fear. It's something we are programmed with. That's why it's so important to be aware of that tendency and move towards that uncomfortable place to gain that connection.

There it was; my perfect word just revealed itself to me:connection. 

After obsessively researching all things Brene Brown, I found that Ali Edwards(the one little word scrapbooker) reviewed her book. Connection

"When you live your life with an appreciation of coincidences and their meanings, you connect with the underlying field of infinite possibilities."

a. The act of connecting.
b. The state of being connected.
2. One that connects; a link.
3. An association or relationship.
4. The logical or intelligible ordering of words or ideas; coherence.
5. Reference or relation to something else; context.
6. A person, especially one of influence or importance, with whom one is associated, as by kinship or common interests.
7. A conveyance or scheduled run providing continuing service between means of transportation.
8. A physical link, such as by wire or fiber-optic cable, between two or more points in a telecommunications system.
9. A means or channel of communication.

I've always been really inspired to find connections inside and around me. For me, it feels like the world is a riddle or a labyrinth for me to uncover. 

For me connection is cultivating the courage and compassion to vulnerably connect to myself, to others, and to my environment.
  • I want to connect to myself and nurture my passions and inspirations.
  • I want to connect to my family and friends; to not be ashamed to be open and vulnerable with others.
  • I want to make connections in my environment; to open my eyes to the awe and wonder and magic that occurs everywhere, everyday.
  • I want to connect to my students and facilitate life-long meaningful connections for them, as well as learn from those happy faces to be vulnerable, inspired, hopeful, free. 
One of my goals, is to journal about my connections as well as print photographs to accompany my writings. Here are a few of my photos that symbolize connection for me.





To be whole, let yourself break. To be straight, let yourself bend. To be full, let yourself be empty. To be new, let yourself wear out. To have everything, give everything up.

What would your one little word be?


Julie geiger said...

This is really inspiring Therese! Perfect word choice and I love where you went with it and really pulled it into a word for your life. Perfect, amazing post!

Beth said...

I LOVE your word! And, thanks for the connection to my blog! I look forward to the connections we make as we walk (my word) together! ;-)

Catherine said...

Hi Therese! ANOTHER connection... I am currently *obsessed* with the work of Brene Brown!!!! One of our friends, a man named Tim, sent us a link to her Houston TED talk and Ryan and I were immediately SO inspired. Ryan surprised me with her book for Christmas and I am almost through what I am sure will be my first of MANY times reading it. I feel like her words are my current companion day in and day out and I love how it is shaping so many moments to be better. Love your inspiration for the new year... :) Thanks for sharing! xoxo

Phyl said...

Oh, I need to put some good thought into this before I pick a word. While you are making connections, perhaps I need to "release"? I need to let things go when I can't change them, need to let go of my child, about to graduate from college and face the real word. But no, that word isn't quite it - I'll keep thinking.

In the meantime - I was wondering if you could tell me (referring to your post on my blog) where you saw a show on Ray Johnson, as I definitely want to look it up. I'm totally taken by him and his work. Thanks!

therese english perdue said...

Phyl, I LOVE the idea of 'release' with everything you wrote about. Keep thinking of your ideas and maybe a more precise word will pop up! Keep me posted!

That Ray Johnson show was on the Bio Channel. It was called Unexplained Superstitions. It was a few different stories all based on the superstition of Friday the 13th.

I so love the CONNECTION that we are both interested in the same artist at the same time!!! :)

Art Project Girl said...

Great word! I was just talking to my husband about connections and how it has gotten so much easier to see each child and connecting now that I have been teaching a few years. When I first started I remember there just being SO MUCH. So many kids, so many supplies, so many ideas, so many problems. I had to put up a guard almost as defense against the crazy situations I was in everyday. I couldn't see the parts that made up the whole. Now that I feel like I can connect a little more then before my New Year's word will be ENJOY. I love to work and I need to stop and enjoy during classes and at home. Working is fun but I need to stop and really learn to enjoy the fruits of the labor. Literally:)))


Hi Therese - I don't know about MY word but I connected with what you said: "I am an extreme perfectionist about things that are important to me; I may not notice dishes piling up in the sink, but I will spend hours organizing my classroom and writing emails(or blog posts) to make sure that it's exactly right". I have always been exactly the same but never been able to sum it up. Also LOVE your photos.

Elise said...

I read this again and it's so awesome!!!! your words for your word are so beautifully written!!! I did NOT out-do you crazy sister! yours incorporated so many ideas and such creativity!!! awesome work!

jennifervioletlynn said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful post, I am a little behind and trying to catch up but really love your words and pictures. I read Ali's blog a while back and thought about doing this but now I am sure I will have to pick out my own special word as well. Thank you. Love you.

Gabriela said...

this is a great post, thanks for sharing your experience.