One Little Word…For Now

I’ve been a member of the Slice of Life writing community for nine months now. It’s been a source of inspiration, support and validation as I work to become braver in my writing.

As time goes on, I learn more about the rituals and traditions that “slicers” have. Most recently, I learned that each New Year’s brings with it the challenge to come up with One Little Word to frame ourselves for the new year.

I didn’t know that was a thing the week most folks posted, but I promised myself to write a post with my own One Little Word. Which is…


For me, for right now, I have come to rely on the power of gathering.

Which, now that I think about it, is strange, given that the literal meaning is so very impossible right now.

But in the metaphorical sense, I have come to rely on gathering…

Thoughts. Some days, it takes everything I have to bring my attention and focus to heel. My brain slides in one direction and the other. Like right now, for instance. I feel in my bones…how I feel, which means I feel…how? I can’t name it. My thoughts slip past and that’s strange to me. I’m used to being able to spend time with my thoughts. I’m used to being able to stop and articulate what’s going on in my inner self. And lately, that’s been tricky.

Life. These past months in particular, I’ve experienced shattering and loss. For several weeks, I sat, cross-legged and dumbstruck, among the wreckage. I’m finally standing now. Tentatively. And as I look around the room, I’m witnessing all of the routines and habits and structure I’ve let fall to pieces. And seeing them reminds me of ways I’ve failed myself, or those I love most. One by one, I’m gathering those pieces. It’s still an armful, so this one is going to take a while.

Joy. Thankfully, I haven’t lost my ability to notice and name those things, big and small, that provide me with delight, that offer reasons to get out of bed each day, that fill my heart to bursting. I can’t forget to bring these things in and together.

Strength. Remember what I said about how all those pieces of my life were an armful? It’s a LOT to carry. I am indescribably grateful for the amazing humans who situate themselves near me in one way or another. It is through the care and compassion of others who help me with the heavy lifting.

Gather. I’ll always need this word, for sure, but I’m hoping that I’ll be ready for a new one before I know it.

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

15 thoughts on “One Little Word…For Now

  1. Gather is a great word for 2021. I haven’t heard of that as a word for anyone yet, and I’ve heard of LOTS of them. I love the many purposes and uses for it. Here’s to gathering together (in person) some time soon.

    1. Thank you! If my mom tells me I’m anything, it’s that I’m original. =)) And as for what other folks have written, I’ve really enjoyed reading how many different ways people go about approaching OLW. One of the things I love about this community!

  2. Gather is a great word to use as a guide into this new year. As you point out, there are do many things to gather other than the act of physically gathering with others. I am gathering thoughts for posts for the upcoming March Challenge. I am sure this word will serve you well.

    1. Thank you! Oh…and the March challenge. Now is when I try and remember that fear and excitement are part of the same coin! =))

  3. Lainie… I still haven’t officially sliced about my OLW (“awe”) here! Although I did elsewhere.

    Oh, you’ve chosen an intriguing and nurturing word. I love the idea of gathering all that you’ve mentioned, Gathering life and joy, especially. As in treasuring every precious particle of these, holding onto them like jewels.As for gathering thoughts – I’ve been noticing how unfocused I’ve become. These two weeks have been hard. I found it hard to write and I have been terribly slow with the process. I, too, have found it hard to articulate what I am taking our feeling. I think quite seriously that it is winter and we need to hibernate.

    Love your word and your structure, and always – whether you feel it or not – the uplifting energy you impart.

    1. I saw the post you did for last Thursday, so I got a sneak peek behind the story. And boy, is it a beautiful one.

      I’m glad that I can impart an uplifting tone. It’s validating to know that the truest version of myself that I hope to be is the idealist. Sometimes I worry I’m losing grip on her, but I’m glad to hear she’s still shining through. I’m also glad to know i’m not alone in any of this. =)

      1. Sorry for typos! 😡 I have a new device with a weird mind of its own. That’s supposed to read: I, too, have found it hard to articulate what I am THINKING OR FEELING – although I know you got it. You’re absolutely not alone. Your positive, “truest”nature so shines through.

      2. Ha! Funny that you had a tricky time letting a spelling error go. I’m very much the same way – although I think nothing of it when I see the same mistakes from anyone else!

  4. Love your OLW, and appreciate so much the heart and vulnerability of this post. This year has been a lot to carry–that’s a powerful image. So glad that you are a part of the #SOL community! If you can join and keep writing during these challenging times, then writing is surely in your bones.

    1. Thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed the community since last March, when I dove headfirst into the Slice of Life challenge. I love the discipline that comes with expecting myself to write. It’s also reminded me how absolutely FEARLESS my student writers are. And maybe, if my fingers are crossed, I’ll also be able to tell that I’m growing as a writer!

  5. The power of OLW is in the choice everyone makes based on their needs. You clearly know what you need at this point of your life and write beautifully how “gather” can support you. Some people keep track of their word in a journal, create pages for it, take a course and some carry the word with them, eg. engraved on a bracelet. Others choose the word and let it be. It may occasionally surface from the back of the mind or it may quietly stay hidden. I was very sceptical when I first tried an OLW. Over the years it has surprised me how much strength the words have given. I think gathering the joy might be the one that surprises you the most.

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