My (Belated) Words of the Year

For the past few years, I’ve come up with a word of the year — something that encapsulated my desired focus and aspirations for the coming 12 months. I fully expected to do the same this year as well, but when January 1 rolled around, I just wasn’t feeling it.

No single word was calling to me — and the words that did keep springing into my mind (such as anger, bewilderment, disgust, and disillusionment) were hardly ones that I wanted to serve as my theme for the year! But trying to force myself to “fake it till I make it” with a positive word (such as optimism, enthusiasm, or joy) just didn’t feel authentic.

Over the next few months, however, one word did keep coming up…again and again:


And, unlike those other words, this one actually felt good. It fit.

This small but powerful word can mean a lot of things — such as non-resistance, non-interference, or letting yourself and others be who they truly are. My spiritual mentors, Abraham-Hicks, even call their workshops “The Art of Allowing” and say that this is the most important lesson for most humans to learn in this lifetime. But to me, the word was mainly a reminder that I didn’t have to judge my emotions or beat myself up for not feeling bright and chipper — I could simply allow myself to feel what I was feeling. Period.

As I let this word’s energy seep into me, I felt lighter. I breathed easier. And I actually did start to feel a bit more bright and chipper (well, at least some of the time!).

Maybe ALLOW can be my word of the year, I thought.

But something about that word felt incomplete. It felt too passive — too yin. I needed some active yang energy to balance it out!

Around that time, my wife and I started thinking of ways to shift our energy, take positive action, and “be the change we want to see in the world.” Our first step was to change the theme of our next collaborative book, which we titled Goodness Abounds: 365 True Stories of Loving Kindness. We felt that this energy was (and definitely still is!) so needed in our country and around the world. And, selfishly, we wanted to immerse ourselves in goodness, to surround ourselves with these uplifting reminders that, despite what we’ve been seeing and hearing in the news, we still live in a kind, loving, and GOOD world.

And now I see that, without even looking for it, I’ve stumbled upon my second word of the year:


Like allow, goodness means many things to many people. To me, this year, it mainly represents that active force of positivity, soulfulness, an insistence on truth (or satyagraha, as Gandhi called it), and direct action to bring more soulful truth, love, and kindness into the world.

That feels good, too.

It feels empowering to realize that my life — including my thoughts, my actions, and my emotions — isn’t determined exclusively by my environment. I don’t have to be a passive recipient of others’ energy, at the mercy of the world around me (or even my own thoughts and emotions). I can actively take steps to shift my vibration, change my focus, and maybe even bring a little more goodness and light into the world.

So this year, I’ll be focusing on the GOODNESS that is within my power to bring about (in my life and in the world around me) while I ALLOW myself to feel whatever I may feel, without judgment. And since I get to make the rules for my own life, I’ve decided that I can decide on my word of the year in mid-April — and that it will actually be two words:


And that’s just what I plan to do!

P.S. If you’d like to join me in celebrating goodness, I’d love for you to share a story in our upcoming collaborative book, Goodness Abounds: 365 True Stories of Loving Kindness, which will celebrate goodness and the many people who actively bring more of it into the world. If you’re interested in joining us, this is a perfect time because we’re offering discounts until April 30. (Please click here or visit to learn more.) Thank you for all the goodness you’re bringing into the world!

Goodness Abounds

3 thoughts on “My (Belated) Words of the Year

  1. Thank you, Dan for sharing your journey with us. I relate to your struggle to find a word for the year and I especially appreciate your choice of the word “allow.” Allowing is a key to living with inner peace, and this year has presented us with more challenges to that than any I can remember.

    My struggle has been to extend my allowing of others to the people who seem determined to destroy much of the foundation of our way of life. I am coming to a realization that I can allow them to be the catalyst for the awakening of millions of people to their own power and the urgent need for action in support of compassion and justice. As I see the massive grassroots response to the greed and cruelty of government officials, I see the goodness that is emerging as a result. I see a greater purpose unfolding in all of this – and that helps me to reconnect with the peace within.

    Thank you for being a voice for gentleness and kindness, and helping to bring about the shift to a more compassionate world.

    • Thank you, Pat. I really resonated with your words (although I feel you may be a step or two ahead of me when it comes to extending your allowing “to the people who seem determined to destroy much of the foundation of our way of life”). 😉 Like you, though, I’m trying to spend more time in gratitude for the “rockets of desire” (as Abraham calls them) being launched by these contrasts — and all the people focusing so passionately “in support of compassion and justice” and kindness, gentleness, and goodness of all kinds. So nice to know that we’re not alone in our challenges…or in our positive shifts! Keep up the good vibes — and thanks for sending some of ’em my way! 🙂

      • Dan, you are doing great in dealing with the contrast. This is a huge test for all of us.

        I want to clarify what “allowing” means to me. It does not mean agreeing with it or thinking it’s good. It just means allowing it to be what it is without letting it trigger negative emotions in me. It means believing that all things really do work together for good – if I follow my deeper wisdom and take inspired action.

        Then, from a balanced place, I can step back and see the bigger picture – in this case, the rockets of desire from thousands of people who said a unified – “Oh, no you don’t!” I see our democracy coming alive again, as millions of citizens wake up and discover that we truly do have power to take back our country from the forces of greed and cruelty.

        The transition may be difficult, but we are resilient and determined people. This is a time that calls us all to discover our purpose and take inspired action – to be a powerful force for good in the world.

        You and Jodi are a wonderful example of this – you are helping so many others to step into their own power. The ripples go out, as those whom you inspire go out and inspire others … and on and on.

        Thank you!

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