First edition originally published March 18, 2014
One night at the beginning of Restorative Yoga class, the instructor suggested we select a word to mentally repeat on our inhale, and another for our exhale. I chose the words “Allow…release. Allow… release.”
Some time ago, my husband Jimmy Williams told me about an app that was patterned after the work of street artist Shepard Fairey. Perhaps you saw Fairey in the 2010 fantastic documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, or have seen his graphic, black and white image of Andre the Giant’s face with the word “Obey” underneath in all capital letters on a red field, but you definitely know his iconic Hope poster that the artist created for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. This work became the springboard for the HOPE Poster Photo Filter app,1 which features several options for changing the style of your image, and the opportunity for you to input your own word in lieu of “hope” or “obey”.
Hearing about this app made me think – what would my word be? What one word would I select to sum up my true self, my personality, my existence?
For someone so verbal, it seemed an important, daunting task – almost like a New Year’s Resolution that had to be condensed into one word. I savored several contenders like one amuse bouche after another.
During my contemplation, I thought of a scene from Eat, Pray, Love. While in Rome, Liz Gilbert had a conversation with her friends. They told Liz that each person and city has a representational word (though I personally did not agree with the word they selected for London!).2 At first, Liz can only think of defining herself as “writer”, a word vetoed by her friends as being her profession rather than who she is. 3
What word would you select? How would you sum up your individuality and inner self?
At last, I decided on a word that I felt could mean many things, and could be applied to various areas of my life, though on the surface, it may seem just a reflection of my career. I chose…
All the best, and Namaste,
1 The HOPE Poster Photo Filter app, 2010, copyright 3DTOPO Inc., is available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad.
2 “Stuffy” was their word for London, which didn’t reflect my experience there. I haven’t yet been to Paris or Rome, but so far, London is my favorite major city in the world.
3 Liz ultimately decides that her word is an Italian one: Attraversiamo, meaning “Let’s cross over.”