I have been considering three contenders for my word of the year for 2024. (Check it out here if you want to know more about choosing a word of the year.) I had narrowed my choices to: solitude, quietude, and stillness. As an extrovert and a caregiver, I tend to (0ver)fill my time with friends and family and helping others. It’s great fun! But, I rarely get around to spending time by myself being still or quiet. As a writer that doesn’t work well. As a person who wants to journal or meditate, that doesn’t work well either. So, with chaos all around me, I’ve been feeling I’d like to try to cultivate a little time and space for peace and some zazen. But I’ve been having trouble selecting the final choice. It seems that still and quiet suggest one another, and maybe solitude (and the Sacred Alone from my hero Susannah Conway) suggests them both. I decided Jan 1 wasn’t going to work for me this year and gave myself some grace to explore the terms more fully.
I started exploring the words. First with definitions. Then with images. Then with quotes. I’d like to share a few of the best ones I found. Please know that none of these images or quotes belong to me.
I found that, while solitude and quietude have some fans, stillness is a way of life that others have written books about. There are countless quotes that employ the word. And there are many, many visual images of what we as people think this concept looks like and feels like. I appreciate that there’s deep well to explore that comes along with this single word. There is enough content, enough material, to take the year exploring. So I have embraced this choice and chosen stillness as my woty 2024. But I wouldn’t have reached that place without exploring all three, and I think quietude and solitude will continue to be supportive concepts I return to throughout the year.
Have you chosen a word? How did you go about it? Do you feel good about your choice? (If not, you can always pick again!)