how to discover your sacred word

I recently announced Vision Paintings for the new year and offered a free worksheet for discovering your sacred word.

I'm going to publish the content of that worksheet + some extra stuff later in this post, (so if you have any trouble with that download, fear not,) but I thought it might be good to talk about this sacred word thing.

Choosing a word isn't necessary.

You can request a painting to hold the energy of your 2018 vision without a word, but choosing a word can be a point of focus. (And also, it's fun.)

What is a Sacred Word?

I imagine you could find many answers to that question, based on who you ask, but here's my opinion.

A sacred word, is a guide.

As I review the year just lived and look toward the year that I'm stepping into, I make lists and collect images and dream about experiences I would like to have, things I would like to do, feelings I hope to embrace in the new year.

I look at all aspects of my life - my work, my relationships, my physical body, my creativity - and notice what calls to me.

What wishes to be born?

What glows?

If I am a person walking down a path in the darkness, and God is the voice that leads me down the path, then my word is the lantern I carry.

My sacred word is a reminder.

Why Choose One?

As soon as I choose a word for the year, I create a Pinterest board and begin pinning images that evoke the feeling of that word.

I pin things to that board and visit it throughout the year.

Sometimes I print the images out and put them on the bulletin board behind my desk.

Often, I incorporate the word into artwork.

If I'm out shopping and I see a candle or a mug or a stone with my word on it, I may buy it (let's be honest, I definitely buy it) and bring it home and use it or place on one of my altars.

Most importantly, as opportunities, challenges, and choices present themselves, I think of my word.

I remember what it is I want and make my choice accordingly.

At the end of the year, I look back over the journey of my word and see how my holding it at the center of things helped shape my experiences.

A sacred word is a like a mantra.

And it can help bring you instantly back into clarity when things get confusing.


How to Discover Your Word

Usually, my word pops into my mind and I just know it, but sometimes I need a little help figuring out which word would best serve.

One method for choosing a word is simply to type out a bunch of words, cut them into slips of paper and draw one out of a bowl.

If you'd like I more examining route, here's a pathway of discovery:

Reflect on these questions in your journal, so you have plenty of space to write.

Let the answers flow from your heart

  • What worked for you last year?
  • What was the highlight of your year?
  • What didn’t work last year?
  • What was the low point of your year?
  • What are you ready to let go of?
  • What are you inviting in?
  • What’s one new thing you’d like to experience this year?
  • What is the secret wish you’ve never told anyone?
  • How do you want your life to look?
  • How do you want your life to feel?
  • Describe your perfect day.
  • How do you want to celebrate your birthday this year?
  • Name five things you’re grateful for right now.
  • What colors are you drawn to right now?
  • If you could stand up right now and do anything in the world, what would it be?
  • What is your intuition speaking to you?

Look back over your answers.

What stands out?

As you read, circle or highlight the words that speak to you.

Create a list of these words, then go through it again circling and highlighting the words that stand out, narrowing down the list until you discover your word.

It’s important that the word you choose feels good to you. That is truly the most important thing.

If you still need some help identifying a word,

here's a list to consider


































As you read the list, notice what happens in your body.

What does it tell you?

Still not sure?

Ask God to Choose Your Word

Make your request then pay close attention.

What words seem to be repeating themselves in your awareness? Notice billboards and song lyrics and conversations with friends.

What's Your Sacred Word?

How did this process work for you?

Any surprises?

I realize your sacred word may feel super private to you, but if you're willing to share, I'd love to know what word came forward for you.

What are you inviting in to your 2018?