My school district does something at the beginning of each year for staff, to try to give us a common inspirational thing that in theory would carry through the year but rarely lives for more than a week or two.
This year, we were each to engrave a word on a “my intention” bracelet.
It was supposed to be our focus word for the year; we each chose our own.
This is the kind of thing that I get stuck on.
I needed to choose the perfect word. And while I had lots of ideas about what that word might be, perfection is found in a feeling—it’s not cognitive so much.
With many things to work on both at home and at work (I am a constant work in progress), I had many possibilities.
Flow. Trust. Yet.
Focus. Risk. Innovating.
Enough. Believe. Breathe. Margins.
Nurture. Connect. Nourish. Cultivate.
All fit, but none were quite perfect.
And then I read this blog post. And I loved it. And immediately I knew that my focus word is shamash—the candle in a menorah that lights the other candles.
A shamash is not part of my religion. Not part of my culture. Not part of my world in any direct way, really. And yet, it resonated.
I don’t know if I’ve heard the word before. I learned a fair amount about Judaism in and after college when I dated a few guys who were Jewish. I’ve been friends with Carla (the author of the linked post) for a while, and this post was not written this year.
It’s likely that I read it when she first published it and it just didn’t stick. This time? Resonance. Ah-ha! The feeling that I have found the perfect word to remind me what path I want to be on.
Works for me with students, with colleagues, with friends, with family, with strangers.
There’s a lot of life going on over here. My mental energy is sometimes depleted and often low. I haven’t spent a lot of energy on this yet. Working on it a little. Will continue to work on it. Will continue to figure out what I want it to look like. Hoping that with the seed planted, once the stuff that’s going on now passes, it will have space to grow and bloom.
Shamash. Be the candle that lights others.