Spark Joy & Live Life Well: My Theme for 2015

Within certain online communities, it's increasingly popular to choose a single word as a touchstone for the year. But why stop at a word?

OK—a single word offers simplicity. I'm not bashing the single-word concept. In fact, I used it myself last year with the word "space."

But this year, I wanted a whole phrase.

SparkJoySpark joy and live life well—what does that even mean?

"Spark joy and live life well" are two sides of the same coin. One is external—"spark joy"—and one is internal—"live life well."

"Spark joy" is about how I show up in the world. It's about my purpose for being here.

"Live life well" is for myself. It's how I want to experience the world. It's about setting boundaries and honoring those boundaries. It's about saying yes to the things that make my heart sing and no to the things that make me want to curl up into a ball.

Together, these create a whole, give-and-take way of living. I only allow the experiences and people into my life that bring joy, and I am therefore equipped to spread that joy to others. As I spread joy to others, they in turn become helpers in my quest to live life well.

So we give, so we shall receive, right?

How to choose your own theme for 2015

If you haven't already chosen a theme or touchstone for the year, now would be a good time to do so.

(Face it, darling—you're already sitting down reading this article. May as well set aside another 10-20 minutes to lock this down.)

1. Get quiet. Give yourself some time and space that is totally free from distractions. (Or, as free as you can get.) Settle into your favorite chair with a pen and piece of paper. Take a few deep breaths and allow your mind and body to settle. Got it?

2. Allow your mind to wander. Not far, because you want it to help you refine what comes up, but let it go for a few minutes. Let your Ego step aside for a few moments and let your inner self, your soul, step up.

3. Listen for the small, still voice that whispers to you. What is it saying? What words and ideas come up? Write those down.

4. Bring your rational mind into play. Look over your words. Which ones work well together? Which ones make you feel alive? Put those together.

5. Wait for the Zap. The Zap is when you feel things falling into place. When you read over what you've written down and go, "Yeah, that's good stuff." When you feel the little tug at your heartstrings, that's it. That's your theme.

I did this a few months ago, and even though it's my theme for 2015, I've been living it since then. I'm just now fully committed to this theme.

(Mostly because I'm writing it here now.)

What next?

1. Sit down and write your own theme for 2015. It serves as a focal point for your year.

2. Live your own life well! I don't own "live life well"—it's public domain. So live YOUR life well!

A version of this post was published on The Dilettante Diaries.