What Makes It "Good?"
This is a Test!

ROOT: What's Left?


"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am."
              --- Sylvia Plath


At this point in the year, I start looking back to the beginning . . . to make sure I'm on track to do what I set out to do with my year (or to let things just go, because things change y'know?). It's always interesting to review my personal goals and intentions to see how . . . on track I was back in January.

This month, I focused on the beginnings of the "journey" with my word for the year . . . root.

When I chose this word back in January, I was feeling battered . . . after going with the flow of 2020. (Flow was my previous word.) I was feeling the need to dig down into my own roots -- to take a look at what grounds me, and to build myself (back) up for whatever might come . . . next.  I had some ideas about things I might explore as the year unfolded (little activities and "exercises" I wanted to try), and I planned to follow along with Ali Edwards' One Little Word prompts when they inspired me (because they don't always).

Overall, I've been very much on track with my "root plans" for the year, and I've enjoyed some of the unexpected side roads I've explored as well. But there are still two questions that keep popping up in my journal:

  • What grounds me?
  • I am rooted in . . . 

I have been [pick one: ruminating about, exploring, skirting-around-the-edges-of] these questions all year. But I think that, for the remainder of the year, I want to be more intentional about addressing them. I've long wanted to compose my own "personal manifesto." In fact, that's been a goal I've ignored - and let go of - for years now. But I think . . . it's time. It seems like a perfect culminating activity for my root year.

[Let's have a little sidebar conversation about manifestos here for a second. Because what IS a "manifesto" exactly? Well. . . according to our friends at Merriam-Webster, a manifesto is "a written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group." That's sounds a little . . . bigger . . . than what I want to do, which is more a setting down in writing of my personal intentions, motives, and views. Basically, I want to create a statement for myself that expresses what grounds me, what I am rooted in -- more a "This I Believe" kind of thing.]

So, anyway. I feel ready to finally tackle this. I think I'm finally . . . rooted enough. . .  to give it a try.
Or, at least, to give it a go.

And that's where I am with my word for the year, here at the end of September.
How about you? If you chose a word this year, where are you headed with it . . . in this last quarter of 2021?


If you're interested in learning more about personal manifestos, begin here with the Holstee Manifesto. I've wanted to create one for myself since first reading it, back in 2011.


And - just for fun - here are a few recent pages from my root journal.






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I look forward to reading your manifesto if you share it. I will admit that when I initially read this, the word manifesto made me think of Ted Kaczynski and his manifesto/ramblings. After reading the Holstee Manifesto, I trust that your will have very few similarities to Ted's! Good luck and I hope it's an enlightening, solidifying experience.


This is good, and just what I needed to get my reflecting on track. Manifesto is a word that usually makes me think of radicals so I also look forward to learning what it might mean as a personal statement.
I love that last quote - I don’t know what I am doing either


Two lines spoke to me.

1. You are allowed to start over. (I get some *pointed* questions sometimes about my blog and why I delete posts. It's because ..................you are allowed to start over. See? You gave me permission. LOL) I love a good "do over".

2. Things do not grow straight .......................I needed this one. When things are going a bit hay-wire, I need to remember that the line to the finish is not always straight.

Thank you! :-)


I think you're wise to go back and look over the year in September. It feels like the start of the year for many of us but, at the same time, you've actually got a few months to get things done since it's technically NOT the official start of the year. I'm very interested in the idea of a manifesto!


I don't know that I've ever really thought about writing down a manifesto (or personal statement or mission statement or whatever you want to call it), but I have noticed in the past few years that I've been doing a lot more self-reflection about what is important to me, and it seems like that might be a good place to start. So I'm very much interested to see where you go with this!


Beautiful Alex Elle quote... And I'll be curious to hear about your manifesto exploration, if you share it. It's an idea that has always appealed to me--but has also overwhelmed. I can see how incorporating it into a One Word year would help foster, I don't know...some crystallization? Sounds like a good space to be in with Root!


I love the pages you shared from your journal - the words and images go so well together! I was blown away last week to realize there were only 100 days left in 2021. It does feel like the right time to assess (to pluck :-) and perhaps start laying the groundwork for what comes next.


I had done a "personal statement" for myself about 10 years ago... I should dig it out and see if I need to "re-write" it! (and when I read manifesto... like Bonny, I had thoughts of Ted K... but I had never heard of the Holstee Manifesto... thank you for sharing the link!)

I love the reminder you give us all to do a bit of a check in. Honestly, I am ready to move on from my word and I love the inspiration you share here. And your journal pages... so lovely.


That's a worthy ambition. Did you ever listen to "This I believe" on NPR? (https://www.npr.org/series/4538138/this-i-believe) I listened to these essays (via Jay Allison) as an audiobook when I was recovering from cancer treatment. More accidentally than intentionally. What I like about them is that they are important, but not all encompassing. They are short and somehow convey the person's essence. I hope you'll share yours.


"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am." I love this!
Reading about your word is always inspiring.

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