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My word for 2021 and 2022

For many years I have had a ritual around the new year of choosing a word for the year ahead. A word that would guide and inspire me, and in doing so set an intention for what I wanted to create, call in or embody. Even if it wasn't always top of mind, looking back on them now (see below!) I see they've served me well and been part of my evolving story.

In 2021 my word took literally no effort! It just came into my mind as I made my bed one Tuesday morning. Out of the clear blue sky came this word that had no context and no explanation. But it felt like an invitation.

A couple of hours later I realised it was MY WORD! My word for 2021! A ‘fuzzy beacon’ for my intentions, decisions and actions this year. As I researched and explored and sat with it some more, I realised there was a rich seam of goodness in this word that had presented itself 

As an archetype, the Sherpa is one who has climbed the (metaphorical) mountain and comes back to help and teach others how to do it. They are a masterful combination of expertise and humility. They are calm guides in the extremes.

As an ethnic group they respect and live in harmony with the natural world. They honour the earth, her power and sovereignty, and the elements. In particular, the mountains are sacred – they are the home of their gods. They live a simple life, yet one that is deep in tradition, family and community, and underpinned by a sense of freedom. They are resilient and adaptable.

As Buddhists (primarily) they are spiritually rich. They navigate their daily lives through rituals, practices and beliefs that connect them to the land, their ancestral traditions, all beings and the spiritual realms and draw on philosophies of animism, shamanism and mysticism.

And so was born The Year of the Sherpa

But 2021 turned out to be a bit of a year (for us all). I wasn't as committed in my spiritual practices and self care as I should have been. I wasn't as focused on embodying the Sherpa as I might have been. I had trouble noticing where it had been present in my life.

And now as 2022 has progressed, a new word for the new year has not emerged - which I've come to believe is because I'm not yet done with Sherpa. It needs more time to brew and marinade. And so this is ...

The Year of the Sherpa 2.0


In ‘Sherpa’ and all it embodies I can see my fulfilment factors – Movement, Stillness, Wonder – playing out. At the same time, it introduces an intent to work hard this year – in my job and my business, at relationships, at the vision I have for my future. Like climbing a mountain, each step counts in service of the summit; and it’s an alchemy of self-belief and effort that gets you there, especially when those steps are hard.

There is a link between the Sherpas’ Tibetan and Himalayan homeland and their Buddhist traditions, and my Reiki lineage, yoga philosophy and practice, and my personal beliefs, values and spirituality. This year I will continue to deepen my knowledge, experience and practice of all of this, coming more fully into myself and my calling to share it all with others through my business and life. Learning more about the Sherpa people may be a way to connect all these dots.

Guided by the 'Sherpa' I will:

Cultivate clearer conviction in myself, my skills and knowledge; and put more faith in them

Be content in myself yet continuing the work of growth, learning and service

Stand up for what is right and for what I believe

Be at peace in this and every moment.


Principles: what my handrails will be

Balance – put in the effort then recharge

Earth – connect to and be led by the natural world

Mindfulness – take pleasure in the simple things and small moments of joy.

Patterns: how I will show up

Commit to routines, structure and discipline – don’t make excuses!

Create and work from my heart, experience and expertise – don’t overthink it!

Check in regularly with my body, mind, spirit and priorities – don’t force it!

Projects: what I will do

Share the principles and practices of Reiki and yoga with more people

Read (and finish!) books that deepen and expand my spiritual experience

Find new ways to infuse earth, fire, air and water in my life

Make choices that mean I live lightly, simply and easefully

Connect with my family, friends and community more often and meaningfully

Retreat in the mountains at least once

Envision my dream home, garden, work space and retreat centre.

Looking back

2021: Sherpa

2020: Alchemist

2019: Love

2018: Vitality

2017: Nurture Expansion

2016: Light

Curious? Feeling the call to find your own word?

If you're ready for some self-reflection, deep thinking and a little magic - and the idea of finding your own guiding word appeals to you - consider signing up for Dr Jason Fox's "Choose One Word: A Ritual of Becoming". The online program/quest offers a series of provocations to spark curiosity, inspiration and exploration with the aim of meaning-making and purpose-finding ... and finding your word amongst it al! Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link.

If/when you sign up, get in touch so we can catch up as you meander through and process the content (it can be a little overwhelming, so I'd love to help!) or once you find that word (and we can revel in our words together!) I'll even shout you a coffee!

Word: About
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