In January, I always see people discussing their word or phrase of the year, a cluster of letters that will guide them through the upcoming trials and tribulations. Something they can think about through the year, a theme, according to CGP Grey. A focal point.
I wanted to join in this tradition this year, and the word I choose is devotion.
Devotion, in how I am thinking about it this year, has three central parts.
To Devote; Devoting
The first I want to think about is the verb form: devoting yourself to a cause, a person, a way of life, a god, or a belief system. When one devotes themselves to one of these, they are reaching out and beyond themselves to form a connection with something or someone else. Whatever that thing or one is, it is something that is not yet intertwined with the being that is seeking out to be devoted to it. The act of devoting, in my thinking here at the beginning of the year, focuses on giving yourself to something else. As this year goes, I would like to think about my actions and what I am giving myself to, devoting my time and energy.
Devotions can refer to an act of prayer or private worship. For example, one’s morning devotions could be checking social media and news websites while drinking a morning drink. I want to think and consider what my devotions are throughout this year and what I’m willing to commit to. What devotions do I do throughout the day? What do these devotions give me and what do they take from me? How do my devotions affect those around me?
Devotion itself can also be religious fervor or piety. How one is dedicated to a god, belief system, or religion. This goes hand-in-hand with the verb form above, but in thinking about it this year, I want to focus specifically on my devotion to higher power – or power without me. One of the things I love about god-believing belief systems is that they place the human in humble supplication toward a being of greater power and majesty. The very act of believing in and having faith and hope that there is a higher power out there encourages and arrests someone to humility, since they, the human, while great within this world, are always less than something else. While this humility does not always play out across a belief system, it is ever so prescient when one thinks about their place in the universe and their relationship to it.