2017 was a hard year. Political turmoil, worldwide terrorism, natural disasters, and so much more. Many of my friends started the year in a state of panic. So much to do, so much to undo. They took to the streets to protest and rally, and to the phones to call their senators and congressmen. They joined or formed political organizations and recommitted to causes they value. They used their art to express their worry, fear, outrage, and confusion.

But as the year came to a close, something happened. Many of the people I know who care deeply about this planet and its inhabitants finally stopped to breathe. They began to focus. “I can’t do it all,” they admitted. “I need to figure out where I can best serve.” And they started to dig deeper into the things that mattered most to each of them.

This year, more than ever, I’ve seen people turning to words to help them identify what they stand for. They are asking, “What do you resolve to do this year? What will be your guiding word? What is your motto for 2018 (or mission statement or manifesto)?” We are looking for our purpose, and looking to state our intentions out loud.

I have not lately been one for New Year’s resolutions, and have never before adopted a motto, but I am this year. My motto for 2018 is “Be Bigger.” It was “think bigger,” and then my guides informed me that “thinking bigger” is not what it’s about for me. I’m already too much in my head. In the past, I’ve been driven by a nagging voice whispering always in my ear, “Figure it out.” This year, they said to tune out that voice and focus on being bigger so I can feel safe to stand in my power.

So that’s my goal. And in order to do that, I need to reduce stress and get quiet. And in order to do that, I need to focus only on the work that really needs to be done.

There are plenty of bad people in this world doing bad things. There always have been, and there always will be. But the good people are rising up and challenging them. They are using words as their weapons, and finding the courage to speak up, speak out, and speak for. It’s time for us all to “be bigger,” to find the power that resides in each of us and the courage to express it with our words, our actions, and our art.

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Also published on Medium.