One Word 365: 2016 edition

Except I don’t like the “one word only” rule. I never followed it back in 2014 or 2015 so I won’t do that in 2016 either.

My phrase?

Take yourself to zero.

It’s a phrase Ghandi used to like to say. I found it in a chapter dedicated to Ghandi and this particular mantra in Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life.

But here’s the other thing–

I’m not going to explain it.

I could try, but most of the fun of this phrase is that I don’t know what it means. Again, I have some ideas.

This phrase reminds me to work toward my goals not for the end point but for the journey. It doesn’t tell me yet again to “trust the process” because let’s be honest: after the past year, I hate my process. It’s deeply mine both in a life path and in a career/writing/artistic way but that doesn’t mean I love it all the time. It’s like a family member that bugs me but that I grudgingly acknowledge shares at least 50% of my DNA, probably more, and, therefore, I can’t lock it out of the house.


I could say more, try to attach more words and stories and pictures to it, but I’m not. That’s something else I learned this fall, from Ed Catmull and all his Pixar-gained wisdom.

Mantras are dangerous.

Not on their own, but when repeated over and over again until all context is stripped away and they become a placeholder for ACTION and active thought.

I’m not going to become static and I will not let these words become just words on my wall.

I don’t know what they mean but I’m willing to take the next year focusing on them and a few projects. Instead of putting a conclusion up on the wall, I’m going to let go of the ending and my place in it until it’s there in front of me.

Speaking of which, that’s where I’m at in terms of developing my horror play with the Storefront Playwright’s Unit: tricking myself into letting go of the fact that I still don’t know the ending. Or do I?…


About austinausten88

Playwright in love with Classic films, afternoon tea, and Noel Coward. She recently graduated from Rice University. In the fall, she will be exchanging her English major undergraduate status for that of Theatre & Performance Studies graduate student.
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2 Responses to One Word 365: 2016 edition

  1. Nancy says:

    Brilliant! “The rain in Spsin falls mainly on the plain.” I will not explain, it just
    “is” or “does”. Bravo!

  2. Pingback: One Word 2018 | gladlybeyondaustinausten

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