July 15, 2023
This is my first summer in the city in a long time, and much to my surprise, I’m not missing the beach or the ocean. A friend called to tell me she was at the beach with her feet in the ocean, and I was content, understanding that I no longer had an interest in being there!
The Word of the Day Practice has gotten me in touch with a part of myself that is very sure about what happiness feels like. It’s different than what I have come to believe would make me happy. The beach is a perfect example. For years, I have summered on Fire Island, walking the beach every day, swimming, biking, cooking elaborate meals, and hosting friends and family. I was the domesticated female in a partnered relationship, looking after a man who frankly wasn’t pulling his weight.
It wasn’t that I was fooling myself and pretending to be happy; it was more that I didn’t realize how hopeless I had become! Hopeless in spite of an outwardly luxurious life of doing what I wanted, writing books, and living in paradise. The truth was that I was unhappy but had no idea how to make things better. I was like an airplane circling a runway, waiting to land but never arriving. I was an outsider looking in on a life that someone else was living, doing things on my partner’s terms, believing I was compromising, not realizing that it was surrender, not collaboration. For example, I still feel sick when I realize that for all of those years, I never swam when I wanted to, but always late in the day because he preferred it. Yuck!
Once I began the practice of creating a Word of the Day cluster before I got out of bed every morning, everything changed! I found myself frequently leaving the Island and returning to the city to dance the Tango in Central Park or down by the Christopher Street Pier. I went to a museum and saw a free concert in Central Park. My writing got better and more focused, and I enjoyed myself instead of feeling stressed and full of self-doubt. Knowing that what I wrote was good enough and not beating myself up changed my level of self-respect. I was able to confront my then-partner and be honest about what needs were not being met. I suggested a six-month deadline to see if things could improve. Sadly, they didn’t.
Six months later, to the day, I was free of an unloving man and had discovered that I myself was the person who deserved my own attention! I knew what was needed was to improve and develop a more loving relationship with myself. I set about learning how to make myself the center of my own life. Using the Word of the Day technique, I rapidly felt myself transform into a happy person. It wasn’t anything I did, but more what I stopped doing: criticizing myself, putting up with unworthy people, and agreeing to things that didn’t sit well.
With all of the time and stress I saved and avoided, I wrote the Word of The Day book, which is coming out in April 2024. I finished a novel that found an agent and is being shopped to the big houses in the publishing world, and I moved upstairs in my building to a beautiful apartment with high ceilings, sunlight, and a terrace. I turned my old apartment into a dance studio. I renewed my interest in other dances besides the Tango and now have different groups of dance friends. Most importantly, I learned that true success is about achieving a state of everyday happiness. I’m spending this summer in the city, happily in love with myself! It feels great!
I wrote this piece while listening to this fabulous album of Bossa Nova from around the world. Enjoy!
Word of the Day Webinar
Please join me in my next free Word of the Day webinar on July 26 at 7:00 pm.
The Word of the Day practice can help you have more control of your life. In this seminar, we will practice using the technique to find more reasons to experience the joy of being alive, something all writers could use more of. Join me!
Here’s to your writing success,
Professor Marilyn Horowitz