It’s been a very eventful year, 2016. You’d agree, especially if you’ve followed the news and/or been on social media these last 12 months. I came away from the year with plenty of lessons under my belt, some of which I blogged about under my 10 lessons from 2016.

The Word of the year concept was one I used in 2015, to set the tone for the year ahead. It’s not a goal or a resolution, as such. Think of it more as a way to attract the emotion evoked by that word.

So, my word of the year for 2017 is going to be:


Why, you ask? It’s pretty simple. It came to me one day in December when I was feeling overwhelmed by the many things happening in my life. In one of those frenzied moments, I sat down, put my hands together and wished out loud, ‘Peace. Someone give me peace.’ That’s when it happened.

Peace will be my core focus for all of 2017 and if done consciously, will extend beyond that too. Here are three ways I’m trying to cultivate peace in my life.

Peace as a writer/blogger

You probably know, if you’ve read my blog, that I steer clear of most contentious topics. Broadly, these apply to politics, the economy and even religious beliefs. It was a self-imposed rule of mine and I wound up breaking that rule not once or twice, but probably four times. And the backlash was visible. It resulted in more people reading the blog, although that wasn’t the goal, really. I just had all this pent-up angst and anger and I threw it out on the site because I considered it my safe haven. Ironic then that I felt more upset and defeated by the responses than safe or peaceful.

This break from blogging that I took in December 2016 has helped put a lot of things into perspective. I’ve finally found a pace and level of comfort that makes me glad. I know what I need to write about and how to do it without compromising on my peace of mind. I may still tangentially touch on topics that affect me, but I’ll try to focus more on the writing process rather than the response to it.

I’ll also aim to generate positive and fruitful relationships with bloggers old and new, so we can progress together on this journey. In cooperation we find our greatest strengths.

That is my path to peace as a blogger and writer.

Peace as a parent

As this post goes out to each of you to read, it is with a quiet sense of joy that I share this next bit: I’ve officially gone 485 days without yelling at my daughter. Now, this took effort but more than that, it took a conscious shift in perspective as a parent.

I’m an advocate of positive parenting, that which allows the child flexibility to explore her dreams while listening to the guidance and counsel we can give her as parents. One thing I learnt particularly through this non-yelling phase was learning to relinquish the idea of control and step into the shoes of empathy. We’ll get into more detail on how this happened, on my parenting blog soon.

Peace as a social media user

This is probably the most important lesson of all that came from peace. Social media is a wonderful tool, if we allow it to exist just as a tool instead of letting it play havoc with our emotions.

A comment I’d left on a status triggered a rather unexpected response and I was taken aback by the anger that followed. I shouldn’t really be surprised since social media is the perfect place to find a whole lot of misplaced aggression. While I was initially upset (very very upset), I took the time to let this be a lesson. I waited for the hurt to dissipate and let myself see the situation from another perspective: This had happened for a reason.

I was probably spending more time on social media than was good for me, worrying about the number of people I’d managed to upset or concerned about the lack of understanding. When I put all of this into a bubble and viewed it through the lens of peace, something beautiful happened. I  let go.

Much like releasing a burning hot piece of coal from my fingers, I watched as the anger evaporated and peace took its place. With over a 1000 friends on Facebook and 3000 followers on Twitter, it is practically impossible to stay in touch with or be on the same page as every single person. Imagine having to explain yourself to that many people. You’d be at it for the better part of 5 years!

Instead, if I were to think carefully before saying anything at all on social media, I’d have a lot less explaining to do and I’d earn the biggest prize of all: peace of mind. Remember that all our explanations and arguments on social media will not effectively change the other person’s point of view. More importantly, it’s not right to expect that to happen.

You know that saying, ‘Let’s agree to disagree’. Try putting it into practice and actually meaning it when you say it. Your relationship with social media will undergo a sea change for the better.


Peace is a relatively easy state of mind to cultivate if you are ready for it. My Guru’s five-fold principle focuses on Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence. The beauty of this approach is the minute you cultivate one principle, the other four naturally follow.

I realised that the only person who could actually make any of this happen was me. I cannot control my circumstances, but I can control how I respond to them.

Since resolutions and goals set on the first of January rarely work out, I figured out a way to help this happen. I started cultivating it in mid-December, thereby ensuring that I wasn’t waiting for a date on a calendar to begin a new practice.

And guess what: It’s working like a charm.

43 thoughts on “2017: A wish and a word

  1. May you get all the peace in every phase required 🙂 Do concentrate more on the writing process for that’s what makes this space so special 🙂 There are tons, I am sure, who will always support your writing 🙂 Cheers. Happy peaceful 2017 🙂 Keep writing!

  2. Such a sane choice. After all, all we hanker after is peace. It doesn’t matter how much you achieve in life if you’re not at peace with yourself. May 2017 bring all that you wish for, Shai. All the very best!

  3. Thank you so much, ME! I think it will all add up- our tiny gestures of peace will help build a better, kinder and sweeter world. I am sure of it. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead too.

  4. That sounds wonderful, your realisation about FB as well as your wor and attitude for the year. I am glad that it happened the way it did instead of something you forced yourself to do. Trust me. It took me the better part of two years before I found a level of comfort with social media and my equation with it, independent of what other people think of me. Hence the word ‘peace’ has come at the right time. Today, I can put up an update and quite literally not worry about the possible responses and reactions to it at all. I’m content where I am and hope to sustain it 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful 2017, Shilpa 🙂

  5. Zen Godmother chooses ‘Peace’. Surprising? 😛

    I’m so proud of you for being what you are. May God bless you with all the peace you deserve my dear Shy.

    Wishing you a very happy new year and may all that you want come your way.

    Lots of love!

  6. Peace. If only even more people would make that their word for the new year. Only a wish- its lovely and I love how you want to use it. We can all of us do something more in our everyday life —- best of luck and all the best for 2017 to you and you family dear Shailaja:-)

  7. Peace is good choice as the word of the year. When there is peace everything else follows in tandem for good because a peaceful mind has the ability to see things from different perspectives. You said it right, it is not us but the word which chooses us and I am sure you will attain everything you have wished for in 2017 and will continue to inspire us. More than a year of no yelling is quite an achievement. Though I have built enough self-control over the last 2 years not to raise my hand on D in any circumstance but yelling is something I have to work upon next. I will have to dig out your blog for the related posts and start practicing.

  8. Peace, the moment I hear this word, I can see your smiling, Zen face 🙂 I wish you a peaceful and abundant 2017. Hugs to you for not yelling at your daughter. I’ve successfully completed 1095 yell-free days and the entire experience is blissful. It was challenging, but I was determined to do it and still continue to follow it.
    Happy New Year 2017. May this year shower you with abundant blessings

  9. Lovely Shailaja. Peace surely should be the mantra of the day. I don’t really have a word of the year .. but did ponder over it sometime back. Something similar to your word… For me it’s kindness. Towards the people around me.. towards myself and to the world I live in…

  10. Wishing you peace in 2017. May your actions and the actions of others all be done with peace and love. I believe that is the only way to bring about change and peace in the world. Great word Shailaja.

  11. This needs to be the word for everyone, I feel. God knows, I need it. 2016 has been a brutal reminder of how I shouldn’t let people I know via my blogs or social media affect me so much. One or two actually took my politeness as a weakness and in a way caused me some anxiety but I have decided not to be affected by them. So, peace could be the word for me too. However, I feel prioritise is my word because I think I’m losing focus trying to juggle a lot of things and that is what I need to work on.
    I missed your blogs in December. So please don’t take any more breaks 🙂
    Happy New Year.
    Let’s blog, write and be happy this year 🙂

  12. Peace. is definitely something that most of us are yearning for today. You echo my thoughts, Shailaja. Opinions and choices are no more respected. Instead mockery is what is preferred. Hope together we can bring peace into many lives. Beginning with our words. Stay blessed.

  13. Peace is a word that I already associate with you so I know that you are going to embrace it and more <3. In my case, I have a few words in mind but I am tending towards "focus" as I feel I've been lacking that on a few occasions lately.
    All my best wishes for 2017 and beyond my dear dear friend, keep on rocking.

  14. That’s a great word and goal for the year. Good knows we all and the entire world can do with more peace. Being mindful will help us stay more calm and in control for sure. Personally l feel as long as we are connected with social media these ups and downs will continue to be a part of our lives. Hopefully we will equip ourselves better to deal with the stresses and let them go.

  15. We can all do with more peace. 2016 was a year I wasn’t proud of the way I behaved on social media. I broke way too many of my own rules and while they felt good at the time, I felt miserable afterwards. Nothing is worth that. I now restrict my discussions on subjects of a sensitive nature, to my coffee table meetings and home visits with friends offline. I love the visual and verbal cues that let me determine how passionate a person is or when he/she is joking- something woefully absent on social media. Wishing you a peaceful 2017, Vishal.

  16. I’m aware that this is going to be a challenge to keep up but then I love challenges 🙂 They push me to better my own best. It’s how I handled the yelling less factor of my relationship. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Parul 🙂

  17. Thank you Vishal. Wishing you a happy new year too 🙂 I don’t really blame social media, as I said. It’s a tool. How people use it is really up to them. Thank you for the kind words as always.

  18. I like the idea of being a peaceful blogger. Honestly, I cannot claim to have avoided posting about controversial topics (because I’m clueless about them until after they have happened and gone away in the dust). But as bloggers it’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t add unnecessary fuel to the fire, unless we know all the facts firsthand. Since that is rarely the case, we are better off posting our creative work with positive vibes.
    Peace as a parent, that I wouldn’t know much about. But I’m sure the little one is and will benefit from this attitude of yours 🙂
    Peace on social media, don’t get me started on that. Just take care of yourself first, that’s all that matters.

    Wishing you a happy and peaceful 2017, Shailaja ❤

  19. A very Happy New Year to you Shailaja 🙂
    Loved your word for the year and most importantly the many areas you intend to implement it on.
    Working towards creating a peaceful world is definitely a beautiful goal in the times when we, ourselves are the biggest cause of all the chaos in our lives.
    Here’s wishing peace in plenty in your life all year through and beyond.

  20. What a wonderful word for the year! Peace is what the world needs right now too. Good luck and wishing you a wonderful 2017

  21. Some days ago, I sat myself down to do some reflecting and came up with a few things about myself that pretty much astounded me. I won’t go into the details, but I came to a conclusion: I was wasting way too much time on FB and needed to cut it down, as well as think about the kind of image I had created of myself for people who hardly know me. As a result, I simply snapped ties with FB, well almost. It’s been a week now that I have stopped visiting Fb, sharing quotes or ideas that don’t belong to me and spending endless minutes surfing or scrolling on and on. Instead I came up with the idea that I need to use social media as a tool (as you have written here) for sharing writing that originates from me, so that people get a clearer picture of the kind of person I am (if they are interested in knowing me, that is!). And, believe me, it feels great! I feel stress free and have learnt to use my time much more intelligently. I wonder why I didn’t come up with this earlier! I am glad I did not wait for a particular day to begin afresh. So, this year, my word, (or my attitude) is going to be: be true, be real, and refrain from trying to impress anybody but myself. And, make better use of my time and abilities. I know I will stick to this one because I have been feeling so good! Now I know why you go off Fb, in search of some Zen. I should have followed you way back! 🙂 <3
    Wish you a very happy happy new year, dearie!

  22. ‘Peace’ is the word we all must adopt for 2017, 2018, ’19 and ’20. Glad to hear that you have embraced it even more in your relation with Gy.

    I can’t agree enough with your perspective on social media. 2016 was a roller coaster year. I have blown off steam, and been castrated on a private group for a well-meaning comment about special needs. Maybe I overestimated myself.

    My goal for 2017, apart from professional ones, is to reignite the peace within.

  23. A great pick for the year. I loved how you explained ‘peace’ in all parts of your life that are important. I wish that you are able to achieve all that you have set out for. Peace with self is most important and knowing you I have no doubts that you will be able to sail through happily.
    Happy new year, Shailaja. Wishing you the best.

  24. Happy New Year Shailaja. Best wishes for the new season. I guess, the dark side of social media is the stupid, misplace hatred of hiding behind a veil to show how strong we are. Keep shining.

  25. I actually love the word ‘engage’! It’s perfect for when you want to make every interaction of yours meaningful and filled with purpose. Think about it: Engage with family, friends, social media, work, hobbies with mindful energy and what do you get in the end? Peace. See, you’ve found your way back to my word as well. Have a wonderful new year, Maliny!

  26. When I read your post, I felt even my word for 2017 ought to be peace. I am in dire need of it somedays. But I have fixed another word for 2017, which is ‘engage’, almost contrary to your resolutions, though the aim is to maintain productive engagements with myself and with my friends and colleagues. I love solitude, but at times, I feel it is impossible for me to move forward being alone. I mean, given the circumstance, I would, but otherwise, I certainly enjoy sharing productive conversations and moments with people around me. Have a happy new year too! 🙂

  27. Yes exactly. We must always speak up when we feel the need to do so. But once uttered, we must not spend too much time in proving our point. Social media is no place for debates, I’ve found. Happy New year to you too, Roshni 🙂

  28. Right? The last year was a bit unsettling, especially towards the end. Yes, peace as a parent is paramount, of course 🙂 Happy new year to you, dear Tulika 🙂

  29. Happy new year, Shailaja! I guess some things are worth fighting for but no point in clashing against people who don’t care!

  30. Such a perfect choice for the new year after the hullabaloo of this last one. Peace is something I’d wish for too – but more as a parent. As a blogger I’d rather look forward to some action :-). A very happy new year to you Shailaja and to your family too.

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