Creating the New

Our children inspire us daily to live life to the fullest. We are called upon to find out who we can be when we move beyond the boundaries of the life and the self we have settled for in the past. But what does that really mean? How can we go about that? How can we live life to the fullest… in every moment – not just for two minutes when inspiration strikes – but as a continuous process of self-evolution and self-creation? What does that look like?

Living life to the fullest can mean different things in different moments and different scenarios. In some moments it means to become absolutely quiet and reflective, in others it means to be adventurous, venture beyond your comfort zones and explore the unknown, in again other moments, it might mean to place yourself in the shoes of another so completely that you let go of your personal bias and can really hear them, understand them and support them from where they’re at. Living is not a uniform action or a uniform verb, it entails a whole spectrum of words that we can explore, express and live from moment to moment.

On social media we are daily overrun with beautiful and insightful quotes – one-liners or paragraphs stating something that we know at our core to be true and to be valid – but what is not included is the how-to, the practical guideline or the step-by-step process to realize that truth in our own lives. On this page, we share with you the method we have used (and still use to this day) to gradually, bit by bit, day by day, moment by moment, learn to live life to the fullest by accessing and realizing our creative potential. It’s a process for sure, not something you’ll magically manifest in an instant or with a snap of the fingers – but it’ll go all the faster if you actually have the right tools to make it happen, to guide and support you to make tangible changes within yourself and so in your relationship with your partner, in your parenting, … in your life.

Before we start – now is a good time to let you know that Creating the New is usually ‘part two’ in the process of self-change. If you’re someone who likes to go about things chronologically you may first want to read ‘Letting Go of the Old’.

The tool we use to create new behaviors, expressions and habits within ourselves is Redefining and Living Words. Ask yourself: Now that I am letting go of this old pattern that does not honour me or my child, who do I want to be instead? What do I need more of? Who would I rather be? What example do I want to set for my children? These questions will prompt answers such as “I want to be more gentle” or “I need more fun in my life” or “I want my children to learn to be confident in these situations”. All these answers give you the specific WORDS that are waiting for you to be explored and lived: gentleness, fun, confidence.

Once you know which word you want to develop within you as an expression of yourself, you’re ready to walk a 4-step process.

We’ll walk you through each step to give you an idea of how it works, but for a more tangible understanding, we recommend you check out our stories, showing how we use this tool in our everyday lives, here. We’ll incorporate an example that Maite walked with the word ‘Zest’ so you can get an idea of how it works in practice too. We adopted the process of Redefining and Living Words from the School of Ultimate Living. You can consult their Facebook page for tons of videos and examples of redefining and living words as well! Of course, ideally, walking it yourself and integrating this tool in your own life is what will give the most tangible feedback and understanding of how redefining and living words can enrich you, and so your life and the lives of the people around you.


1.  Defining the Word

In this step you want to establish what your current understanding or relationship is of, or with a word. Rarely do we have clear and practical definitions of words stored within us. As we grow up we assign meaning to words through observation, interpretation, extrapolation and experience. We tend to then end up with a set of associations rather than a clear sentence describing the meaning of the word. To help you in exposing how you have defined a word, use a simple trick of speaking, writing and reading the word. Each time, have a look at what memories, words, experiences come up within you – these are your clues showing you how you have defined this word throughout your life and what your current understanding of and relationship towards the word is.

Here is how Maite defined the word Zest for herself, using this method:

When speaking the word:

The words Best & Test come up, together with excitement and fear. Best with excitement – test with fear. To me, this relates to putting myself out there or taking on something new, the start of something of which I don’t yet know how it’s going to pan out, but there’s that excitement and desire for something great/awesome/best to come through, yet at the same time fear, doubt and uncertainty at the thought/possibility of failing, letting someone down, making mistakes, bumping into my own weaknesses, etc…

Here I can see how I polarized the word ‘Zest’, giving it both a positive and a (hidden) negative charge. Depending on whether my excitement or my fear was predominant – I would either experience zest and start something new/put myself out there/be expressive/explorative, etc – or I would hold back, hide, try to become invisible, stay within my comfort zones and routines.

When writing the word:

Nothing specific came up when I wrote the word, there was just this slight experience of ‘strangeness’, like I don’t really know this word, or have much of a relationship with this word or what it would mean to express this word as myself.

When reading the word:

When reading the word, interestingly the letters E-S-T popped out at me, and from here reminding me of a friend, and, interestingly enough, if I had to pick anyone in my life that I thought embodies the word Zest – it would be her, lol.


2.  Purifying the Word

Once you’ve mapped out or clarified your current definition, you can look at how accurate and how adequate this definition is. Here you ask yourself questions like:

  • Does this definition reflect the meaning of the word effectively?
  • Does this definition help me to access the expression of this word inside myself?
  • Does this definition clarify what this word means?
  • Is the word polarized or does it stand clear?
  • Are there any conditions attached to this word?

Let’s apply these questions to the example of the word ‘Zest’:

  • Does this definition reflect the meaning of the word effectively? No, it’s not really a clear definition, just a set of associations, it doesn’t actually really pin-point to what Zest is or means
  • Does this definition help me to access the expression of this word inside myself? No, part of the definition is that I feel estranged from it, if anything I would try to copy my friend and how she is behaves, but this definition doesn’t help me to access, get in touch with and develop my own authentic expression of the word zest.
  • Does this definition clarify what this word means? Nope, it’s still shrouded in mystery.
  • Is the word polarized or does it stand clear? It is polarized, my current definition is imbued with both excitement (positive) and fear (negative) – so the word does not stand clear within me, this means I will always to an extent experience some form of inner conflict around and with this word.
  • Are there any conditions attached to this word? Yes, because the word is polarized, I will only try to live it if I am excited. My emotional state determines whether or not I will access and live this word, which means I am not directly living it as ME, where I am the directive principle of who I am within the expression of the word Zest.

These questions will help you assess how accurate and how adequate your definition is. In the example, it clearly shows it needs changing, that is where purifying the word comes in. Use the tool of Self-Forgiveness to release your current definition of the word.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have polarized the word ‘zest’ within a desire and excitement due to seeing a potential and wanting/hoping for something awesome/new/best to come through on the positive end, and within a fear, doubt, uncertainty at the thought/possibility of failing, making mistakes, not reaching goals, letting myself/others down, bumping into my own weaknesses, etc. on the negative end of the polarity.

I forgive myself that I have never really accepted and allowed myself to consider what it would mean to live the word ‘zest’ as an expression of myself but have only ever experienced it through/as the result of positive energy driving me/pushing me/motivating me to start something new, to put myself out there, to savour life, to be expressive and explorative, etc. and so, I forgive myself for not considering what it would mean to with awareness decide to live the word ‘zest’ instead of being at the mercy of positive feelings or negative emotions.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to define ‘zest’ as something that exists in other people, but not in me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think and believe that for me to live the word ‘zest’ I need to act like/copy the expression of people like E, who, in my eyes naturally embody and live this word – instead of opening up, investigating and redefining this word for and as myself, to find out what it would mean for ME to integrate this word in my day-to-day living and life.

Dependent on the word, you may want to be more expansive in your Self-Forgiveness. Maite did not have much of a relationship with the word Zest, so her Self-Forgiveness was quite concise. Sometimes Self-Forgiveness is not necessary: you see your old definition, see it is not adequate or accurate and can simply let it go through breathing and deciding to start anew. Self-Forgiveness will particularly support in the cases where you have a more deeply ingrained definition and relationship to a word. For instance, you’re working with the word ‘Beauty’ and your mom throughout your childhood would repeat the sentence ‘To be beautiful you have to suffer’ – and would specifically say it when roughly combing your hair or having you wear clothing that pinches or hurts. While you did not necessarily agree to those words when you were young, and actually were in quite some emotional turmoil about it, on some level you accepted this statement and made it a part of your definition of the word ‘beauty’, so much so that it is still influencing your relationship to the word beauty and how you approach beauty in your life today. In this example, your current definition of the word is emotionally charged and deeply ingrained in yourself and your life. In such cases, Self-Forgiveness is suggested to effectively release the old before proceeding with redefining the word for yourself in awareness..


3.  Redefining the Word

Now for the fun part: redefining the word with awareness. In this step, you set out on a mini discovery journey, consulting different resources and using different methods to ‘open up’ your awareness and understanding of the word you’re working with.  After you’ve gathered some information, you can play around with formulating a new definition through creative writing. When you’re ready, you write out your new definition.

Resources and methods of exploring the meaning/expression of a word you can use:

  1. Look up the word in the dictionary. Consult different dictionaries ideally, because different dictionaries often have slightly different nuances in how they define a word. You might just have an ‘aha’ moment when checking a second dictionary.
  2. Check the etymology. The etymology is the history or origin of the word, how did this word come to mean what it means? What is the root? Often the etymology will reveal some interesting dimensions in terms of how the word was first ‘conceived’ and can reveal the meaning of a word that is ‘lost’ in today’s society or that got twisted and altered over time.
  3. Play with the sound of the word. Wordplay often allows you to see a word in a different way, with new eyes, hearing different words or sounds in the word that you may not have noticed before. Examples are:
    • Responsibility: Response-Ability.
    • Alone: All-One
    • Intimacy: Into-Me-I-See
  4. If you know more than one language, checking the sound in different languages is also a cool exercise as each language again has different nuances and you may receive more clues about how to live a word in one language than in another.

As you consult various resources, you’ll likely have a few ‘aha’ moments or ‘hmm, well that’s interesting..’ experiences – be aware of those, explore your new insights and take them with you to the creative writing phase.

The creative writing phase is essentially where you start drafting a new definition. Don’t overthink it. Breathe in, as you breathe in, decide to channel all the insights you’ve gathered,bring them all in your chest, then breathe out and start writing what comes to you. There is no right or wrong when redefining a word, it’s a personal process, and your redefinition will reflect who you are and where you’re at within yourself and your life. With each draft, ask yourself if you are satisfied that your definition reflects the meaning, the living expression of the word you’re working with. If not, try again, see if maybe there is something you can add or some words you can change or specify. If you feel you get stuck, ask for support, you can email us at and we’ll be happy to assist or give feedback.

When you have a final draft, you can check how accurate and adequate it is, using similar/the same questions we used in step 2:

  • Does this definition reflect the meaning of the word effectively?
  • Does this definition help me to access the expression of this word inside myself?
  • Does this definition clarify what this word means?
  • Is the word polarized or does it stand clear?
  • Are there any conditions attached to this word?

Make any final adjustments based on your answers to these questions, and if all clear, write out your final definition and mark it in bold or in a color so it stands out.

Here is how Maite redefined the word ‘Zest’ (note, she did not include the creative writing phase as the definition came together rather quickly):

Dictionary Definition

  • keen relish; hearty enjoyment; gusto.
  • an agreeable or piquant flavour imparted to something
  • anything added to impart flavour, enhance one’s appreciation, etc.
  • piquancy; interest; charm.
  • liveliness or energy; animating spirit.
  • the peel, especially the thin outer peel, of a citrus fruit used for flavoring: lemon zest.

Etymology (origin of the word)

zest (n.)

1670s, from French zeste “piece of orange or lemon peel used as a flavoring,” of unknown origin. Sense of “thing that adds flavor” is 1709; that of “keen enjoyment” first attested 1791.

Sounding the word

Zest – Best

Zest – buzzing Zzzz sound, like buzzing potential

My New Definition:

To approach a moment as an active participant, a co-creator, to both add flavour/spicing to the moment as well as savor the moment fully.


4.  Living the Word

Once you have redefined the word with awareness, support yourself to see how you can start introducing this word in your daily life. Here you move from the general to the specific, writing out what exactly it is you’re going to do or change and how. Redefining words can feel like quite a philosophical exercise. In this step you want to ground the entire process and ‘drive it home’ by asking yourself how you can apply/live this word in the context of your life, your relationships, your responsibilities, etc. We suggest you start out small: identify one or two instances/scenarios where you see you could benefit from living the word you just redefined. Then, write out a practical guide, detailing how you will practice living this word in the context of the moments/scenarios you picked out.

Example of the word ‘Zest’:

In moments with Syntia where we are doing the same thing for the so-many-th-time where I am getting bored with the activity and not wanting to really engage – to take a breath and actively look at how I can bring myself into it, how I can add new flavour to it/ ‘spice up’ this moment – change the inputs/ingredients – to cook up a wholly or slightly different experience and outcome, both for me and Syntia. Here I want to challenge myself to go further than being stable and ‘being there’ for her – by bringing in my playfulness, expression, exploration and creativitiy – which doesn’t have to be this huge effort or thing, it can also just be a pinch – but to move myself to take part and together with Syntia create the moment as well as enjoy the moment fully.

Part of this final step, of course, is to then actually DO it, make those changes in your daily life. Writing alone will not change you, writing supports you to change, but actual change, actual creation happens in those ‘real-time’ moments of your life when you stand up within yourself as the directive principle and decide: This is who I am, this is the word I am living, and you act on it. To stick with your commitment, you can keep a living words diary. Every night, at the end of the day, make an entry and write down how you did with introducing that word in your living. If you didn’t do it, then write that down and explore why you didn’t, see how you can specify your practical guide that you wrote out in step 4 to make things easier, maybe set some reminders on your phone, etc. Make it a continuous process of self-creation that you adjust, specify and support yourself to master one day at a time.


All right, so now you’ve got the tools, you can walk the steps. They’re not difficult, they are maybe ‘odd’ at first, and may take some getting used to, but they’re not difficult. Anyone can do these exercises and create themselves to realize their utmost potential one step and one word at a time. Of course, this is a pretty concise guide and there is definitely much more to say about redefining and living words, but this will get you started. As we said earlier, the School of Ultimate Living has more explanations, videos, case-studies and examples that you can learn from and hone your own skills with. And of course we’re also here if you would like support with walking these steps or if you would like someone to read over your writing. You can email us at and we’ll be happy to assist.

If you’d like to learn more about us, what we do and why we do it, you can read ‘Letting Go of the Old’ and ‘Our Principles’.

If you found this information supportive and you’d like to give in return, please consider becoming a patron – it would mean a lot!

Thank you for reading,

Leila & Maite