I’ve loved picking out a special word these last few years. Having an easy mantra to repeat when things get really tough has helped me stay grounded and to remember my overarching goal for the year. Last year my word was “pause” — and it worked really well. I spent the entire year trying to insert a space between an event and my reaction. It’s made a world of difference with my children and in my relationships, even though I still have quite a lot of work to do. So when trying to decide this year’s word, I knew I wanted to continue practicing to pause and to deepen those lessons by soaking up all I could in the midst of those difficult moments.
This year I’m going to focus on being present. I catch myself having imaginary conversations in my head that don’t benefit me in any way. I find myself preoccupied with chores and tasks around me and not focused on the things that are important to me. I allow myself to be consumed by all sorts of things that do nothing to replenish my soul or further any of my goals.
Instead of all of those imaginary conversations while I’m cleaning, I’m working on mantras. While cleaning the windows, I ask for clarity and to see beauty in the world. While wiping down the table at night, I ask that we start the next day fresh and to bring nourishment for my family. While washing linens and making beds, I ask for peaceful rest. Those thoughts help me stay present in the task, give me something to pray for, and make each and every chore feel important and useful — and in its place. Not something to consume me.
I almost chose the word “enough” for this year’s theme, but I think it’s easy to fold that into being present. I’m reminding myself that the work I do around the house is enough and that I don’t have to feel bitter or worked ragged. Remember when I shared that my four year old is autistic and his favorite activity is ripping up paper and watching it fall to the ground? It’s still his favorite activity and I am constantly on the move trying to keep things clean. I will never win. I used to vacuum our common areas about 3 times a day with no real benefit — the floors are still always covered in paper. In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to vacuum only once a day – right after that bug gets on the bus – and just ignore the paper the rest of the time. Vacuuming once a day should be enough, except in extenuating circumstances. I have to find a way to remind myself that and to be present in those moments when I feel compelled to vacuum.
I’m working on creating a manageable cleaning plan that will help me feel as though I’m doing enough around the house and to not sweat the small stuff in between. I do enough. I don’t need to drive myself crazy trying to keep things perfect when there’s nothing perfect about my life. I can clean when it’s cleaning time, play with the children during play time, and focus on my own goals and activities when it’s my time — all without guilt and with all of the presence I can muster in every moment.
I hope to spend this year revisiting this word on my blog. I’ve found it difficult to write about my word in the past, so I’m hoping to find ways to weave it in throughout 2020. That will be one of my challenges of the year – to not only remember to be present, but to try to put some of those moments into words. Wish me luck!
Do you find it hard to stay present? Or do you ever pick a word of the year? How has it gone for you? Do you have a word ready for 2020?
I delight in reading other people’s posts about their own words of the year. It’s such a vulnerable and illuminating topic to write about. Please be sure to comment with a link to your own post if you have one.