Present – June 2020 Update

Today I’m joining Honoré at Morning Glory Studio with her One Little Word link up. We gather on the last Tuesday of each month to share a few thoughts about our word of the year. My 2020 word is Present and here are a few links to catch you up on my progress so far:

  • Intro Post
  • January Update: in which you see pictures of the real state of my house.
  • February Update: I considered the pros of removing Instagram from my phone.
  • March Update: My recovery from an awful illness that threw me for quite a loop.
  • April Update: I had a positive experience asking for help.
  • May Update: In which a woodpecker reminds me that I don’t have the whole picture.

This month I’ve been thinking a lot about two passages from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Religion is hard for me for a lot of reasons, but this little book has been quite lovely to help me start and end my days with a tiny sliver of mindfulness.

I discovered Pádraig Ó Tuama while listening to On Being. Here’s his bio pulled from their website:

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, and conflict mediator. He is the inaugural poet laureate of The On Being Project and was the former leader of Corrymeela, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization. His books include two volumes of poetry, a daily prayer book, and a memoir, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World.

On Being

(Does anyone else hear Krista Tippett’s voice when they read anything from the On Being website?)

I decided to buy Daily Prayer after it appeared on several blogs that I follow. I hesitated because, as I said above, religion is hard for me (which is another conversation for another day). Daily Prayer provides suggested prayers for morning, noon, and night, along with a very short passage from the Gospels each day and an additional brief prayer.

There are two passages that make me pause each morning:

Help us to embrace possibility,
respond graciously to disappointment
and hold tenderly those we encounter.
Help us be fully present to the day.

….

We resolve to live life in its fullness:
We will welcome the people who’ll be part of this day.
We will greet love* in ordinary and hidden moments.
We will live the life we are living.

Daily Prayer, Pádraig Ó Tuama
(italicized lines are my own)

Throughout this year’s journey with my one little word, I’ve struggled with social media and I was all set to write about how Instagram is the devil. But it’s not. That last line – we will live the life we are living – sums it all up. My life is rarely “Instagram-worthy,” but it’s the life I’m living. Instagram, for me, is all about possibility. It provides me with ways to bring beauty into my family’s lives. I want to give them beauty in life, along with a big dose of coziness. So maybe there are days that I spend too much time scrolling IG and feeling wistful about what I wish I could be doing with my children. But more often than not, I scroll IG, put down my phone, and then pull a stack of books off the shelves and lay down on the floor with my littles to read lovely books. It is more of an encouragement, when following the right users, than a downer. And encouragement is what I need!

These passages also help me sit with the turmoil that the US is experiencing. Following more people of color, reading more about the lives of people who have had different experiences than me, and honoring the lives impacted by the centuries of racism in the US are all ways to be more present to the day and to live the life that I’m living. Grounding myself in these words each day helps ensure humility, grace, and compassion for the realities of others.

Daily Prayer has given me a lot to ponder, even when I don’t do the additional readings provided. I find the morning, noon, and evening prayers to be so thought provoking that I often pause throughout the day to think about the kind of person I want to be and to recognize my own vulnerabilities.

I’m excited to see what July and my one little word brings. I hope you’ll join the linkup and reflect on a word or mantra that you’ve been using to help get through these difficult times.

*The original passage uses the word God here, but I often replace God and Jesus with the word love when reading books like this or the Bible. I think I learned this trick from Sarah Bessey, but I can’t be certain. It definitely helps me when I’m reading anything religious.

10 thoughts on “Present – June 2020 Update

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  1. Talk about pause! The first passage you shared here resonated so deeply with me, Katie–I may adopt that as my next meditation passage. And IG… So much beauty & inspiration–but not w/o overwhelm, for me, in this stage of my life (and as an HSP). I’ve had to give more time to one of our animals who became partially paralyzed, and something had to go, so I just sort of disappeared from IG… I’ve felt intimidated (?) about returning after almost a year.. (But–also–I really don’t feel like I’m missing anything that I can’t get in other places–and w/o overwhelm for me.) Sounds like you’ve found harmony with it in the current season of your life. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found part of the passage helpful! IG is such a double edged sword, right? I’m jealous that you’ve found peace without it. I’m also an HSP and sometimes the scrolling can be really harmful. But I’m practicing sitting with all of that discomfort and recognizing that this is the life that I live.

      Thanks for visiting today!

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  2. Padraig O Tuama is my favorite. Listening to him brings calm! (and I confess I laughed right out loud at the IG devil comment… oh yeah. It sure is! Hahahaha!) I like not worrying about IG… it really is such a much nicer life. Do I miss lots? Yes… but I don’t really. Thank you for sharing in your beautiful voice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about Padraig O Tuama — I’ve fallen behind with his poetry podcast but keep thinking that I’d love to listen again at some point. I didn’t realize you were taking an IG break. It seems like we all need one from time to time. Right now I’m embracing IG, but I’m sure I’ll be pushing it away again in a couple of weeks.

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  3. I have that book on my desk and love dipping into it. Having heard him on On Being and then Poetry Unbound I feel like I can hear him read the words and that makes the experience even better. I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer these past few weeks (months?!), feeling like I was in a rut. His words have helped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary, I think you’re the one who eventually gave me the push to buy this book, now that I think about it a bit harder. So thank you! I’m trying so hard with prayer, but it’s difficult for me.

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