Present – July 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.
  • June Update: I shared a daily meditation that has been helpful with staying present.

And I’m still thinking a lot about those two passages from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Last week was really hard for me, but there’s one line in particular from this book of meditation that I keep thinking about.

First, a quick reminder about the book I’m discussing:

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

I had a few really hard days last week. Like, ugly crying in a corner. Or outside for all the world to see. I have felt so many conflicting emotions lately, but mostly restless and lethargic. I know many of us are feeling this way because: pandemic. Knowing that brings me some reassurance, but there’s so much I want to do yet don’t know where or how to start. And then I don’t seem to have the energy to even try to sort it all out. I scroll Instagram and see all of these families with their dozens of children all sitting around the table, pencils poised, and concentrating on the learning in front of them. Of course I know that these pictures capture just a fraction of a moment and doesn’t at all reflect the realities of these families, but I worry that I don’t have the energy or ability to create such a magical and enriching environment for my children. I worry that I’ve been lazy about setting the foundation and instilling the habit and joy of learning. I doubt and worry about everything you can possibly imagine.

As I sat crying in the rocking chair, I kept finding myself repeating:

We will live the life we are living.

Daily Prayer, Pádraig Ó Tuama

This is where we are. I know that I can’t control anyone else in this world, even my children. But I can guide their behaviors, set an example, and help them find what brings them joy. We will live the life we are living and I want my children to feel love and joy. If I’m experiencing extreme push back about learning, then let’s put the books away and bring out music and paints, run around like crazy outside, or read the books that are really begging for our attention. Our time together isn’t about ticking off a to-do list and getting through a curriculum (even though that’s totally my personality), but loving each other’s company and enjoying the process of learning. Taking each moment apart, living in that present moment, and getting the most out of it without worrying about anything else.

We will live the life we are living has become a mantra for me – it reminds me that this is the only life I have, the people in it are precious and important, and I can only control my own behaviors. I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be to focus on the same meditation day in and day out, but I’ve stuck with Daily Prayer for the last couple months and am thankful to have it in my life right now. And it’s a good sign that this line just popped in my head when I needed it most – maybe I’m slowly internalizing the message. It’s kept me grounded and present, which has been my overarching goal this year.

When I sat down to write today’s post, I couldn’t believe that it’s been a month since our last One Little Word linkup. July completely flew by and we’re headed into August. I dread August (even though that’s what I named my cat) because of the lingering heat and summer weather. But I’m going to try to stay present for the entire month and find beauty in the warm days ahead. And I already can’t wait to find out what the month will teach me.

How has your word of the year been going? I can’t wait to read more of your posts and comments to find out!


18 thoughts on “Present – July 2020 Update

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  1. Words to live by for sure, Katie — “…this is the only life I have, the people in it are precious and important, and I can only control my own behaviors.” Loved your post and I hope that August brings you many moments of joyful presence as the light shifts and autumn approaches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’ve found an excellent mantra for these strange times. My daughter has really been struggling with what’s going on and feeling overwhelmed by everything, and it’s really hard for me to help her feel better. Even though I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety and have gone through years of therapy, nothing has really prepared me for a global pandemic and the massive amounts of uncertainty it’s created. We don’t have any experience with this and don’t know where it will go in the future, so all any of us can do is live in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right – we don’t have any experience with what’s happening right now! And I think you’re the perfect helper for your daughter – just listening to her worries goes a long way.


  3. What a beautiful post, Katie. And such lovely words to live by. I know many of us are just . . . weary . . . right now. So weary. I hope you continue to find strength in the ways you’re being present. XO

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful words, Katie! I think being a parent is full of worry… whether you send your kids to school or home school them. I think you will find your path (and personally, I like the pictures that are not so controlled! They seem more real to me!) I also think you have found the perfect mantra… and a good reminder, live your life not the life of others!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Katie, I always appreciated your willingness to be present and transparent. Your words and struggles will bring comfort to others as the words of this book have brought comfort to you. I wonder if 100 days is the tipping point for us human beings? Thanks for this lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing “we live the life we are living”. I’m going to try very hard to remember those words when I’m struggling with all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re going through so much right now, Carole. I hope that little mantra brings you just a bit of peace. It helps center me in the moment and then reminds me that I can control my reaction to nearly every situation and choose to act with optimism and intention.


  7. I love seeing more from Daily Prayer this month. I’m still dipping in and out (and it’s a square on my Bingo card, so maybe I need to actually DIVE IN next month). Your words around the Instagram scrolling reminded me of these (p xxiii) “All of that goes to say: you’ll need to make your own damn soup, because ONLY YOU can make it. You know your own needs [and those of your family]. … Eat it, drink it, survive and look around. Be a little bit glorious. Be warm and open. Share. Keep some for tomorrow. Give plenty away. Amen.”

    You’re making your own soup, my friend. Be glorious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reminding me about that quote. I think “soup” is the perfect descriptor for life around here, ha! There’s SO much in Daily Prayer that I think it would be hard to dive right in, so good luck to you!! 🙂


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