Present – August 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. (Yes. A Woodpecker.)
  • June Update: I shared a daily meditation that has been helpful with staying present.
  • July Update: When I realized I was internalizing that daily prayer and it was helping me.

And you’re not going to believe this, but I’m here to talk about Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama again. Sorry to be so repetitive, but this stuff is taking root.

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’ve continued to meditate with the words in this book most days. Today I want to talk about two passages. The first is pulled from the morning prayer, which is found on page 3:

We begin our day with trust,
knowing we are created for loving encounter.

The second passage is from the prayer included for Day 15, which is on page 23:

May we face our
in the wilderness and the world,
and recognize
the forces that drive us,
so that they do not always drive

I get frustrated a lot.

I want things to go a certain way. I want toys to go in a certain spot. I want the floors to be clean and the counters to be cleared of clutter. I want everyone to sleep until a certain point in the morning and then for them all to miraculously awaken exactly when I see fit (not too early and not too late). I want everyone to be in a good mood all of the time and no tantrums or meltdowns (this includes children and adults). I want everyone to know what I want and to act accordingly. I want everyone to know that I’m not asking for too much.

So you can see why I get frustrated. A lot.

Before I go upstairs to get the kids moving around each morning, I remind myself that I’m capable of loving encounters. When the children don’t move as quickly as I’d like them to, I think about this. When their personalities shine through and they focus on what they want and not what I want, I think about this. Connection over correction.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the forces that drive me. Whatever those forces are, I’m certain they’re what’s keeping me from staying present throughout the day. But these reminders about being capable of loving encounters and connection over correction? They’re reminding me to stay present, no matter how strong those forces are. Maybe one day I’ll be able to identify them and find ways to control them… until then, I’ll keep looking for these little mantras to pull me back into the present and focus on what’s in front of me.

Do you have a mantra that helps you stay grounded and focused on what’s important? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


14 thoughts on “Present – August 2020 Update

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  1. Oh boy, I see so much of myself in here Katie. I am a person who is a bit of a control freak. (okay, way more than a bit, but yeah… a HUGE control freak) It was not until I learned that I can only control me… my actions, my reactions, my moods, and my feelings that life became somewhat bearable for those around me. I love your mantra of Connection over Correction. Oh my, that is just so perfect! I did not have anything as brilliant as Padraig’s writings 30 years ago. But I did have the Kyrie…and that was my mantra on many many many many days. I think you picked such a brilliant word, especially for this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not familiar with the Kyrie, but will look it up – thanks for another resource for calming my soul!

      And this is exactly what I keep reminding myself (and my 6 year old!): we can’t control other people, only our reactions. I do a very good job remembering that… until I don’t!! And then it’s just awful. I’m going to keep working on it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I identify with you so much here! I am very much a Type A personality, with a little bit of subclinical OCD thrown in; I like things to be the way I feel they should be, and when they’re not, it makes me anxious. But it’s hard when you’re dealing with people, because people are unpredictable and have minds of their own. It’s a constant process for me to remind myself that just because there’s a way I think things should be done, it doesn’t mean that everyone in my household will agree and do them that way.

    Something I’m frequently reminding my daughter of is that we cannot control other people but we can control our reactions to them. That’s kind of become my mantra — when I get frustrated with my daughter or husband, I try to remember that what’s frustrating me isn’t being done on purpose and that they likely don’t realize it, so it’d be completely ridiculous for me to lose it. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Your focus on being present is a marathon, not a sprint!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When our daughters were young, I would tell them it wasn’t their job to make others happy, you have to know who you are and what you are able to offer. Both of them have grown to be such lovely, capable women and they have told me that my words have played in their heads many times. Parenting is such a journey.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I totally agree with your advice! Control is a big struggle for so many of us and it’s a relief to hear that we’re all plugging away at it!

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment!


    1. Thanks, Juliann! “Connection over correction” is especially important to me given my experience with my own parents. They were good parents and did the best they could, but they definitely leaned into the “correction” aspect of parenting, which has made it difficult to sustain our relationship into my adult life — when I do NOT want their corrections anymore, ha!


  3. Oh, Katie, can I ever relate! I am the only Type A’ish person in my home of 5…I’m also a 1 on the Enneagram, but truly and laughably the most imperfect 1 possible. (A good 9 wing going on there…!) I’ve been trying to harness my tension & frustration with the state of my surroundings for years, because I worry about frittering away this precious season of life. (On the flip side–I work and function infinitely better in a tidy space! I’m a better person all the way around when I’m not overwhelmed with chaos. And there’s something to be said for that! …There’s also a little something to be said for giving up control…but I haven’t got there. Yet.)
    Meditation is, hands down, my go-to. The first mantram I learned is the one I still use: Om Mani Pade Hum. It’s a Buddhist phrase with (it seems like) a number of translations. The first one taught to me, and what really resonates with me, is simply Compassion for all. Sometimes I write it on the inside of my left wrist. I often say it while going to sleep at night. And while I’m driving.
    The other one I use is attributed to Julian of Norwich: All shall be well…all shall be well…and all manner of things shall be well.
    May it be so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can also relate to so much of what you’ve written here! I am SO affected by chaos, but keep trying to revel in it because I know one day I’ll miss the craziness. But I feel so much anxiety and anger bubble up when I have to work around piles of things!! And I’m an Enneagram Type 4, so I can very easily start to feel victimized by other people’s messes – even when I know it has nothing to do with me!

      Thank you so much for these mantras – it’s comforting to know that centuries of people have been struggling with these same pitfalls!


  4. Fascinating post with interesting comments. I have no idea what personality I am, but some mantras I have are- Keep putting one foot in front of another- Good enough parenting is good enough- Yes (ie I try to say yes to everything,and in the context of parenting if my inclination was to say No, work out why, figure a way round it so I can say yes- usually because of problems of gettiing a child somewhere or there being a responsible adult involved), and when I am really fed up with someone I try to walk away till everyone calms down. And dust will always be there tomorrow but the child won’t be, so spend time with the child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are wonderful thoughts – thank you! I especially love the Yes. I usually want to say no to something because I’m too tired for it all (like painting or some other messy thing). But then I remember that they’ll likely only be at it a few minutes and they’ll be happy and excited to engage the activity THEY wanted. So… Yes. Yes we can!


    1. Isn’t it great? It’s been so helpful. When I feel my heart racing, I can now stop and think about why I’m reacting this way. Which gives me just enough pause to re-think my immediate reaction — sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

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