Present – December 2020 Update

I’m joining Honoré at Morning Glory Studio and writing about my One Little Word – Present (click here to view all of my posts on this topic this year). This is our last gathering of 2020 – what a year! And a perfect opportunity to practice being present.

2020 has been a year full of challenges for everyone, yet many of us have been able to take stock of what’s important and essential in our lives. I’ve spent this year battling an Instagram habit, learning lessons from birds, cultivating a daily habit of mindfulness, and practicing being present during difficult moments with my family. Have I learned to stay more present? I hope so. But I think the key takeaway is learning to notice when we’re not being present – the ability to recognize our lack of presence is enough to bring us back to reality. Another lesson from the year has been to recognize this as a lifelong process; people spend their entire lives practicing being present. It’s never mastered. It’s never really acquired. It’s practiced – from moment to moment. And with enough practice, we can learn to remove ourselves from chaotic situations without actually going anywhere. We can learn to use a calm and rational approach when everything is swirling around us, seemingly out of control.

I started focusing on one little word word in 2018 (but didn’t join this linkup until this year!). In 2018, my word was Abundance. In 2019, I chose Pause. And of course, 2020 was a year to learn to be Present. All of these play on similar themes – how can I be happy with what I have? How can I quiet the prospecting aspect of my personality and focus on what’s right in front of me? Well, I plan to keep working on this next year but from a slightly different angle:

2021 Word of the Year

I introduced Stillness as my 2021 word at our last gathering and I’m still happy with this choice. One of my 2021 goals is to make meditation a daily practice. I want to explore different spiritual practices with the hope to find something to ground myself in. And most prominently, I want to face my challenges with jealousy and internalize the fact that I don’t have to do everything in order to be happy. I’m hoping to practice stilling my heart when all of these little doubts start creeping in and I start feeling slightly manic about doing all.the.things.

In preparation for the new year, I’ve downloaded a couple of meditation apps to try. I’m trying Insight Timer and MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness. I’d welcome your recommendations if you use an app to help with your meditation practice or if there are books that you consider a must-read. I know many of you have found ways to make meditating a part of your daily routine and I’d love to read more about how you’ve done that.

In January I’m going to try Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Journey. I try these every year and never complete them, but I’m hoping this will be the year! Her intro video makes it seem like it’s going to be a gentle practice this year and that sounds perfect to me.

Those are the two habits I’m going to work on in January: meditation and yoga. I’ll experiment with times and styles and see what feels like a good fit for me. I will report back on the last Tuesday of January with my findings!

I want to thank Honoré for being such a kind and gracious host this year. She’s handing over the duty to a different blogger in 2021 and I think we’re going to find out who that is in her post today. Here’s to 2021 and all of our little words!

18 thoughts on “Present – December 2020 Update

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  1. Isn’t it wonderful how our words stay with us! Thank you for sharing our Present lessons with us and I look forward to seeing where Stillness takes you in 2021 (more stillness is one of my intentions for next year).

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  2. Bravo, Katie! My word this year was focus, and while it has made an impact on me, the biggest thing it did was to make me focus on daily meditation. A friend gifted me with the 10% Happier app https://www.tenpercent.com/ and it has been nothing short of a miracle for me. Meditation is truly a daily habit for me now and it has helped me immensely this year. They are doing a New Year’s challenge if you want to try it for free. Whatever you use, I wish you the best on your journey!

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    1. Thank you for this recommendation!! I’m happy to hear that meditation has been helpful for you this year. It gives me hope for 2021! Happy New Year’s Eve 🙂

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  3. Well done!! And I think your word for 2021 is an excellent one! I don’t know what my day would be like without my meditation practice every day. It is vital to my well-being!

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  4. Stillness feels like a great follow up to Present. I just finished a very short book by Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness. Also Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn – I listened to the audio when I was walking. So many medication apps out there and yes to Yoga with Adriene. You are on the right path.

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  5. “…the key takeaway is learning to notice when we’re not being present – the ability to recognize our lack of presence is enough to bring us back to reality.” What a takeaway! Yes! That feels like a huge lightbulb to me. And I’m looking forward to your thoughts and experiences with Stillness. Some of what you shared resonates with me–to read someone else’s naming of it feels kind of strange, kind of like a relief, maybe a confirmation of our humanness. Sounds like some rich exploration in store for January! Yum 🙂

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  6. I think your word from 2020 (present) and 2021 (stillness) perfectly compliment each other. Meditation and yoga are good ways to both be present and cultivate stillness. Best of luck in the coming year!

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  7. Stillness is an excellent choice! I’ve been mulling over my word for 2021 and I think I’ve settled on Embrace. As in, embrace the present, whatever challenges and wonderful things life brings in 2021. Also embrace trying new things, taking risks. I like that it combines openness and acceptance.

    I am also doing Adriene’s January practice. I owe much of my sanity to her yoga videos – I don’t do it every single day, but I do it most days, and it’s been immeasurably helpful to my spirit and body. I am glad you’re giving it a try. A little yoga is better than no yoga so don’t stress if you miss a day or two (or 12!)

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    1. Oh, embrace is a great word for 2021, especially after the year that we’ve just had!! I hope you find ways to write about it (no pressure, though!) because I’d love to follow along!

      I am so impressed that you’ve found ways to fit yoga into your daily routine and am glad that it’s been so helpful. I’ll find so much encouragement knowing that you’re also following along with Adriene in January – it will keep me motivated!

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  8. What a wonderful post. I think you have found the key in noticing when we are not present. It’s like in meditation when the key moment is noticing when the mind is wandering and coming back to the breath. Stillness seems like a good next step. Happy New Year.

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