For the first time last year I chose one word to guide me through 2017 – gratitude. I chose that word because I knew I’d need something to balance the grief and pain I was (am) experiencing. I decided to get ahead of that a bit by choosing a word that would force me to see the good things in life. It worked! I’m so glad I thought to do that…without it, 2017 might have been much more miserable than it was.
I don’t want to leave “gratitude” behind. I don’t want to stop reflecting on gratitude each night as I fall asleep. I want to carry it with me into 2018, while also bringing along something new. I was going back and forth between two words and finally decided on one: Explore.
In 2018 I want to explore my eating habits – how it impacts my irritable bowel syndrome, how it impacts the environment, how it impacts my spending habits. I want to eat more fruits and vegetables. I want to eat less meat. I want to continue eating less bread. I want to explore new foods and new ways of nourishing my body.
I’ve been practicing yoga consistently for almost 18 months now. I’ve grown so much in my practice – I’m stronger, more flexible, braver and eager to learn more. This year I want to explore what else my body is capable of. I want to achieve a forearm stand on my own, then maybe a headstand.
For Christmas I got a Garmin watch – now when I run I can easily see my distance, time and pace. It tells me when I’m going slower than I want and when I’m going faster than I want – this will be just what I need for half-marathons! I always start out too fast and then end up too slow, but I don’t know it until the race is over. I’m signed up for the SHE Power Half Marathon, Indy Women’s Half Marathon and the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. With this new watch, I want to explore new times and push myself just a little harder.
I’m attending a new church – something I haven’t done in a very long time. I want to explore meeting new people and trying out different groups. I really need to explore new friend groups as well – as much as I want to stay close to my friends (peer group) with young children, it’s just not happening right now. So, I need to explore finding friends in different stages of life – perhaps friends with older children or friends who are younger and not ready to start a family. Maybe I need to find friends with similar interests – like those at my yoga studio or people that quilt or maybe a running group. I need to explore this more in 2018.
Last spring I saw that an acquaintance of mine was going to lead a group pilgrimage in Spain – Camino de Santiago. Immediately I wanted to go but then realized it was for clergy, so I let that go. Last month, however, I learned that my mom is going and that the trip was opened up to family and friends. I debated back and forth before deciding I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. So, in June I will explore Spain by foot with my mom. Never in my life did I ever imagine writing such a sentence…it’s worth writing again. In June, I will explore Spain by foot with my mom! Before this pilgrimage, I will explore parks around town, I will explore backpacks and shoes, I will explore the Camino through books and movies. I’m grateful for this opportunity and that it lies halfway through the year…I imagine the exploring I do there, both internally and externally, will greatly impact the rest of my exploring when I return.
I don’t want to get in the business of comparing – every year brings its own challenges and joys, but I think it’s safe to say 2017 was one of the hardest I’ve faced. Looking at my calendar, I can see a few things coming up in 2018, but overall, it’s a mystery. And, every good mystery needs someone to do some exploring. I’m ready.
But I can tell you
this journey is not
It is not about how far
you can walk
or how fast.
It is about what you will do
with this moment, this star
that blazes in your sky
though no one else
– Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace