attachment, breathing, feelings, friends, gratitude, oneword365

One Word Check In: Explore

Like last year, rather than focusing on a resolution at the New Year, I’ve chosen one word to help guide and direct my actions and thoughts throughout the year. In 2017 I focused on gratitude. I really needed that to help counterbalance the depression and grief I was dealing with. It made quite a difference. In fact, rather than letting gratitude go for 2018 in place of a new word – I kept it and added one. Each night as I lay down, I think of (at least) three things that happened that day for which I’m grateful. It’s become a natural part of my nighttime routine.

For 2018, I chose explore. I think I mostly chose it because I knew I was going to walk the Camino and explore seemed like the right word. Unlike gratitude, I don’t feel like I “explore” every day so it’s been harder to incorporate into my daily train of thought. However, I am working on it. Here are some ways that I’ve explored so far in 2018:

  • I branched out of my usual walking locations and went to some parks around Indianapolis earlier this year. It was fun to explore new trails and not always know where I was.
  • While preparing for the Camino I had to explore my attachment to stuff. What do I really need? As I examined that for my trip, I also began to explore the attachments in my home, especially the closets. I got rid of some clothes, books, knick-knacks and other stuff that was taking up space. I appreciated all the openness once I was able to let go of those unnecessary things.
  • I’m exploring what friendship looks like at this stage in my life. So many of my friends are in the trenches of parenthood, which means I don’t see them much. Although I have dear friendships that will last for years, right now some those are set to the side a bit due to our varying lifestyles. I’m reigniting some old friendships and working on creating some new ones. I had no idea this was part of being an adult.
  • Obviously a big part of exploring this year was my walk in Spain. I think the benefits of that exploration will keep coming, even months and years later.
  • Prior to this summer I explored running by trying out a new training plan that has me running faster than I thought possible.
  • I continue to explore boundaries. I’m trying not to triangulate in relationships. I’m trying to honor what I need rather than always putting someone else’s needs first. I’m working on owning my stuff and not taking on stuff that isn’t mine.
  • And related to that, exploring my feelings is an ongoing process. What’s different this year (thanks to Beth!) is I’ve (mostly) learned to detach from them – I have feelings. That’s different than saying I am my feelings. Although I don’t always see it in the moment, I’m getting better at allowing my feelings to just be and not judging them. It’s a work in progress.
  • I explore my breath. I use it to help me calm down – on Wednesday I found myself taking slow deep breaths to say calm while the doctor was cutting into my scalp. It really helped!
  • I’m exploring what it’s like to raise a puppy at 38 compared to 28. I can see how my training with Denali (or lack thereof) has impacted our lives. I can also see how my temperament with her has impacted her personality – she is such a sweet dog. I want to do some things differently with our puppy, but I also want to keep some things the same. And, I love doing this with Brad.

So, I guess choosing the word explore for 2018 was a good choice. It’s helping me see life in a different way – like an adventure or an exploration. I’m more curious about myself and those around me. There’s less black and white and a lot more gray areas. Exploring allows me to be open and keeps me on alert for new lessons around each bend.

There are still several months to go in 2018. I’m excited to see what other exploring I’ll get to do. I’m amazed at what I continue to learn about myself as I grow older (I’m probably thinking about that since the last year in my 30s is coming up this week!).


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