I started this blog Saturday morning when I had slept terribly. Now I’m back — I’ve returned, if you will 😉 — ready to finish what I started.
I wrapped up my 2020 word of the year a few weeks ago. Since 2017 I’ve traveled with gratitude, explore, open and trust. 2021 brings a new word for me, one that grabbed my attention several months ago: return.
It first started when I kept hearing Adriene (you know, my yoga teacher/BFF) say, return to your breath. Though focusing on my breath is an important practice for me, it was return that caught my attention.
As in years past, I have an idea of what this word might mean… but I also leave space for discovering new understandings as the year progresses. Here are some initial thoughts on return.
Return to myself
I did a lot of work on this in 2020 and I don’t want to stop. It’s easy for me to get swept up in someone else’s emotions or distress. I get so swept up that I begin to think those emotions are my own, when they aren’t. I want to return to myself — to my own emotions, my own boundaries, my own needs.
Part of this requires me to return to my breath on a regular basis. When I listen to my breath, when I feel my body moving with the waves of in and out, I am present. When I’m present I am able to remind myself of who I am and who I am not. These reminders center me and help me regulate (and recognize) my own emotions.
Return to my passions
I’m not sure what this will look like just yet. A year ago I would have said my passion was writing a book and blogging regularly. That’s not so much the case these days. However, I do know that creativity is a passion. I miss designing and leading retreats. I miss deep connections with people in settings like retreats and workshops. Maybe that’s a passion to return to?
As a youth minister, my work was my passion. Of course, that work was challenging, but I was passionate about it. I miss being passionate about the work I do day-to-day. Perhaps this is the year that I start to discover what new passions I have around my career path?
Return to health
I did a lot of work around my health in 2020. I engaged with a registered dietician to figure out my chronic gut issues and I learned so much! More importantly, I feel so much better! Much of what the doctors told me over the years was the complete opposite of what my body needed.
Additionally, I met with a surgeon through my gynecologist’s office and started to address the chronic menstrual issues I’ve struggled with since age 11. She really listened to me and truly wants to help me figure out how to make however many years I have left before menopause less painful. My next step in this journey is laparoscopic surgery next week to see if I have endometriosis.
Finally, I want to figure out why sleep has been so hard for me in the last year. I drink lots of water, exercise regularly, express my feelings, meet with my therapist… what more can I do?? Clearly something is amiss and I’m ready to discover it and return to sleeping through the night again!
Return to love
At the encouragement of an Instagram friend, I am dedicating time every morning for meditation. I came upon a Mindful Mornings challenge on the Insight Timer app and I’m really enjoying the guided meditations each morning. A day or so ago I heard the person say: Return to love. Every single time, return to love. What a beautiful reminder. If nothing else this year, I want to return to love.
When I struggle with boundaries and big feelings, return to love. When I wonder about my purpose in life, return to love. When my body seems like it’s working against me, return to love.
I think all of us — the world over — might benefit from this return to love in 2021. I hope you find yourself returning to love over and over again. I’ll meet you there.