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2020: The Year of Stop and Listen

*retro entry from my old blog+

For the past few years, our family has sat at the dining table around this time of year and started to kick around ideas for a word or phrase of the upcoming year. It's kind of like setting a new years resolution, but instead of something specific, we come up with a mantra that we can all embrace for the year! A mantra is a positive word or phrase that you repeat to help you out.

In 2019 it was "Yes And..." and and we traveled all over the world finding adventure near and far and saying YES to opportunities big and small. It was an incredible year! We visited the the Grand Canyon, the Virgin Islands, Aruba, Boston, Vermont, Maine, the Florida keys... and the list goes on.

Then came 2020. We tried to make our mantra "Live Your Dream" but I just wasn't feeling it. And truthfully we never really had time to put it into action. As hard as I tried, I just could't visualize anything for 2020...little did I know what was to come. OR maybe somehow I did know... The only phrase that came to me as we entered 2020 was "stop and listen" and boy did I do a lot of that. We all stopped and listened. We all stopped. Stopped in our tracks. We took the year to listen to each other. To listen to our thoughts and our bodies. To listen to the news and our friends (via Zoom.) We spent months where we couldn't do much else. We had a lot of opportunities for growth - whether we wanted them or not. Somedays it was so fun and we found ourselves in fits of laughter, playing games, throwing movie night parties, and cooking together. Other days it was so frustrating it was almost maddening. We couldn't find peace or quiet. There was no more alone time. There was no "alone" anymore. We were together. All. The. Time. At the same time we were not together... not together with our "people." We missed friends. We missed hugs. Our kids were suffering from lack of connection and socialization. There were meltdowns and withdrawing. They were hurting. We were hurting.

Then there was the lack of purpose. It was easy to slip into a feeling of uselessness not being able to work anymore and trying to find a way to feel purpose again. I couldn't teach yoga anymore. I couldn't go into a studio. I couldn't go into schools and work with kids or teachers. That interaction was gone indefinitely. So what was my purpose now? Just to homeschool my kids? That lost its 19th century, Little House on the Prairie excitement after about 4 weeks.

But then, without realizing that it had happened, we adapted. Regular Zoom calls with old friends became the norm. Porch and driveway dinners with neighbors became a regular occurrence.Family game night online and in person become a thing for the first time ever. Old friendships were rekindled. I sought out online education, broadening my knowledge and experience as a mindfulness and yoga teacher with my first Yale course in the Science of Well-Being, Positive Mindful Meditation classes, and another 200 hr yoga certification. My physical and mental health took priority and I started exercising regularly, completing almost 300 Peloton rides and returning to my personal yoga practice again, even regaining my handstand. I was meditating and journaling daily.

My husband and I spent more time just hanging out and talking than we have in years! We started going on biking and picnic dates! He even studied, took the Texas State Bar, and PASSED from home!!

So while the mere mention of 2020 will illicit an eye roll from...well, almost everyone...I can honestly say that as I look back, we have grown so much as a family. And growth isn't always easy or comfortable, but it's worth it. We have learned so much about each other and ourselves. The year of "listen" has taught us well. It has had its highs and lows. It hasn't always been pretty. But it has given us a gift of gratitude for what we have in each other and ourselves. We have connection, friendship, love, and health. And I am incredibly grateful for that.

**Now as we approach 2021, the ideas for our new annual family mantra are bubbling! I think we are onto something good this year and I'm going to invite anyone to join us that wants to. It's time to bring a little more appreciation for all the things, big and small, back into our lives and not waste any time! We have learned that life is short and we want to squeeze the juice out of every day! So stay tuned for our 2021 family mantra and maybe you will join us on this next journey!

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