one word {march twenty-two}

It’s that time!

If you wrote a post for this month’s One Word Check-in, I invite you to join the party, share in Comments below, or reflect on your own–whatever works for you. I’m just glad you’re here! 


I started the month with the idea that engaging my senses would be a way to ground myself in and celebrate the moments, the days. Knowing we we’d still be in liminal space…stepping deeper into it as we sell our home and arrange for temporary housing…it seemed like a good idea.

And it has been.

The sound of my page turning on an otherwise silent night.

Sunlight washing the floor on a cold day.

The rare pitter-patter of rain outside our bedroom window.

My mitten sticking to the frozen car door handle.

Salty wind on my skin.

The recurring theme of soft light in all the paintings I loved most at Whistler to Cassatt.

An itchy skin break-out.

The scent of jasmine + viburnum on morning walks with my brother.

The vibration of a hawk’s wings in flight.

Audrey opening-but-never-closing the front door at 10:50 a.m., between morning + afternoon classes.

Removing the layers of composting fall leaves to check on my tender green hens + chicks.

A familiar car engine pulling in the driveway.

Sand on my skin hours after leaving the beach.

A surge of hope rising in my chest and up my arms.

Slowing, deep breath when I let something go.

Smelling the coffee before I get downstairs.

In addition to these…glimpses…I’ve actively engaged my senses in March. I lingered twice as long as I usually do at the art exhibit, stopping to notice what I was drawn to, what were the common denominators? (It was light, primarily.) A favorite, Grace, by Walter Gay:

I walked in the wind (I love wind), snowfall, and sunshine. Each time I pick up Braiding Sweetgrass, I rub the textured cover. I heard a new-to-me Chopin nocturne that literally made me gasp, so I went back to it and listened more deeply. I started a chevron blanket to give Audrey when we move, engaging my hands + heart. I appreciated the gift of seeing Hamilton on stage (long postponed!) with dear friends and my son; live theater stirs so many of my senses (which explains why I cry even when it’s not technically sad).

All these reminders of joy, gratitude, the vulnerability of being alive. Moments of surrender + celebration, of being thankful for that ray of light, an hour making lemon curd, the resultant jar of tangy gold.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, this life…free for the taking. All I have to do is engage.

I’ve found, though, another side to engaging my senses in March. And that’s actually listening to them. Not just noticing, but listening — as warning. Prevention. Self-care.

I don’t mean listening to my gut, following my instincts. (That’s my M.O.)

I mean…The Basics!

Like knowing I’m thirsty, but I’m packing or sorting or washing or schlepping, so I don’t stop to fill up a water bottle. For half the day. Or acknowledging the physical tension in my shoulders, neck, or lower back; pushing through instead of taking ten minutes to roll out my mat. After a few days…? It’s too late.

And I know better! That’s the thing! I just don’t do it. It’s like a little cartoon ‘me’ is watching over my real-life shoulder, Yep! She’s ignoring me! She’ll regret it when she’s sore and stressed and dehydrated! Couldn’t stop and stretch/drink/breathe. We’ll teach her!

(So I’m heading to reflexology + cupping as soon as they open today in hopes of relieving my sciatic nerve and the knot in my shoulder. An excellent way to engage the senses, for sure…and it always works. Knock on wood.)

In all honesty, I procrastinated even writing this post. I didn’t think I could focus, scattered and detached as I’ve been, all wrapped up in the real estate game. But I’m grateful I sat down to the page. I’m glad for accountability + community here. Holy cow, there’s a bundle of good to look back on in March…as well as some worthwhile, if repeat, lessons…and I’m even giving myself grace with a few recent, uncharacteristic oversights: Mixing up the date for a Zoom I host–and completely missing it. Thinking our kids were still on spring break til tomorrow. They’re not. Today is a school day. And I locked myself out of my email for a spell. (None of it the end of the world, of course, but I don’t like when my mistakes impact others.)

This is a time when, without One Word, I think I’d lose sight of all but what’s smack in the center of the spotlight–and I’d miss what I call the gift of an ordinary day. Though the last couple days have been a bit tense, I’ve deeply appreciated a hot cup of coffee. A chapter of Sweetgrass. And soon, a steaming shower with rosemary oil.

I look forward to reading about your One Word {March} as we turn the corner to April! And I’ll see you with a One Word Prompt…a twist on my annual birthday practice…on the 1st.

‘Til then, love + thanks–

13 thoughts on “one word {march twenty-two}

Add yours

  1. You are not alone in listening to your self… caring for your self…

    It is a common thing that women do. I do those same things… not enough water, not enough sleep, not enough exercise…and pauses that allow me to stop and listen to what I need.

    Identifying it is very good… but actions (like you are doing!) are even better!

    Thank you so much for sharing… and for hosting our link up!


    1. It would be an interesting conversation to have, wouldn’t it? With women who are mothers and who are not. Because I think I can definitely attest to being ‘trained’ to put those needs off, over the course of raising children. (And now I’m training myself to, at least, come back to the middle…)


  2. I have to wonder if it’s a thing about being a mother, and having long periods of our lives where we have to put the needs of others first, that causes us to notice some feeling or need in ourselves and put it off until later — even the basic things, like needing a drink or having to go to the bathroom. I know I’m guilty of it. I think what you’ve talked about here is really important. We need to fully engage with our thoughts and feelings — and that means not only acknowledging them but also acting on them when necessary.


    1. I just sent a friend a message that speak to exactly this. Her sister suffered a tragic loss, and our friend is collecting contributions to support her. I asked that she earmark ours for something her sister would not normally do for herself, knowing she’ll put her 6-yr-old son first, naturally. But even going to the bathroom! You are spot on there. I think we can reteach ourselves–if we’re diligent about it.


  3. oh Carolyn – what a month! and I’m delighted to see how you engaged and found so much good stuff (in spite of all the things going on). I hope you’re filling up that water bottle and enjoying the bliss of a rosemary-scented shower! (I still have Sweetgrass on my half-read shelf … maybe April is a good month to dive in.)


    1. Now that’s something I never thought of! A half-read shelf! Wise. (I suppose I either finish, or consider it abandoned. But there IS an in-between, for sure.) I find myself reading Sweetgrass one chapter at a time, sitting with it, then picking it back up a few days later. Sort of the way I read poetry. Honestly, I can’t imagine reading this book any other way. (Although, after devouring the ‘Witch Hazel’ chapter yesterday, I’ll admit it was hard to put in the bookmark!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting to read your post followed by the comments, which completely intersect with my word Balance. I think when I got married in the early 70’s I was already conditioned to put the needs of others first, husband, children, which morphed into caring for parents and then husband again, so that here I am having to find a new way of being, when it’s just me, plus the children and grandchildren, oh and then I see I am still putting their needs in front of mine..
    Anyway I loved reading of how you were engaging your senses to notice the simple things in life. I have always been fond of the comforthing noise of the washing machine, but maybe I am just a bit weird.
    Once again thanks for hosting this and leading with thought provoking posts. Now we should both go and drink the water.


  5. I had JUST filled my water bottle before I read this, Cathy! And I think we share a wavelength…early this morning while everyone was still asleep, I was running a load of laundry. And I thought to myself…That is one of the most comforting sounds. Especially in the soft light inside while it’s still dark out… So I say not weird at all! Or maybe we’re both just good-weird :). I’ll take it.
    One other quick thing–I think a lot of us are noticing overlap in our collective words this month! Kind of special.


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