My word for 2021 is shift. Like everyone I know, I’ve learned a lot, since this time last year. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that change and uncertainty just are. Since I’m not in control of much more than which yoga pants, Zoom-appropriate top, and slippers I’ll wear each day, I needed to figure out how I could deal with all the change and uncertainty. That’s where shifting comes in.
For me, shifts involve acceptance and adjustment. I know I don’t have much control, but I have unlimited choices. I can shift.
Some of my recent shifts have been pretty significant. Some have been tiny. Some haven’t happened, yet. And I’m sure I’ll make a lot of shifts I can’t even imagine
Repainting my walking stick has been a powerful shift for me, for a lot years. My body was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 30 years ago. Over those years, I’ve gathered and leaned on many awesome and supportive walking sticks.
There’s one though, that’s extra special because I dug it up myself in a swamp, near my home. I found it on a day I was mentally and emotionally arm wrestling with the reality of MS. I was angry, afraid, and uncertain, which aren’t my favorite emotions.
So, I headed into the Green Swamp, in search of the.right.stick.for.me and some hope. Then I spotted a small, dead sassafras tree. I reached out to it and knew it was my stick. It’s a funky piece of sassafras and a whole lot more. The root of the dead tree became the handle of my walking stick. It’s kind of grounded me, for years.
Back to the shift part. A couple of years after I found this stick, I decided to paint it. On my birthday, the next year, I repainted it, in anticipation of the year to come. This has been my shift for 26 years.
The process of repainting my sassafras stick helps me ponder the shifts I want to make, as I step into the coming year. Gotta admit, I usually have no plan for my new design. This year, I did. I want to step into this year with less expectations and more hope. I want to absolve myself of all I haven’t done or been, and honor who and where I am. I want to stop carrying around broken stuff, I can’t fix.
I want to shift, by traveling lighter and being more willing to genuinely celebrate, when God doesn’t follow my very well-designed plans. So, for this year, my walking stick isn’t covered from top to bottom with stuff. There are a few feathers, a simple mandala, a dotted line that just.plain.flows, and lots of open space. It feels like a good shift for me.
What kind of shifts have you made lately?