Another Monday
Now More Than Ever

What a Month!

Oh, March!
Talk about going out like a lion!  
Let's end this very . . . trying . . . month with some thoughts on my One Little Word this year.


I'll begin with a little trip down memory lane . . . to my 18th birthday . . . way back in 1977.

For my birthday that year (my senior year in high school), I received a gift (I think it was from my sister, although it might have been from my mom) that I had been coveting for some months.  It was what I called at the time . . . an "empty book" --   just a  plain bound book full of blank pages.  

I know that sounds silly these days -- because you can go to any brick-and-mortar book or stationery store - or anywhere online - and find dozens upon dozens of "empty books."  But back in 1977, you couldn't.  You could buy diaries (by year, and often with a lock) (and I did have a new one of those every year), but blank journals just weren't A Thing yet.  

When I first saw one (I think at our local Hallmark store), I was entranced!  I had to have it!

I still have it. . . 



It's nearly full.  

I used it to collect "sayings" (as I called them then).  And poems.  I drew in it a bit.  Practiced calligraphy.  There are LOTS of song lyrics in there!  Sometimes friends wrote things they thought I might like in my "empty book" (with my permission).  Unfortnately, I didn't always attribute the "sayings" or poems to their authors.  And I didn't date any of my entries.  But I know I started right out in March 1977 . . . and put the book away about the same time I graduated from college.  (There are no dates, but just based on the types of things I was writing down, I can tell what was going on in my life:  new love, break-ups, betrayals, growing up, discovering my own life.)


Here's the first page . . . the very first things I captured in my "empty book" back in March 1977 . . . 



Let's take a closer look at the sideways writing on the right-hand side of that page . . . 


"Don't push the river . . . it flows by itself."

You can probably HEAR my kids rolling their eyes out there right this moment.  Because this has been a constant mantra in my life  . . . well . . . since 1977 (at least).  And my kids heard it PLENTY as they were going through rough patches in their lives growing up.  Although I didn't attribute the quote to anyone at all, it turns out it's from Frederick S. Perls, who is the father of Gestalt therapy.  (Who knew?)

When I chose FLOW as my word for 2020, my first thought was, of course, "don't push the river . . . it flows by itself."

Pretty much a lifetime mantra for me.
How could I have known that it would be more important than ever for me this year?

These March days have been all about me . . . trying to push the river.  Wanting to control things I can't control.  Worrying.  Stressing.  Struggling.

It's time to quit pushing.
And let it flow.


What have you learned from your word this month?


Also -- thank you so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes yesterday!  You all made my self-isolating, social-distancing birthday so much nicer!  (What would I do without this commUNITY???)  


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The word "flow" jump at me the minute i looked at your page. This situation has knocked us all about mentally for a few weeks, but your word is one to keep in mind for all of us. We may be permanently changing our life flow and creating new habits, new diversions, new pathways. We must be open to accepting the changes and paddling through the rapids. Each year your word seems to carry magical moments.


How wonderful is that phrase to tie itself to a concrete beautiful element of nature. Easier to remember than other aphorisms when one is tied up in knots.


Don't push the river. Such wise words for all time but especially THIS time. Thank you. And I'm glad your birthday was fun even if it wasn't typical!


Just amazing to have a thought process that has stayed with you for so long. Those lucky kids to have a mom with such wisdom. :-) We're going with the flow...and adapting to the many new directions we're moving in.


I am impressed that you were so contemplative and thoughtful even as a teenager, and I love how Flow has remained important throughout the years. I've been trying desperately to change the course of things by pushing the river, but my struggles have been in vain. I've also been a failure at Focus (my word) but now is the time to make a fresh attempt.


"Don't Push the River" - I LOVE that phrase//saying. I had never heard that quote previously, but it speaks volumes to me. Thanks for sharing. I need to get back to collecting quotes/sayings/pictures/thoughts/ALL. So glad your birthday was good in these unusual times. One for the record books! Take care Kym.


What a beautiful mantra to have kept in your life, one we all need to adopt in these trying times. So impressed that you have been so in tune with the need to reflect and be mindful even at a young age.

Carolyn Seymour Thomas

Kym, I love how this came back for you! Well, never really left, is more like it... And how fun that you shared the 1977 journal :) We have been in a challenging time with our oldest, who turns 16 soon. I need to write this down--more like tattoo it on my forehead. While your words were directed toward the pandemic: "These March days have been all about me . . . trying to push the river. Wanting to control things I can't control. Worrying. Stressing. Struggling."...they made me feel less alone in the struggle I've been having here. Because it's so many similar feelings! Thank you--it felt like an offering.


Oh Kym, what a lovely story .. and I'm a bit jealous of ALL those years of filling up "empty books"! It has been such a gift to read all the lessons today that these OLWs are teaching right now. Again, I'm so grateful for this practice and the commUNITY!


Perfectly said... and I needed this right now! Thank you so much! XO


Happy, Happy belated Birthday, Kym


What a beautiful word for this year. It's amazing how our world as we have known it came to a halt this month. Scary stories and uplifting stores, but it's hard to not worry about the unknown, but your sidewise writing is so touching. As you know, I walk by our river ever day and I always take pictures of it on my daily walk. Last week when I was feeling very overwhelmed, I jumped over the fence and climbed down the rocks to just sit and listened to the river doing what it always does and it calmed my spirit. The river does indeed flow. <3


What a treasure! I kept journals for years and years when I was younger, but I don't think I still have any of them.

This mantra is such a good one -- thank you for sharing it. Also, your penmanship is beautiful!


Happy belated birthday.
Your post is beautiful and your message about the river is so needed right now. Thank you.


I love the quote. I've never heard it before. Funny I covered a half-sized three ring notebook with fabric when I was in college in 1972 (I'm older) and kept poetry and quotes in it. I think I still have it somewhere. Happy Belated Birthday. I just downloaded a pdf for a mask pattern and plan to stitch up a few tomorrow. Yes - anything to flatten the curve.

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