The inspiration for my 2020 Word(s) of the Year came from the Sprigs of Rosemary Advent retreat that I recently led. The retreat was centered around the theme of sanctuary, inspired by the lyrics of Sanctuary written by Carrie Newcomer.
There were several questions participants were asked to consider as a guide for them during the retreat. “What do I need sanctuary from?” touched my heart.
I shared that I need sanctuary from the endless flood of thoughts that preoccupy my mind; thoughts that hold me back and keep me from being truly free. I need sanctuary from the constant rerun of conversations and/or situations that have led to hurt feelings and a sense of rejection. I need sanctuary from the relentless inner conversations that distract me from living fully and hold me a prisoner in the role of victim.
When I have strong feelings or attachments, compulsive mental role-playing commences. I replay conversations—what was said, what I could have or should have said, what he/she meant, and on and on. Once I can slow down my thoughts, create some space, and breathe, I can hear more clearly what God intends for me to know.
Being clear about what I need to detach from—my thoughts—was the creative fuel I needed to intuitively make my first card named “Sanctuary.”
“Our logical thinking mind cannot leap out of the loop, but our intuitive mind can step back and watch….the logical mind usually misses the symbolic voice heard by the intuitive senses.” Discernment Matters, Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
A culminating activity of the retreat was a SoulCollage® reading. Reflecting on, praying with, or “reading” your cards is a process that never fails—if you have questions, God provides answers that are tailor-made using the images that have spoken uniquely to you. We begin by selecting one card we made during the retreat and randomly selecting two other Soulcollage® cards from our personal collection, cards made months or years earlier, taking turns with questions and reflections.
The question for my cards, interestingly evolved while I was saying it out loud—”How can I find sanctuary from my thoughts? … Actually, how can I move on from them, how can I carry on?”
I ask my first card, “How can I carry on?” (See card above)
I am one who sometimes feels alone, feeling weighted down and walking in emptiness. I am one who seeks sanctuary. I am also one who carries the innocence of my child-self within. My eyes reveal, looking upward, questioning, seeking, that I am trusting as well. I am one who remembers both the good and the bad. I see the filmstrip of life in each of its parts and in its wholeness. This memory can serve me well, or not. I am one who must remember to ask for sanctuary. I am one who knows the possibilities of sanctuary—just look at the penguins! They are there for each other, eye to eye, face to face. They look for sanctuary, they find it. I am one who can rest in the sanctuary just as the innocent, seeking child rests his chin on the sanctuary created by the penguins. I am one who believes, like a starfish thrown back into the ocean, that there is hope and opportunity. I am one who can remember to try again. I am one looking for help and assurance, who is expectant and hopeful. I am one who, despite past hurts and feelings of rejection, want to carry on. I am one who will find sanctuary, who has a refuge. How can I carry on? By remembering to ask for sanctuary.
I ask my second card, “How can I carry on?
Malala tells me—with courage! I am one who, like Malala, is strong. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, I hear her say. Carry on as if you are on a mission. Follow what you believe. I am one who has many layers, like the seashell. The seashell, although it may sound like the sea, is but only a reflection. Like the seashell, I am one who has more inside than what shows on the outside. There is inner strength. I am one who has endured many hard waves—like Malala, like the seashell—but is made more beautiful because of them. I am one who is more beautiful because of the struggle to overcome adversity. I am one, like Malala, who will keep believing in causes. Like Malala, I will carry on.
I note that there are trusting eyes in both of my cards. In the Sanctuary card, the eyes are looking for assurance; in the Malala card, the eyes are damn sure that “this too shall pass.” How can I carry on? With courage and inner strength.
I ask my final card, “How can I carry on?”
I am one who confidently walks into the desert. No longer lost, I have direction. I am the expectant bride. I have hope and a strong sense of self, even when I walk through the desert. I am one who is being birthed, starting anew, being created and re-created all of the time. What I have learned in the autumn and the winter seasons is that I can walk through all seasons. I am one who is confident. I am beginning a new journey. I am one who is trimmed in gold, coated with the divine. I have Christ within and my journey is Christ soaked. I am one who sees what’s inside me, who continues to learn, and who carries on with confidence through every season. How can I carry on? By carrying on.
Just as I felt a shift when the words You Are Free came to me, the inspiration for my 2019 Words, I have felt a shift when I let the words “Carry On” fuel me with courage and motivate me to detach from my own thoughts and the pain of rejection.
Sanctuary will not come looking for me. I must remember, like sprigs of rosemary, to seek it. I must remember to ask for sanctuary. Over and again, I hear that I must be silent, to listen to the breath of God within me, to still the thoughts. And then, carry on.
All along, the answer was in the question. How can I carry on? I must just do it.
Will you remember
And bring me sprigs of rosemary
Be my sanctuary
Until I can carry on
What word resonates with you? Will you pick a word for 2020? Consider creating an image that captures the essence of your word. Please share your word or image in comments!
Posts about previous words of the year
- 2016—Mercy Always We Begin Again
- 2017—Gentle Be Excessively Gentle: A New Year’s Un-Resolution
- 2018—Cushion 2018 Word of the Year
- 2019—You are Free New and Improved: Always We Begin Again
Sprigs of Rosemary Advent Retreat Posts HERE.