What have you learned in 2020?

We usually save such year-end questions for after Christmas. While we’re chilling after the holiday rush. When we’re not frantically buying presents, penning cards, decking the halls with boughs of holly.

But this year–if you’ve time or inclination–let’s ask this question earlier than usual. What have you learned in 2020?

You can share your answer in the comments, or you can chew on it for the next few weeks. You can give half a response or a detailed analysis. You can shorten it to one word.

But let’s allow this to soak in during these waning days of this unique challenging wonderful awful year.

Maybe our musing will bear riper fruit, or brighter mistletoe, or more sparkly stars on a cold moon-less night in the fairy dark. Maybe we’ll discover something important to bring with us into 2021.

Of course a person can’t ask this question without revealing what she has learned in 2020, so here goes:

I learned that anything can happen at any time.

That one minute you’re visiting friends and family la-de-da and the next minute you’re staying home trying to prevent a rampant virus from spreading too quickly.

I’ve learned we can’t take small acts for granted–hugs, close contact, dinners with friends and family, airplane trips, group gatherings.

I learned that part of me has the patience and contentedness to stay home. It has taken many, many years of spiritual exploration to find an inner calm where restlessness abates…so am grateful for these years of inner work. I was one of the most restless souls on the planet (may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight) during younger times. I feel for the people left dangling in their own boredom and restlessness and unprocessed emotions during 2020’s”God’s time out chair” as my friend Jodi calls it. I am also learning that many can’t stay in the time out chair without feeling totally discombobulated.

I learned that I am not as spiritually evolved and emotionally mature as hoped. Alas. Lots of feelings of anger and annoyance and pissed-off-ness rose toward other human beings during 2020. The intensity of anger running through this system–especially in May and June–felt overwhelming. I believe the holy heart brought forth much unconscious emotion to the surface to be digested during this wild-wangled year. Digest, digest, digest. Whether we’re aware of it or not, I believe deep unconscious patterns have arisen to the surface to be met, absorbed, and brought to the light of love and awareness.

I have learned (once again) that much goodness shines in this seemingly broken world. That people step up to the plate and give. That gratitude can make all the difference. That stuck patterns can unexpectedly change. That this blogging community rocks around the Christmas tree at all times of year. That something–I don’t know what it is–trumps despair. Something trumps political and virus differences, fights, name-calling, bitterness, hatred. Something can even trump Trump. (Ha ha, sorry, couldn’t help myself!)

I call that something the holy heart. I still can not articulate it very well, but I keep trying. Some people name it God. Others like Jesus, Allah, Great Spirit, Higher Self, Presence. Whatever name you call it–there’s something even larger than those names. It keeps pointing us back to love.

It’s right here in this imperfect perfect moment and it’s beating like your thumping red heart informing all of life, all of death, all of your cells, every tree in your backyard, those sweet little chirping chickadees, your sparkling Christmas lights, your unique and beautiful soul shining brighter than than the morning sun. Oh, human, feel that beautiful soul and lay it in the nativity of your innocence once again as we turn, turn turn the wheel of life toward 2021.

Love, Kathy

Day 52 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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39 Responses to What have you learned in 2020?

  1. dawnkinster says:

    I will have to think about this for awhile.

  2. Larissa says:

    I’ve been learning lots about digesting anger and fear. Lately I’ve noticed how they stack up in layers on top of each other in the body. I described it recently as “a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce” (a line from “You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch”). Jeannie said she calls it a “shit-fuck stack.”

    • Kathy says:

      OK, I just laughed so hard–and long–that you could hear it outside in the woods! Am going to remember that one! Yep, that stacked anger and fear. And so much of it in 2020, it seems. Thank you for sharing this, Larissa. ❤

  3. leelah saachi says:

    I have learned that support and LOVE is always as close as I choose it to be – choosing to change perception – from agony to peace and rest

  4. Carol says:

    Like Dawn, I’ll have to give this some thought. I’ve been there this year, with all those emotions – the anger, the fear, the being completely astounded at what people will believe – but the confinement has not bothered me so much, because I’ve loved being home in my space for a very long time. I must confess though, I am starting to think going out to eat would be such a treat. That’s something I haven’t done much in my life, but oh boy does it sound good now!

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, if you discover any more–I would love to hear. It sounds like many of us have cycled through many of these emotions. I’m just cycling through that astoundment of what people will believe AGAIN this afternoon. Wouldn’t it be lovely to go to a restaurant this week? And eat a delicious meal while perhaps drinking a wine (beer for me these days) and enjoying the ambiance? Yes indeed…may it be so soon.

  5. I can say during the past 9 months, anger hasn’t crossed my mind. That’s a good thing. I’ve learned that reaching out to people is appreciated. On the downside, being on the other end hasn’t happened much. That’s a downer. I’ve learned that all of us miss a list of happenings, but we have to adjust, which has led to new opportunities. Missing our regular rhythm of church hasn’t dampened my faith, but I need to dig deeper inside myself. Oh well … there’s a start. Good post, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Frank, it feels like you are such a loving soul who reaches out again and again. And sometimes good souls don’t get back all the loving they give. But maybe Spirit gives it back in different ways? I am so glad that missing your usual church hasn’t interfered with your faith. Maybe it’s even helped those of us who need to keep digging deeper. I am glad you enjoyed this.

      • Thanks for the support. Fortunately our church has done well with an online format. Well, at least we think so. The handbell choir was able to practice 6-7 times before getting shut down – even made a video for a service. Church wise, it’s going to be a different Christmas.

        • Kathy says:

          I hope you can still find sustenance with your church this Christmas, Frank. Glad to hear the online format is working for you. Even though I do not attend church up here, I do love going with my mom to my childhood church when visiting her.

  6. Debbie says:

    Kathy, I’ve learned so much from this twisted, mixed-up year! Perhaps the most important thing is that we’re all more resilient than we thought … and, for some of us, we’ve become more apt to lean closer to God as we see Him, to claim His promises, care, and love. All of us have missed things — family, friends, church, sports, movies, whatever — from 2020, though, so it’s with great hope and joy that we’ll turn over a new year in just a few weeks!

    • Kathy says:

      That is such a good point, Debbie. We are more resilient than we thought…and some of us are leaning closer to God. We’ve missed certain things so much, but we have hope that things will be different soon. Sooner than later, that is.

  7. Susan D. Durham says:

    I like/love what you’ve learned in 2020, my friend. I especially love your honesty, and the way it gives us all “permission” to be honest, and to be vulnerable. To be Holy and human. I echo some of what you’ve learned. The anger I’ve felt, and which still flashes, is an eye-opener. I know it covers fear, my fear, and I’m working on it. With the help of previous work, reflection, you, and God. I’ve also learned that as much as I adore being by myself, having my own sacred space, I truly need other humans more than I’d have thought. Voices, laughter, touch. Oh, touch. How many of us have NOT been touched since March? That simply is not healthy. Which brings me to resentment and envy… ahem. Yes, I envy and sometimes resent those who are in families, or with partners, who can at least touch one another, if no one else. But, I wouldn’t ever, ever wish it away from those fortunate enough to have it …human touch. And, I’ve also learned that no matter how drained, exhausted, scared I am, the fountain of being a supporter and encourager of others has not run dry. And I reap more from that than perhaps anything else I can think of this year. I’m a fortunate, grateful woman. And I love you bunches!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, it is so cool when people can find a safe space to open up and be vulnerable and “real” without putting on more layers of protection. What a good point about how anger often (always?) covers up fear–and I think beneath that there’s so much sadness. Feeling pin-prickle tears for you and those who haven’t felt another’s touch since March. It is a tragedy of the pandemic, and I love your honesty in saying that resentment and envy can be part of this crazy-mixed-up emotional stew of 2020. I love that you haven’t run dry, no matter what’s happened. We haven’t run dry. And I love also that you are such a rock of support for others!! For me, too. Love you bunches, too. ❤

  8. jeffstroud says:

    I’ll get back to you about this. Headache today, and just resting I certainly need the quiet right now. my own quiet.

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, big virtual hugs for that headache of yours. So sorry. When you’re better and rested and it a more thought-filled space, please share. I would love to hear what you’ve learned this year!

  9. Stacy says:

    I’ve learned a few things in 2020, but not for the same reasons as most people.

    I can’t live life separate from the Holy.
    There are some really solid people in my life, and a lot of flaccid ones, too.
    I have failed at some things, but have succeeded in others.
    In all of this, this is a dichotomous world, light and dark. XOXO

  10. Joanne says:

    Kathy, I can answer your question quite easily, as I have already contemplated the changes in my life this year, and they are not all Covid related. And in the learning, I feel more content as I now know what I want to invite into my life and what I will avoid in future. 🙂
    I have learned that I enjoy blogging more than Facebook. My blogging friends are all lovely people who are kind to one another, while FB seems to bring out the worst side of people. I have always loved and appreciated my home and family, but now I appreciate them more than ever, if that’s possible. I have learned that possessions can weigh a person down and mess with their mental state. I keep thinking about writing a blog post on how imperative it is to declutter, but need to find the words to explain a nightmare-ish situation my husband and I found ourselves in recently, without making the post too personal. I have also learned how much I detest politics! 😉

    • Kathy says:

      What wisdom, Joanne. To know what you want to say yes to–and what you know is a no. I like what you’ve said about how our blogging friends are kind, but Facebook tends to bring out a harsher side of people. I am appreciating blogging friends so much this year and wondering why I don’t keep up with everyone more diligently during my non-blogging times. Because you guys are the salt of the earth. You are!

      • Joanne says:

        I feel the same way about my blogging friends! As for Facebook, I have even considered leaving because there are so many unnecessary, harsh words spoken there now, but that would mean losing regular contact with family and friends which I enjoy. So I just don’t go on FB as often. It works for me. 🙂

  11. I had to think about this for awhile. It seems like many old lessons were driven home or emphasized dramatically during the pandemic. Like how important flexibility is, how change is the only constant in life, how precious and precarious life is. But a “new” thing I’ve learned is just how fragile our democracy is and how essential critical thinking has been and will be for its citizens.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I think a lot of folks couldn’t come up with an immediate answer. Which was kinda my hope–that we might start thinking about this before New Years. I like what you’ve discovered about change and flexibility and our need for critical thinking. All of those are wise and important lessons.

  12. Amanda-Lyn says:

    I learned to treasure time with loved ones even when I don’t want to hear it or when I am tired or cranky….we lost Dad back in July and before his going home when I would call Mommy for something he would usually be yelling in the background about needing to talk to me and he always made it sound urgent when typically it was because he broke his earbuds again or froze something on his computer. I would give anything to hear him yell now 😥

    • Kathy says:

      Amanda-Lyn, you have learned something the hard way, and most of us humans seem to need to learn this the hard way. How precious everything can be. Even yelling. A Facebook friend lost a father-in-law whom she loved but also called the grumpiest man ever. She would give anything for his grumpiness now. Big hugs, Amanda, and thank you for reminding me once again.

  13. I want to start with saying I’ve learned how very stupid some people are, what with all the politics and then coronavirus politics and then the continuing ongoing election drama…but I’m sure I learned good things, too, and am perhaps just a bit tired and cranky. So, I’ll get back to you on that!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, I am smiling because–yes–I think a lot of us might come to similar first conclusion about this 2020! Would love to hear if there’s other things you’ve learned too, but only after giving your tired and cranky side a big (((hug))) and saying yes, yes, I know, there, there, it’s been rough. xoxo

  14. Reggie says:

    Oh, Kathy, these last weeks of following your daily blog posts have been so good for the heart and the spirit. Your post have kept reminding me of the Holy, and to keep reaching for it, especially when this whole weird crazy distressing time is getting a bit overwhelming. I’ve learned that I love my home; I love being at home; I love our little sanctuary; I love working from home; I love love love that my hubby is able to work from home too this year, and that we can lean on each other for everything. I’ve learned that heart-to-heart in-person mask-free and fear-of-covid-free chats with family and friends – and HUGS, oh my goodness – HUGS! – are the best thing in the world and what I have missed the most. I didn’t know that until it was taken away.

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, my heart soared when reading your comment last night, and it’s soaring again. Thank YOU for appreciating these daily blog posts. Thank YOU for saying they keep reminding you of the Holy. I am in awe that so many of my friends here are so wonderful, so loving, such good pure hearts. I love reading what you’ve learned. Thank you so much, Reggie!!

      • Reggie says:

        I love your readership, Kathy. They are an extraordinary, compassionate, loving, thoughtful, inspiring, openhearted bunch! And we come, and we stay and linger, because your writings resonate with our hearts and souls. So keep going. You’re a lifeline in these difficult times.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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