Staying tethered

Do you ever feel like you are getting lost in your own thoughts and find it hard to return to the real world? Does the lure of distraction and numbing tug at you constantly? Me too. There are times when I think I might just get lost and untethered permanently. Of course, this is often linked to times of overwhelm or pain but I am recognising more and more that there is a natural inclination in myself towards this. It can be both a strength and a challenge in many ways.

My word for 2018 was “savour”. Honestly, there were many points in the year when I had completely forgotten what it was and had to look it up again. I certainly don’t feel like I have delved into this concept like I wanted to at the start of the year. I could allow myself to start labelling that a failure and heap negativity on my shoulders. Instead, I am thankful for the times I kept this as a focus and give myself grace to be a work in progress.

I think choosing this word was part of my soul longing to stay tethered to truth and reality in the face of a challenging year. A part of me knew that my default response would be to escape into the world in my head or the world contained in the pages of a book, game or social media. I was longing to be able to stay present with the people I love.

Do you ever have unexpected moments of deeper understanding? Times when something becomes more clear and in focus? Sometimes that understanding and clarity brings pain and discomfort as you recognise truth you didn’t want to embrace before. That same pain and discomfort brings opportunity for growth.

That deeper understanding and clarity for me over this month? It has to do with why the concept of “savour” was both so vital and so difficult for me. Over this year, I have been dipping in and out of exploring the Enneagram. If you haven’t heard of it, the Enneagram is an ancient system of understanding personality that has been gaining in popularity in recent times. I have always loved exploring personality and have found seeking to know myself more to be essential in my personal growth. The Enneagram is not a simple “take a test” personality assessment but a complex and nuanced way of thinking about the ever-fluid human personality. I love that it takes into account levels of health, tendencies in times of stress and in times of growth. It takes a long time to get your head around it and pinpoint where you fit.

Something clicked last week as a listened to a podcast and did some further reading based on what their conversation sparked in me. I hadn’t been able to get to that “yes, that is me” place that I heard others talk about. I had narrowed it down to what I thought I might be. I was wrong! (I am a 9 with possibly a 1 wing if you are interested)

While exploring this has brought into harsh focus elements of myself I preferred to ignore, it has also equipped me with the focus I need to both give myself the grace to be who I am and work towards being the healthiest version of me that I can be. It has given me some red flags to watch for and ideas for tools to help me to stay grounded. I have so much more to learn and develop in.

So what keeps me tethered in this season? This week, it has been going for almost daily walks, basking in the blue skies, trees, and grass. I am recognising once more that being in nature is deeply spiritual for me. It simultaneously lifts me to higher levels of thought and contemplation while grounding me to the real world around me. A natural element that is so significant for me and has the ability to snap me into the present moment is feathers. Spotting feathers as I walk is this tangible reminder that I am held and seen by God.

What about you? Have you explored the Enneagram and figured out your number? What is keeping you grounded in this season?


  • Susan Shipe

    Jo, I enjoyed reading this and find great perception of thought – I am not an ethereal reader or writer yet, you go places here necessary for all of us. To know ourselves well. I have no clue what Enneagram number I am – yet I always feel/am grounded by my faith in Christ.
    I love the feather thing – my friend shares it with you. I’m a four-leaf clover looker. I never find them unless I need confirmation from the Lord! Then, I save them, tape them flat into my Bible or devotional. They are my “stones of remembrance.”
    Good writing, so glad I came over today. xoxo

  • ~Karrilee~

    You had me with the Feather and then you go and throw in all the Enneagram talk! #Swoon

    I, too, often forgot my OneWord last year for months at a time… it felt, to be honest, more like my OneWord forgot me and this year I am having a Do-Over with it so I can be more intentional with Joy!

    I am a 2w3… (my Honey is a 9 and we haven’t pinpointed his Wing yet… I’ve read that your wing tends to change from one to the other during the second half of your life so that may be why we’re having a hard time deciphering it for him!)

    Here’s to being Tethered to Truth this year!
    Happy New Year!

    • User Avatar

      Jo Koepke

      A kindred heart! I have done do-overs with my word before and found it really helpful.

  • sue

    I need to do the enneagram soon. I think when I know myself better (accurately) and God even more, I can face the days He leads me to and through. Sitting by my fire or in the sun here in CA w/ my journal on my lap and Face to Face by kenneth boa keeps me tethered. Still writing /pondering on my word for 2019. Thanks, Jo – a lovely website, btw.

    • User Avatar

      Jo Koepke

      It is fascinating to explore and I agree that knowing ourselves better and knowing God more are key in our journey. I love that we are on no time schedule apart from our own when it comes to reflecting and figuring our year out! Thanks.