I’d Love for Us to Check in With Each Other #onewordcheckin


[ “A daily discipline of centering & being internally aware.”[email protected] #onewordcheckin ]

Checkin MapI felt slightly awkward that first morning when I called our small group together in Entebbe, Uganda for a “one word check-in.” Internally, I was slaying old, smelly dragons around that word “leadership.” What if the new girls in our group thought I was overbearing? Too much? Or quietly wished: Just let us eat our pineapple in peace, girl!

I had to pull up courage through my ankles, up the marrow in my bones and all the way to my shoulders. But I knew if I didn’t do it that morning—our very first one together–it would be hard to start our practice later on.

On our Sisterhood journey, we could occupy space together, have profound conversations, lingering meals and belly–or faux–laughs together. We could even cry together. But I knew there was a chance we could miss out on the full experience of each other, if we didn’t create room to hear from everyone.

the girls-3On a journey like this, there’s always natural friendships that form. I wanted us to step beyond our comfort zones to community.

I was hungry for what I imagined we could be together. So I pushed through, carried my soft journal and pen to the table and said:

“I’d love for us to check in with each other.”

The girls gathered. We sat down and forked the fresh papaya onto our plates and poured coffee from the flask.

I was thankful that Tina and Claire knew exactly what I was talking about when I said “one word check-in.”

They were familiar, because every Thursdays night when we meet as a lifegroup in my living room, we “check in” with each other.

On Thursday nights we have a rhythm: We make tea, hug hello, gather around the island in the kitchen and casually catch up a bit until everyone’s arrived.

Once we move to the couches in the living room, we say a prayer and do our one word check-ins with each other. (Mostly in that order.) From there, the night unfolds.

So, what’s a one word check-in?

Here’s what I told the girls in Uganda:

– It’s simply asking myself, What one word most honestly describes where I am at today, or in this moment?

– Or: In one word, how am I feeling?

No need to think about it too much. The only requirement is to be true to where you’re at.

In one word, we can learn how someone is feeling. What we’re struggling with. Or rejoicing in.

So, that’s how we started that first Saturday morning in Uganda.

Each person at the table shared her #onewordcheckin.

Mine is “rooted,” I said. There was an image in Jan L. Richardson’s book “In Wisdom’s Path” that resonated so much with me. I felt grateful. The gratitude came out of feeling such a profound sense of place–of who I am and where I’m from–so I pushed deeper. I felt “rooted.”

Plus: The day before we’d walked through the botanical gardens in Entebbe and for several hours we were surrounded by tall, lush trees with thick roots. I sensed a theme.

One of the friends we didn’t know until the night before, took a risk to be vulnerable and authentic with a table of strangers. Over Mama Teresa’s boiled eggs and white toast, she shared her one word. In that moment, she opened my heart to hers.

Our vulnerability connects us.

From that Saturday on, we made room to check in with each other as a group, catching up whoever was added to the group at the time—whether Kelley, Fiona, Meda, Nicole or Carolyn.

the girls-4

Once we joined the Amahoro gathering, it became a little trickier, but we kept at it. Mostly.

One morning the girls came up to Claire and my hotel room to “check in.” Another morning we sat at the long breakfast tables in the hotel and whichever Amahoro friends were sitting with us, joined in “checking in” as well.

Then there was the Friday, after Amahoro, when we were waiting to literally check in to our flight to Burundi, when we had a moment to also check in with each other.

From then on, at Kelley and Claude’s home in Burundi, we gathered around the breakfast table and checked in every morning.

the girls-2I believe this helped set the tone for our togetherness.

It said, We want to hear from every person on this journey with us.

Every one of our voices matter.

In saying my one word, it felt like showing up–to myself and others.

A few days after she’d left Burundi, while Teen and I were on our way to Moldova, I read Leigh’s tweet:

Leigh's One Word checkin tweet

So, it wasn’t just me who felt this was important.

This really was and is a thing for us, I realized. Something powerful.

We started dreaming about asking our SheLoves community–you–to join us in checking in.

We tried a few trial tweets.

Now, here I am today, standing in the circle with our SheLoves/Amahoro Sisterhood girls and the Thursday night lifegroup girls and our editorial team (yep, this past Saturday, we checked in too!) and my hope is to open this circle of connection wide.

Yes, I’d love for us to check in with each other.

We’d love to hear your voice in this big circle.

It’s saying:

– I am here.

– I’m showing up.

We asked a few SheLovelys to share their #onewordcheckin for today–to go first. (You can also see them in Sars’ gorgeous graphic (above):

Nicole: affirmed

Fiona: heavy

Kelley: celebrating

Leigh: broken

Tina: babysteps

Megan: reconnect

Sarah: ready

Beautiful, courageous authenticity. 

I treasure these girls for their hearts.

Now we hope you’ll join us, today and on this journey ahead.

BreneBrown quote

How will this work practically?

We invite you to tweet it, blog it, Instagram it, Vine it or share it on facebook with the hashtag #onewordcheckin

– We’ll have a daily check-in on our SheLoves facebook page, inviting you to share your #onewordcheckin. Or share it in your own status update with that hashtag.

– Tweet us on Twitter. I’ve added a column in my tweetdeck for our #onewordcheckin–so, I can see whenever you tweet us with that hashtag.

– Join us from wherever you are in the world, at whatever time of the day you want to join in.

I look forward to us checking in with each other. What I really mean to say is, I kinda feel like it’s Christmas Eve, you girls!

Maybe my one word should be giddy. #onewordcheckin

See you at the hashtag!