I’m still easing my way into 2016. It was an incredible 2015 —- I finished two very, very full online courses: Color of Woman, an Intentional Creativity training from Shiloh Sophia McCloud, and Living the Tree of Life from Havi Mandell and Caron McCloud. As I’ve said to many of my friends already, the work that I put into these courses was about the same amount of work that I had put into my master’s degree — or at least that’s certainly what it felt like. There was also a hefty dose of drama in my personal and family lives, as well, taking way more time and attention than I had planned on. A dear, dear friend passed from a recurrence of cancer. I conducted Story Circles, a 4 week Study Group, and half a dozen other 1/2 or full day classes on Intentional Creativity. Read almost 50 books. Kept up with my meditation practice. Attended two week-long intensive trainings with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. And facilitated a twice monthly book group at the YWCA (actually, it’s a lot like trying to herd cats, and we have one helluva lot of fun! If we had a coat of arms the motto would be “We who shall never be herded!”)
I also, surprisingly, filled these 10 journals with musings, lists, doodles, paintings, collage, print outs of memorable emails I sent or received, photos of my paintings and writings throughout the year, and an article or two I just couldn’t throw away. As you can see, I make my own journals, sewing folded watercolor paper into fabric covers. There’s one Cosmic Smashbook in there: the one with the raven and compass painted on the cover is a decorated composition book.
It’s perception I want to talk about right now, though. As I was in the midst of living all this, it felt as though I wasn’t getting nearly as much done as I had hoped. It felt as though I’d never get the courses finished in time; it felt as though I might not have time to adequately prepare for my own offerings. Yet each day I just moved forward as best I could, more slowly or not at all on the bad days when the physical pain claimed all energy and attention, joyfully and exuberantly on the internal sunny days.
If I hadn’t created some kind of documentation of my days, if my courses had not each demanded the submission of my cumulative body of work, I would probably still be feeling as though I hadn’t gotten enough done last year. And how crazy would that have been, faced with the evidence of what actually filled the days of 2015!!!
The thing is, I’m not the only woman I know who fills her days with necessary and worthy activities — I’m just lucky enough, or conscious enough, to have paused to collect, photograph, list, and reflect on what filled those days. And that’s what I’d encourage you to do. Take a weekend or a day to go through last year’s calendar; reread whatever journals you kept; remember the emotional, physical, spiritual challenges. Give yourself credit for the beautiful life that you are creating for yourself and your beloveds.
Believe it or not, but most of my friends “do” a lot more than I do. But look at what accumulates in just a few hours a day, day after day after day! Remember Mary Oliver’s question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” And I’ll add: Tell me, who are you? Who do you want to be?
Now, how will you live this amazing new year? (And it’s okay if you want to go take a nap now!)
Much warmth and love,
p.s. I’ve taken it easy this month, doing some wrap up of 2015 and planning for the coming months. My intention is to follow the moon’s energy a little more closely this year, and to write two blog posts per month, one on or near the Full Moon and one on or near the New Moon. Thank you for being one of my readers. I’m honored that you’re here.