From my journal. After a few years I’ve realized that the “new abnormal” is the new normal. As if the old normal wasn’t challenging enough! Here are my strategies to navigate this ever changing world, subject to change of course.Continue reading “A Road Map for 2022”
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. That concept sounds so burdensome. Instead, I have a personal tradition of picking one or more words to aspire to live by for the coming year. I revisit these words from time to time and check in on how I’m doing. (Writing them on the bathroom mirror is a very effective strategy.)
My words for 2020 were acceptance and focus. I almost wore out the word acceptance with the pandemic and political matters and it’s unlikely I can ever truly accept the damage of the forest fires had here in Oregon this year. Climate change is unacceptable and is something I will always fight against. Thus it has been a mixed bag with that word. FOCUS has been an ongoing challenge for me but I am happy to report that I am BETTER! Being a creative soul I am forever distracted by my thoughts and every shiny thing that comes along in my day. Now though, I am more aware of my distractions and am honing a system to keep me on track.
This December I mulled over what my new words would be. I wait to see what will bubble up to my subconscious and pick the ones I resonate with the most. So drumroll.. my new words are:
Commitment– I allowed myself this year to go “fallow” and dabble in a lot of creative pursuits. Now I am ready to synthesize what I’ve learned into specific avenues.
Generosity– Give more of my time, talent, and money to others
Focus – This word remains on the list as I need more work with it.
Let the year unfold! What are your words for 2020?
and my poem for you this New Year…
A Toast for 2021
It’s the season of new
the Earth has spun through the heavens
and arrived at the place we call the beginning
a bookmark we humans have put in the order of things
the New Year, the first day of the first month of the 21st year of the 21st century
All is new, yet all the same
a cycle in a continuum of millennia
yet a comfort that we have a fresh start in our minds
Shall we proceed then with our new slippers
virgin calendars full of exotic pictures
day planners devoid of marks
and forge on with gusto?
for we have been given another turn
a blank canvas to paint another 12 months upon
Let us mix up our palettes with new intentions
hope, faith and the unseen circumstances that will surely find us
stroke, splash, and drip with abandon
make your marks with love, touching others with color
bringing forth new memories
painting this Earth a brighter place
Check out my other blog onesweetearth.art.blog on sustainable living.
The New Year is always full of good intentions. I just began my online class “A Year of Painting” taught by Alena Hennesy. Alena asked all of us to pick one word to be a focus on for the year. Among the many words posted were “healing, mindful, yes, grow, magical, allow.” It took me days to come up with mine, “COURAGE,” a perfect word for where I’m at.
I’m going to keep this word as my mantra to remind myself to be courageous in my writing, blogging, music, travel, my art, my heart, and all the things I intend to do this year.
I don’t consider myself a painter so I am out of my comfort zone. It will be interesting how I progress through this class I will share my journey on this blog knowing that showing vulnerability is also a sign of courage.
What is your word for the year??
“The difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline” Unknown
When I was teaching middle school science my life was run by daily, weekly, and academic calendar deadlines. When I walked into my classroom door every morning I had to be ready or suffer some really awful consequences. (Students can smell when you are unprepared).
I longed for retirement when deadlines no longer ran my life. Finally, I could concentrate on my art and the other things I had left simmering on the back burner. It didn’t take me too long to realize that unless I imposed my own deadlines upon myself, my dreams would still languish on the back burner. As unpleasant as they can be, deadlines can provide a sense of structure and accomplishment- that is if one sticks to them. Otherwise, count on suffering a hit to your self-esteem.
It’s been a learning process. One thing I’ve realized is to have a series of deadlines mapped out. Otherwise, when you finish one there is a sense of disorientation that can set in. Paying for guitar lessons and showing up weekly has definitely insured progress. My writing and visual arts practices have been trickier.
I usually get one blog post out every week and try to work on either a poem, essay or journal entry every day before I get out of bed. Recently I joined a neighborhood writing group that meets monthly so I need something for that. Then I go online to find publications soliciting for entries and mark my calendar with the deadline. I have had 3 pieces published in the last 2 years with that strategy.
Artwise I just made a huge (tight) deadline applying for a juried membership in Print Arts NW, the regional printmakers association. It was a lot of work but success! I was accepted this week and now can put work in their holiday show.
My continuing challenge is structuring my home studio time with deadlines to be more productive. Having a flow chart posted with milestones has worked before and I’m going to try that again. Stay tuned…..
Sprawled flat in your path
Like giant road kill
Small, undetectable from a distance
Looming larger and larger
Until its great heaving, behemoth body
Brings you to your knees begging
For mercy between pathetic sobs
And muttered excuses
All the while knowing full well
Relief will only come
When you shut up and scale the smelly beast
Head down, focused
Heaving with all you’ve got
Step by step
Leaving all your whining behind
blocking your ears from the siren sounds
Of your favorite distractions
Eventually, you make it
Drinking in the expansive view from the top
Wondering why you made such a fuss in the first place
Until scanning the horizon
You notice a small lump
Blocking your path in the distance
I have these two well-worn images tacked up on the way to my studio to remind myself not to get discouraged. Walk away, regroup, keep going one step at a time. They are also applicable to life in general……
Image courtesy Austin Kleon
marriage, divorce, marriage, child, divorce
CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK
Grad school, career
Child leaves home
Gas molecules will fly all over the place unless held in a container. That’s what I’m like . Unless I am contained in a structure, I am all over the map. As a result, I can feel inefficient and anxious. Ironically it appears that in order for me to “think outside the box”, I need to be in one
For most, they have a structure imposed by a job, school, and/or family responsibilities. That used to be me but 2 years ago I retired from teaching and now it’s up to me to create my own structure. In other words, I get to be my own parent. Scary.
I make several kinds of visual art, play music, sing in a choir, and write, plus take care of an aging farmhouse on rural property. I’m doing a little of this and a little of that. As a result, my work is all over the place with no real sense of focus & accomplishment. I am “showing up” but irregularly without a clear set of goals. So after bumbling around for a while in this new found frontier of freedom, I realize that in order to function effectively I need to create my own “box” for myself to save me from chaos.
Recently I sent for books on the subject. Currently, I am reading , Goal Setting for People Who Hate to Set Goals.” This small book by Keith Ellis is helping me prioritize & set measurable goals step by step. Today I am going to sit down, write out my goals and create a visual flowchart to follow. For me, unless I write things down and have a visual posted in a place where I see it consistently, all will be a wash.
Some successes thus far: I have started to get up an hour earlier. That helps a lot. I also for some months now have been following a modified version of the house cleaning and organization system on flylady.net. My house is way more in order and clean than ever before by just following her simple systematic approach. I function much better in a clean, orderly environment.
If you have any tricks to stay focused and organized, I would love to know!
Why is it we learn so much when things don’t go as planned? I ponder this again after not thinking things through and doing my homework before entering the art show I participated in last weekend.
Errors of judgment
Literally & figuratively
Missed – takes
In this university of life
This education is exhausting
But apparently required
To reach one’s true destination