My Words for 2020

A good intention is like the seed of a tree whose fruit we do not know.

George Bernard Shaw

It’s become a personal tradition to rather than make a long list of resolutions to pick a word to live by for the year. Last New Year my word for the year was “courage.” Looking back I believe I did the word justice (to the point of perhaps overdoing it?)  I put myself img_2915out of my comfort zone by making a new body of work, participating in the Art Harvest Studio Tour, completing a printmaking residency, traveling Scotland to walk with friends & then to Ireland solo to attend Craiccean a week-long bodhran (drum) camp on one of the Aran Islands.  Then there were a series of health issues that had to be navigated that took a different type of courage.  I am happy to report things are much better!

Ready to give courage a bit of a rest, my new word for 2020 popped into my head during last week’s yoga class when my teacher asked us to think about and intention for the New Year.  That word is “acceptance” with my secondary word being “focus”.  I find one word can have quite a few layers to it and I am eager to explore where these will take me.

Last night I read the following poem I wrote at a gathering of friends as a toast to the New Year.  I am very optimistic for better times and wish all of you the best for 2020.

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Images by Alanna Pass

Continue reading “My Words for 2020”

A Road Map for the New Year 2020

“There is more to life than increasing its speed” Mahatma Gandhi

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artwork by the author

One of my intentions for the New Year is to manage my time more effectively.  As a creative type, I am constantly let astray by shiny distractions – a crow woman of sorts. I found two books that are very helpful on the subject.

41btviico9l._sx329_bo1204203200_“Make Time” by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky gives clear strategies to simplify and prioritize your day in a way that will give your life less stress and more meaning.  The two authors are self-described “time dorks.” They were so overstressed in their high tech world that they developed simple techniques to really focus on what matters by doing less.  Besides providing you with a simple daily template this book is chalked full of strategies to help you deal with digital distractions, tips to eat and sleep more effectively, and even how to get the most out of your caffeine habit!

Then there is “Manage your Day to Day: Build Your Routine , Find Your Focus, & Sharpen 51gpnuhi4-lYour Creative Mind” published by 99U.  This compact little book is geared more to the creative than Make Time.  There is also some overlap.  Each chapter is written by a different person in creative fields about building a successful creative routine.  The chapters are short, there’s a lot of quotes(I love quotes) and you can open anywhere in the book for a little pick-me-up.

Check these out.  Best wishes for a creative New Year!

 

“If you want to create something worthwhile in your life, you need to draw a line between the world’s demands and your own ambitions” Mark McGuinness

 

 

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And the Word is…..

bert-lahr-516812_1920The 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??

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Have a “Wanderful” New Year

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This curious little book caught my eye when searching for a book on spiritual practice in my local library.  It was called “TheWander Society by Keri Smith.  Flipping through this img_1738book like a combination of discovering a little cache of buried treasure and opening a door into a world of mystery and intrigue.

The author stumbled upon the existence of The Wander Society quite by accident as she was perusing a used bookstore in her town. She picked up a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass from the shelves.  In it were hand notated references “WW will show you the way,” “Solvitur Ambulando,” “The Wander Society,” along with other underlinings and strange symbols in the margins.

This is a book about Keri’s subsequent research into the “Wander Society” – which actually exists, taking inspiration from the life of Walt Whitman.  Then there is information on how to be a wanderer and her handwritten written underneath the type in how her practice of wandering was changing her life. Anyone can be a member- however, but there are img_1736certain requirements…….

I’m not going to spoil the fun.  Go out and read the book.

I must say, this little volume sort of upended how I’ve been thinking about my life.  Of course, I’ve been in one of those places where I was on the verge of being upended, like the big earthquake we have been expecting in Oregon. This was a catalyst.  I have always been a doer.  That’s what our culture demands of us- achievement! productivity! Branding!  But maybe there is another way to look at things that is…..

much

more

sane

At the dawn of 2019, I am going to strive to be more of being than a doer,  a wanderer more than a seeker.

Wish me luck

Hope you will join me

Happy New Year to all of you.  Here is a poem from my favorite poet, Mary Oliver to close out the year…..

Continue reading “Have a “Wanderful” New Year”

Goodbye 2017

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The year 2017 slunk away

Like stray cat that lost a fight

Leaving bloody tracks and tufts of fur

In its wake

 

The flood waters have receded

Fires still burn to the south

Refugees across the globe pray for safety

The homeless seek shelter

And the men still beat their chests in Washington

Shouting over truth

 

 

But if you are very still and listen

You can hear the sound of the peoples’ drum beats

Pulsing

Building up strength and timbre

Beneath that thin veneer of chaos

 

Power is as ephemeral as a passing storm

Blowing  itself out with the  passage of time

Give pause and consider

For 365 days the sun rose and set of its own accord

The tides ebbed and flowed

And one day in August

the moon crowned the sun king

With a corona of light

Wrapping us all in illuminated smiles

 

We are still here

With our lives

Our memories

Our dreams

Celebrating community

Beauty and love

Between the lines of a script

We did not write

 

There will be a new story

Starting tomorrow

We have the choice

to change the outcome, beginning with ourselves

And we will all be there

To feed the fire of hope

To light our way through the New Year

Of  2018

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Wishing you all the best in this New Year,

Alanna