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January practice

I used Alli Edwards’s One Little Word digital templates of words and quotes to add to my photos of Sanibel Island. Except for the sailboat; that’s an image I found of the same boat as ours under sail! Making art has become a process I enjoy not something I have to get to ‘done’ I’m able to allow my creativity to bubble like a spring and gradually flow towards, ‘Ah, that’s good.’

Filling out these questions shows where I began my journey with my word; how it chose me; how it is showing up in my life; my intentions for the year; actions and reflections for the month. They act as my north star continually guiding me towards my word and helping me steer a course to living my best life.

 

Clearing & Hygee

My blessing box card yesterday was, “Clearing: Clear the clutter, when in doubt throw it out.”

I’m practicing letting go. Of things specifically. And celebrating that there is less to let go of while aware that excess has built up over the past year. Life is circular. I begin again.

This practice has helped me to see how my emotions and state of mind are tied to my environment. Too much stuff makes me feel uncomfortably full–like I’ve overeaten. Too many books; well that’s simply an impossibility. 😉 Things that are important to me have a home; a space, a place of their own. Belongings belong. A place is implicit. I wonder if they long to be.

This simplicity aligns with the quaint less is more philosophy which may be from my grandparent’s era but I quite like it thank you. Simple is easier. Less fussy and complicated. I’m not sure I have a style for my environment but I’m discovering and curious enough to pay attention to what feels good and right and best. My plan is to carry this feeling-driven-non-style over to the boat as I make it cozy and homey.

Which reminds me–I learned a new word: hygee which describes the simple coziness that is exactly my style!

These simple yet powerful touches to my environment opened my heart and the space around me…

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I hung a glasses holder from the boat over my lil art desk; it is repurposed as my blessing cards display.

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Keeper treasures gathered on a table next to my writing chair. Candle and fresh flower complete the space.

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My 2017 word hanging below last year’s vision board.

 

 

The heart soars…

I took Friday, Jan 20, 2017 off. The National Day of Mourning. Josh did as well. The TV stayed off…no way we were 1) watching the tragedy 2) adding to the numbers of virtual attendees. We did watch Captain Fantastic first thing in the morning though…Jim picked it up at Redbox the night before. Curiously appropriate to the mood of the day. Then, Jim to Milford and The Kiddles. Josh and I to B+N. A wonderful magazine on mindfulness and Thomas Friedman’s Thanks for Being Late  hopped into my basket…they knew they needed to come home with me. Let’s read the night away.

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Then, Saturday, January 21, 2017 came. Since it wouldn’t be smart for me to try and join the Women’s March on Washington in person, I intended to spend the day organizing quick tools to shoot messages to our U.S. elected officials. Starting with demands about the remaining Cabinet positions. Slow going but at least steps forward…steps to help. (FYI, you cannot simply email everybody in Congress. Mostly just your Reps and Senators. Makes sense in this world, I suppose.)

With the live feed on the March’s Facebook page up while doing these tasks, I became so energized with related posts showing bus loads and PLANE loads of concerned citizens on their way to D.C. Wow! Yes, mostly women, but men were well-represented. Jim called me into the living room and there I saw cities around the world already filled with marchers! CRAZY! The rest of the day is the best kind of U.S. history…..and shows why those struggling for freedom around the world look to us for strength. (Sure do wish I could have found Honore in that crowd though.)

Yesterday, my broken heart mended, opened and the light returned. Now, let’s get crackin.’ As Teddy said in 1980,  “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

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1/10/2017

Yet another quirk of mine. From February through December, I write the name of the month whenever a date is involved…though, granted, it may be the abbreviated version. However in January, I find myself using 1/–/—-. The whole month. There is no conscious intention that I can recognize. But, you know, seeing that number one does seem to spark that same “anything is possible” feeling that I get from the morning…maybe that’s it. Meanwhile, I need to move on to some deeper musings in this 1st month of the new year. Let me share just a snapshot of 1/7/2017 as I go…

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Classic coastal snow event…up from the south. Lewes got 10 inches!

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Now, the Mid-Atlantic Kids can check Winter Snow off the list.

Why practice?

Truth: I avoid doing the things I believe I am not good at. I don’t sing in public. I enjoy dancing around my living room belting out ‘because I’m happy’ along with Pharrell but the music needs to be loud. I don’t expect myself to be a great singer and this isn’t a quality I strive to improve and so I’m okay not singing Karaoke, ever.

As a child, my visions of my future ran the gamut from saving every homeless pet in the world to learning America Sign Language and teaching deaf children. Learning a new language was hard and my passion waned even for an extra language credit in college. My expectations were akin to learning by osmosis. I didn’t want to put the effort in. My first job as an almost adult was for our local Humane Society; reality was a harsh, harsh lesson. I saved one. Then another. Saving one a day equaled saving the world. Again, I chose the expectation of donning an oversized cape and leaping from tall buildings.  The storyline began: I found fault with me not my expectations.

Throughout my childhood one activity where I had zero expectations of myself was writing stories. I wrote in middle school from the perspective of a condemned man on death row. I read one of my stories in class and a classmate accused me of plagiarism—I had to look it up in a dictionary.  I wrote a story and read it aloud to a board of directors to save a dog’s life. My audience wiped at their eyes and cleared their throat and voted yes unanimously. I didn’t expect myself to create these situations—I had experienced the power of the written word. Anything was possible in a story. And it came naturally to me and I hadn’t yet learned to judge myself and so I wrote all the time.

I may have been a natural writer but what makes a great writer? Writing. A lot. And as an adult I have allowed my personal story to become one of lack and less than. Expectations of perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling deflated my enthusiasm letter by letter. Expectations of writing like my favorite authors instilled self-doubt in my fledgling abilities to string words together intelligibly. I wrote less. And less.

Although today I journal more than ever. I write emails, blog posts, marketing copy. Not stories. Yet I have a partially written novel on my laptop. I dabble. A scene here, funny dialogue there. Even though it has potential; an engaging story-line with well-developed characters. I’m not a writer I just write now and then. Fear keeps me from the page. In equal measure fear of failure or fear of success. Both paralyze. The keyboard is a rattlesnake. Why? Because I can’t get past my unrealistic expectations of being good at a thing without practicing it.

How did it not click that everything I have learned and become good at was because I kept doing it. Riding a bike, riding a horse, working with the public, communicating, relationships, self-care, owning a business, life. It didn’t translate to writing. Practice writing? Write badly, boldly, babbly. A writing practice is by definition something you DO (borrowed in part from film The Family Man).

Unlike my singing ability, I desire to improve my writing and complete my novel this year. (There. I said it.) What’s that look like? Creating a writing practice that works for me. That I will perform. Consistently. Baby step one: ask for help; encouragement from friends and family. Baby step two: working with a creativity coach to put action steps in place–the inspirational Jamie Ridler. Baby step three: Sit. Write. Baby step four: my 2017 word is ‘PRACTICE’. Baby step five: notice when I am under the influence of expectations—release quickly into the wild if possible.

“Expectations are resentments under construction.”   ― Anne Lamott

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My quotography has been on my journal cover since July!

 

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Today,  5 January, our first Thursday of the month  in the year 2017. I am just returning home after spending a pleasant afternoon with friends, stitching…friendstitching. Weekly, 4-5 of us meet on Thursdays for an early afternoon snack, not totally healthy : we’ve been known to throw in a scone or sweetie bun or two  – along with the fruit, cheese, crackers and a drink, tea or fruit waters.  We stitch and trade stories, catch up on one another’s lives.

T’is a pleasant way to spend a Thursday and gives each of us the opportunity to practice a stitch: hand appliqueÂŽ or knitting. Sometimes we are just on the verge of being able to complete a project, or at least some step of it…always, our gatherings, despite what may be going on in our individual lives: illness, being too long in traffic, a flooded basement, afford us the opportunity for an afternoon of camaraderie and peace  ~a  feeling  that carries me through late afternoon rush hour traffic, home.

This year I have chosen three words: practice, complete,  peace  as my companions for 2017. Practice is also Laura’s word and Peace, Kathy’s. I think that pretty  much makes us Complete as we enter into our 8th year of sharing our TriVista.

Thank you for joining us.

Cheers~

looking forward

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The sun is setting on this last Thursday of 2016! I have spent the greater bulk of this day thinking and designing plans for the year 2017! Continuing some things; stepping up my active participation and involvement in others; eliminating too many someday maybe items from 2016; catching up – or is that beginning again? – on things started but not quite abandoned; …and being really specific about a) what I can realistically implement and b) what I will do! Tops on my list is the telling of my story: both the yesterdays and the todays. I have quite a storehouse of memories that I want to get written down in an accessible and readable format.

The Christmas holiday season, punctuated by a visit with Laura, seems so long ago…and yet, t’was just 5 days  ago. Since Monday, a lousy cold or some ailment has kept me housebound – perhaps an invitation to slow down? Whatever, it has given me just enough energy to read, think, inquire, research, and appreciate. Perhaps Mother Nature’s way of getting me to take time out, to live in the moment. I don’t at all regret this enforced slowing down; it has, even been a vacation, of sorts. I could get used to this lifestyle very easily…but I won’t.

I hope for peace in 2017, in your life, in mine…

Cheers~