Princess Leia is Dead!

I’ve had just about enough of 2016.

From the beginning of this year, life has been one large learning curve, and I’m tired. We’ve lost so many icons this year, and Carrie Fisher will be missed.

On to 2017.

Right about this time of the year, many people are thinking about resolutions and things they hope to accomplish during the year. And, most often, we settle for dashed hopes.

Resolutions are not my thing.

The next thing that we look at are goals; setting them and, being willing, able with the stars aligned, we achieve that which we set out to do.

Goals and I have a love/hate relationship.

“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” Fitzhugh Dodson

Did you feel anxiety reading that last sentence?

I did.

I believe we need wishes, intentions, and, yes, even goals. The trick to these is not taking ourselves too seriously.

When setting goals, often the SMART method to goal setting is recommended. SMART means:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
and
Timely

This set of guidelines is fantastic if a person can remain focused and dedicated.

I am not that person.

I have a tendency to “wing it” which is probably not the best idea. In the past couple of years, I’ve picked a word for the year. Enough, my 2016 word, appeared to be an invitation to the universe to see what it could throw at me.

Choosing a word hasn’t come easily to me, so I believe I am going to forgo making that decision. The only thought that comes to mind is the expansion that comes with hope and growth. I’m not willing to stake the entire next year on this though as the universe tends to have its own thoughts as to how things should go and what lessons I need to learn.

What I am willing to do, however, is set some intentions. And, only a few so I don’t get overwhelmed.

  • I will live an intentional life looking for invitations and not interruptions.
  • I will write and grow in my craft and business.
  • I will take care of myself spiritually, socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically.
  • I will be open to love and connection.

As I look at my list, I wonder if I am setting myself up for failure and then I remember:

“I never fail, either I win, or I learn.”

 

As we say goodbye to 2016, Princess Leia and so many others, we must say out loud:

 

Bring it on, 2017, bring it on!

Welcoming the Return of the Light

Deb Thompson, Just Short of Crazy

Today is the eve of the Longest Night. Tomorrow we welcome the return of the light.

As we welcome this return we often take a look back at the past year. I often do this, more time on my birthday, but the longest night is another good place for this task.

When I review my year, I look at how am I different from the previous year. I mark my successes and the places where I’ve grown. Resolutions are overrated as I’ve stated in this post from last year. Goals are difficult also but I believe there are areas where we can look to see our triumphs and failures, and look at areas we may have room to grow.

This past year has been one of tremendous change for me and I have found five different areas that encompass the whole of my life. The following five areas are basic needs for every person and this is a good idea to look at each of these areas for ourselves:

Physical – In the early part of the year, I was practicing yoga on a regular basis. For months I haven’t attended classes. In the coming year, I plan to return to my regularly scheduled yoga classes. I have discovered that physical doesn’t mean some heavy-duty exercise regiment. It is movement plain and simple. Yoga does that for me.

Cognitive – I believe that when we stop learning our brains atrophy. For the past year, I have read several non-fiction books and discovered new fiction writers. TED talks is another “discovery” I’ve found. Anything that enhances your knowledge and thoughts is a positive thing.

Emotional – Okay, this is the hard one. Accepting emotions, all of them, not just the “good” ones, is a struggle. It is hard not to label emotions bad or good but accepting them just as they are without judgement takes patience and discipline. Writing morning pages helps me as does yoga. Finding your thing is important both for yourself, and for those around you.

Social – Sometimes social is easy. Connecting with people is the easy part. Finding people who feed you and not bring you down is the hard part. I have a difficult time not isolating myself because it is easy. Even the times I have to force myself to be social are important, I often surprise myself with how pleasant it is. It’s a lesson.

Spiritual – We are spiritual beings regardless of our beliefs, however, we need to cultivate our spirituality. Are there areas where you want to see change in this area of your life? My spirituality is a greatly neglected area and I intend to grow and explore my beliefs in the new year.

Many of these areas overlap. For instance, my yoga class is physical and it helps with my emotions. Spirituality and social needs can be met in the yoga class too. Meeting with fellow writers can help my social and cognitive needs.

It does take some creativity to meet each of these needs but taking care of ourselves is important.

Acknowledging the longest night and use the darkness to shed light on the corners of our lives is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Intentional Choices

I’ve been thinking a lot about intention, whether it is intentions or intentional living. I’ve discovered this is a difficult thing for me to write. Not because I’m struggling with my own life in this area.

I’ve learned that I’m struggling to write about intentions because I have no words for intentions.

When I don’t have words, it’s probably because I don’t understand what I am writing about. I’m a bit concerned because intentional is in my blog title – I should know something about this.

The problem is that I have this picture in my mind that I am having a hard time translating that picture into words.

This week, I’ve decided that my idea of intentions has to do with living an intentional life. Of course, the following definition is subject to change as more lessons and thoughts come my way.

For better or worse, here is the definition I am currently working with:

Intentional is a state of being. It is making deliberate choices
to live in such a way that makes your heart happy.

Now, the idea of making your heart happy is one that may or may not require an explanation. It is a feeling that we know when we have it but putting it into words is difficult. For me, my heart happy has a resonating hum that I can feel in my body.

 

Here is something that makes my heart happy: 

 

Of course, a friend of mine has a different thought about intentions which I am adding to my thoughts. She said that intentions are like prayers, we send them out and let them go.

I like this idea too.

We all speak english and are fully aware of the different definitions for words, depending on usage and context. I think this is one of them. Perhaps I will add more definitions to my ideas of intentions as I go along.

How does living intentionally look in life?

In each moment we have, we can either see as in interruption or an invitation?

We all recognize interruptions. They are the things that cause frustration and dissatisfaction in our life.

Invitations are different. They require a new way of thinking. It is asking the question: How am I going to respond in a positive way?

For instance: This morning I was left in charge of #tornadoabel who is the cutest thing 2+ year old around. However, you don’t get your own hashtag for being cute. He is a bundle of energy and not all of it is positive.

This morning inspiration struck and I needed to write. Abel doesn’t understand the concept of work and thinks that is a jungle gym. I had a choice to make. Actually there were three choice I saw:

Choice #1: I could wait on the writing. The inspiration, though subdued, would still be there. I just wanted to hit the keyboard while I felt that rush.

Choice #2: Getting frustrated with Abel, thereby making the morning awful for the two of us. He argues back, you see.

Choice #3: Accepting that he is busy and not really trying to keep me from working.

The last one is especially difficult because this child will do things like go after the cat and when I get up to redirect, he will run to my computer, which he knows he isn’t supposed to touch. Yeah, just put this on endless repeat with some snuggles and tantrums and you will understand how he got his hashtag.

Living intentionally is hard. Making each choice deliberately to do the best thing for you is hard. Not falling into the bad habit of frustration and anger is hard, that is my go to reaction. I’m sure that you have other reactions.

I believe it is worth it. The difference between the days where I make intentional choices and the days I don’t are palpable. I prefer the days where I chose to the invitation.

What choice will you make today?

Creative Doldrums

christmas-1786591_1920It’s almost the end of the first week of December and I haven’t written more than 800 words. The struggle with this is that none of these 800 words written in December have been on my work in progress, i.e. my NaNoWriMo 2016 novel. Sitting down to write is the last thing on my mind

I have the doldrums.

This happens often during December.

NaNoWriMo, with all of its wonderful energy and connectedness, is over, and writing once again becomes a solitary occupation.

And, then comes the holiday’s with all of the craziness they can muster.

Doesn’t it seem as if, no matter what you do, the holidays become out of control? How?

When all of this happens, being creative is a struggle.

Most of the time, all I want to do is wrap up in a blanket, watch movies and wait until December is over. Of course that isn’t necessarily a good idea. It is so hard to begin writing again if I don’t keep the habit up.

I have found a few things to entertain myself:

A capella holiday music. Pentatonix to be specific. This group is fantastic and I highly recommend them (www.ptxofficial.com).

Holiday lights are plentiful in my area and the drive home has been fun. We don’t do much outside (or inside) decorating, mostly because I’ve been known to leave my tree up until spring, and I really appreciate those that put the effort in.

15392978_10104526675747528_93128939628674883_oWatching kids sit on Santa’s lap was great fun for me and it wasn’t only about my own grandkids. My work hosted the local Breakfast with Santa and I had the privilege to take the pictures for this event. My friend Amie did a fabulous job, as did Mr. and Mrs. Claus, in making this a wonderful day.

 

Though I am not going to be hard on myself for this struggle with my creativity during this time, I am going to keep focused on my goal – writing 500 words each day. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll finish that first draft by the end of December.

How do you stay creative when things are crazy in your life?