It's the second week of a brand new year, and I am enjoying it so much! I had intended to write this post earlier, but the servers for my site have been wonky because of a crash and subsequent server move, so things haven't been working properly for over a week. But waiting until now has given me more to write about, so I think it all worked out perfectly in the end.
In December I retired my newsletter with one final issue: Clearing the Way. And I have done that. I have stepped away from everything that requires me to be on a schedule (well, everything but my day job). I have opened myself up to finding what my own, internal rhythms and schedules are.
I am not doing nothing, though. This is different than that. I am actively exploring what calls to me and feels right to me (my word for the year is "intuitive," which fits perfectly with what I'm doing right now; more about word of the year below).
What I am doing:
- Participating in Lisa Sonora Beam's Root: A 30 Day Journal Project, although I'm going at my own pace, writing when I feel like it, taking longer with some day's prompts if I feel like it. Lots of soul searching without the schedule. (Lisa's classes are always perfect for working this way--a schedule if you want it and just as deep and useful if you go your own way.)
- Participating in BOD 2014 because I love working with Effy Wild and the community that she's created. I love this art journaling work, and while you get a new lesson each week you can download them and keep them forever and just do which ones you want when you want. So there's no feeling of pressure or needing to stay on task which is very important to me right now.
- Participating in Moonshine 2014, another of Effy's classes. In my newsletter I said I wasn't going to sign up for this one after all, but I couldn't stop thinking about it, and not signing up was making me feel like I was missing out on something (one of the measures I'm using to decide if I should do something--how will it feel to not do it?). I'm not going for a feeling of deprivation this year, just some space and ease and grace. So I signed up, and I am so glad I did. It's two lessons a month, and they mesh perfectly with the BOD work so I can do a Moonshine spread with the techniques from that week's BOD lesson. I won't even have "extra" journal pages to do unless I decide I want to do two during a Moonshine week.
I signed up for another three week journaling challenge, but that one seems more focused on staying on task, and I've found that I'm not keeping up and not really feeling like I want to. I think the prompts and work might be good and useful for me at some point, but not right now and not on their schedule which is feeling rushed to me.
I'm also reading and knitting a lot and thinking about whether I am actually a writer as I've thought of myself for most of my life. I still have story ideas and am deeply interested in writing articles and books and discussions. But I don't feel myself pulled to write the way I feel the pull to paint or knit. So I feel that I need to examine this self-description and find out if it's just habit to call myself a writer or if it's still true.
Have you ever felt the need to reexamine something you thought was true for you? I'd love to hear how you went about it, what happened, anything you'd like to share.
About Word of the Year Practice
If you don't know about choosing a word for the year, read this post by Ali Edwards or do a search about it to get tons of perspectives. Basically it's choosing a word for the year that you want to be guided by.
I'll admit, I avoided this practice for the first few years I heard people talking about it. I thought it sounded like an interesting idea, but it didn't seem like it would be very useful. How would I remember my word? How would I know if I was living up to my word?
Then I got an UnCalendar and started thinking about what to use all of it's marvelous little spaces for, and I realized it would be a great way to help me focus on my word of the year if I decided to pick one. Every week when I turn the calendar page and fill in the whats and whens for the week, I write my word in one of the little boxes at the top of the left page. So every week I remind myself of my word and what I want to be focusing on.
The second question hasn't been quite so straightforward to answer. Mostly I try to determine if I'm living up to what I want for my year by asking questions. Things like "does this fit in with my word?" or "will this bring me closer to living my word?" So far it seems to be helping. I do know that over the past two years I've made several important shifts and decisions because of these small practices, and I am really liking the results.
What about you? Do you pick a word to guide you through your year, to set your intention of what you want your year to feel like, what you want to focus on? What's been your experience with the practice so far?