Last week, I was moving a little slowly.  I am still working on learning that this is okay.  It still feels odd, after a few years of doing lots of things with deadlines, to not have to get anything done at a specific time.

Tree and Roots 1

This is the first layer of a BOD 2014 piece that is mingling with work in Root: A 30 Day Journey.  I also discovered molding paste this week (that's the texture you can see), and I love it.  I used it with a stencil, and when you first put it on, it looks like those little, flat frosting shapes on cakes.  Very fun!

I am still really amazed at how hard not being busy is. We are a very busy society (I wrote about it here in October, 2012).  It's really hard to be unbusy.  But I am practicing, and I think this is a good thing to be doing.  I think creativity spreads and grows, and creative ideas come through easier, when we leave them some space.  Some space for daydreaming, lollygagging, goofing off.  I think this is why so many good ideas come to us in the shower, while we are driving, in those nearly-asleep moments last thing at night or first thing in the morning.  Those are some of the only times when we aren't so intensely busy.

Do you do anything to slow down and get less busy?  Or are you busy and you love it?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on busy busy-ness.

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This past week I let myself combine my two lessons from Effy Wild's BOD 2014 and Moonshine into one art journal spread, and it felt so good to give myself permission to just do it my way and not worry that one was supposed to be a spread and one was supposed to be a painting. This is what following my intuition is supposed to be about, I think--finding the things that are right for me, the things that click and feel right.

Here's the combo spread.  I'm very happy with how it turned out, which I feel is vindication for choosing to do things this way!

Wolf Moon 1

I also took a small step in self care that has made an unexpected and huge difference in my days.  I changed my coffee mug.  Seriously!  That one little thing has brought me so much joy!  I switched from a bright pink travle mug which was okay but nothing special and didn't feel great to a beautiful, hand thrown and glazed mug from Table Mountain Pottery on Etsy.

Pottery Mug

That photo is untouched--the colors really do glow like that.  And even when it's cloudy out they still gleam just a little bit under my office lights.  Looking at this mug, handling it, drinking from it--these are sensual pleasures that make my work days better.  Sometimes it really is the little things...

So what little things have you done that have made a big difference for you?  What little things do you think you'd like to try out?

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This week in BOD 2014, we did a spread on our word of the year ("intuitive" for me).  My penchant for sparkly paint is really thwarting me these days.  The camera does not love shimmery paint and glitter.  Her hair is actually a delightful plummy-purple glitter paint, but looks shiny brown here.  I really love this spread with her flowery thoughts and closed eyes--she seems very peaceful and contemplative to me.

Intuitive 1

Anyhow, that's what I've been up to.  What's everyone else been up to this week?  Make anything fun?

A couple of cool links:

 

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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.

2014

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?

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