Reflect on the Past, Be Fully in the Present, Move toward the Future

I have taken a bit of a hiatus here, thanks to my typical internal retreat that seems to happen naturally this time of year coupled with a lack of energy from what turned out to be an iron deficiency. But a new year, and my energy is returning, and I’m feeling ready. For what, I’m not quite sure, but that’s okay.

Each New Year, while safely ensconced at my Writer/Artist retreat on Lake Ontario, I like to look back on my personal and creative growth from the previous year and set one major intention for my growth into the New Year. You can read the past years’ entries on this blog here, here, and here.

So how did I do in 2015? My personal growth goal was to learn to create balance within myself and to then help others find their balance. I think I’ve been able to achieve that as much as I could on the current path I tread. My chosen field is time-intensive and has crazy deadlines, but the craziness comes in waves so that I’m able to recuperate and spend quality quiet time with my family in the lulls. I’m more stable and steadily working on the inner work that needs doing rather than the leaps and bounds that were happening in previous years, and while it sometimes feel like I’m inching forward rather than soaring, that’s where I need to be right now, I think. I still don’t feel like I ever have enough time to accomplish everything that I want to accomplish in this life, but I’m much more accepting of that than I was in the past. What I’ve found to be true, though, is that the balance isn’t a constant. To walk a fine line means frequently feeling the pull from each side. It isn’t fixing something and then having an easy time of it. Creatively, my goal was to release my first novel and at least one major painting. I did release a painting, though I don’t know if I would consider it “major”, and while I made progress on my novel, I didn’t even make it halfway through. I did manage to finish writing the graphic novel draft I had been working on for years, which is something. And I went from a part-time position to a full-time+ position in a creative industry that I am really enjoying, which enables me to provide for my family. I’ve done some good freelance projects, and I’ve laid the groundwork for future freelance work for a decent fee. It is fulfilling at a different level than the work I do here, but fulfilling nonetheless. So I’m not disappointed in myself. I’m trying to go with the flow more, is all.

That all being said, what are my goals for 2016? Well, we’re buying our first house soon, so I am looking forward to trying to make a more sustainable life for us. It is ridiculous how excited I am at the notion of composting and growing my own vegetable garden this summer. We are going to look into grants for solar panels. And we’ll be slowly building a true home. One of my goals is to use the house to further nurture people, either by literally feeding them love through dinner parties and creative meetups or running small classes out of the house occasionally to share my skill set and increase the confidence of others. I don’t know how far I’ll get in that this year, but I want to lay the groundwork at least.  I also want to see what kind of an impact we can have in our new local community, so there will be some research that needs to be done once we move to our new village. I guess, in brief then, my goal for this year is to nurture others while continuing to nurture myself so that I can do that work for others. My other big personal goal is to integrate my title of this blogpost into my life. I know many people focus on the attempt to detach entirely from the past and the future to be in the present, but I want to try integrating all three (while still attempting to let go of the attachment to time in general) and see what good I can accomplish through that. It should be an interesting mental and spiritual exercise.

Creatively, I will continue to work at my novel, I will continue to make art, and I will continue to make music, but I am not going to pressure myself with deadlines this year. There are too many other things that need my attention. I am really looking forward to having my piano back home once we move though. It will be so soothing to be able to play multiple times a week instead of just once every 2-4 weeks like I’ve been doing. It makes a difference.

It is strange to me that in the midst of the tumultuous world, in the violence and hatred that continues to grow, I’ve managed to find some calm, safe waters for myself. And it’s not that I’m hiding myself away from what is going on, that I’m not experiencing grief and concern, but that I’m navigating through all of that with an ease I’ve never had before.

We’re all responsible for our own selves. That is true freedom, I think. To own our space in this world fully. Hard work to do. But necessary and wonderful in the long run.

May you each find your own calm waters when you need them in the ensuing storms. May 2016 be the year we can all take charge of our own destinies and follow the true purpose of our lives. The world is changing and shifting, and we can make it a change for the better. But it is up to each of us to do the work necessary for that to happen.


New Year’s Day Musings

Starting in 2010, I stopped drawing up a list of resolutions. Instead, I chose one major self-improvement/growth task for myself to work on, knowing that several small changes would come about simply by focusing on one big change. That first year, it was to learn to cherish myself, something I had neglected for a long time (possibly my entire life). The next year, my focus was on childbirth and being the mother I most wanted to be. The next, I focused on finding joy in the small moments and accepting life for what it is.  Last year, I focused on what I could give back to the world, in both small and big ways.

This year, I want to learn to move through life, not without fear, but despite fear, both professionally and personally.  See, although I project confidence, inside I can be cripplingly shy and unsure. My abhorrence of being annoying keeps me from joining in conversations at times, even when I know I can add something to it. But I’ve recently realized how much my fear has held me back in my life. Professionally, I sometimes expect my work to stand on it’s own, rather than engaging and sharing my own passion for the projects.  Personally, I know that I have missed or delayed the opportunity to form potentially lifelong friendships.  When I open up enough to actually converse with people, when I ask the right questions and engage them in conversation, I can learn their stories. And I find them frequently fascinating! So, rather than be afraid that I’m annoying someone, I have to trust that they might in fact find me a little fascinating too. I know that I won’t be able to entirely rid myself of my fear, but I will learn to move around it.

This, of necessity, means tapping into a more aggressive part of my personality than I’ve let out in many years, and that means that this year will also be one of finding balance between the strong/aggressive side and the soft/nurturing side of my personality.

For me, 2013 was a year of transition, of finally ridding myself of the fear of poverty, of finding myself again.  This coming year will be one of finding my balance and focus.

I wish you all luck on your journey through 2014, whichever roads you choose to travel.

New Year, and I’m Back

I’ve returned from my self-inflicted Internet hiatus.  It lasted a little longer than I originally anticipated but hopefully I didn’t lose too many of the readers I had started to gain.

I have to say that 2012 was not the year of fulfilled hopes and dreams that I thought it would be, but if I am honest to myself, those wishes were unrealistic given the current reality of my life situation.

But what have I accomplished this year towards my goals?  I was a good mother to my son, meeting all of his physical and emotional needs.  I continued to lose the weight I had gained during pregnancy plus 10 pounds without crash dieting or overexercising.  I’ve put back on a couple of pounds since Halloween (too much candy and baked goods at work and I was too stressed to say “no”!) but I will soon lose that now that the temptation has been removed.  I’ve completed a first draft of a book and will be releasing two books in the near future.  I attempted a business venture with my husband that ended up costing us money, but we learned so much for the coming year from that experience.  And I generally continued to grow as a person.  I feel like I left some of my last bits of childishness behind this year, that I’m finally able to be more accepting of mine and others’ supposed failures.

Perhaps the sign of biggest change in me this year – each year since 2008 has been challenging and difficult in various ways, and the past several years on New Year’s Eve, I’ve looked forward to the next year with hope but also a kind of “You owe me this year, Universe” attitude.  This year, at thirty years old, I can finally see that the universe doesn’t owe me anything in reciprocation for the hard times and stresses I’ve faced.  Everything that I’ve experienced, both wonderful and horrible, has contributed to making me who I am today, and nobody owes me anything to make up for the past.

I’ve stopped making any kind of list of resolutions in recent years but instead try to choose one thing to focus on.  A couple of years ago, it was to start cherishing myself better.  The following year was focused on childbirth and motherhood. Last year, it was to learn to take things as they come and be more accepting of life and to take pleasure in the small moments.  This year, instead of looking for payment due from Fate, I want to see what I can give back to the Universe.

I hope 2013 is one that sees an advance for the human race, that we can start focusing on creation instead of destruction, celebrate life instead of causing death, and that we all have the strength to be honest with ourselves and others.  Happy New Year to all of you.