Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

and 2007 yields to 2008

Over the past few days, my thoughts have been circling around the summary of the year that was 2007 for me, and about the coming year and what I want and/or expect to find there. My annual practice of reviewing my year at my birthday was shelved this year, as I simply didn't find the time to do it. On the weekend of my birthday, there was the party, there were houseguests, and, unlike past years, on the monday, instead of finding myself at home again with abundant time, I was out into the world of work, meetings, busy-ness. The wonderful luxury of unlimited time to myself no longer mine. The weekends between my birthday and Christmas somehow passed without me bringing out my journal to pause, to reflect, to acknowledge the year that led to my 50th birthday.

And Christmas came, and I travelled to my hometown, spent time with my family. I did resurrect my morning pages journal (once), but even then didn't give the time to my usual review of the year. I need to slow down. I need to breathe. I need to give myself - now - that time. If I don't reflect on the past year with some attention, then I am likely to just run pell-mell into the coming year without proper direction, so it's a necessary exercise.

This is all part of the big, big learning and transition which 2007 presented to me. In going into the regular workforce, I've been given the challenge of finding the balance in my life; of identifying those elements of my life which must be continued, honoured, accommodated in my lifestyle, and those which no longer serve me, which I can let go; and this is what's going on at the moment. It's taking time to notice the places where pressure is put on my energy resources, and to make the shifts. I'm noticing what I miss from my old life, and in noticing, reminding myself that I need to find ways to maintain those things. Like this review. I actually need to sit with my journal - not just Morning Pages - to check in with myself at least monthly, but preferably weekly. Pause. Sit. Say "Hello, how is everything?"

So my first intention for 2008 is to Name the first Sunday of the month my Journal day. I'll be giving at least 2 hours to my journal on that day. I can use it more often, but this will be my commitment.

During 2007, a lot changed for me, arising out of the change in my employment. For a start, I applied for a job, prepared for and sat an interview, for the first time since 1979! And got the job. That was a big deal for me, a huge achievement, an affirmation.

Arising from that, came the whole process of shifting my perception of myself to a more professional image. I took the challenge of teaching a class in psychology. Ran a 20 week course, prepared my students for an exam, and am half-way through the same course again. Yes, it was a scary prospect, Yes, I had inner whisperings of doubt, but I went ahead despite them, and it's going well.

I finished the work on redecorating the downstairs of my home. Created a therapy room, used it. Made my living-room really comfortable. Removed the broken chairs, the unloved cushions. Celebrated with new pieces of art. Hung the pieces that had languished against walls and hadn't been properly appreciated.

In 2007, I've been trusting my intuition, letting impulses guide me as to where I'd like to go. When the urge hit me to book a place at the August SoulCollage(R) facilitators' conference, I just went ahead and booked to go back to California. What a wonderful trip that was! My soul-connection to that place, and to the friends I've made there is one of my life's great gifts. I'm so glad I followed my intuition there, that I went off and discovered Yosemite all on my own.

Part of my intention for 2008 is to return again to California- I have a reason to go! When I wondered how I could justify a third trip the universe answered, with an invitation to go in late June 2008 - just as my work finishes for the summer. So go I will, to begin training as a SoulCollage facilitator-trainer. I'm so honoured to have been invited to do this, and so excited at the prospect.

On the past 2 visits, I've stayed in Northern California, Oregon, Washington. This year, I'm intending to go south, and to meet up with friends, old and new, from real life and from BlogLand. I'm willing to bring my poetry and SoulCollage wherever the wind may blow me, to share in whatever ways present.

Last year, 2007, saw me move my SoulCollage practice from a comfortable setting in which I invited friends to my home occasionally to make cards to a new stage, where I organised and promoted a series of public workshops, which went really well. I was so happy with the response, and have been delighted that the women who have attended the workshops have now become a community of SoulCollage artists, always glad to come together again. My commitment for 2008 is to Bring SoulCollage to the other 3 provinces of Ireland, with at least one workshop in each. Plans are under way, but not completed yet.

When I found myself in a regular job, I took a couple of steps which have been helpful for my health. - Began a regimen of supplements to maintain health, and I've been going to bed at reasonable hours - enough to get 7-8 hours sleep. What I've been aware of, but haven't done anything about, is a need to return to a pattern of eating that will help me lose 40 lbs. I'd stopped going to WeightWatchers, (who helped me reach my goal weight 5 years ago) and I realise that the regular meetings are necessary to keep me focused. So, I'll be committing to Re-joining WeightWatchers, and to keeping track of my eating.

With so much focus on my job, I allowed a few of the other happenings of 2007 to slip by without giving them as much attention as they deserved: When I was invited to give a poetry workshop for schoolchildren in my hometown, I went ahead and did it, and it was so enjoyable! I found myself in my first (and probably only ever) autograph-scrum, with a milling crowd of 11-year-olds begging me to sign their notebooks, bookmarks... whatever! As work and SoulCollage take up much of my time, I don't want my poetry to be sidelined completely, so I'm committing to taking a writing retreat during the Easter holidays - whether that be something organised, or something I just plan for myself. I want to submit poems to journals again, and to really be an active and productive member of my writers group.

I know this is a very long post, but it's written mainly as a reminder to myself, so I'm not going to shorten it in any way, or to leave out what's the most important intention for the year - the intention I repeat over and over in my life, returning to in cycles. My spiritual life is the source of the energy for everything else. Without a foundation of spiritual energy, nothing else I do is worth doing, so before any of the other actions that I've spoken of above, the intention to reaffirm a Commitment to daily prayer and reading of the Holy Writings is the one I want to focus on first.

For the past number of years, I've been trying to live in a way that makes me open to opportunities, to new ideas, to suggestions of possibility. I've been trying to accept challenges, to take risks, to try something new. Life has been rewarding, rich and wonderful, and I want to remain open to whatever may present unexpectedly in the coming year. I want to be flexible, to not be stuck on a road that isn't bringing me in the right direction. I want to be ready to try a side-road, or to double back to check out something glimpsed away in the distance. With all the intentions I've stated, I'd like to keep this intention also. To be open, to be ready to change.

If you have read this far - You are a true friend! If you want to share reflections on the year past, and intentions for the coming year, please let me know in the comments. I've been inspired by reading other bloggers posts on their plans and goals, and would like to cheer you along with yours too!

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At 1/1/08 3:50 pm, Blogger Julie Marie said...

I read and enjoyed every single word. 2007 left me feeling pretty much wrung out and old (losing my job in the spring, developing carpal tunnel syndrome in the fall). I really had no plans for the New Year - I was just going to stumble into it willy nilly. But your post has inspired me. You made large changes. I can at least make some small changes. I don't have to accept withering away (spiritually). Thank you, my friend. I certainly wish I could attend one of your workshops (financially not possible).


At 1/1/08 8:11 pm, Blogger deirdre said...

What an eventful and inspiring year you had. I loved reading this - it was a good catch-up.

At 2/1/08 2:24 am, Blogger Becca said...

It was quite an eventful year for you, one marked by lots of growth and change. You've set worthy goals for yourself, and very inspiring ones as well.

I would add spiritual renewal to my own list for this year. I have felt myself losing touch with that aspect of my life -thank you for reminding me how important it is.

My best to you and your family - may good things come to you in 2008!

At 2/1/08 11:02 am, Blogger Caroline said...

Happy New Year Imelda!

What a fabulous 2008 you have in front of you!

If I was going to write up the wonderful things that happened to me last year one of them would be my visit to you. Thank you once again for that.

At 2/1/08 3:51 pm, Blogger Kara said...

Happy New Year Imelda! I loved reading about how 2007 was for you and seeing how it flows into 2008. It seems like you have a most amazing year ahead of you.

I seem to have a lot of resolutions or intentions for the new year. I may not get them written on my blog but as the days of recent reflection have gone by I have realized that all those intentions center around a need to organize and use my time wisely. So that seems to be the overall intention I have for this year - sculpting how I use my time.
In addition -other words have appeared for me so maybe my focus is around these themes "commitment," "heart," and "the time is now" (borrowed from Leah at Creative EveryDay)
Thanks for asking for sharing in the comments. I really wish you a grand beginning for the new year with creative blessings - Kara

At 2/1/08 4:17 pm, Blogger Tammy said...

What a year 2008 will be for you. I really hope to meet you and watch you continue your transformation. WELL DONE! XXOO

At 3/1/08 5:47 am, Blogger Amber said...

I loved this WHOLE post. Look at all you did! All you are going to do! You are an inspiration. I'm so happy I know you, and get to follow your journey. I wish you were going to be in Nor Cal so we could meet up! Dang.

I am going to write a post like this...I need to think.

oxox :)

At 4/1/08 2:39 am, Blogger Becca said...

Thanks for visiting Bookstack today, and sharing all the great books on your current list! You've given me some good ideas for inspirational reading.

I hope you enjoy the Jodi Picoult novel. I've read most of her work and find it very well written and thought provoking.

Happy reading :)

At 5/1/08 3:36 am, Blogger lila said...

You have made careful reflection and plans for flurishing in the coming year! I too do a bit of collage journaling.
I read on the Jan. 3rd about you remembering past Christmases with your son. Lovely! I hope you get to make a sowman!
You had asked me how the no-knead bread (on a post) tasted...I think it was very good...rather like a peasant or "Tuscan" bread. tough and chewy with a thick crust. (I brushed the crust with milk to soften it as the loaf cooled).

At 9/2/08 12:30 pm, Blogger Naturegirl said...

This was a moving post for me because 2007 was a really challenging year for me!I ended the year literally Dec.12th with fracturing my ankle which caused me to hibernate spend much time reflecting and thinking about how I will move forward. you said "I need to slow down. I need to breathe. I need to give myself - now - that time." Perhaps that is what this down time is for me.How will I move forward with emphasis on me..I am sure by now you have read my post
"My Dec. Rose" which weights heavily on me my mind and spirit!
I am so happy that we have met and hope to continue our visits! hugs NG


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