Wednesday, January 23, 2013

After All These Years....

After several years of setting goals over the holidays, using several (often laborious)approaches, I almost decided to forego the process this year.  After all, I'm retired now.  Why drive myself?  The main goal for the year - enjoy life!  Then I stumbled upon two questions raised by Patti Digh, author of life is a verb.  Digh doesn't write goals, but uses questions like these to guide her during the year.  The questions:

          What do I want to create this year?
          What am I ready to release this year?

Now, I love chewing on a good question. Love the sense of clarity that can emerge, the new possiblity that presents itself, the visceral satisfaction of discovering a powerful answer when most needed.  So, I've been playing with these questions for a few weeks now, just considering, listing ideas as possibilities.  Adding to the lists.  Some of my ideas:

What do I want to create?
  • an art studio
  • an organized garage
  • mini-scrapbooks of cherished memories
  • new memories, especially
  • a cruise to Alaska to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary
  • greater self-discipline - read "healthier habits"
  • etc., etc.
What am I ready to release?
  • clothes I don't wear
  • boxes we've moved for the past 10 years without opening
  • my tendency to worry
  • ten lbs. - the same ten lbs. I've said I'd lose for the past 10 years!!
  • habits that don't serve me well
  • etc., etc.
In the process of creating these lists, three things have happened.  First, I've shifted from thinking about what I should do this year  to what I genuinely want to do... a seismic shift in itself.  Second, I've already acted on a few ideas - the cruise is booked, the "studio" is underway, we've been working in the garage and...I've tossed out boxes of old journals!  All within 3 weeks!  And third, because these questions have been so helpful, I'm playing with a few of my own:
  • What do I want to learn this year?
  • What do I want to attempt?
  • What do I want to finish?
  • What do I want to celebrate?
Finally, in the process of creating these lists, I have also created some goals for 2013...after all these years, some habits do persist.  But this year, using these questions to guide my thinking, the process has been fascinating, easy and even enjoyable.  Thank you, Patti!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Gift of a New Year

It has been an interesting day - not what I had expected.  Not a typical New Year's Day.  In fact, I thought we'd be celebrating somewhere else, even had made the plans to do so.  But John has picked up a virus and I'm still hobbling a bit from the fall I took just before Thanksgiving.  We did manage to watch the Rose Bowl Parade together and were, as usual, awed by the color and the creativity, moved by a touching reunion of a young military family, impressed  by the precision of the marching bands. Then he disappeared into football games and I retreated to catch an old favorite, "Sleepless in Seattle."  A quiet day.  A tranquil day, virus included, hobbling included.

After this past year, a trying year of endless campaigning, dysfunctional bipartisanship, natural  disaster upon natural disaster, murder and mayhem, the loss of a family member - a quiet day, a day to just relax, to smile, and be reminded that people can come together safely and joyfully is a good day.  

Our holidays have, in fact, been a series of quiet days.  Reflective days.  Still affected by the tragedy in Newtown and our personal loss, and frustrated by the fiasco in Washington, our relationship, our home, and our community have become increasingly the focus of our attention.  Are we unusual,  I wonder.  Is this the silver lining in the pervasive thunder clouds of 2012?  That we can become more conscious of what's important to us.  That we can focus on nurturing and enjoying it.  That we can choose to focus our efforts on what we can impact.  That we can reject the fear and anger, the blame and insanity.  That we can hold the possibility that 2013 will be a better year, a healthier and happier year.