Dreams for 2018

Yesterday I received Sonia Sommer’s weekly email newsletter; in it, she called this week between Christmas and New Year’s the “bridge between years.” What a lovely idea. It does feel like that—neither here nor there, a sort of limbo between past and future. It’s a time for rest and reflection—which is good, because that’s all I feel like doing! I don’t know how your year was, but mine felt astonishingly busy. And while much of the work was enjoyable and fulfilling, it still has left me a little worn out and in need of a break. And after baking, cooking, and cleaning my way through Christmas, I am really ready for some good, old-fashioned lying around! I spent Tuesday curled up with hot tea and a novel. Ahhh!

I’d like more of that all throughout 2018. I’ve been so productive over the past few years; I’d like to lie fallow for a while. I have a huge stack of amazing books I’ve been gathering, and I want to read them—and truly take the time to absorb their messages. I want to read, and think, and write just for myself. I want time to be fully present with my husband and son. Instead of rushing through my days, I want to move intentionally, with calm purpose. I want a more creative year in terms of having fun, making art, and creating just for creating’s sake. I want to play more and be more free. I want to travel and explore, learning and growing through new experiences.

2018 feels momentous to me—like it will be a really fun year of change from the ordinary routine. Yes, please! I’ve been such a good, hardworking, business-before-pleasure kind of girl. I’m ready to let loose a little! Or perhaps a lot—who knows?

I feel like this book I’ve been reading, The Lotus and the Lily, and the process it is guiding me through will help facilitate that (see previous post, “Forgiveness Is the Cash”). In a few days I will make an Intention Mandala, setting down my dreams for the new year. This book has led me on a fascinating mental journey over the past several weeks. I actually can’t wait to finish it so I can re-read everything and cement all the concepts in my head.

I’m ready to leave behind all my old baggage and step lightly and joyfully into 2018. How about you? What sort of dreams are you dreaming? I hope that you get everything you wish for and more! Happy New Year!

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Making Bad Art Is Good for You!

Tomorrow I leave for Lucky Star Art Camp! I’m so excited to be giving myself this gift for the second year in a row. Last year, I was nervous—I didn’t know anyone else and wasn’t sure what to expect. But I quickly discovered a wonderful group of kindred spirits—women of all ages coming together to feast on creativity (and some really excellent food)! And the setting was magical—a working girls’ summer camp on the banks of the Guadaloupe River, complete with campfires and horseback riding! I left camp last year rejuvenated, with a new awareness of just how much joy making art gives me.

Last year, before I found out about Lucky Star, I kept feeling a pull to paint. I was tired of working with words all the time and wanted to make something with my hands. I wanted a creative experience that allowed my mind to relax, to find that feeling of flow. I began messing around with acrylics and watercolors, and had fun even as I cringed at my lack of ability.

When I found out about Lucky Star and signed up for it, I thought I’d get some guidance there on how to make better art so I could stop feeling embarrassed about my creations. But what I actually learned was infinitely more powerful and useful.  I learned how to give myself permission to make bad art—to just create for the sake of creating, regardless of the results. We were shown how to do the crafts in the various classes, but the emphasis was on enjoying ourselves while we were learning, as opposed to trying to “get it right.” The point was to feel that thrill of making something, not to judge what we made.

While I was initially intimidated because of my lack of art experience, this relaxed approach helped me open up and begin playing around.  I discovered that the process of creating was what really made me happy: process, not product. And isn’t that what life is really about? How many times have we heard, “it’s the journey, not the destination”?  When I finally let go of self-judgment and anxiety about how I was doing, it was amazing. While I was making art, I felt full of joy. I was calm and centered. It was pure pleasure for pleasure’s sake, which feels decadent when you’re a goals-driven adult!

It was exhilarating to not worry about being productive. In regular life, I tend to pack as much as possible into each day, and I feel like I’m slacking if I relax or do something just for fun during the “work” day. But I know that it’s actually essential to take that time for myself. All work and no play makes me not only dull, but also impatient, resentful, and tired. After I came back from camp last year, I made the commitment to spend some time creating each week—and I actually managed to do it for most of the year!

But the past few months have been incredibly busy, and I haven’t done any art in a long time. I miss it, and I’m craving that bliss again. I’m also craving the freedom of four days away from responsibility, with all meals provided! That will be sweet indeed. I’m so grateful to Lisa Hamlyn Field for dreaming up this amazing camp. After I return, I’m sure I will have a whole fresh set of insights to share!