No Resolutions Here

I don’t make New Years resolutions.  I don’t like them. For me, making them is akin to setting myself up for failure, and I have done more than enough of that over the course of my life. Instead, for the past several years, I’ve opted for something different: a single word.

Not some random, picked-out-of-a-hat word, but a word chosen with intention. Specifically, the intention of using it as my guide over the next 365 days. The word encompasses an idea & attitude with which I want to approach myself and all areas of my life.  And when I’m going through a rough time, that word becomes my mantra and compass.

I said I choose a word, but it’s more a process of letting a word/idea choose me. See, when I “look for” a word, I find it. In fact, I find & compile lists of them, and can make reasoned arguments as to why each and every one of them should be chosen, but the end result is confusion, not certainty. So I opt to bypass conscious thought and instead trust that the word I need will come to me. And, so far, it always has.

My word for 2018 came to me earlier today, in the shower (the site of many great “AHA!” moments in history). As soon as it came to me, I knew in my gut it was the word I’d been waiting for. I don’t normally share my word with anyone; it’s been more or less a private affair since I started the practice. But in an effort to share my process, I’ve decided to tell you.

My word for 2018 is CREATE (including creation, creative, & creativity.)

The word came to me along the same line of thinking as it was used by Jonathan Larson in his lyrics, “The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.”

I’m sick & tired of being at war with myself, so I think this is my attempt to divert that energy/impulse toward creation instead of destruction. I want to utilize the raw materials of emotion & impulse toward the act of generation instead of degeneration.

Wish me luck! See you in 2018!

Wherein I Express My Gratitude & Share Some Wisdom

Over the past 12 or so years of my life, I’ve noticed a trend: when I follow my gut and take a chance by stepping forward  — particularly when I’m unclear on my destination — I meet someone (or more than one someone) who is willing to guide me in the right direction. By “right direction,” I simply mean the next steps toward an increasingly clarified idea of what I want to do/where I want to be. The trick is in having enough faith & trust in myself and in process (Divine, creative, or otherwise) to take that step forward into the unknown.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I met the person who is my mentor/keeper of sanity, almost a year ago, when I registered for my first semester of grad school. She’s my academic advisor & professor — but really she is so much more. There were (several) times when I considered dropping out of my program — really difficult times when I doubted my talent, my intelligence, my ability to make a difference, my entire worth as a human being — and then I’d have a conversation with my professor, either via email or in person, and my perspective immediately shifted. Some people have the gift of helping others to “see better,” [¹]  and that is exactly what has happened over & over since the day I registered for classes. This woman speaks my language. She walks her talk and, in doing so, clears away the arbitrary bullshit that so easily trips me up and ties me in knots. I’ve learned so much from her, not the least of which is that most of what I view as obstacles are the result of buying into arbitrary timelines and ideas of how things are “supposed to” be.

But these “rules” & “official timelines” were created by groups of individuals who believe in sticking people in boxes, whether or not they fit, for the sake of data processing — because, to them, that’s what we are: data points. But  I know I’m more than a number, and I’m lucky enough to have someone in my life to remind me of that fact when I forget.

So, just in case you’re in need of a reminder: you’re allowed to take your time, you’re allowed to change your mind, you are not required to contort yourself in order to fit into any box, you are allowed to make your own rules and pave your own way. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to get from Point A to Point B; there are an infinite number of possibilities. Allow yourself to let go of whatever limiting beliefs that may be holding you back, close your eyes, listen to your gut, and take a step forward — just one step — then open your eyes and take in the brilliant new landscape awaiting you.

 

[¹]  Shakespeare, William. King Lear 1604-1605.