Word 2016

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It would not be an overstatement to say that last year’s word, artist, changed my life. I found it challenging and expansive in ways that honestly shocked me. I thought I merely wanted to be able to say the words “I am an artist” which in retrospect was letting myself off easy. Artist had me reckoning with the deepest voices of my soul that actually defy speech. I am still wrestling with and discovering aspects of this word and probably will for a long time to come.

My search for Word 2016 began in September, and having done this a couple of times now, I knew enough to start keeping a list. For awhile, I thought my word was ‘contemplative’. Then, I landed on ‘play’. I have explored my relationship with play in this space before – and while it’s gotten easier, playing still does not come effortlessly. ‘Play’, however, didn’t come by itself; it brought friends. Words like ‘curious’, ‘gentle’, ‘trust’, and ‘lightness’ were always hanging around. I remained open to play and her posse until about the third week in December. I was watching a video by Julie Gibbons in which she was talking about how to approach a year-long Mandala study of hers that I’m taking. She used the word ‘feminine’ in her description and immediately, I knew that was my word. I recorded it in my journal this way: “Think my word of the year has finally claimed me: Feminine. It doesn’t feel scary, but it does feel like a challenge. I feel like its calling me to a certain posture in facing the world: softer, circular, kinder, gentler, open to multiple forms, guises and possibilities.”

Chris Zydel helped me put words around how I want to hold this word going forward. “This word is something that I can go back to again and again to remind me where to focus my attention and intention, as I make my way through this year. This word is a teaching tool as well as a magical talisman. It has the power to guide me into a deeper relationship with a holy idea, act as a compass to orient me on a journey and serve as a method to explore all the different ways that this concept manifests – or not – in my life.” Chris also posed the following questions as well: “What is an energy that needs to be brought into your life in a bigger way? What is missing and what do you need more of? What is calling your name? And are you ready to engage wholeheartedly with whatever this brings to you in 2016?”

I’m hesitant to say much else about my word. Several opportunities have already presented themselves and next month finds me exploring the edges of feminine archetypes at a weekend retreat called The Luminous Woman. Exciting, yes, and absolutely not something I would have done even six months ago. So even though it feels a bit faddish, I do love this practice of choosing a word for the year. If nothing else, it sure shakes things up.

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Have you chosen a word? If yes, I’d love to know what it is. Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation.

 

Vision Board

IMG_7765I have wanted to make a vision board since December when Andrea wrote about the process during our Holiday Blog Hop. Creating one was also the “assignment of the month” for the e-course One Little Word that I am taking. (Registration is still open and you cannot beat the price: $31 for the whole year!) Last Friday, the planets aligned and I found everything I needed: supplies, inspiration and a window of time. I tried not to over-think the project and turn it into an art collage. Elaborating on my word for 2014, I set an intention with a few other words cut from a shipping box (Thank you, Beth!!), a few images from the newspaper, a scrap of tissue paper and a couple of fancy napkins. I added a bit of paint and some stick-on letters and presto! a vision board. People suggest using a canvas, but I didn’t have one, so I just glued everything to some sturdy cardboard I saved from the back of a pad of watercolor paper. I have it hanging by my desk, a gentle visual reminder of what I want to invite into my life this year.

IMG_7761Some detail shots:

IMG_7767 IMG_7769 IMG_7770 IMG_7768 Have you ever created a vision board? How has the process manifested in your life? I would love to know.

 

 

Word 2014

IMG_5886Anyone who knows me in real life or has read my blog-bio knows that I keep it lean and mean in the clothing department: 2 drawers, 10 hangers, 3 pairs of boots. Done. The one exception to this minimalism is my vast collection of big, black and bejeweled sunglasses. I probably have a dozen pairs. No joke. I am never, ever without them. If I’m not actually wearing a pair, you can usually find some propped on top of my head or see several scattered around the kitchen counters. (Ask Tom about this. It’s his pet-peeve.) I wear sunglasses every day of every season and sometimes, even when it’s raining. Although I would like to tell you I’m trying to promote a certain mystique or that I have Hollywood aspirations, the real reason is rather prosaic. I hate glare. I hate squinting. And bright (ish) light gives me a headache. So when “Shine!” presented itself as my word for 2014, I didn’t exactly jump for joy. Here’s how it happened.

At Taproot in August, Jean Miller asked us to choose a word of intention for our upcoming homeschool year. I had already settled on a word earlier in the summer (“stretch”), so I was planning to just sit outside with my eyes closed on a grey and cloudy day. And even though I thought about it, I didn’t bother to go upstairs and get my sunglasses. As I sat on the front porch, I remember having my face tilted up to the sky and honestly, clear as a bell, a word came to me. “Shine!” Umm . . . no, my word is stretch. One more time, loud and clear, “Shine!” Shine? I don’t have my sunglasses. Is this some kind of joke? Even with my eyes closed, I could discern a brightening above me. Mustering my courage, I squinted out of one eye for half of a second. Yup, a slight brightening. I shut my eye, went inside and tried to ignore everything that just happened.

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Print available here.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I came to terms with what happened at Taproot and fully embraced the word “shine.” I did some body work with my spiritual director and located my shining center. I can’t fully explain how powerful this was and continues to be. Whenever I try to put it into words it always sounds trite (like the sentence above) and more than a little “woo-woo”. Be that as it may, it helped me to begin to claim my word in a literal and physical way. Around this time, I also saw the print shown above by one of my favorite artists, Kelly Rae Roberts. Her words helped me over my last vestiges of reticence and let me see the powerful ripple effect of embracing one’s own inner light.

I have guided my inner work with a word/concept in the past (fly), but this year feels more intentional. In addition to meeting monthly with my spiritual director, I am also adding in a few other components as well. I signed up for a year long e-course, entitled “One Little Word.” I have been diligently working on Susannah Conway’s (free) downloadable workbook Unraveling the Year Ahead 2014. I was intrigued by the idea of her workbook last year and even printed it out. However, I never put pen to paper. This year, I’m all over it. I’m enjoying the process and looking forward to seeing how it manifests. I am also making art horses like mad. More on that later. And lastly, I’m taking Vivienne McMaster’s e-course, Be Your Own Beloved, in February. I took a mini-version of this exploration of self-portaiture last year, and enjoyed it immensely. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get brave enough to take a photograph or two without my sunglasses. (Gulp.)

Shine . . . it’s going to be a great year.

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My cover for Susannah’s Unraveling workbook. Get yours here.