Begin again with the smallest numbers

Burning the Old Year | NAOMI SHIHAB NYE

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.

Notes friends tied to the doorknob,

transparent scarlet paper,

sizzle like moth wings,

marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,

lists of vegetables, partial poems.

Orange swirling flame of days,

so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,

an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.

I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,

only the things I didn’t do

crackle after the blazing dies.

Word of the Year 2018

BLOOM

Every year for the last few years I have chosen ONE WORD to theme, drive, inspire, motivate, guide my next year. I have come to truly cherish this year-end ritual. This time around it has been particularly poignant as I reflect back not only my last year but my last decade as well. 2018 is a special year for me personally. It is a year of new pages, new beginnings, and introduces a new decade of birthdays for me. It is going to be a year of changes, small and large.

I look back on the last 10 years and I find I am grateful. That may be an odd phrase and to be honest it wasn’t the first phrase that came to mind. Other preferred phrases would have not been good in polite company.

But I am grateful in spite of. I am grateful to have got to this point, to have survived. I am grateful that the many trials and heartaches have strengthened my core. I am grateful for the people I love in my life. I am grateful for sifting through the sands of betrayal and misery and finding true veins of gold. I am grateful for my body even if at most times during the last decade I have experienced the most upheaval in terms of my physical health. I am grateful for treasured life friendships that have nurtured and comforted me. I am grateful for friends that are family. I am grateful for new friendships that have cheered me. I am grateful for the relationships that have come and gone. I am grateful for the lessons. So yes, in spite of this being the most difficult decade of my life in all aspects, in spite of it starting in heartache and broken promises and ending in heart-shaking grief, in spite of all of this I am grateful. I am grateful because I came through. I am grateful because I am here. I am grateful because the greatest lesson that this last decade has taught me is that life is rich in complexity, living is messy, chaotic and beautiful, surviving is our strongest instinct and that both our joys and our sorrows stretch our hearts and strengthen our cores.

But in 2018 I want to BLOOM. I believe there is a season for everything. The last decade has been a season of growing. I want this next decade to be a season of BLOOMING.

2018 Core Desired Feelings

What are Core Desired Feelings?

I’ve been subscribed to Danielle LaPorte’s newsletters and enjoyed her website for a couple of years now. This year I decided to dig deep into her book and/or goal setting planning system: The Desire Map.

“The Desire Map…

Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life.

What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?

You know what will happen with that kind of inner clarity and outer action? You’ll feel the way you want to feel more often than not. Decisions will be easier to make: You’ll know what to say no to and what to say hell-yes to. You’ll be more optimistic, more open-hearted. It will be easier for you to return to your center in the midst of a challenge.”

~ Danielle LaPorte

Danielle also created a planner, available in both weekly or daily. So this year I decided to treat myself to this Planner. My main planners are still my Hobonichi’s. But The Desire Map Planner (Daily) is my intentions and self-care Planner/Journal. This year is a banner year for me in many ways but I wanted to make sure I was taking care of me, not just my tasks or schedule, but actually blocking off time for me to do things that feed my soul, fill my heart, energise my body and refill my well of creativity. So this Planner is the place I block off time for activities that don’t have to be ticked off but more for experiences that make each day feel a little better. I love the idea of setting down on paper how I want to feel this year. So the Core Desired Feelings just zings for me and for the intentional year I want to live this year.

These are my ‘Favourite Things’

Jawbone UP2 Fitness Tracker

Oral B Pro 3000 Electric Toothbrush

UE Boom2 Bluetooth/Wireless Speaker

Nanami Seven Seas Crossfield Notebook (A5)

Hobonichi Cousin (A5)

Hobonichi Techo (A6)

Hobonichi Mega Weeks (Cheque Book Size)

Desire Map Planner

Tell me, What will be your One Word theme for 2018?

Tell me, what will 2018 bring you: Questions or Answers?

Capsized | Writing through the Fog, Emerging from under the Wave

The Uses of Sorrow | Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me

a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.


…And today I felt like I was drowning in this ocean wave of grief and pain and lostness. I felt overwhelmed and raw with too many emotions trying to come out all at once…Then I knew I needed to quiet the ocean of noise in my brain. The only way I know how to do this is to Write! So here I have been writing in this journal on and off all afternoon/night. I don’t think the noise in my brain has died down yet. But it feels cathartic to see my thoughts and feelings in black permanent ink on a white page…-I need my poems to truly expel all this grey emotion. I’ve been purposely staying away from working on my poetry because I don’t want to actually face all these emotions. But I know I’m drowning beneath all my emotions/thoughts…the only way I know to come up and out from under all of this is through my poetry. It is my own life-raft. I need to get back in my life-raft… | excerpted from my journal ~ Greece, September 2016

“From the Sea” [Image by Bojan Jevtić]**

capsize

kapˈsʌɪz/

verb

1.(of a boat) be overturned in the water.

“the craft capsized in heavy seas”

“gale force winds capsized their small craft”

antonyms: right

cause (a boat) to overturn.

“gale-force gusts capsized the dinghies”

Origin
late 18th century: perhaps based on Spanish capuzar ‘sink (a ship) by the head’, from cabo ‘head’ + chapuzar ‘to dive or duck’.


A new country called Grief

I am a traveller in a new country called Grief. For much of last year I was lost in a place-less Fugue. I went through the motions automatically relying on muscle memory rather than being present in the moment. There was no need to be present in the moment, this Fugue state carried me through this isolated country of Grief. I couldn’t concentrate or focus on much else than normal daily surviving requirements. Fiction, my own and others, was no longer an escape or a refuge. For the first month and a half after losing A, I just barely existed. But slowly as I got acclimated to this Grief, I started looking for ways to communicate; to express myself more clearly and to process this emotion that remained nameless in its immensity. Music and Poetry were the two life-rafts that rescued me from this storm-ravaged place.

A New Project

Newton’s law of motion states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”. Grief capsized me completely but through the twin life-rafts of Music and Poetry I was slowly Emerging: Emerging into a new direction, an altered me. When you sink, the equal and opposite reaction is to finally rise and emerge. I have found a way to breathe again. I have a way to stop drowning in this Grief. 

The only way I was going to emerge from this Fugue state was to truly give in to the terrible emotion. To let it embrace me without fighting it. The only way a drowning swimmer can be rescued is if they don’t fight or struggle but simply relax and let themselves be rescued. In much the same way, I needed to just let this Grief encompass me in her watery depths before I could be rescued. Slowly I started rising up from these depths and as I began to rise, words started rising with me. At first I could not grasp the words so I just let them rise around me. But slowly the words became clearer to me as I immersed myself in others Poetry; poetry by Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, Leonard Cohen and Rupi Kaur, and let Music be the soundtrack to drown out the cacophony that was the silence of this Grief. Slowly I could grasp enough words to form a line then enough words to form a verse then enough words to form a stanza. As I journaled I realised that these were my emotions becoming words becoming poems. Poems that expressed what I could not, did not want to verbalise in conversation. 

What was emerging from my immersion into Poetry, Music, Art and through my journaling was a collection of emotions in words: a collection of poems. Suddenly I could focus again creatively. I had stopped struggling and in my surrender to this emotional drowning I had found a way to rise up and to begin emerging again. So this is what I have been working on for the last few months and will continue to work on for the next few months. A new project. An anthology of poems that could finally name all these unnameable emotions that Grief drowns one in. An anthology that I am calling…

CAPSIZE

Every year for the last five years I have chosen One Word to theme and propel my New Year. Last year my word was ironically RISE. But although most of last year felt like the opposite of Rising, felt closer to drowning, it was the gift of words in the form of Poetry that did have me eventually Rising. 

2016 has forever changed me. I’m carrying a box of loss that is forming a new version of who I am. So for 2017 I have chosen a new theme, a theme of hope. A new word for a different me. A me that is navigating an altered topography of where I am going, who I am now and who I want to be. I am ready for a new dawn.
So this year my Word of The Year is: 

EMERGE

ɪˈməːdʒ/

verb

verb: emerge; 3rd person present: emerges; past tense: emerged; past participle: emerged; gerund or present participle: emerging

1. move out of or away from something and become visible.

“black ravens emerged from the fog”

synonyms: come out, appear, come into view, become visible, make an appearance; turn up, spring up, come up, surface, crop up, pop up; materialize, manifest oneself, arise, proceed, issue, come forth, emanate

2. become apparent or prominent.

synonyms: become known, become apparent, become evident, be revealed, come to light, come out, transpire, come to the fore, enter the picture, unfold, turn out, prove to be the case; 

3. recover from or survive a difficult situation.

Origin

late 16th century (in the sense ‘become known, come to light’): from Latin emergere, from e- (variant of ex- ) ‘out, forth’ + mergere ‘to dip’.  




[**PostScript: The image of “From the Sea” by the Serbian visual artist, Bojan Jevtić, helped inspire my theme for my new W.I.P poetry anthology: Capsize. I found that this particular image was able to vividly portray how this loss, this Grief makes me feel. It was the picture that has inspired my new words.]


Devastation | The Daily Post

#HappyNewYear 2016 RISE up to Your Dreams | It’s f%#!ing worth it! #OneWord365 #ResolutionRevolution

  

What’s your  #2016 #OneWord365 #WordOfTheYear ?

Every year for the past 4 years I have chosen my One #WordOfTheYear. 

I don’t do resolutions because quite simply there are too many things I want to resolve to do, too many places I want to resolve to see, too many people I want to resolve to meet or spend more time with and too many goals I want to resolve to achieve. 

The resolution list would be Long.

So…

This.

This is my 5th year running that I have opted to go with a #PowerWord. [5 means lucky for me.]

This is the #OneWord366 [This year is a leap year! It means 1 whole 24 hours extra to #GetSh!tDone !] I choose to FOCUS on to power my intentions and motivate me. It is the #ResolutionsRevolution. It kicks ass and takes no excuses. No more lists of not done by the end of your first month. 

This year my word is a word I have waited to choose. 

It leads on beautifully from my #2015 Word: Push.

This.

  

#PowerWord means #PowerSong because life sounds better with a soundtrack.

This.

My #KickAssTakeNoExcuses Mantra.

  

Want your own #PowerWord #Mantra of the year? 

OneWord365

Powerful Lessons from your Word Of the Year: Discover your’s

Now tell me what’s your #KickAssTakeNoExcuses #PowerWord #Mantra #2016…

Here’s to a Powerful and Motivational 2016 for us all.

{* Extraordinary Tiger, Photographed by Ivan Lee *}

(P)ersist (U)ntil (S)omething (H)appens #OneWord365 2015

2014 has ended…It was the year of hard lessons for me.

Every year I pick a word for the year. My personal life word this year is: metanoia.

But my working writing word for the year is: PUSH

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a37/50545447/files/2015/01/img_5066.jpg

push
pʊʃ/
verb
verb: push; 3rd person present: pushes; past tense: pushed; past participle: pushed; gerund or present participle: pushing

Origin

Middle English (as a verb):
from Old French pousser,
from Latin pulsare ‘to push, beat, pulse’ (see pulse1).
The early sense was ‘exert force on’, giving rise later to ‘make a strenuous effort, endeavour’.

1.
exert force on (someone or something) in order to move them away from oneself.
“she pushed her glass towards him”
synonyms: shove, thrust, propel, impel; More
antonyms: pull
hold and exert force on (something) so as to cause it to move in front of one.
“a woman was pushing a pram”
move one’s body or a part of it into a specified position with effort.
“she pushed her hands into her pockets”
press (a part of a machine or other device).
“the lift boy pushed the button for the twentieth floor”
synonyms: press (down), push down, depress, exert pressure on, bear down on, hold down, squeeze; More
cause to reach a particular level or state.
“competition in the retail sector will push down prices”
2.
move forward by using force to pass people or cause them to move aside.
“she pushed her way through the crowded streets”
synonyms: force (one’s way), shove, thrust, squeeze, jostle, elbow, shoulder; More
(of an army) advance over territory.
“the guerrillas have pushed south to within 100 miles of the capital”
exert oneself to attain something or surpass others.
“I was pushing hard until about 10 laps from the finish”
informal
be nearly (a particular age or amount).
“she must be pushing forty, but she’s still a good looker”
3.
compel or urge (someone) to do something, especially to work hard.
“she believed he was pushing their daughter too hard”
synonyms: urge, press, pressure, put pressure on, pressurize, force, drive, impel, coerce, nag; More
demand persistently.
“the council continued to push for the better management of water resources”
synonyms: demand, insist on, clamour for, ask/call for, request, press for, campaign for, work for, lobby for, speak for, drum up support for, sponsor, urge, promote, advocate, recommend, champion, espouse
“the trade unions will be likely to push for wage increases”
informal
have very little of something, especially time.
“I’m a bit pushed for time at the moment”
informal
find it difficult to achieve something.
“he will be pushed to retain the title as his form this season has been below par”

Last year was a year that upended my efforts and really put a giant PAUSE sign in my way. From about midway thorough the year I was struggling in an unbeatable fight with sapping energy levels, lack of concentration, and chronic, mind-sapping insomnia. Initially I put this down to my migraines which had also ratcheted up to unacceptable levels. But eventually something told me this was something more than just effect of my migraines.
I felt burnt out and almost extinguished. I thought maybe I needed a holiday. I had not had a holiday for 3 years. It pushed me to take a 5 day writing retreat, at a secluded little beach cottage, for a week in November with one of my close writing friends.

Lesson #1 Don’t feel guilty about taking a break, having a time-out. Go away somewhere if you can. De-stress, actively relax and unplug.

I still felt listless when I got back from my retreat.

Continue reading “(P)ersist (U)ntil (S)omething (H)appens #OneWord365 2015”

2012 ~ I CHOOSE to DANCE for JOY…What do you choose for 2012?

For the last 2 years I have made a resolution not to make new year’s resolutions that I would end up breaking…

But…

Instead I find a New Word of the Year that I set about to define my year…

Elizabeth is living her lifelong dream –adventuring in Italy, India and Bali.  As the scene opens, she is engaged in a conversation with her Italian friend, Giulio:  “Giulio asked me what I thought of Rome.  I told him I really loved the place, of course, but somehow knew it was not my city, not where I’d end up living for the rest of my life.  There was something about Rome that didn’t belong to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…”  “Giulio said, ‘Maybe you and Rome just have different words.’  “What do you mean?”  Then he went on to explain, that every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there…”  “Giulio asked, ‘What’s the word in New York City?’  I thought about this for a moment, then decided.  “It’s a verb, of course.  I think it’s ACHIEVE.  (Which is subtly but significantly different from the word in LA which is also a verb:  SUCCEED.  ….”  Giulio asked, ‘What’s your word?’ “ – Eat,Pray,Love > Elizabeth Gilbert

So here I am…third year into the Word Resolution and welcoming 2012…

So if you battle to keep New Year’s Resolutions…

Try to focus in on one word that you want to define your year in 2012…

What’s your Word?

These were my words for the last 2 years…

My word of 2011

My word of 2010 was Renew

So…What’s the next word?

Click on Joy to find out why Joy is a Choice…

In 2012 I CHOOSE to DANCE for JOY

Dancing for Joy ~ Dance when you’re broken open… Dance when you’re perfectly free. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding. -Rumi, trans. by Coleman Barks

What’s your Word?

Eat, Pray, Love
Image via Wikipedia

I have three books that have inspired me and that I keep coming back to for rejuvenation. My favourite of these is the one that resonates with me and with who I am: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Elizabeth shares a myriad of ideas, epiphanies and inspirations that she stumbles across in a year-long journey of self-discovery and healing. 

Yesterday I revisited one of these ideas/epiphanies:

Elizabeth is living her lifelong dream –adventuring in Italy, India and Bali.  As the scene opens, she is engaged in a conversation with her Italian friend, Giulio:  “Giulio asked me what I thought of Rome.  I told him I really loved the place, of course, but somehow knew it was not my city, not where I’d end up living for the rest of my life.  There was something about Rome that didn’t belong to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…”  “Giulio said, ‘Maybe you and Rome just have different words.’  “What do you mean?”  Then he went on to explain, that every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there…”  “Giulio asked, ‘What’s the word in New York City?’  I thought about this for a moment, then decided.  “It’s a verb, of course.  I think it’s ACHIEVE.  (Which is subtly but significantly different from the word in LA which is also a verb:  SUCCEED.  ….”  Giulio asked, ‘What’s your word?’ ” 

This may sound simple to define but it can be a revealing eye-opener and what you may answer with may just take you by surprise. So how do you find “Your One Word”? How do you sum up yourself in just one word? Does that word change?

Sometimes the answer may come to you immediately. But sometimes you have to let the idea germinate and grow in your heart before you can see the Word. 

I think that Giulio, Elizabeth’s friend, is right. I think everyone does have one word that defines who they are. I also think that you can have growing words as you change and grow in life: these changing words are defined by your experiences and your emotions. 

In the movie version of this book, Elizabeth’s initial answer is: Daughter, Wife, Mother and finally Writer. However her friend argues that this is not “her”, this is who she is to others and it is what she does. 

When I first read this book, I could not find my Word. But this weekend has been a weekend of epiphanies. Now, I have finally found my word.

My word is: Seek.

Your Word may be a noun or a verb. It is not an adjective because that describes you not defines you. But when you find Your Word it can open up a doorway of possibility. So often in life, we want to find out all the answers and understand all the questions but do we pay as much attention to ourselves as we do to the external and the material. Do you really know yourself?

Another way you could view this idea is to ask the people closest to you what one word they would use to define you: not an adjective to describe you but a noun or verb to define you. I can guarantee that the word that they will come up with will differ from Your Own Word. Why? We all wear different faces in our lives and two different people in our lives will have two different versions of ourselves that we allow them to see.

So….What’s Your Word? 

Sit with this idea for a while and see what you come up with. It may come to you immediately or it may take time but eventually you will find Your Word. If you know your word, write it down. So, tell me what’s Your Word?