Perfect time to check those New Years resolutions… yes you remember them, the ones you were so excited about in January … I know. It’s been six months already.
But in all seriousness, this is a perfect time to clear the table and get real with what you want to achieve for the year. Not just creativity, even though that is what I mostly write about, but everything.
Firstly, acknowledge that you can’t do everything. So, if you do have that extended to do list, or New Year resolutions, or vision boards for 2022, this is a good time to get clear. Let some dreams or goals go. Decide on what is really important. I mean – get to the heart of the matter. Get honest with yourself.
I’ve made a short YouTube video about my 3 things I want to commit to for the rest of the year, and yes, I did have to say goodbye, or at least goodbye for now to several good ideas. But, in all reality I can’t do everything. So, if you are interested. Check that out!
Let me know in the comments the creative goals/dreams you are sticking to for the rest of the year.
How much we value something corresponds to how much energy we give out. If we value our job, because it pays for the necessities in life we give it our energy. If we value a friend or family member we give energy to those people.
So, does that mean when we have been at work all day, and connected with the people in our lives the rest of our energy is put into scrolling, eating badly, binge watching Netflix… and so on.
What is happening?
We know we value aspects of our lives. For example, if I asked you to create a list of the most valuable parts of your life you would probably start with people you love and then move onto passions and pastimes that bring you joy.
What’s never on the list, but in my mind should be at the top, is YOU. Not what you like to ‘do’, just YOU. So, my list, for example, of aspects in my life that I most value should look something like:
People in my life I care for
Spending time in nature
Just an example, but I’ve never written a list that starts with ‘me’ and I can confidently assume you don’t normally think of valuing yourself first in this way either. I mean we all know the metaphor about putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first before we help others. And, most of us acknowledge that we are important- but have we ever committed to actually prioritising ourselves in a way that firmly places us first.
It seems selfish. Maybe if we did that we won’t be able to serve others. Maybe we will end up completely narcissistic???
I don’t think so. Actually the opposite will happen. I dare you to add up all the scrolling time you engage in within a week and spend half of that time on you. Meditating, eating well, reading… whatever it is that creates a connection with yourself.
Value yourself. Make yourself top priority. See what happens.
Dear Creative, what if I asked the question, How are you? What would be your reply? Would you say something like, “fine” or “all good” or “not bad’” a standard socially acceptable reply where both parties welcome an exchange that doesn’t expect connection.
So, I’m going to ask the question:
How are you? No, really. How are you?
Yes, I understand that sometimes you need to say, “I’m fine,” and move on, we all do that. But also allow yourself to connect occasionally. We need to connect, you need connection.
I was watching Queer Eye on Netflix the other day, and a person on the show said, “it’s easier to exist than live.” It struck me. Sometimes I admit I do just exist. I go through the motions, I don’t look up at people and smile when passing, I don’t give the supermarket checkout person eye contact. I just go through my day unconnected, distracted, caught up in the past and worried about the future.
But it’s OK. Just stop for a moment. Take a breathe. Feel your feet on the ground, just be present for this moment.
What are you going through right now? Sickness? Busy with work and family? Mental health? Financial difficulties? A feeling of isolation? Maybe you haven’t had anytime to be creative? Maybe being creative is just so off your radar right now.
And that’s OK. Just stop. Take a breathe.
Standing in ourselves is difficult to do. being aware of our surroundings, connecting with people we love and with strangers takes effort. But it’s worth it.
If you haven’t been able to connect, try to challenge yourself today. Send a text to a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. If you are feeling more brave, make time to visit or meet up. And, when they ask you that… question. “How are you?” Dig a little deeper. Make a connection.
Let me know in the comments below how you enjoy connecting with others.
January is a great month to start reflecting on the year that has been and planning the year ahead. December, in my experience, an extremely busy month, with more pressures on us than usual. There are often a lot of events to attend, work parties, and other end of year activities, plus any holidays or celebrations to participate in. So, January can be the perfect time for reflection.
So taking stock of what has bee and what is before us is actually very beneficial. For me, it is easy to become very passive in my life, to let the day to day activities drive my life rather than working to have control; this often looks like indecision. But it can often be due to decision fatigue and a lack of commitment to my own goals.
I started this blog to use creativity and creative processes as a way to engage and fight against consumption. To spend time using creativity instead of filling up hours with consumerism or buffering on social media platforms. Being involved in creativity certainly makes me present in that moment, relieves the constant anxiety to have the same things or compare myself to my peers. To me it is a personal protest against consumerism, with the added bonus of enriching rather than taking (time/money). Even though I’m discussing not purchasing unneeded ‘stuff’ – 2 books, which I have shared before I think are a good purchase, and help – with less purchasing… does that even make sense? These are The Bullet Journal Method, and La’rt de la Liste: Simplify, Organise, Enrich your life.
So coming back to my first point; January is a great time to take stock, reflect on the year that has been and put some new processes in place for the new season. To do this I want to discuss ‘lists’. YES, you read it correctly… lists. One of my current finds is La’rt de la Liste: Simplify, Organise, Enrich your life, it is a beautiful book on lists and the art of list making by Dominique Loreau. When I first picked it up I thought, “Oh No, another book to organise my messy life”, and in a way it is, but it is done with creativity, inspiration and flair.
“Writing, correcting, editing, clarifying, refining… the work of deleting, of filtering, of gradually trimming back the superfluous as we aspire towards the essential. It is always possible to express truths, personal convictions or powerful, fleeting pleasures in a more succinct way. Just like the haiku, the list can represent a way of turning a selection of words and sensations into a mini work of art.”
There is delightful Japanese approach to the book, the way Japanese approach lists and the fine art and execution of them. If you love lists – then you will find this book a treasure. Link here to review.
So back to January. It is here and I have a need to reflect. What have I done in 2021 that has helped me to organise my life and in turn given me freedom for creativity? The biggest change I have made is incorporating bullet journaling into my life (BuJo for those in the know). I actually did this a couple of years ago – BUT – it is still changing the way a ride the wave of time and motivation. Ryder Carroll wrote a book titled The Bullet Journal Method, which outlines a style of journal/diary, he states:
“The Bullet Journal method will help you accomplish more by working on less. It helps you identify and focus on what is meaningful by stripping away what is meaningless.”
Without reading the book, it’s quite difficult to explain the elements of the BuJo that make it so successful. What I like most about it is its ability to put everything in one place. I’ve always had a diary, but then hated the waste of paper, I use lists all the time, and then I write little quotes to myself, or draw, or write down goals in another book – the BuJo method puts it all together using an index system, which is easy and quick to learn.
I recommend the Matter Bullet Dotted Journal it comes in a variety of colours and is simple to use, this is the Lavender one – my favourite. You will see from the pic below – this is not one of those journals – but mine is on order….
This method of organising, has probably been the biggest change I have made and stuck to this year. And, I will definitely keep practicing the BuJo method next year. I absolutely recommend this book. There is also a website to visit, which is linked here.
Thinking about 2022 commitments and goals: I have a selection of ‘list’ activities (below), which I will work through to come to a decision… and stick to it. These activities can be used in all manner of ways, for small aspects of your life, or larger projects you may be working on. I will link the different websites or references for each.
This is a great way of making lists smaller at the beginning stages. If your possible lists for an idea or project has become too large, and you’re confused as to which one to start, you can use the negative selection. We have a great ability to see the negative in something, more than the positive. Go through the list and write down, NO or MAYBE beside each as you think about the possibilities.
Wishing helps to expand our thinking, it is playful and without boundaries. You can wish for anything. Making a wish list helps you understand yourself and you can consider ‘what ifs’ without limiting your choices to practical solutions.
So these are some of the activities I will use over the next week to reflect on my commute. Hopefully it may be useful to you as well to think about how you can make some positive changes in your routines for next year.
I have not been blogging these last few days, I have been soaking up time with family. So nice to be with people I love, that I haven’t been able to see since August due to our lockdowns. It reminds me how precious time is and how we need to spend it with care and consideration. The last few weeks of December are a bit of a whirlwind, with the end of work for the year, the preparation for holidays and Christmas (if that is what you celebrate 🎉 ), so, the end of the year seems to zoom in view.
This is the last of the December Diary entrees for 2021, and of course, the last day of the year. I have enjoyed sharing parts of my life during this December, it has been so nice reading back – a lot can happen in a month, however, in January I go back to blogging once a week. My plan is to dig back into creativity, what it is, different modes of creativity, how to stay motivated, as well as other topics. Please comment on anything you would like me to dig into over the next few months, I do have some ideas, but of course I’d like to hear from you.
I wrote these little thoughts in my morning pages thinking about the end of 2021, so I thought I’d share:
Today is a good day. A day with sunshine and a walk around the marina. A day to finish things off and start a-new. A day to connect. A day to practice what is essential in life. A day to breathe and feel the wind on my face. A day to think about family and friends and make plans to spend time together. Today, the last day of something, the end of something, but also a connection to what is ahead. There is a pause, a moment to glance back, but not to stay in that glance too long, only allowing the glance back to strengthen the way forward. Today, like any day, is one moment of a precious life.
I hope you are all well. I hope 2022 brings you joy.
It was the last day of work, pretty hectic but managed to finish all the odds and ends by the end of the day. And now the break.
It’s so odd having a break, in some ways, because I wish for it all year long and when I get here I often don’t know what to do. I know rest, relax and all that but it’s a tall order when life has been so stressful. How to stop. How does one stop? I have no idea. I just make plans to fill the spaces up.
However, I am going to try to take more time out. Without my phone, laptop, camera… just away from things and distractions. I really need to clear my head. More than ever.
I wonder what 2022 will bring. I want to be hopeful, but the last 2 years have been so strange I don’t know what to think. It’s late and I am rambling after a long day. I am positive, I am hopeful.
Yesterday’s photo was the city view looking back from the harbour, todays is the same idea but from a different position and much later.
I can hear music filtering through the wet traffic,
and, smell something cooking from the restaurant across the road.
The sky is silver-bright.
A couple walk past, laughing, sharing something between them. The city is vibrant, full, exploding, imploding.
A bus pushes past with breaks that squeak.
The air is muggy, the breeze pushes past my legs as I sit here writing on the laptop beside the french doors ajar to the noise, to the city, to the rain, to the exploding and imploding.
I think the music is a Christmas tune, I can't quite make it out but familiarity sits behind it. I close my eyes for a moment, sinking into the chair, sinking into the city vibe, allowing the exploding, imploding to wash over me. Swirl around. I abandon myself to it all - its abundance.
A car alarm sounds, it is on another street so there is a softness to its rhythm. A city apartment. Above a street where I feel full, alive, clear to what it next.
You can see an update of my move and changes I've made on my YouTube channel here.
It’s been a difficult day. It’s been difficult to focus, to keep going, to stay in the present.
I started my day with Yoga and creative practice, but then it just slipped into stress, worry and negative thoughts. I don’t know why, it just happened. And, sometimes that is life’s experience. I mean it’s not meant to be happy all the time. We have to have the ups with the downs. That’s life.
I did manage to create another hand-made stitched journal. This one is a little more refined than yesterday’s attempt and I think I will gift it to someone for Christmas. I want to add some decorative bits and pieces, so I will share that when it is finished. But other than that, is was a very unproductive day.
To be fair I have been unwell, so it’s not that I was just doing nothing, I actually took the day off work to try and recover from an infection. But I find it difficult to ‘do’ not much, even when I am unwell.
However, we did go for an evening walk, the sea breeze was wonderful – just what I needed to blow away my over-thinking.
I’m so grateful for the breeze. It seems like a silly thing to say, but the breeze today was everything.
Well we have arrived. We are now in the new apartment. Shifted.
And, the unpacking begins.
It’s an interesting task to unpack, find new places for old items. I have this horrible habit of saying to myself, “I’ll stick this here for now…” and in my mind I’m thinking “one day I will find a better place for it”. But will that day happen? Or will that item be always in a new location that doesn’t quite suit?
As I have said in previous diary entrees we have down-sized, and we did get rid of a lot of stuff – but “oh my word”, I still have so much. Maybe I need a second round. It is surprising how much stuff I don’t need. This time I have given away a lot of items I use to feel sentimentally about – but it just does not serve to keep them – so I have said goodbye.
Change is exciting, it’s also daunting but I think in the end it keeps us resilient. We need to keep changing, adapting and allow ourselves to face new obstacles. Part of moving into this apartment is to face new challenges and ask of myself to: ‘begin again’.
I am grateful for good coffee. Sounds superficial, but today it was awesome!
A month of sharing my daily journey starting today. I did do a month of writing in 2020, but that was in July, so it has been a while. This is what it will look like:
photo pic of the day
gratitude, quote, or thought of the day
So, let’s begin.
It’s Wednesday, mid week, and we are in the middle of shifting house. Most of our things are packed, sold or in storage. If you have ever shifted you will know how good it feels to go through collected items and realise that they are not fit for purpose anymore, which gives you permission to let them go. I really don’t know why I hold onto things for so long. But I do, and I know it’s a common practice.
Anyway – that is where we are at. We are not moving far, but the place is a lot smaller, so another reason to let things go within that idea of ‘down-sizing’. It’s funny to think I can let things go at anytime, but only do go through this activity when I have to. Maybe this time I wont collect stuff.
Maybe – but I’m not holding my breath.
This morning, I went for a walk down our beautiful mismatched windy street to a small inlet on the Manakau Harbour. Such a lovely spot, and when I was there I wondered if it would be the last time I saw it. I’ve gone down there a lot over the last few years, it’s only a 15 min walk away, so it has been an easy place to seek out some comfort during all the ‘lock-down days’ we’ve had.
So my gratitude for today goes to this place. A place of solitude and reflection and a place that gave a different view and perspective every time I visited it. Whether or not I come here again, I will always be grateful.