Holiday Wishes

DSC00564The season is moving on and the end of 2012, is not too far off.  Though September is really the month I consider to be my New Year, January is still a landmark time, in that the calendar begins its yearly cycle, bringing us back to the beginning again every year.

On January 1st, I set an intention for the 365 days that are before me, just as I will set my intentions for tomorrow, this evening, and on Sunday night, I’ll set them for the week ahead. Using this idea, taught to me by Debra Marrs, I wake up each morning, knowing what I plan to do for the day ahead. And though I may stray off course from time to time, it’s a structure that I can carry with me into the next day if necessary. Unless I am faithful to these lists, I would most likely arise confused and overwhelmed, trying to figure out where to begin my day, and why.

I do change things around as opportunities for a last-minute visit with a friend arises or if the cat gets sick and I need to take her to the vet. I simply put what I didn’t do today onto the list for tomorrow. The deal is to only write down three or four items to accomplish each day, leaving extra time to keep working if I choose, or to have a cup of tea with my neighbor, weed the garden, or have a cat nap. Those things, which I don’t consider work and often feel guilty about doing, are just as important as taking time to work on my memoir every day, paying the bills, and doing the laundry. They are the self-care items that keep me sane. I’ve learned over the years that without time to relax, I don’t do well. After having used this system of time management for a while, I now know just how much I can accomplish in a given day. I’ve stopped overloading my plate, and don’t feel rotten anymore, when I don’t finish everything I planned to do.

My yearly intentions are a bit different. They are just one or two words that I choose each January to accompany me as I move through the next calendar year. In the past I’ve chosen words such as trust, slowly, and open. When I’m feeling particularly pushed, I’m reminded to slow down and to trust that all will be well.  The word open, really helped me during a difficult time after my mother died, when all I wanted to do was to hide away and lick my wounds. Instead of sitting behind a closed-door, I left it slightly ajar. When I felt it was safe to leave the door wide open, I did, letting in the sunshine, a fresh breeze, new friends and interests. The lineup of these words grows every year as I add a new one. And they often come together like old friends, when I’m feeling in need of a course correction.

This year, I’m starting a few weeks early as a way of practicing before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. I’ve chosen simplicity, as my word for 2013, hoping it will help me to keep my worst enemy, Perfection, from trying to take over. It should help me to sort out the idea of enough, as in how I perceive myself, and how much time I need to put in working on my memoir everyday.

I want my days to be less complicated and more productive.  I want to keep my goal of finishing a draft of my memoir by September 1st in mind, while finding a way to get it done without making life so complicated and difficult, that I’ll give up and walk away. It will help me to use the word NO, when the temptation to let it go arises, and remind me that what I want most in the world right now, is to write my story.

In the spirit of practicing simplicity, I plan on taking the next three weeks off from writing this blog. I’ll have extra time to enjoy my family and get lots of rest before jumping headfirst into whatever lies ahead.

I wish each and every one of you, a happy and healthy Holiday Season and a New Year filled with fresh dreams!


This entry was posted in Christmas, Dreams, Memoir, Navigating Through Life, Perfectionism, Time, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Holiday Wishes

  1. Debra Marrs says:

    Joan, you are a model to all of us. You have in place just the right mix of gentle systems to help you sustain the momentum to finishing your memoir. There’s no doubt in my mind that September 1 will find you shouting “I did it!” Thank you for your kind words about the process you learned from me. It honors and parallels with your new word for the new year–simplicity–and will serve you well every day of the coming year. Good luck with everything!

  2. jzrart says:

    Thanks, Debra. Don’t make me a model …. sometimes, like this past week, it doesn’t work. But I guess that’s to be expected at Christmas. Hopefully next week I’ll be back in full swing. Thanks for your confidence in me and my September 1st deadline! Hope you’ve had wonderful holidays and that the new year will be a good one for you.

  3. jzrart says:

    Thanks Debra! I look forward to staying in touch, too.

  4. Becca says:

    I believe in the power of list-making too, and rely on my daily index card to keep me on-track and accountable! I’m still learning not to feel guilty when I overload it and can’t get everything done.

    I’m choosing the concept of mindfulness and focus for the New Year, with the hope of being able to slow down and pay closer attention to the small beautiful things in everyday life.

    All the best to you in 2013!

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