Category Archives: Diaries

Journal Friday: Core Practices

Diary Pile 2I’ve been experiencing something of a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ lately, a deep, dark journey into the Underworld.  Being creative has been a distant dream.  The only space or energy available has just been for survival.  That said, I’ve realised that there are three core practices that have helped, and continue to help me keep (relatively) sane.

Core practices are those habits you keep going, no matter what.  Activities that keep your engine running even when there is no energy, space or time for anything else.  You keep up these habits through the times of joy and abundance, and those of despair, desolation and drought.  They help sustain you, and keep you in a state of awakened readiness for when the next shower of inspiration comes.  They are part of the minimum requirements that you need to function as a happy, healthy human being.  They are different for everybody, so yours might vary from mine, but they will give you the same comforting, nurturing continuity in your life.

I started thinking about this idea the other day, when I heard Jamie Ridler talking about them in her recent podcast.  The core practices she sites are Movement, Meditation and Morning Pages.  Morning Pages are a practice popularised by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way, and I’ve written a little about them here.  Cameron herself would probably site Morning Pages, Walking and the Artist Date as her core practices.

If I had to name mine, the three things that have kept me going in recent days against the tide of despair, I would say they are yoga, meditation and journalling.

Yoga helps me to keep grounded inside my body.  Even when I am very ill and have little energy, a single pose can help.  Yoga eases the chronic pain I live with, and gives me a sense of achievement.  I like doing it outside in the garden in the summer, but usually my yoga mat gets spread out on my study floor.  I light a candle, ask for a blessing on my practice, and do a few asanas.  I also enjoy doing a few poses before bed at night, as this helps calm me from the day’s stresses, but also helps counteract the tension my body builds up during the night.  If you fancy having a go, you might find this website helpful.

Meditation is something I am trying to do.  I’ve been trying to do it for years.  It occurs to me now that maybe thats the whole point.  Even when you get good at it, you are still battling the butterfly nature of your mind as it dances about between the shopping list and the peerless beauty of Benedict Cumberbatch’s mouth, or something similar!  Lately, I’ve had quite a bit of success with the Insight Timer app on my smartphone, and I also like Susan Piver’s free meditation instruction sessions – ten minutes out of your day for such huge benefits has to be worth a try.  When I get it right, when I manage to concentrate on my breath even for just a tiny bit, I experience a sense of peace, achievement and oneness.  I’ve tried Vipassana body awareness meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn too, and they are really good.

Journalling.  Do I really need to add much about this?  I’ve been writing continually on this blog about journalling practise since I started a year ago, explaining the benefits and the pleasures of keeping a diary.  I’ve been doing it for 40 years this year (erch!  Is it really that long?), and I can tell you that it has saved my life more than once.  Check out my other Journal Friday posts to find out more.

Journal Exercise:

Get out your journal and take a little time to ground yourself.  Take a few breaths and be present within your body.  Then think about your life.  What are some of the things you do regularly that sustain you emotionally, physically, spiritually.  Spend some time writing about them, about why they help you, why you do them, how they nourish you.

If you have trouble zeroing in on one, two or three things you do in this way, try thinking about your minimum requirements for a happy life.  What do you go nuts without?  When your life gets a bit haywire and you find you feel out of control, what are the things that have slipped?  It might be anything from drinking enough water and eating fruit daily to spending time with friends and family, walking the dog or reading a good book.  Make a list of the things that you know you need in your life to sustain your wellbeing.

As always, don’t get too draconian about either of these exercises.  Remember these are not the things you think you OUGHT to be doing, or what your friends are doing, although they may be things you might like to try, but haven’t yet.  Take time to explore.  Be gentle and compassionate with yourself.  And if you can’t identify anything yet, allow the answers to evolve over time.  Gently ask them to come to you.  Ask yourself what you need in your life right now, and enjoy your discoveries.

Happy Creating,

EF

 

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Journal Friday: Handwriting

Handwriting in my writers notebook

Handwriting in my writers notebook

I’ve probably banged on about this before, but nevertheless, I’m going to do it again.

Write your diary by hand.

I’m serious about this.  No, really.  There are many reasons.

Yes, you hate writing.  Besides, you’ve got your computer and you can write so much more easily and quickly using a keyboard.  And hell, a laptop or an iPad are so much more portable and….

Wait.  What’s more portable than a little notebook and a pen?

There are reasons why using your hand to make marks on a page in the age-old way are important.

Firstly, writing with your hand will benefit you directly in a psychological way.  You may not agree with my position on Gestalt, but I truly believe that the unconscious or subconscious is locked up in the tissues of your body and needs to speak.  Allow it to, and it will say all the things you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge.  I have personal experience of the incredible efficacy of this, so you’ll just have to trust me.

Using your hand may seem slower, but it will unlock parts of your mind that you have no conscious access to, and allow you to release emotions in a healthy way.  Using your hand to write will heal you in ways you can’t imagine yet.

Using your hand slows things down enough to allow for reflection.  Not everything that is fast is better.  Sometimes you need to stop and think between sentences.  Allowing your eyes to follow the flow of your nib on the page allows your mind the breathing space it needs to move on to the next emotion, memory, image.

Going slower is good.

Another reason to hand write your diary is for beauty’s sake.  Yuck, you may think – Have you seen my handwriting????

Your handwriting may look like crap, but that’s because you don’t use it.

Practise is the key to making anything beautiful, and if you practise your writing, carefully and consciously, you will not only find yourself writing faster, but also more legibly and beautifully.

Again, this is something I know about.  I’ve been keeping a diary since I was seven years old, and looking back through the volumes gives me the chance to see how my own handwriting has evolved.  I have to say that I went through many phases of adopting the styles of others.  Yes, I copied the handwriting of my best friends in order to be more like them.  I’m sure many girls do.  And as a teenager, I adopted some of those silly squiggles and loops that are so common – like drawing a circle instead of a dot on the top of a small case ‘i’, and so on.  Yuck.  Thankfully, I grew out of that one too.  I even learnt to hold my pen in different ways in order to affect particular styles.

Now my handwriting has settled into a more mature, consistent style, although it does vary from day to day depending on my mood.  I have worked on it, crafted it, to make it more attractive, more pleasing to the eye.

I also have two styles for practical purposes, my usual style, and the one I use for writing very quickly, which enables me to take verbatim notes in meetings and such like without having to know shorthand.  Using either, I find that practise makes them more attractive and easier to read.  The more I write, the better I get.  Literally.

Writing is an art form in itself.

The other thing about handwriting is that, like map reading, it is becoming a lost art, and one we will sorely miss when it is gone.  I am a rabid advocate of reading maps, and I object strongly to anyone assuming that I have a satnav I can just plug into.  Satnavs are a disaster because they aren’t intelligent enough to handle the complexities of actual landscapes, and the number of times I’ve got stuck on a country road behind a vast articulated lorry whose driver has blindly followed his satnav’s instructions and then found he can’t escape are countless.

Similarly, handwriting takes account of the subtle nuances of the emotional landscape.  Because my handwriting changes with my mood, it actually speaks as much as the words I record about how I am feeling, in a way that static typefaces never can.

But more than that, if we lose the capacity to write by hand, what would happen if we were suddenly without electricity or technology?  How could we communicate?  If you were stuck in a desert, how could you write on a rock to leave a message for someone trying to find you?  If there were a natural disaster, Gods forbid, how could you leave a last message for your loved ones before you died?  Or more simply, how could you make a quick note of your shopping needs if you lost your phone?

It may seem laborious and a bore, but please use your handwriting, at the very least in your journal.  Not only will you be making a work of art to pass on to posterity, but you will find the simple act of allowing your brain to communicate directly through your arm will unleash creativity and healing undreamt of.

Right now, as I type this, I am actually yearning to pick up a pen and write.  I don’t know what I’ll write.  Anything, probably.  Just a bit of rubbish.  But the act of moving my hand across the page is seductive and addictive in a way that nothing else is, and I long for it.

You can feel this bliss too.  It isn’t hard.  You learnt how to do it at school.

Simply take up your pen and write.

Happy Journalling,

EF

Journal Friday: Taking Stock

I’ve been sitting in the garden today, enjoying the surreally mild February weather, and writing in my diary.  Taking stock.

This is the 8th week of 2014 and I have written virtually nothing apart from blog posts – and they have been rare enough.  I have been very ill, and getting over it has been a long struggle.  We are in the middle of a major life transformation as we care for elders who are coming to the ends of their lives, which requires a lot of travelling and worry.  This year has not been so much about ‘Dare’ so far, as about ‘Coping’.  And as usual, when things are difficult, creativity gets a back seat.

Now I’m feeling much better.  My brain is starting to work again.  I am still in ‘Bear Time’, though, contemplating how to navigate the coming choppy waters, and how this time of resting has helped me.  I want to take that lesson forward.  ‘Daring to rest’ seems appropriate.

I was working in my writer’s notebook yesterday.  Just jotting a few notes.  My poor notebook is getting battered.  Its been carried about in my handbag since September, when I was first trying to get back into keeping a proper writers notebook.  Its been sadly neglected lately, and as I scan the pages, I can see the entries are distinctly intermittent.  It turns out that keeping a notebook has been a really difficult habit to cultivate for me.  I think this is because:

  • I tend to keep ideas in my head (not a very effective way of recording them as they tend to drift into obscurity and get forgotten.
  • I tend to get caught up in the ‘thinking’ mode of trying to organise my ideas by keeping different notebooks for different projects, which means I never have the right notebook on me when I have an idea for that particular project.
  • I worry about the idea of having one notebook for everything, which is the obvious solution.  How will I find anything?  How can I combine my planner pages, my blog ideas and my writing ideas when tabbed sections just put me off?

My old notebook is pretty much full, now. That, at least, feels like an achievement.  Now, as I settle back into my writing groove, I need to get a new one and start using it.  A single notebook for all my ideas and projects.  I wrote long and hard about this in my journal, exploring every possibility, and the only way of dealing with it that I can see is precisely this:  to keep one notebook and to write everything in it, from writing exercises to jotting down quotes and sticking in cuttings.  To keep it by chronological not subject order.  It will be a record of my thoughts as they come to me.n  I’ll try to organise it as much as I can by using different colour pens for different areas of my life, but thats about it.

Now all I have to do it find the perfect notebook.  And that, as we stationery addicts know, is a lifetime’s search!

How do you organise your journals, your writers notebooks or sketchbooks?  Do you go by project or by time?  What format do you use?  Are you a Moleskine addict or a cheap exercise book fan?  Please share your ideas and tips with me in the comments section, I would love to hear from you.

Happy Journalling,

EF

Journal Friday: Lists

Your house and your life will be full of lists.  Most likely shopping lists, most infamously, To Do lists.  We all make them.  They are the most efficient way to remind your brain about the important, and the not-so-important things.

But did you know they can add an extra dimension to your journal practise?

We keep lists because they are an easy way to record a series of items, whether they are things we already possess, things we need to get (like shopping lists),things we need to do, or remember, or worry about, or understand.

Lists also allow us to create hierarchies within them.  You can order your list in terms of importance or urgency.  You can use each item as a heading, and include a sub-list beneath it.  Or you can just scribble items down in the order they come into your head – which is in itself a kind of order, though the meaning of that order may only be understood by you.  And yes, I do use mind maps too, but I don’t find them half so useful, because they don’t have the implied order that a list does.  You have to impose the order on them afterwards, which seems a waste of time to me – why not do it as you go along?

I like using lists in my diary to gather together thoughts that are floating about in my head which don’t really fit anywhere.  For instance, the other day, I made a list of all the items I wanted to buy which would need to be saved for:  new spectacles, a juicer, a steam floor cleaner, and other things.  Each of these items came from a separate train of thought:   ‘I can’t see to read these days, I need to get an eye test’;  ‘Maybe drinking green juice would help me feel better’;  ‘Its really muddy outside and we are trailing a lot of mud into the house, and I am fed up with mopping the floor all the time, maybe there is a quick alternative.’

None of these things really go together.  Normally, I would put them under headings like ‘Health care’, ‘Diet’ and ‘Housecleaning’.  But I don’t have a place to record any of these ideas (I confess – mea maxima culpa – I don’t keep a Home Management binder or a GTD planner, shame on me!)  They are all good ideas, but if I don’t write them down, they will get forgotten, and I will no doubt then waste valuable mental energy thinking them up again, or coming up with new solutions.  Now I have a list recorded, I can forget about it until I need it.

Something else I have been doing for years is using lists to help with emotional challenges.  I frequently get myself into a state of profound anxiety by worrying about half a dozen things at once.  Or sometimes more!  Usually, when I get like this, I find myself struck down with a migraine, so its something I prefer to avoid, if I can.  Out comes the diary, then, and away I go, writing down a list of all the things I am worried about, and why.  I may end up with pages of bullet points.  Then I revue them.  Usually I can see a pattern emerging, and I can work out that there are one or two core issues coming up that the sheer volume of worries are masking.  Once I have identified what is really wrong, I can make a list of things I can do about the problem – because taking action of some kind, however small, always makes me feel better.

When I am feeling completely overwhelmed by everything I feel I have to do, I take the time to make a list of everything.  Then I can identify the SHOULDS I am imposing on myself can rule them out, because they are usually neither Urgent nor Important* in the grand scheme of things.  Also, writing all the things I have to get through somehow makes the mountain less intimidating.  Life seems more manageable when you can get it down on a sheet of paper.

(*Knowing the difference between Urgent and Important is crucial when you have limited resources.  Urgent is something that has to be done NOW.  Important is something which needs to be done as a matter of priority for your future wellbeing/happiness/security etc.  For example, Urgent could be putting the laundry in the machine because you won’t have any clean knickers tomorrow if you don’t.  Important is getting your tax return in to avoid late filing fines.  Of course, tax returns could also be Urgent, if you are within a few hours of the deadline, and the laundry might be Important if tomorrow is also the day when you have an interview for a potentially life-changing new job!  But you can see the difference.  Urgent changes your immediate future, whereas Important is more long term.  Which is why a list helps you to identify which is which!)

I also really like using lists to explore an idea.  I give myself time to visualise the concept in my mind, for example, that of Bear energy, which I was talking about the other day.  Then I do a word association around that idea, writing down all the words and feelings and thoughts that pop into my head in a list which depicts what that idea means to me.  I can then use that list as a starting point for exploring deeper meanings and related areas.

I mainly use lists to dump everything out of my brain because I invariably have a cranium so full of stuff that something has to be offloaded or I will go mad.  Quick, thumbnail sketches of stories, plans, thoughts, worries, household jobs, recipes, things to tell my husband when he gets home, and food items we have just run out of, all end up on lists in my journal.  It has only been through writing this post that I have begun to realise how addicted to lists I actually am!

The other thing about lists is that they are easily accessible when you read them back.  Even a series of one word items can remind you of a whole Mind Palace of thoughts.  And once these thoughts are outside your head, you can use your brain to come up with lots of lovely new ones!  What liberation!

Tips for Keeping Lists:

  • Make sure you label your list especially if it is connected with a word association or particular project.
  • I often scribble lists on loose sheets of paper that I find hanging around the house, and stick them into my diary later – this means I feel I can be as messy as I want with the list because I am not messing up my nice, neat diary page. (When the list is stuck in, I can decorate it and make it nice if I like.)
  • If you make several lists on several sheets, stick them in your journal together so they make sense on reading back.
  • Give yourself space when you make a list.  There will always be something else you want to add!

Journal Exercise:

You could use any of the techniques with lists that I have mentioned above, but you might like to try this one, from the field of Gestalt therapy.

This technique can help you access unconscious feelings that are causing your trouble.

Do you have an ache or pain that has been grumbling away recently?  A dogged headache that resists all medication, a sprained ankle, an aching hip?

Take out your journal and sit quietly, away from noise and distractions.  (Give yourself plenty of time for this.)

Focus your mind now on the part of your body that is troubling you, and really dive deep into experiencing the pain, ache, or discomfort, or whatever feeling is going on there.  Let the feeling fill you up.  Connect with it.

Now take out your pen and, continuing to focus on the feeling.  How would you describe the feeling?  Whatever word first pops into your head, no matter how unlikely it seems, write it down.  Now focus again and look for the next word.  And the next.  Keep going until your mind empties and no more words appear.

Now read back your list.  Are there any words that particularly jump out at you?  Any themes that seem apparent?  Some unlikely or seemingly unconnected words may turn out to be linked to things that are going on in your life, in friendships, your career or family.  They may remind you of emotional issues you have not confronted, or point to something in your life that feels unfinished, unfair or unsatisfying.

Now take some time to journal about the words that seem most meaningful to you.  Allow yourself to explore what comes up and see where it takes you.  You may find yourself planning a new adventure, resolving old conflicts, or seeing situations in a new light.  It can be very enlightening.

You may feel this exercise is a bit mumbo-jumbo, but I assure you, it’s a great way to access things going on in your head ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak, and it can explain a lot.  You may also find it difficult to start off with, but practise and you will find it easier over time.  You might even want to have a friend help you by writing down the words that come up as you concentrate on your own body.  And if you get a recurring pain in the same place, you can go back to your list and do the exercise again, and compare the two to see if something new comes up.  You may even find, as I frequently have, that the pain you focus on is significantly reduced or even disappears as a result of its ‘being heard’.  It’s is a great way to use lists, and I encourage you to have a go.

Happy list-making,

EF

Inspiration Monday: Planner Smorgesbord

I’m still in the midst of Bear energy at the moment, only more so, because last week, after I wrote my last post, I went down with labyrinthitis, a nasty inflammation of the part of the inner ear that controls balance.  The result is dizziness, nausea and on occasion, terrifying episodes of vertigo. Controllable, as it turns out, but I’ve had better times.  At present, I am living with a kind of low level seasickness which, whilst its not very pleasant, is at least managable.

Reading is intermittently a problem, but I have been surfing the net a bit, and I thought I would share a few pages I have been enjoying lately, just to keep you going until my brain comes back enough to write something  more coherent!   But before we begin, I should start with all my cards on the table:

Confession:  I am a Stationery addict!

I’ve been having a bit of a planner fetish lately.  I’ve always been very fond of Philofaxy, which is the filofax addict’s dream.  Somehow, it doesn’t fulfil my passion for the visual, and I’ve always found filofaxes too rigid in their forms to really work for me.

What delight, then, to discover Staples’ ARC discbound system, which combines the flexibility of a loose leaf format like filofax with the aesthetics and practicality of a notebook.

It is very annoying that the gorgeous Martha Stewart aqua coloured ARC binders that are all over the blogosphere at the moment are not available in the UK.  I’m trying to work out how I can get hold of one.  In the meantime, have a drool at what Jen at IHeart Organizing has done with hers – it is irresistable!  (She does a blog planner too, which I am head-over-heels for.)

I love what Jackie and Michelle at A Creative Operation are doing with theirs!

If you want something more creative and visually oriented than the usual planners, take a peek at Right-Brain Planner.  I’m not sure I could aspire to such heights of visual complexity, but its pretty breathtaking, and shows that you don’t have to conform to what Filofax says your diary should look like.

If you fancy going right back to basics, you can’t do batter than iHanna’s tutorial on how to make your own!

If you want to go the whole hog, and plan your entire 2014, then do what I do and treat yourself to Leonie’s Amazing Biz and Life Planner.  This is the third year I’ve used mine and I really love it as a way of focussing on what you want.

And of course, don’t forget Jennifer Louden’s Life Organiser.  I use it religiously every Sunday.  Fact.

Meanwhile, being a bit compromised in the moving-about-without-falling-over department at the moment, I’ve been hanging my nose over the Organised Portable Home Office at ‘I’m an Organizing Junkie’.  Somehow I have got to make that one work so I don’t spend my whole life struggling up and down the stairs to find notebooks or binders when I’m working on the sofa instead of at my desk!

On that note, dear readers, I am going off to think about what to write about in my next post, but I hope that this one has fed your inner planner addict!

Happy creating,

EF

Welcome to 2014!

Writer Friend asked me yesterday what my creative plans for the coming year were. (He means to finish the last draft of his novel to his agent’s satisfaction.  Good luck to him, I say.)

Me?  Well, I just stared at him with my lower jaw on my chest.

Plans?  Creativity?  Ideas?  Hell, even original thought?  I beg your pardon?

Let me explain:  Mother-in-law (henceforward referred to as Mother) lives with Aunt-in-law (henceforward referred to as Aunt).  Mother has dementia.  Aunt is profoundly disabled by arthritis.  Aunt is Mother’s carer.  Just before Christmas, Aunt fell on the stairs and was rushed to hospital with suspected broken neck. Cue care crisis.  Luckily, neck was not broken. Result, however, was several days in hospital for Aunt, meaning Mother had no carer.  Husband and I, and rest of family, rushed the three and a half hour drive to take over care.  Aunt comes out of hospital, still needing 24-hour care.

Its a mess.

The upshot of all this is that we spent Christmas nursing, so effectively Christmas didn’t happen.  For ten days, my brain was occupied thusly: 90% firefighting care/nursing issues, 10% ‘ohmygodhowarewegoingtogetthroughthis???????’

We made it home in time to spend an exhausted New Year’s Eve with dear friends, and to stare blankly at the telly for the Sherlock Series Three Episode One premier last night. (Don’t ask me for an opinion, I haven’t got one yet.  I’ll tell you when I get my brain back.)

I haven’t had an original thought to spare for myself for nearly a fortnight.

So the plans I had for writing a jolly, upbeat, ‘these are my creative plans for 2014’ post for you today are wrecked.  I don’t have any plans because I haven’t had time to think about them.  Of course, I will write one, eventually, when my brain is less bombed, and when I have recovered from the bone-deep exhaustion that only an ME sufferer faced with such an emergency can experience.

Why am I telling you all this?  (Apart from to apologise for not writing something you didn’t even know I was going to write?)

Because this is a real-life demonstration of the philosophy this blog was established to promote.

In a minute, I will put away my laptop and excavate my desk from under the heaps of clutter that accumulated there in the chaos before Christmas.  And then I will open my journal, and pick up my pen, and press the nib to the paper.

And then I will find my way back to myself.

Somewhere, buried under the rubble of the last two weeks, is my soul.  My mind.  My creativity.  And my pen will make a line, a track that will lead me back to my soul, my mind, my creativity.

This is why writing is important.  Whether we write a journal or a story, a play or a poem, that line of ink leads us home to ourselves, over and over again.  And if we follow that inky trail, we will never be lost, no matter how difficult and hopeless things seem.

Happy New Year,

With Best Wishes,

EF

Word of the Year 2014

So, we have thought about intentions, and we have begun to consider the words that identify how we want to feel.  Those (five) words are the place from whence our intentions arise.  Because every day we can choose to do things that make us feel that way.

Clever, eh?

But there’s more:

You may have bumped into the idea of having a Word of the Year.  You can find out more about this habit here.

A Word of the Year is a kind of overall intention.  It gives you a direction, a way of formulating how you want to be in the world. It also has an uncanny habit of bringing into your life exactly what it says.

My word for 2013 was

Revolutionary

And oh boy, was it?!

This year has fundamentally changed how I feel about myself.  I have undergone a revolution in my core beliefs and my way of approaching the world.  I have turned my attitudes about my place in the world and, most particularly, in the world of work, on their heads.  In some ways, I have also revolved (the other meaning of revolutionary), coming back full circle to revisit issues that I thought I had dealt with before.

I have revolutionised the way I write and the way I feel about my writing.  I have set up this website and begun to dream new dreams about the kind of things I want to create.  It is exhilarating.

Let me tell you, revolution doesn’t have to be a violent upheaval that ends with tyranny and blood.

I have to confess that when the word first came to me, in the form of just revolution, (while I was still in the malaise of a serious bout of influenza which brought me close to being hospitalised), I was a bit scared.  I knew it was the word I needed, but it sounded frightening, as if I could be inviting an earthquake into my life.  Was I really ready for that much change?  After all, with limited energy, poor health and a susceptibility to anxiety and stress, it didn’t really sound a good idea to invite those kinds of energies into my world.  So I fiddled with it until it felt more friendly, more manageable.  And more appropriate to what I could cope with.  It became:

I AM REVOLUTIONARY

And this year, I have been.

So the question then becomes, what do I want to be next?

I don’t have to stop being revolutionary, of course, but 2014 needs a new word, something that allows new energies into my life, allowing me to blossom and grow in new ways.

I have been sitting with my five words and my journal and calendar, contemplating what I want to be and do next year.  How I want to build on the intentions and lessons that revolutionary brought with it?  I thought about kind, lovingkindness, courage, and strength.  The first two felt too soft, and the last two, too tough.  I needed something flexible, something I can grow with, something I can work with whilst still treating myself with lovingkindess.  And this is what I came up with:

DARE

Dare feels good.  It popped into my head at 2am on the way back to bed after a loo break (TMI), and I knew it was the right word.

Dare is about having a go, putting yourself out there, but not in a way that is perfectionist.  Not in a Nigel way.  Dare means trying something out and seeing if it fits.  It means trying something, and knowing that it doesn’t matter if I fail or if I don’t get it exactly right the first time, or even if it turns out to be the wrong thing after all.  At least I will have tried.  At least I will be in the arena fighting, as Roosevelt would put it.

Journal Exercise:

So, I invite you to take time to sit with your feelings words, with your creative and life intentions, and to consider what word might truly describe and inspire how and who you want to be in 2014.  What feelings and new adventures do you want to manifest in your life?  What energies do you want to invoke?

When you consider this, do it in the spirit of lovingkindness towards yourself.  Look at your life with a gentle hope, not in the spirit of forcing yourself into new contortions.  This is not some New Agey wishing, some pseudo-psychobabble soppy thing.  This is a life affirming way of moving yourself to new levels, of becoming more yourself every day, and of being deeply, affirmatively and satisfyingly creative.

Everyday life is a continual act of creativity.

When I say ‘sit with it’, I mean: allow yourself time to consider.  Allow ideas to filter, percolate and bubble in your mind.  Don’t force it.  It will come to you.  Let it happen.  You know deep inside what you want for yourself as a creative being.  Allow it to emerge.  And then rejoice in it.  Allow it to inspire every corner of your life for the whole year.

I guarantee it will take you places you can’t even begin to imagine right now.

Happy Creating,

EF