Reverb11: “Well, you’re where you should be all the time.”

3 Dec
Secret Message Envelope

From sweetie pie press on Etsy

How Did I Have Fun In 2011?

When I thought about this question, I started to list specific events that I had enjoyed throughout the year.  It’s always nice to review fond memories, and it’s interesting to note that things that don’t seem fun in the moment can be remembered as fun, and vice versa.  However, creating a list wasn’t really the spirit of the question; the full question could have been written:

How did I have fun in 2011, and how can I have more fun in 2011.

Reverb isn’t just a review of 2011, it’s also a way to plan for an incredible 2012.  Something that will make next year better is recognizing that planning and anticipation are huge parts of having fun for me.  Gretchen Rubin frequently talks about how to have fun and how important it is to take the time to anticipate the good things.  Start enjoying them before they even occur.  As an example, I anticipated Thanksgiving by planning a menu; I enjoyed the process, so I was having fun with Thanksgiving a full week ahead of the actual holiday.  Unfortunately my roommate wound up with a concussion on Thanksgiving (she is now fine), so the holiday was not the fun I had anticipated.  However, the enjoyment I felt the week before was real, even if the event itself turned out very differently than anticipated.

So how can I leverage planning and anticipation into more fun?  Havi Brooks talks about leaving little surprises and gifts to be found by yourself at a later time, and I love that idea.  I’m going to spend the weekend coming up with a few ideas and putting them into practice.  I also planned out several artist’s dates so I can anticipate them and have fun with them instead of skipping them because I feel uninspired.

* * *

How do you have fun?  What are you anticipating right now?

Reverb11: How did your passion inspire you?

2 Dec

The Ood (Doctor Who)How did your passion inspire you?

It’s almost a cliche  to talk about find your passion or living your dreams, but in 2011 people who have chosen to follow their passion, wherever it leads them were my biggest sources of inspiration.

For people guided by their passion, their dreams are their priority, and that is reflected in every decision they make.  In Doctor Who there is a race called the Ood.  The Ood have two brains: the typical brain that resides in the head, and an auxiliary brain that they hold in one hand.  Holding part of your brain in your hand tends to make you vulnerable, which may make the Ood the patron race for living your passion.  Your dream is out there, being held in your hand, for everyone to see.  You’re leaving that passion open to the scrutiny and criticism of anyone who cares to look.  It’s a scary, scary thing.

However, living in pursuit of your dream means you always have a joyful guide.  If your actions will bring you closer to that dream, that’s all it takes to know you’re on the right path.  Priorities become clear and life simplifies itself.  (Which is not to imply that it becomes easy.)  The Ood do not have names because they are one; living your dream will help you find and recognize where you belong, leading you to the people you are already one with.

It’s easier to be guided by what we “should” do rather than what we’re passionate about.  It’s easier to pursue “should” instead of our dreams.  It’s easier to let what we think we “should” do write our core story than it is to rewrite it ourselves.  What are you passionate about?  What’s first step to living that dream?

Reverb11: Yours, Mine, Ours

1 Dec

To the surprise of no one, Gwen Bell announced that there would be no official Reverb11 this year.  I’m disappointed — that was an excellent exercise for me.  However, it was an excellent exercise for me, so I’m going to do it again this year.  I wrote 31 prompts and I’m excited to start ending 2011.

Despite writing new prompts for myself, I want to begin this project with a nod to Reverb10.  Today’s prompt comes from Kaileen Elise:

Where did 2011 begin?

Skiing is my big passion, so every year I eagerly wait for cold weather and snow so I can gleefully slide down a mountain.  The year never really feels complete until the ski season ends, and this year that was especially true.

This year I was working as a ski instructor in the morning and cooking at night, leading to 60-70 hour work weeks, so the first third of 2011 is largely a sleep-deprived blur.  However, by May the weather was finally too warm for the snow to hold up and Tahoe’s amazing 2010/2011 season came to an end.  My year began a week later when I performed my end-of-season ritual with my roommate.  That ritual pushed us from roommates to friends and hit the reset button for me, so my year began.  I moved to Spokane within the week.

I’ve spent this year working to find my place here, trying to define my identity so clearly that I can take it anywhere without feeling like I’m starting over.  I’m re-evaluating and rebuilding my core story, examining my beliefs and making room for a little more faith in myself, a little more self-compassion.  It has not been an easy year, but last December I recognized that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to change my life.

I’m not sure when 2012 will begin or how 2011 will end, but I do hope that I end 2011 with copious amounts of gleefully sliding down a mountain and begin 2012 feeling love and compassion for a new friend.

* * *

How do you end the year?  Are you participating in a reincarnation of Reverb or some other project?  Share the links in the comments.


My Internet Dependency Is Okay!

22 Nov

Besides, I stopped using the internet for escapism years ago.

I essentially went a week without the internet when my computer died.  (I did have my Ipod Touch, but I used it sparingly because I couldn’t charge it.)  During that week I caught myself thinking that I should be just fine without the internet and wondering if it was healthy to be so dependent on technology.  It was an interesting insight to an aspect of my core story that I haven’t really examined yet: apparently I think the internet (all of the internet, no exceptions) is nothing but a means of escapism and I should be strong enough not to need it.

This is exactly why I’m rewriting my core story.  Now that I’ve brought that belief into the light I can see it for the craziness and hypocrisy that it is.  Obviously there are plenty of ways to waste time online, but just as obviously that’s not all that’s possible and that’s certainly not all that I do with the internet.  I use the internet because it is a useful tool.

I also realized that I’d unwittingly picked that idea up from a few friends and family members who feel intimidated by computers and the internet and that makes them feel a little insecure.  They’re dealing with their own “shoulds” on the matter, and their disparaging comments are a means of justifying their choice not to use these tools, not a criticism of me or my actions.

No one has ever suggested that I am too dependent on these things; I intercepted their self-talk and internalized it and let it influence me.   I don’t need to feel insecure about my enthusiasm for all the internet has to offer; it’s a useful tool, and I’m very happy I have a beautiful new machine to enjoy it with.

* * *

What messages have you intercepted and internalized?  Have they helped you or hindered you?

The Artist’s Way: Week 7

20 Nov

“Expect the universe to support your dream. It will.”  The Artist’s Way, pg. 119

“The Great Tao extends everywhere.  All things depend on it for growth, and it does not deny them.”  Tao Te Ching #34 (from Thinking Body, Dancing Mind)

The Artist's Way by Julia CameronPerfectionism is also a big focus of this chapter.  It’s something I’m trying to let go of and it’s getting easier.  One of my mantras is “progress, not perfection,” and that reminds me to move forward without obsessing over the details.  Fractal flowers are mentioned as well, but not by name.  Risk begets risk and action begets action.  Or, making dinner leads to cleaning the kitchen which leads to knitting which leads to morning pages which leads to blogging.

My artist’s date was…nonexistent, but I did practice abundance (as learned in Chapter 6) by buying myself a couple pounds of grapes.  Such a simple things, but I’m happy every time I go to the refrigerator and find them waiting.

Morning pages were also less than perfect — my computer died and I had to wait a week for the new one to arrive (Yay, new computer!  I named her Thrace.) which did terrible things to my routine.  I’ve been doing the morning pages online and I’ve been doing them every day and enjoying them, but I did not adjust to doing them by hand.  I wrote every day, but certainly not three pages.  I’m so very happy to be getting back to my routine.

And I think that’s part of what I’m learning in this chapter.  It’s all about a sense of connection, about being able to trust that if I put the effort in, there will be enough synchronicity, enough cooperation from the universe to inspire me and help me see my projects through.  However, I need to put forth the initial effort, and for me that means I need to have a routine in place.  It’s hard to create something new, but it’s easy to make creation part of my routine.

 * * *

What routines do you have?  How do they help you?  Do you have any routines that hold you back?

Who Do You Wish To Have Cocoa With?

8 Nov

I Love Hot Cocoa on a Snow Day

Wishcasting Wednesday: Who Do You Wish to Have Cocoa With?

I have been lucky enough to ski with a lot of incredible skiers over the years, and even luckier to have skied with some very generous ski instructors.  The ski season is approaching, and I’ll be at a new resort this year, meeting new people.  However, I’ll miss sitting around the fire (or bar, depending) with my cocoa, talking shop with my former (and hopefully future) instructors.

I appreciate all the advice and encouragement I’ve received over the years.  Their support and even love have always let me know that I belonged in the chairlift, that I was on the right path.  I wouldn’t be the same skier or the same instructor without them, and I hope everyone has a great season this year.

Let it snow.

Hello Universe: Self Care

7 Nov

What I Want

I want to feel better.  I am still feeling sick, so I’m tired and I’m struggling to find motivation.  I want to provide myself with the self care necessary to make me healthy.

The Potential I Can See

I can nap.

I can go to bed early.

I can eat well– chicken soup and an abundance of fruit come to mind.

I can acknowledge how I feel and what I need.

My Commitment

I commit to being gentle with myself.  There is so much I want to do, but it will all be easier once I feel better and have some energy available.  I don’t need to put pressure on myself out of pride or a misguided sense of obligation.

* * *

What makes you feel better when you’re sick?