Looking Ahead

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Today is January 1, 2016.

Today, the new year begins.

Yesterday, it was all plans.

Yesterday, after work, I went to the grocery store. I chose items for meals based on the fact that I’ll be participating in my friend Carla’s “5 Day Clean Eating Challenge.” So, of course, I wanted foods that would not only taste good and be healthy, but that would photograph well, should the need arise. My plan is this: mostly oatmeal or yogurt and granola for breakfast; healthy homemade soups for lunch; for dinner, I’ll work my way around salmon, chicken breast, brown rice and the mound of vegetables and greens I brought home. Day before yesterday, I made a huge pot of bean and barley soup with a tomato base and lots of vegetables. I made so much, in fact, that if the 5 day challenge started today, I could eat soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week, and not have to think about another meal!

I ran to the airport yesterday afternoon when I learned I had packages waiting. More books to add to the stack. I have quite a collection of self-help books, waiting to start my new year off on the right foot. Every one, I am sure, will change my life. I do this every year. So far, my life has not been dramatically changed by any self-help book. Still, winter is here, books are nice companions…and I still hold out hope for life-changing advise. In the pile this year are:

the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo

Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory

This Year I Will…by M.J.Ryan

do less by Rachel Jonat

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

F*ck Feelings by Michael I. Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett

I was so impressed with that last one, I ordered one for each of my daughters as well. Yeah…those will probably have to go back. It doesn’t take a self-help book to know that self-help books, presented to others, carry the idea of judgment and even insult. Improving myself is job enough!

Yesterday I outlined plans for studio work this year, including a hundred small paintings, a few larger paintings and putting my printing press back in use. I also want to do some experimenting with encaustic painting, and I am tentatively thinking about a drawing class.

Yesterday, I committed to writing every day in 2016. What was I thinking? It’s even a leap year! It was a moment of weakness. My friend Joss, who writes poetry and does amazing and magical things, said she planned to write every day this year. She asked if any others wanted to join her in that commitment.

I am over-extended in every area of my life. I lay awake at night thinking how I will accomplish just the basic things that I need to do. I mourn the things I’ve had to let go. This time of year, though, makes me crazy. This whole idea of new, of starting fresh, of unlimited possibilities makes me think anything is possible.

I thought, “It was really hard just writing every day in November!” I thought, “Are you nuts?” I thought, “I have tomorrow off…I could do that.” And just like that, I have taken on a 366 day writing challenge.

So, if I’m going to succeed at this, I can’t plan a long post every day. I can’t spend a half-hour going through photos to pick the best illustration for my little writing. Most days, it will be whatever view I encounter when I take Rosa Parks out for her morning constitutional, in words and pictures. With that in mind, I brought my camera outside with me this morning. Snow is coming down; the view in every direction is a study in gray. On the way back to the house, I noticed my garden sculpture – a form I made of loose coils of clay, now topped with a gazing ball – was wearing a party hat of snow. Perfect!

Happy New Year!

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9 responses »

  1. Cindy, please add the new book by Elizabeth Gilbert … Big Magic! It’s a great book about creating and writing. She writes… ” Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you. ” I hope you enjoy it! Peggy Davis

  2. Hello Cindy,
    I’m coming here from Joss’ blog. I too am going to do the ‘postaday’ thing … I did it five years ago, that’s how I met Joss. Already before Joss suggested it, I’d been thinking about doing a gratitude365 thing so … when I read her post, it just reinforced my decision šŸ™‚

    Happy New Year!

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