new traditions: on letting go


Happy Solstice

In cultivating something new from something old, today I set some time aside to look back and to look forward.

I’m most especially grateful to Susannah Conway for her Unraveling the Year which has inspired this practice. I first found her online workshop to find a word for the year one year ago (my word for this year was Focus – I have my word for next year, but that’s for another conversation).

Today was a bit of balance in the midst of the mayhem.

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a corner of my home, my retreat from the world.

The end/beginning of a year,

all these holidays associated with all these belief groups,

the altogether headfucking climax of consumerism and consumption,

the magic and
the glitter and
the feasts,
the feelings and
tensions and
releases.

All that stuff.

All of it.

All the tradition.

tradition

[truhdishuh n]

noun

  1. the handing down of statements, beliefs legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word  of mouth by practice: a story that has come down to us by popular tradition.
  2. something that is handed down.
  3. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting.
  4. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
  5. a customary or characteristic method or >manner.

blah etc blah ….

So much is ingrained at a young age end passed on by generations.
For so many people.

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sanctuary under the stairs. shhhh…

 

Not me, not any more, I’ve made some adjustments to my ways, and that’s what I came here to tell you about today.

I don’t hark back to happy sparkly memories of childhood holiday fun. The people I was with at the time are all gone. This isn’t the place for detail – this isn’t a rabbithole of self pity – it’s just the context for what I’m writing about. And a nod to those who feel the same way. We know we aren’t alone, and we know we aren’t supposed to talk about it – it’s something like the emperor’s new clothes thing – if we begin to question why everyone is getting so tangled up in a frenzy of guilt induced consumption and confusion it all could just fall apart before us.

Here’s what I’m doing: I’m making my own traditions.

They are just for me. I don’t have kids, so these aren’t the foundation for any future other than my own. I started this a year ago, and in repeating them they’re evolving into my new traditions. They have meaning. They are a framework and a structure in an otherwise fairly arbitrary layout of days and free-floating lifestyle.

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These short days and long nights at the turn of the year are my retreat. Amongst the usual duties of the days, amid the outside chaos, I’m squeezing in some extra time. Time in my home in candle glow, with my books and my music and my thoughts.

Balancing on today’s apex I look out in both directions: Reflecting & Consolidating; Planning & Wishing. Taking time to just soak in my life, look at what I’ve done and felt and learnt since the last time.

Since this time last year I’ve been blessed to meet and share time with some wonderful people who’ve brought me new understanding and genuine heartfelt joy. I’ve uncovered new music, new ideas, new strategies and new wisdoms.

I’ve begun to take better care of this body and soul. Forgiven her indiscretions and daftnesses. Appreciated her well meaning and abilities. Accepted her doings and goings as the best she could have done given what she had and knew at the time. Acknowledged she needs time, she needs peace and she needs rest, I realised no-one but me can allow this.

I’m trying to show her more kindness.

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I’ve released a bunch of judgments. 

I’m learning to reframe.

Wherever you are in this season, I wish you and your dearests an abundance of wellness and peace. Go gently, dear friends, be love. X

2015: Setting the Scene


Striding into January, this first Monday always has a first day back feel. Back to school, back to work, back to routine… and I love it. That fortnight of chaos just makes me relish the normal I’m all amped up and ready to run. Sure, I’ve got dull stuff to contrast with the fun, but it’s all in balance. The yin makes no sense without the yang, and flat-lining is no fun at all. And this week is so full of great intentions, which although they might not all last the course, I feel like if I run with them fast enough some will stick with me.

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A little while back I was telling you about my Word for 2015 which at the time was Reach Beyond and the associated frustration that my word was in fact two words, and I was struggling to come up with a snappy substitute.

I pondered long n hard.

The Facebook group of some >1200 or so folk on a similar quest have been amazing – super supportive to each other’s stories and full of enlightening thoughts and amazing links off and about the internets to like-thoughted places. And helped me add a bunch of other contenders to the list of words.

I settled, finally, on Focus.
focus

My intention is to:

Focus on what I am doing at any one time – I am typing this post, I am mindful of my fingers on the keyboard. It’s all a little brighter and sharper when I’m just considering these words, nothing else. I’m not eating, not fretting, not rushing up to do the thing I forgot earlier because I was only part-minded on the thing I was doing then – part-minded on the previous part-minded task – and so on….

Focus on the bigger picture. Is what I am doing now contributing in a positive way – to my well-being, health, happiness, or is it a foolhardy shortcut, an excuse, another getting away with it? Does it matter? Can I be wiser? Can I act more in tune with this bigger picture I’m compiling, the picture I call my life?

what-to-focus-on

I’m focussed on my path. I’m there in the now after now after now, footfall after footfall, mindfully aware. Moment to moment to moment. It’s all a bit Zen.

Of course it flickers in and flutters off – my concentration is a butterfly – but my intention for the year is to come back to the focus every time I remember.

2015 in words


I often find I have a word in mind for a period of time – I’ll jot it in amongst diary scribblings. Earlier this year was a period I called transition – it named the phase I was finishing up my studies and also handing over a bunch of my work to someone else. A release of the old and opening to the next – in sure and safe knowledge I had no idea at all what that next would entail! I named other months consolidation, transform, and flow.

Recently I fell across Susannah Conway’s Find Your Word for 2015 which seemed to pick up on this theme I’d unconsciously begun.
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The process sets out to imagining and exploring possibilities, dreams, aspirations and desires for the next 12 months. What’s the overarching feel for this year? What’s the biggest wish that will help the smaller wishes come to pass? What’s the magic guidance to hold my hand into the coming year?

Like a few others in the group, no single word that expressed the exact what-I-wanted-ness of it showed up. It was a bit like Stretch, or kinda like Explore, or something…something… that sounds like horizon but not so literal and feels like limitless but phrased in a positive way. So I settled (for now) on the two words: Reach Beyond.

reach


I’ve got ideas, I’ve got aims and targets and goals to strive for and stretch toward but not to be limited by, I want to Reach Beyond them.


Part of the process is using a Pinterest board to gather imagery, memes and themes, words and whatnot, that embody the essence of the word(s) for the new year.

I don’t know where this will go – it might just sit here forever or it might add something to the way the months pan out, I can let you in a year!

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It’s a fun and harmonising process – if it sounds like your kinda thing I heartily encourage you to spare some thought, if time allows, what will your 2015 feel like?