Friday, December 27, 2013

This is the End

I have been working through Susannah Conway's Unraveling The Year Ahead 2014. It is a free downloadable PDF workbook. It is a super helpful way for me to organize my thoughts regarding reflecting back on 2013 and for setting goals for 2014.

At the end of the reflection time for 2013, Susannah asks us to write out anything we need to say to the old year or things we want to say goodbye to.

I had three things:

1. Goodbye to the Edge - I have been standing on the edge for a good part of 2013, watching and waiting and wondering when it was going to be the time to step off the edge. The time is now, 2014.

2. Goodbye to Fear - I took Brene Brown's e-course The Gifts of Imperfection this fall. A quote that was a big catalyst in her life has also really inspired me for 2014. The quote is by Theodore Roosevelt from his Man in the Arena speech.

"It is not the critic who counts;
 not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
 whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; 
but who does actually strive to do the deeds; 
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
 who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
 and who at the worst,  if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
 so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
 who neither know victory nor defeat."

Finally the 3rd one, which is the hardest one for me to say goodbye to, but it is time. I have been toying with idea for the latter half of the 2013.

3. Goodbye to Becoming a Finisher - This blog has served me well for two years and it was a great starting point for blogging. Some of my best and favorite stories are here, but it is time to put my focus on Paisely Rain Boots. No need to worry though the writing will not end, if anything I will be devoting more time to writing in 2014.

The words from Adele's song Skyfall from the James Bond Movie of the same name kept playing in my head as I wrote these three things out.

This is the end
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end
I've drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I'm stolen

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together

Time to stand tall in 2014 and go forth courageously.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Composting the Story

This Autumn I have lived very much in the moment. Particularly on a daily basis, through my camera lens. Everyday the focus was on getting the next picture for my 365 project, hoping it would be even better than the photo the day before. In this single minded focus somewhere along the way I lost my inner voice, that voice I rely on to write.

Now don't get me wrong my daily pursuit of my photography this Autumn has been more than worthwhile. I have learned so much about myself, my photography style, and yes how to get a better photograph. But when I am really honest with myself, for me photography is only half of what makes me whole. I need the words, the story, as much as I need the photograph.

I didn't realize how much I was missing that inner voice until I started reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf next to my bed for nearly a year now, but I always think you can't really read something until you are ready to listen to what it has to say.

When I got to Natalie's chapter on Composting these words of her's really struck a chord with me:

"Our senses by themselves are dumb. They take in experience, but they need the richness of sifting for a while through our consciousness and through our whole bodies. I call this "composting." Our bodies are garbage heaps: we collect experience, and from the decomposition of the thrown-out eggshells, spinach leaves, coffee grounds, and old steak bones of our minds come nitrogen, heat and very fertile soil. Out of this fertile soil bloom our poems and stories. But this does not come all at once. It takes time. Continue to turn over and over the organic details of your life until some of them fall through the garbage of discursive thoughts to the solid ground of black soil."

This is what I had been missing; that reflective time, the composting, the sifting of experiences to make rich, fertile black soil in order to grow words, grow stories.

I feel that December is always that month of reflection, a time to look back over this past year, the time and place to sift through our experiences. I am going to be doing some composting this month and see what black soil emerges.