One Little Word

Curating My Collection

If you've been reading along here for a while, you know that I am a regular participant in Ali Edwards' One Little Word project.  I really like having a "word" to focus on each year, and I find it adds value to my personal development.

Ali, who also happens to be a storytelling-scrapbooker extraordinaire, provides monthly "thought-prompts" to help participants connect with their word through the year.  She also demonstrates some very creative and inventive techniques for creating a journal/scrapbook to document the process.

In my early years with OLW, I went along with the scrapbooking prompts, and created my yearly journals.  But after my first couple of words, I realized that . . . those cookie-cutter scrapbooks just weren't for me!  Ali totally encourages participants to do their own thing with regard to the OLW project.  She provides a lovely framework for participants, but she also celebrates those of us who totally go off the grid.

What do I do?  Well.  I'm a life-long journaler -- and after a few years of kicking around various ways to document my One Little Word, I've stumbled on to this . . . 

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I create a "collection" of . . . well, things . . . that help me connect with my word for the year.   I usually begin with Ali's prompts and challenges, but my own word-exploration usually takes me in other directions, too.  Through the year, I end up finding poems and quotes and photos and journal entries and cards and drawings (etc.).  

I need to create a journal that will contain my "collection."

Every year (so far) I've done something a little bit different.  This year, for example, I started with a couple of pieces of decorated cardboard, a hole-punch, and a couple of binder rings.

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Those binder rings?  Really handy!  They allow flexibility -- and plenty of room for inspiration.

My journal has heavy-duty dividers inside (even though I'm not quite sure what I'm "dividing" yet).  This month, I used Ali's prompt about creating vision boards to "decorate" the dividers in my journal.

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What I love best about my OLW journal this year is the flexibility.  I can add anything I want; anything that inspires me to connect with my word - BALANCE.

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It's like . . . I'm the curator of my own private collection!


 


Morning Ritual . . . Now With Added Tail-Wagging

A couple of years ago, I added meditation to my daily morning ritual.  I discovered that meditation was a powerful tool for me; that it helped me feel centered and prepared to meet the day.

But then . . . last year . . . lots of my regular habits and rituals started to unravel.  Including my budding meditation practice.  (Like I've mentioned before . . . I lost my balance last year.)

So.

I decided to use last month's One Little Word challenge (to develop a new habit or activity) as an opportunity to put meditation back into my daily morning ritual; to get myself back in balance.

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With a few exceptions, my focus on daily meditation was a great success, and the practice is now rooted in my morning ritual.

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I've discovered a few things along the way.

  • If I let the morning get away without meditation, it's much harder for me to find a way to fold it into my day later.  (Those days I missed?  It's because my morning was crazier than normal that day.)
  • It helps to have a designated place for meditation -- and a signal to let Tom know I'm meditating and not to disturb me.  (I close the door - and then Tom remembers that I'm meditating.)
  • I really like having a candle burning . . . even though I tend to close my eyes during meditation.
  • Soft, gentle music playing in the background helps me stay focused.
  • No distractions allowed.  No phone.  No Tom.  No dogs.

But wait a minute.

No dogs???

While Tom understands that a closed door means Do Not Disturb . . . the dogs?  Not so much.  They sit on the other side of the closed door and try to get in.  Loudly.  Distractingly.  (And sort of pathetically.)

After several days of trying to keep them out, I decided to give in and let them come in with me for daily meditation.

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We begin the ritual with some petting and tail-wagging.  Maybe a dog-kiss or two.  And then we all settle into our places.  JoJo usually to my right, and Jenny right behind me.

Turns out my daily meditation practice is enhanced with dogs.  And I think this is really okay.  Because, for me, interacting with my dogs is a great way to get into a more mindful state of being.

And I think they like it, too!

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Have a great weekend!

 


Wearing My Word

Each year, I look for ways to "wear" my one little word.  It's a tangible way to keep my word close -- my own little "word in the wild."  And, well . . . it's fun, too.

Sometimes I find necklaces and charms that represent my word. Sometimes I find rings.  Sometimes I find bracelets that spell out my word.  

And always . . . I find a MantraBand or two (or even four!) to wear as a motivational "chant" . . . helping to keep me focused and on target with my word and my intentions for the year.

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My bracelets for this year:

  • Balance
  • Live in the Moment
  • Have Courage and Be Kind
  • Alis Volat Propriis (she flies with her own wings)

These bracelents will be a perfect reminder of my intentions and my word for the year ahead -- and will blend perfectly with the bands I have already collected from years past.  (You know. . . for extra word power!)  

Do YOU have a mantra for the year?  (Because I bet there's a bracelet for it.  Just sayin.)


More or Less

Each year, at the beginning of Ali Edwards' One Little Word project, we explore our "word" . . . kind of inside-out.  I always appreciate this exercise.  It helps me connect with my word in multiples ways -- and it helps me think through my intentions for the year.

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One of my favorite thought-exercises is coming up with a list of what we want to do . . . More or Less . . . during the coming year.  Here's my list:

More -- Reflection/Less -- Reaction

More -- Kindness/Less -- Indifference

More -- Saying NO/Less -- Obligation

More -- Risk-taking/Less -- Perfection

More -- Connection/Less -- Complaining

More -- Engagement/Less -- Apologizing

More -- Self-care/Less -- Sacrifice

More -- Simple/Less -- Fussy

More -- Going For It/Less -- Excuses

More -- Strength/Less -- Taking the Easy Way Out

More -- Mindfulness/Less -- Worry

More -- Action/Less -- Sitting on the Sidelines

More -- Doing/Less -- Scrambling

More -- Learning/Less -- Assuming

More -- Water/Less -- Sugar

Give it a try!  This kind of list is fun to put together . . . AND . . . it really sets the stage for how you want to live the rest of the year.

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(By the way, that drawing is one of my own.  Colored pencil.  Rocks on my meditation table.)

 


One Little Word 2017

Last year, my life spun out of control.  So many changes -- and so many of them heavy, heavy.  I was just bombarded with one big thing after another after another.

Like . . . well . . . it would've been enough with Tom leaving his career to open his own consulting business.  Yes.  That alone would have been plenty of change for any year.  (And I was prepared for that one.  I knew that one was coming!) But then, my mom got sick - and there was so much we didn't understand about what was going on.  And then, the shock of her dying -- so quickly, and without clear answers.  Then came helping my dad navigate huge life shifts and major decisions.  And all of this going on, of course, against the backdrop of the 2016 election and it's aftermath.

I tried hard to keep things together.  I was far out along that tightrope of life, y'know?  And, really, I held on for quite a while.  But, eventually . . . I crashed.

Things are coming together now, though.  I feel like I'm digging out of the rubble all around me.

Now . . . I'm looking to recalibrate.  

Trying to regain my equilibrium.

Seeking . . . 

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Yes.  my One Little Word for 2017 is . . . balance.

And I am so. ready. for some!


Garden Surprise

A few years ago, when my "one little word" was SURPRISE, I made a little paving brick for my garden.

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Even though I know it's out there in my herb garden, I'm always, well . . . surprised . . . when I discover it again as I put in my herbs for another season.  

It's a great way to remind myself to always be open to the surprises that happen in the garden. . . 

cilantro that seeds itself everywhere

toads that look just like dirt

weeds that actually throw seeds as you pull them

tarragon that made it through the winter

impatient robins who wait next to you for worms while you dig

what in the world THAT plant is

Good things, all.  (Except those annoying seed-spewing weeds.)

I planted my herb garden yesterday.

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And I'm really hoping NOT to be surprised by unpleasant weather-surprises.  

(Like frost.)  

(I know.)


Right Now - March 2016

March came in like a lion . . . but it's (pretty much) going out like a lamb.

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I know spring -- and especially early spring (like . . . March) is fickle.  But I'm sure ready for the Real Deal to begin!

Here's what's happing for me . . . Right Now.

Watching  Well.  Nothing on television.  Because I've decided to move into a cave until the ugliness of the presidential campaign is behind us.  (I do come out to vote.)  (And watch movies.)

Reading  In my ears: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (the 4th in this excellent quartet; I'm going to miss this series after I read this one);  in print: The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (good; compelling; but . . . well.  Confusing Bible names throw me off.)

Knitting  An adorable little toddler pullover for a great-niece-in-law (Tom's brother's son's daughter).  I missed making her a baby sweater (because timing) -- so need to hurry and get this toddler sweater off the needles before she grows some more!

Listening to  Bruce Hornsby.  (We'll be seeing him in concert as part of the Gilmore Piano Festival next month.)

 

Dreading  Taxes.  This weekend.  They WILL be done.  (And that is all I'm gonna say about that.)

Drinking  Chocolate milk.  Red wine.  Whisky.  (But not together.)

Planning  I'm creating my "Plant Watch List" of things I want for my garden this year.  I do this each year -- and it's a great way for me to stay loyal to my garden plan.  (Because it's so tempting to just start buying every pretty bloom I see.  And especially in the spring, when I'm starved for blooms.)

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Looking Forward to  Riding my new birthday bike.  Something new . . . a bit of a risk . . . but certainly - adventures ahead!

Humming  Bennie and the Jets.  (Yeah.  Still.)  (I tried to embed a video, but they're all restricted.  You'll have to sing it on your own.)  (I'm sure you already are. . . )  

Itching to  Do some sewing.  A copy of Merchant & Mills new Workbook (long ago pre-ordered) arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

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Delighted by  Tea Drops.  My sister sent me a box for my birthday.  Tasty.  Cool.  And they work just the way they say they will!

Organizing  I continue chipping away at organizing my digital photos.  It's a giant task -- and may never be truly complete.  But I'm working at it.  (It's made me just put my "real" camera aside for the time being.  Because, really.  I don't want more photos to organize right now.)

Enjoying Thunderstorms!  When they aren't violent, I just love a good thunderstorm.  

Celebrating  The end of an era and the beginning of something new.  ;-)

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . right now?

 


What's Your Word?

 This winter, I've been taking a watercolor class.

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I've never done watercolor before . . . and watercolor is hard.  

Most of my early attempts were water-paint-blob-bombs.

So much . . . expensive watercolor paper in the trash.

I was so frustrated -- and disheartened.

Tom encouraged me to just keep trying.  

(I can't.  It's too hard.)

(What's your word?)  

(RISK, damnit.)

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I kept at it.  

Lots of practice.

Lots of paper.

(I can't show anybody, though.  I don't want to.)

(What's your word?)

(RISK, damnit.

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A couple of my pieces were selected to be in the Student Exhibit.

All I had to do . . . was have them framed.

(I can't.  It's freaking me out too much.)

(What's your word?)

(RISK, damnit.)

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I can't quite explain how . . . exposed . . . this all made me feel.

Sharing my paintings?

Framing them?

Hanging them in an exhibit?

(. . . as if I were an artist????)

(What's your word?)

(RISK, damnit.)

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THIS . . . was not something I ever expected to do.

And there was quite a lot of courage required.

(There's a ton required to even post this.)

(What's your word?)

(RISK, damnit.)

(Hell, yes.)

 

 

 

 

 


Risky Business

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
                                                                                            --- T. S. Eliot

My word this year (in bracelet form). . . 

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Why?

Well.  Some of my reasons for choosing this word this year . . . just won't ever appear here in the blog.  (Because not my story to tell.)  (Or just too complicated.)

Let's just say. . . 

Sometimes, I feel pretty brave; pretty willing to step out there and try something new.

But.

There are plenty of times when I don't.  (Like . . . you should see me when it's time to host a party.)  (Not. Good.)

For the last seven years, I've been working on stepping AWAY from The Edge.  Avoiding going over.  Holding on.  Keeping it together.  Avoiding the scary parts.

But you know what?

I'm ready to actually . . . step beyond.  To let myself go over -- in ways I choose.

And that?  That is where RISK comes into the picture.

Ready?

Let's GO. . . 


Dive Right In

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

--- T.S. Eliot

If you've been reading along for awhile, you know that, for me, last year was my year of . . . JOURNEY.  Getting a little lost . . . finding myself . . . discovering a whole new path.

It seems right, somehow, that this year I might choose to go even further; might be a little more daring.

My One Little Word for 2016 . . . 

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Two road diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

--- Robert Frost