One Little Word: Possibility

Five . . . One Little Words

After participating in One Little Word for several years now, I find myself eagerly awaiting what the new year - and my new word - will bring me.  Because I have learned some important personal lessons with each of my words!

(I know.  It sounds kind of wacky.  But I've discovered that there really is power in having a year-long focus on One Little Word.)

The whole thing started in 2011, the first time I signed up for Ali Edwards' One Little Word project.  My word that year was MOVE .  I chose that word because I felt like I needed some inspiration to get myself moving - basically, to get off my butt!  (You see, I'm a daydreamer at heart.  I can sit, quietly, and think about things all day.  Which is fine.  But.  Sometimes you need to get those dreams in motion.)   That first year, I got totally overwhelmed by the "project" end of things:  scrapbooking, supplies, keeping up with the monthly prompts.  In fact, I was so focused on the "project" that I didn't get much out of the "process."

What I learned that first year . . . is that I wanted to try it again.  (And that was a way to MOVE, when you think about it.)


In 2012, my word was SHINE.   I started out strong with the prompts and my word in 2012 -- but quickly flamed out.  (It was the scrapbooking!  Totally not my thing.)  What I learned from my word that year:  Do it YOUR way!  Shine YOUR light -- and don't reflect someone else's.  I learned to be inspired by the process, without feeling the pressure to do the projects.


In 2013, my word was SURPRISE.  I was hoping to surprise myself that year . . . and I did!  I learned something completely simple -- and very obvious (although it wasn't at all when I began).  You can't plan to be surprised; you can't set off looking for surprise.  You need to be open to being surprised -- and, when you are, why . . . you discover that surprises happen all around you, all the time.  (Surprise!)


Last year, my word was POSSIBILITY.  It turned out to be my most transformational word yet -- which was what I was looking for when I chose it.  (Just in a whole 'nother way!)  I expected to disover "new somethings."  But what I discovered . . . is that I really needed to clear out and create space for possibility in my life.

This year . . . 


And by now, I know that I'll end up someplace I really can't quite imagine right now.

So that's . . . Five One Little Words.

Five lessons.

(But not five scrapbooks.)


If you're joining along in Ali Edwards' class this year for the first time -- and you're finding the scrapbooking and supply lists and prescribed projects a bit overwhelming or daunting, let me know.  I am a completely rogue participant at this point.  I use Ali's monthly prompts as inspiration -- and then I do my own thing.  (It's my way to SHINE.)

Also -- it's never to late to join in.  Click here to register for Ali's class.


It's All About Possibility

Before I had a blog of my own, I used to hang out at other blogs.

But . . .  no one ever knew.  I never said anything.  I never typed a comment.  I never added my voice to the dialogue.  I was a lurker.  Plain and simple.

I didn't really understand . . . then . . . how easy it is to connect with kindred spirits. What a difference a comment can make . . . in sparking conversation; understanding; friendship.

But I do now!



After my bout with cancer, I felt a need to . . . become REAL . . . to break out of my shy and rather quiet existence and . . . connect.  I started to comment on the blogs I read.  I joined conversations.  I added my voice.  I started a blog of my own.

It was all about possibility.

And now?  Now I have developed some really wonderful relationships with people I've (kind of!) known for years!

I spent several days last week visiting Margene in Utah.


It was wonderful to see Margene's sky,


and experience Margene's mountains!  


I loved spending time in Margene and Smith's garden.  


We got to knit together at the Alta Retreat (even though the weather kept us inside!), do a lot of sight-seeing, and find plenty to eat and drink!  I even got to spend some time with Cheryl and Susan.

Reaching out.  Connecting.  It's all about possibility!



My Own Spin


The One Little Word prompt in May . . . is the type of prompt that makes me freak out a bit . . . and then shut myself out of the project for a while.


Yes.  The "messy art project" prompts are really just not my thing.  Too prescriptive -- but with a veneer of "creativity."  I always think it strange to combine a creative-you-can-do-anything message with a 40-minute video showing how to be-this-particular-kind-of-creative.  (Maybe that's just me, though!)*

For me, I find the painting-layering-stenciling-stamping-sticker thing to be somewhat interesting, but far too tedious for my liking.  (Clearly, I am not an "art journal" kind of person.  And I'm okay with that.)

In past years, I've left this kind of prompt alone.

This year, I decided to put my own spin on it.

I got out some tags and my stamps (I like stamps because you can make plain paper look "fancy" with little to no effort!), and in 20 minutes I did my own kind of Creative Thing.



Even though my own process was very much abbreviated and involved far fewer art materials and a whole lot less mess (as compared to the monthly video prompt), I found that the creative process was . . .



and a bit inspirational


I am . . . finding that putting my own spin on things . . . makes One Little Word less intimidating and far more meaningful!  (And I'm pretty sure that's the whole point.)


To be fair, Ali Edwards, the intrepid One Little Word leader, makes it clear at every step of the OLW process that it is BEST for participants to do their own thing.  She encourages individuality and doing what's meaningful to YOU.  She has a lot of "followers," though, who want to do exactly what she does . . . so she puts together videos and materials lists so people can do just that.  It's a flexible project, though.  Completely flexible.  And I'm finally letting myself GO MY OWN WAY.

My Closet: A Metaphor for Life . . . Lessons Learned


(This photo has nothing to do with today's blog post.  
But my star magnolia is blooming, and I am beside myself with joy

I am nearly wrapped up with my closet "intervention," although I realize now that it will be a long-term project as I continue to rethink and purge and shift and pare down.  The process really has been cathartic for me, though.  A kind of metaphor for life!  Here are some of the lessons I learned . . . through my closet:

  • When our "closets" are full, it feels like we have plenty of options.  But sometimes, too many options can weigh you down.  And then you stagnate.  And keep choosing the same thing.
  • The more variables in the mix, the harder it is to come to a decision.
  • It's necessary to release some of the old if you're ever going to embrace anything new.
  • It's hard to add a new item when there isn't anywhere to put it.
  • Sometimes we forget what we already have.
  • Guilt and obligation makes us hold to to things we ought just let go.
  • There is freedom in less.

Lessons from a closet . . . sound like POSSIBILITY!


My Closet: A Metaphor for Life, Part III

I developed my personal wardrobe-philosophy over a lifetime of studying fashion, shopping, and twirling in front of mirrors.  

You know . . . 

  • Start with the basics.
  • Invest in high-quality items.
  • You can't go wrong with accessories.
  • Every woman needs (at least one) LBD.
  • Never get rid of a Burberry coat.
  • A scarf will pull it all together.
  • "If you don't absolutely love it in the store, you won't wear it."  (Sandra Bullock in The Blindside)
  • "Once you've dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off."  (Coco Chanel)

And, really.  I lived that philosophy.  (Except for the Burberry coat.  Which I have never owned.)

What did it get me?  A closet full of clothes . . . that I thought I loved; that I thought I needed.


Then, I met Project 333.  Talk about another perspective!

Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites participants to dress using 33 items (or less!) for 3 months.

33 items, people.  Including shoes, jewelry, coats, and handbags.  You might imagine my reaction.  (Let's just say it involved the F-word, followed by a reference to myself.)  

But I was intrigued.

33 items?

I read all about it.  I checked out the Facebook page. I read blogs of Project 333 participants.  I even took the Project 333 microcourse because I wanted to learn more about minimizing my maxi-sized wardrobe.  The microcourse was just what I needed, actually, to get me thinking about my wardrobe and my clothes and my philosophy.  To think about WHY.  To think about how it all fits together.  To . . . explore the possibility . . . of reducing my wardrobe.

But, still.  I knew that Project 333 wasn't really for me.  [Because accessories!  I might be able to whittle my wardrobe down to 33 pieces . . . but I would never be able to give up my jewelry or my scarves or my handbags and shoes.  (Just no.)]

So, while I'm not climbing on the Project 333 bandwagon, I am folding many of its principles into my wardrobe-philosophy:

  • Love every piece in your closet!
  • Only wear what looks good and feels good.
  • Be creative in mixing and matching.
  • Shop for what you need; don't just wander and see what "grabs you."
  • Start with the basics.
  • Invest in high-quality clothing that lasts.


And with that, I started a major closet overhaul.  I emptied everything out of my closet(s) and drawers and shelves.  I sorted.  I bagged.  I donated.  I shared.  I sorted some more.  I packed some things away to decide later.  I sorted some more.  In fact, I'm still sorting!  Every time I put something on, I question myself.  Do you love this?  Sometimes I realize I don't.  So out it goes.


Although I know my wardrobe is still WAY too full to achieve minimalist standards, I've come a long way.  It feels really liberating to love everything in my closet; to wear everything in my closet; to be able to see space between the hangers!  

And I'm not finished yet.  The sorting will continue. . .  




My Closet: A Metaphor for Life, Part II

As I started clearing out my closet last month, I did some thinking about  how my closet got to be such a mass of clothes in the first place!  

I've already admitted here in the blog that I have a Thing for Fashion.  I don't mean to say that I adhere to Fashion.  (Because I don't.)  But I do follow along.  I appreciate Fashion . . . as an art form.  I  appreciate the juxtaposition of . . .





when it comes to wearable statements of art.

And, really, I always have!


(My sister and I playing paper dolls in 1967; I was in second grade so my sister must've been about 4.)

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite pastimes was playing with paper dolls. I loved collecting the cut-out sets you could buy at the dime store most of all, but I was also really happy just cutting people out of catalogs and collecting them in folders.  It was all about choosing outfits and figuring out what clothes I liked best of all.  I had the most fun dressing the paper dolls up to . . . go somewhere and do something!

It was the same, for me, with my Barbies.  I loved collecting - and even making - clothes and accessories for my them.  I liked to create ensembles and clothing combinations for their Barbie-life adventures.  (Some of my friends made me crazy -- because they never wanted to change their Barbie's clothes.  They liked Barbie-action; I liked Barbie-fashion!)

The fashion-bug stayed with me as I grew older.  When I was in junior high and high school, I learned to sew and made most of my own clothes.  I got great pleasure in choosing patterns and matching up fabrics to create unique and one-of-a-kind pieces for myself.  For awhile, I even dreamed of some sort of career in fashion.  One of my friends in high school was also an excellent seamstress.  Together, we took our high school elective classes in the home ec department -- courses in tailoring and creating your own patterns and fashion design.  It was fun (and a nice alternative to biology and algebra!), even though we both gave up on the dream of fashion design careers.


What happens when a young fashion junkie grows up and gets a walk-in closet?  


Scan 7

(This is magnet was a gift from my sister several years ago.)

As I emptied my closet, I came to the realization that . . . I'm too old for paper dolls and Barbies now, so I've collected life-size clothes . . . to dress myself up! 

And that, my friends, is how my closet became the MESS that it was.

(Stay tuned.)