As I sit here and type this week’s edition of the Sunday Salon, I am hopeful that tomorrow will be a snow day. The forecast calls for snow to start about midnight tonight and snow through tomorrow until mid-morning Tuesday. We are expected to receive about 6-7 inches of snow, which for Kansas City is significant. Of course, I have lived here long enough to know that the forecast can change on a dime, so while I am hopeful for a snow day, I would not be at all surprised if I wake up to a mere dusting. Not to fear, I have lesson plans prepared to teach if the storm passes us by (I just don’t want to drive in hazardous conditions), and I am geared to scrapbook if I have the day off.
As I reflect on this first week of January I have come to realize that I expected too much from myself with regards to resolutions. Each one by itself seemed quite manageable: exercise 20 minutes each day; drink 4-5 glasses of water every day; take at least one photo a day for the 365 project; write a little bit (no pre-set amount) each day; have daily devotions each morning; and set aside a few minutes every day for creativity; and spend 30 minutes pleasure reading each night before bed. However, to try to implement all of these little activities at once proved to be an impossibility. So, rather than admit failure and quit – I am going to choose a new approach.
In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project (of which I have only read the first two chapters), she segments her resolutions by month – focusing on just one or two each month and then adding one or two more the following month. Without planning to follow this approach, this is what I have instinctively decided to do. It appears that I will focus on daily devotions for the month of January – as I have been most consistent with those. I am also trying to journal my thoughts and insights as I read these morning verses, so that will also help my writing resolution (although I know that I must focus more on the craft of writing as well). I hope to begin to add exercise into the routine – at least two or three times a week – over the next few days. Perhaps if I exercise more the increased water intake will naturally follow. That is at least my plan for now.
|Statue at hospital entrance
The 365 project will be the first to see a major revamp. I knew that this would be very difficult for me and I was right. So I will now set my “drop dead” goal to a minimum of one photo shoot a week. This week I decided to take a few pictures of the one place where I have spent the most time: the local hospital. My mom was hospitalized on December 29th and remained there until 5:00PM on January 4 — only to return at 11:00AM on January 5 and where she remains today. There are many in the bloggisphere who have experienced the death of a parent in the past few weeks: Jenners unexpectedly lost her mother, Stephanie unexpectedly lost her father, and Kathy’s father passed away after a long, hard fight. While I am grateful to still have Mom here, the constant care is rather exhausting. Mom’s health has been poor for nearly a decade, and this recent hospital stay is a continuation of the same complications: ortho-static hypo-tension coupled with congestive heart failure. It is a constant tweaking game of medications – which at best will last a few months before they are out of whack again. It is wearisome, and weighs heavily on me even after I have left the hospital from one our daily chats. We are both hopeful that she will return home within the next day or so — tired and weak, but at least home.
I have still not started reading a fictional book – although I plan to start Little Women this week – but I have enjoyed reading the non-fiction book, Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh — the same author who wrote Life is a Verb, which inspired me to write Life is a Verb Thursdays last summer. In this new book the author asserts that we are all creative and she quotes Pablo Picasso several times: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. In her typical witty style, the author carefully walks beside us, encouraging us to find that artist once again. She is understanding of our roadblocks, but she does not allow us to use them as excuses. Rather, she gives sound advice, coupled with lots of personal experiences, to help us chisel away the fears and barriers and release the inner imagination. She lists six creative commitments that she says are essential to reconnecting with that inner child:
- Be ordinary
- See more
- Get present
- Catch Fire
- Clear Ground
- Let go
She provides exercises — one written and one visual (she recommends using pencils, crayons, magazine pictures, glue sticks, and index cards) — as well as one long range project to complete over 37 days. However, on page 14 she states:
At the end of reading this book, you might have 20 or 37 or 500 index cards on which you’ve written, scribbled, drawn. Or you might have none. And either way is perfectly fine. Do you get what I’m saying here? THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER, no perfect way to work through this book – or through life.
Every single moment of your life is an opportunity for creativity. Even the darkest moments. Perhaps especially them.
Yes, this is the book that I was meant to read this first week of the new year. I am ready to learn to let go, give up trying to be perfect, and get a little messy.