Affirmations., Goals, Inspiration, New Year intentions

A New Year, A New Intention

 

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Flickr photo by Edwin

 

Like many people, I don’t like ‘having’ to do anything. This is why I cringe when people ask me about my resolutions or goals for the new year.

“Goals,” “Resolutions,” the words sound so inflexible. I’m not a big fan of the word “resolution,” because there’s something rigid about it, and goal-setting in the usual sense can set you up for failure and frustration.This is not to say resolutions aren’t helpful, they just don’t interest me.

What I do look forward to is thinking about my intention for the new year. The word “Intention” is defined as “a course of action that one proposes to follow,” or “an aim that guides action.”

 

Deepak Chopra says:

“An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish.”

This sounds much more self-directed, more purposeful. Like a journey, with lots of room for discovery along the way.

An intention is something I want to do. It’s a word which represents the type of year I desire.  The intention is my own touchstone word, a magical word that becomes an aim that guides my action. I speak my intention (has to be one word for me) and I feel good about all the possibilities surrounding or accompanying that one word.

I’ve chosen an intention for the last four years. One year the word was “Create.” Another year, “Move.” Last year my word was “Refine.”

I had fun writing the word down on a 3×5 index card, drawing the word on the first page of a new journal, adding photos around the word, making wheel spokes out of the center word. For example, with “Create” I attached each spoke to a word that follows ‘create.’ Create joy, create new stories, create gratefulness …and so forth into my own journey.

Last week I mulled over and meditated on a few words. If you’d like some direction on how to do this check out the post by Nicola Gulotta. Some of the words are:

Balance, Connect, Encourage, Release, Nurture, Surrender

My word for the year is “Breakthrough.” The definition is to advance, step forward, progress, and revolution. I like the sound of that last word, revolution.

Another alternative to making new year resolutions, besides an intention, is to make positive changes in a different way. Read this short article by Melissa Eisner. I chose two of the items to fulfill this year.

Whatever you do or don’t do intentions, spend time with yourself for at least 15 minutes and think about your own journey.

You don’t have to come up with a word. Sometimes enough is enough. And that’s fine.

See you all next year:

 

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Flickr photo by Anne Spratt, cc.

 

 

Encouragement, Goals, Gratitude, Latino culture

Why Looking Ahead is Better than Falling Behind

Make a new ending

I woke to sunlight creeping through my bathroom windows.

Unusual, since the last month has been grey days of coastal overcast. More unusual since June in our parts is called June Gloom.

It dawned on me (no pun intended) we are quickly approaching the middle of the year. Almost half of 2015 is gone.

Yikes. This got me thinking.

Did I follow my intentions for the year? Did I complete what I intended to complete or experience?

That attitude created pressure, anxiousness.

Bummer feelings for the first minutes of a new day. Especially since sunlight shone through my windows.

I took a deep breath and thanked God for a beautiful sunlit morning.

The oxygen and gratitude flipped my attitude.

More important, did I enjoy the past six months. Did I find pleasure in my family, friends, work and new experiences? 

I answered yes and felt invigorated.

If you can answer yes to the last question, all is well.

If you answer no, the good news is half of 2015 is ahead.

To quote a Mexican dicho:

“El que adelante no mira, atrás se queda

He who does not look ahead falls behind.”

There is still time.

AROHO, Chingonas, Dreams, Goals, How to be a Chingona, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Ghost Ranch, Greek Myths, and Writing

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Sunset over Sandstone at Ghost Ranch. Gettyimages.

My bags aren’t packed yet for my trip tomorrow to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, because one of the kids beat me to the washing machine this morning. I’m not stressing though because I am still drifting on a dream.

Last January I thought about my goals for the year. The intention word to myself was “Create.” To make the word more concrete, I found and filled out a printable called “Roadmap to My Dreams.”  In the area “bravery is a matter of belief, and I believe I can…” I listed “…submit my writing for a fellowship, contest, anthology, or magazine.”

In a matter of days I came across the website for A Room Of Her Own (AROHO): A Foundation for Women Writers. One of my writing buddies, Florencia, attended in 2012 and talked about her life changing experiences.  Applications for fellowships would close in three weeks. The chatter in my head kept me thinking about this challenge. There are thousands of writers who would love to attend a weeklong retreat filled with writers, poets, and published authors leading workshops. Should I or shouldn’t I submit for a fellowship.

I reminded myself of Sandra Cisneros’ “How To Be A Chingona in 10 Easy Steps.

Step One: Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.

There was that word again: Create. That is just what I needed to recharge myself. I submitted my application with a 10 page writing sample and was accepted. Writing is usually lonely and acknowledgements don’t come as often as rejection letters, so honestly, this award surprised the s*it out of me.

As a double bonus, I will be at Ghost Ranch during the peak time for the Perseid meteor showers. This display is named after the constellation Perseus, the hero of ancient Greek myth born from a shower of celestial gold. For three or four nights the sky will be pelted with shooting stars and fireballs.

The big city dweller that I am, I’ve never seen more than one shooting star before. But I can imagine that the expansive New Mexican sky will be sprinkled with brilliant heavenly dust. I’ll thank the stars, the universe, and God for giving me this experience, this impetus to move forward and keep writing.

Perseids Meteor Shower. Getty images.
Perseids Meteor Shower. Getty images.
30 day writers challenge, A Room of Her Own, Editorial calendar, Encouragement, Fear, Goals, Roadmap to My Dreams, Robert Lee Brewer, Wordsmith Studio, Writing

How to Celebrate a Writing Anniversary

Woo-Hoo, this month is my first year anniversary!

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I’m single, but I still have an anniversary to celebrate. An important one.

How to celebrate? 

Well it wouldn’t be a commemoration without food. Unfortunately, it’s not with that yummy looking cake and fizzy champagne, but with a vegan carrot cake muffin and a huge cup of coffee. 

Because an anniversary is not a one woman or one man show, the observation must include the over 130 participants in the April 2012 “30 day challenge to build and refine writer platforms,” given by Robert Lee Brewer (poet and editor).

An event such as this one is also a good time to reflect and assess the writing challenges of the last year. 
How apropos that first year anniversary gifts are paper because a letter is a perfect way to contemplate last years 30 day challenge.
Some of the tasks during that month are noteworthy because I discovered more about my writer self-and other writers- than I previously knew: my writing strengths and weaknesses, my level of commitment, and I found group support to push on during the long and bumpy road of a writer’s often lonely life.
Who understands that driving need to write whether it’s four in the morning or midnight, in the car waiting for kids, or holed up in your bedroom for a weekend other than fellow writers? Who knows the pang of rejection e-mails or the yin-yang of writing and revising? Only other writers.
But back to the celebratory part. Here are some of the highlights of the challenge:
  • The best task: Set your goals. Create an editorial calendar.
  • The hardest: Think about SEO. Go to Brewers site for that one.
  • The easiest: Join social media site (s) and participate.
  • The surprising: Do a Google search on yourself.
  • The ‘I didn’t do it:’ Pitch a guest blog post. 

Participant writers found their community and pledged to go on after the challenge was over. A year later, over 130 participants continue supporting each other via the Wordsmith Studio website, Facebook page, and other social media sites. 

The challenge to one became a writers community for the many. Now that is dedication and commitment.

Has working on a writing platform helped me? Yes-even when I thought “what does this have to do with writing?”
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You see it’s the discipline of the challenge. The tasks push you towards assignments you don’t want to deal with because of your self-imposed boundaries. 

Every day the new assignment put me in front of a task I feared, some more some less. It forced me to look at what I didn’t want to do. It made me examine, confront, and drill down to the why and find out my truth.

This self confrontation made me assess whether I was being rational or was I  just uncomfortable with the assignment. Hands down it was a comfort issue.

Through self assessment you find out if you want to keep the fear or pull up your big girl/boy chones and charge ahead. 

The great thing about this challenge was that you were not on your own, and it was easier to cross that frontier with others helping you across. (This is extremely important when you get rejection letters in your email box).

The best and most helpful part of the challenge, for me, was to “set goals and establish an editorial calendar.” From those two assignments I learned:

  1. Place “butt in chair.” Write consistently, whether it’s daily or three times a week, one or three hours, or X amount of words. Pick a number.
  2. Post your goals where you can see them. Use a Roadmap. Pay attention to it. Check your progress every week, then bi-weekly. 
  3. Set a time limit on the time sucks (social media). For me it’s write first, party later. Sometimes I can only party for 30 minutes.
  4. Push past the fears. My top two fears? Spending money for a professional edit and sending out query letters. I did both. After revisions and 10 query re-do’s, I received a request for my full manuscript three days after I sent out the final query letter. 
  5. Submit your writing. I wanted to attend a writer’s retreat, but spent the money on the professional edit, and no longer had funds in my budget. I found an organization, A Room Of Her Own (AROHO), that offered writing fellowships. When I received the award I read the letter several times because I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
As in most new relationships this past year has been a time of excitement and romance (with writing). But make no mistake, there’s a lot of hard work in this 30 day challenge

But to the hard worker comes the harvest. And best of all, after one year, I’m still in love. 

Now, please excuse me, as I have some social media sites to visit and I need another cup of coffee. 

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