I always use this time of year to reflect on the previous 12 months and think about the kind of vision I want to set forth for the coming year. If I make resolutions, I try to make them as specific as possible, so that I have something I can attain that is useful to my development (rather than an unrealistic goal that’s only going to make me feel like I failed). But for much of this week, I felt at a loss when it came to specifying my vision for 2011. I’ve been organizing everything in terms of two years—the 2010 to 2012 journeys—and the thought of segmenting part of that out feels odd.
In terms of my career, I’m booked through August 2011 with over a dozen fellowship or teaching applications out there for the remaining months. My editing career is set to keep growing, my first fiction manuscript is in the hands of 5 publishers, and I’m on track for another collection in the coming years.
In terms of my physical fitness, I am training for my black belt, clear and simple. Of course, with doctor’s orders to “stay away from cardio or weight-bearing exercise until February” due to my broken foot, my goals will be defined by my physical therapist for much of 2011. In the back of my mind there’s this notion about a ½ marathon and about backpacking in the Arctic (I’d already found the trip)—but my broken foot has forced me to shelve both of those ideas for next year.
[Artist Amy Tavern has inspired my 2011 Resolution]
But in all this reflecting, one thing has stood out. In Issue 1 of TRACHODON magazine, metalsmith Amy Tavern wrote an essay about her creative process in which she described a daily ritual that’s helped her keep her finger on the pulse of her creative spirit. In her essay, she writes:
“Everyday I spent one hour reading, writing, and thinking in what I have come to lovingly refer to as ‘My 4 15.’ The hour is divided into 4 sections of 15 minutes each. For the first 15 I read from various books on mindfulness, next I mediate, followed by some automatic writing about my work or studio practice, and then I finish by reading a book about jewelry. I feel incredibly good when I do this. It's a rich hour of my morning and helps set the tone for the day.”
During this dizzying time of post-manuscript completion, this sounds like just the right prescription for me. And so it is, dear readers, that I have arrived at a New Year’s Resolution for 2011: I resolve to complete My 4 15 during the months that I am in Eastern Oregon, then reassess and adjust the ritual if needed.
Any fellow artists out there want to join me? It could be a fascinating point of conversation…
Meantime: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL, and many-a-safe celebrations this Eve.