Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, or at least made it through with your health and happiness intact. I was in a minor car accident, which wasn’t a big deal (no injuries or auto damage), but it shook me up and slowed me down. The slowing down part was nice.
It’s my habit to spend as little time as possible in my office during the holidays and to create quality, festive time with family and friends, as well as quiet, reflective time alone. I’m grateful for these practices and find them restorative, although I’m usually chomping on the bit to get back to work in January.
This year is no exception. I signed up for Michael Neill’s Genius Catalyst Intensive and Creating The Impossible programs. When I consider what feels “impossible” to me at the moment, four things come to mind:
• Landing a traditional book deal
• Making a 6-figure income
• Starting a speaking career and getting paid to speak
• Selling out my print run for Raw in the next twelve months
You could say these are my BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) for 2020, but deep down I know that accomplishing any or all of them won’t necessarily bring what I might expect or imagine. They certainly won’t deliver enduring satisfaction or joy, or make me, or my life, “better.”
I recently read an excellent post on this subject. Written by my friend and colleague Jonelle Simms, Goals . . .Blech! is full of her inimitable insight and humor. In it, she examines the deceptive (and sometimes dangerous) nature of goals. If you take them (and yourself) too seriously, you become enslaved by them and end up looking in the wrong places for your joy, which comes from within.
That said, I’m looking forward to attempting to do things that feel “impossible.” I’m holding it all lightly, and I’m excited about the adventure. In my experience, stepping out of my comfort zone usually leads to growth, and sometimes magic.
And speaking of magic, my writing circles are almost full. I have two openings left in each. If you’re a former student who reserved a seat, it’s time to claim it here. If you’re interested but have questions or concerns, please let me know. I’d be happy to speak with you.
If you’re local to Southern California and would like to connect with a dynamic writing community, please join us at our next literary salon, Sunday, January19th. This event is free and open to the public, but you must R.S.V.P.
The first thing I did when I returned to my office after taking time off for the holidays was to take everything off my bulletin boards. Here’s a photo of what the items looked like piled on my desk after I removed them. Among these treasures are thank-you notes and cards from students and clients; original artwork from family and friends; family photos; and other gifts of inspiration and love. Don’t let the mess fool you; I cherish each word, image, and person who sent them. If you are one of them, thank you!
The next thing I did was to revamp my “Priority Pyramid.” Let me explain. Last November, I worked with Dan Blank, author of Be The Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience. In his book, Dan recommends an exercise to help creative professionals get clear about their life and work priorities.
If you’d like to try this exercise, get fifteen index cards and write down one word on each card indicating what’s important to you. Then prioritize your cards into a pyramid, with your most important priority at the apex, and work down from there. These cards are a wonderful reminder of what matters if you lose your way. Each person will obviously have different words on their cards.
Here’s what mine looks like:
For me, a deep spiritual connection with Self comes first. When I lose that I’m like seaweed tossing in the ocean, and life feels disorienting, even painful. After that my priority is my family and also my writing. While the importance of family is obvious, it’s not always been easy for me to explain why my writing holds such a high priority in my life. The best way to describe it is to say that writing enhances my connection with my True Self. It helps me remember who I am.
Many of my students and clients tell me that writing is also foundational in their lives. It helps them navigate their days with greater clarity and grace, stay grounded, identify and release limiting thoughts, express joy, share stories, and reimagine what’s possible.
It’s useful to look at priorities independently, but also in relationship to one another.
I’ve added “I believe” statements to my “pyramid landscape” to remind me why I do what I do.
I agree with Natalie Goldberg, who, in her book, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language, says “you can anchor your mind with your breath, but also you can anchor your mind with pen on paper.”
But perhaps the most reliable “anchor” of them all is love, which, ironically, is also the ideal launching pad. The best of what gets created through us comes from love.
This index card—the oldest of my bulletin board relics which I wrote around age six—sat for years beneath a sheet of glass that protected my mother’s mahogany sewing machine table. Mom put in long hours there. It was a palace of creation and love—and so was she!
I had no clue when I wrote this all those years ago that as an adult I’d need to keep reminding myself to be guided by love rather than fear. Old habits may die hard, but they pass more peacefully—and lose their power over us—when we see them for what they are and let them go.
Love is patient and kind, and it allows us to start over and reinvent ourselves. Again and again.
As I sorted through the items I removed from my bulletin board, two of them went right back up. I wasn’t ready to clear these messages. One says, “Listen,” and the other says, “The only time is NOW!” I don’t know about you, but I need reminders like these.
I’ve also left a lot of blank space on my bulletin boards to create room for what’s coming.
Writing Circles begin January 29th. Enroll here
I have two openings for private coaching clients. Let me know if you’d like to work with me one-on-one.
I wish you a new year filled with health, happiness, creative expression, and love.
Cecilia Ann Carson
1/7/2020 08:44:39 am
Loved every bit of of your blog. Relate to all and love the idea of the pyramid.
1/7/2020 11:06:36 am
Thanks for reading and commenting, Cecilia. Glad you enjoyed my post! xo
1/9/2020 02:54:27 am
I love the new year because it's a time to reflect and be grateful. Like you, I also set some goals for the year ahead, which mostly relate to soul growth and developing more compassion for myself and others. There's so much I enjoyed in this post, and I will take with me your Priority Pyramid idea. To see those written pillars is a great reminder of what holds me up, frames my life and gives it meaning! I too hope to be guided by, reinvented through and shaped by power of love.
1/9/2020 09:54:08 am
Thanks for this lovely comment, Rica. It's a great reminder of what's important.
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