Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Resolution’

My Resolution for 2016

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I thought I wasn’t a resolution kind of person, but I’m actually finding a way to make the New Year’s Resolution thing work for me. Last year my resolution was to doodle more and call it art. And that worked because it was something that my heart and soul needed!

Resolutions that don’t work for me are those that my inner critic “shoulds” me into. I know I should exercise more, I should get out more, I should keep my temper in check, and I should write X number of words everyday.

Oh, I should do a great many things.

Whenever I’ve based resolutions on these kinds of “shoulds,” two things generally happen: (1) I fail quickly, and (2) I feel even worse about myself when I don’t measure up.

There are always going to be the “shoulds” of life and they are relentless. Even if I successfully fulfilled one of the “shoulds,” there would be another and another and another. I could run myself ragged trying desperately to be who I think I should be and do what I think I should do.

It is an exercise in futility. And is the fast-track to burnout.

I think I’m still recovering from my burnout of 2014–that was a year with a lot of “shoulds” and I ended up dropping a lot of things by the end of that year.

I’ve tried since that year of burnout to pick back up only the things that I can’t not do. Maybe that’s a weird way to say it but it makes sense in my head. I mean, there are all kinds of influences that tell me what I should do, but there is often a still, small voice that gives me sweet inspiration. These are the things I can’t not do because if I don’t do them, then my heart and soul atrophy, and wilt.

When I follow what the “shoulds” tell me, good may come of it. But just as likely I will feel run ragged.

But when I listen to that still, small voice and do what I’m inspired by it to do, then good always comes of it. That goodness is sometimes just something that happens in my own spirit–joy, relief, energy, vision, etc. But most often that goodness radiates out to others who see or hear what I’ve done or who I interact with after having done it.

With all of this in mind, I am making my 2016 resolution as inspired by that still, small voice.

Oh, the “shoulds” clamored at me as the calendar was beginning to turn. They wanted to weigh in with their demands of how I ought to be better, smarter, kinder, more social, and so on. And they make some good points.

It was tricky, but I let those “shoulds” recede into their din.

I focused in on what my heart and soul truly need in this new year. Then I came up with something beautiful and rich and life-giving. It is so simple as almost to be ignored for its profoundness. I know now that the single, most important resolution I can make is…

Create and call it therapy.

This is somewhat of an extension of last year’s resolution, yet it is more broad to account for the various forms of creativity I enjoy. At the same time, this year’s resolution is more specific–that the purpose of creating is to be therapeutic for me.

I wrote once before about how ranging so broadly creatively has made it hard to feel like I have something to “show” for myself. But creating for the sake of therapy frees me from worry about where any of it will end up, and allows me to create whatever I need to whenever I need to.

There is part of this resolution that sounds a bit selfish. And I really don’t want to be selfish. Relationships and the connectedness of us all are very important to me. It’s just that I know that when I am creating art/music/writing, that it shifts my spirit in a way that helps me relate better.

When I let myself be dominated by my inner critic–“shoulding” all over myself–I feel worse about myself and I behave worse toward others. I sometimes shut down and withdraw altogether even in relationships that are the most important to me.

I assure you, even if this new resolution sounds selfish, it has all of our best interests at its heart.

May you too find the resolve to do that which nourishes your heart and soul in this new year!

2015 New Year’s Resolution

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Artwork by Jennifer Clark Tinker

Well, it’s still January, so I hope it’s not too late to wish you a Happy New Year!

It has taken me this long to get around to doing something about a “New Year’s Resolution.”

I am not normally a New Year’s Resolution person. Last year I did a word for the year. My word was “present” and I came up with three resolutions to go along with that word.

The truth is the word mattered more than the resolutions. I don’t even remember what all three of them were, just that there were three. The only one I remember is one I totally failed at.

That’s pretty much been my experience with resolutions.

2015 was almost going to be the year where I decided not to bother with resolutions.

And then my old buddy David Housholder posted something really lovely about the value of setting your intentions for the year. And when David Housholder is right, he is right.

Then I sat around and felt guilty about not having a resolution. And I’m sure that’s not how it’s supposed to feel in a year where you deliberately choose not to have a resolution.

So, once again I toyed with the idea of resolving not to make any resolutions this year. I mean, when you call it a resolution to not make a resolution, then you’ve got your bases covered, right?

Then…well, then I had a breakthrough…

See, in addition to my writing and speaking, I’ve always been a bit artsy-crafty. I gravitate primarily to crochet and paper crafts–especially those involving gel pens.

Over the past few years I’ve been working on cultivating my skills in doodling and hand-lettering. You may have noticed the art with my post titled Christmas Glow–the image of light shining in the darkness? Well, I doodled that.

Since I have this job now as the interim minister at a nearby church, I am preaching every week. And I am using a lot of words writing sermons. So, not a lot of writing is getting done here or otherwise.

But as I prepare for each sermon, after I do the majority of my study, I let the scriptures for the week bounce around in my subconscious for a while. Some words and images from the scriptures often pop into my conscious thoughts, and I have found it very meaningful–and fun–to create “scripture doodles” for them.

Meanwhile, I joined a spiritual reflection group that encourages “art journaling” as part of the process. And I got a new book, “The Art of Whimsical Lettering,” by Joanne Sharpe, for my birthday.

Soooo…I’ve been doodling and lettering like crazy. And I’m loving it. And I’m finding that the more I create, the more creative I feel. It centers and relaxes me, and it also refreshes and energizes me. It’s really quite wonderful.

And not to be boastful, but I think my doodling is getting better and better all the time. My son even remarked to me the other day, “I’m beginning to think your doodling is more than just ‘doodling.'”

It actually got to the point that I was a little worried that I might have been spending too much time with my doodling. But every time I mention it to my husband, he encourages me exuberantly–I think partly because he knows how much joy it gives me and also because he seems to enjoy what I create with it.

If it helps my creativity, gives me joy, and delights others, then I think these doodling “jenanigans” are worth pursuing. My son is most insightful, my doodling is more than just “doodling”!

And so, that leads me to my one and only official New Year’s Resolution for 2015:

Doodle more often and call it art.