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Connect in the New Year

2015 was my year to open. 2016 is my year to connect.

This year I will connect:

  • with my family more closely by wrapping up and stepping away from my computer
  • with nature with more time outside
  • with what I love—the garden and cooking and friends (and I’ll connect those things that I love too)
  • with creativity through regular writing and crafting and space to think
  • with new clients in this new work I’m focusing on.
  • with other moms running businesses to share and learn and collaborate
  • with my world by getting out in my community, going new places, trying new things.

This year too, I want to connect the dots between the different pieces of my writing—the copywriting for clients, this blog, other creative writing that’s happening slowly (and I’m trying) regularly. I’m not sure these pieces fit together, but I’ll explore how they intersect or how to make sure they all get the space they need.

The most direct route to doing most of this is to be offline more (she says while online to blog). I haven’t figure this part out yet. I run an online business, so simply checking out and getting off line all the time isn’t the answer. Taking a break might be. Setting not-connected zones of time might be. My struggle to shutdown is one of the reasons I’ve resisted a cell phone for years. I know that when I take time off line, I read and get outside and sleep better. It’s (just) figuring out how to do it.

This past week, I’ve been busy connecting with clients after a break, connecting with potential new clients ready to dive into action in this fresh new year. I’m also connecting with the reality that I can’t do it all at once.

Today, I was tempted to sneak a little work in while everyone else is out tiring out the dog, but what I really needed to do was to connect back to my intention to make space for writing.

So here I am, coming back to this space, to connect.


Do you have a word of the year?

 

 

 

Thoughts on Opening at the Close of the Year

The close of the year is an opening to a new one. The recently passed solstice, the turn of the calendar both call us to shift our cycles. What can you let go of? What will you embrace?

I intended to write about the light-dark /  ending-beginning of this month last week on solstice, but I felt called instead to make space. I stepped away from the computer a lot. I read. I brought my hands into a warm ball of dough and baked bread. I breathed deep in the twinkling light of the tree and the flicker of the fire. I read some more.

With all the to-dos of this month behind me, but a little more celebration and family time to go, I’m sinking into the open space I deliberately created—no work in this interholiday week of school vacation.

2015 Year in Review

Back in January, I set open as my word of the year. Aside from this open space here at the end of the year, how else did I open?

I opened to new ideas about my work and ended up with this. I don’t know why I resisted change for so long, but I’m loving the ghostblogging/content management world I’m thriving in.

I opened my door each morning and stepped outside. I looked up at the trees and the sky. I counted crows, black spots against the blue. I found the lingering moon and noticed pink-gold streaks. I felt the ground firm but yielding beneath my feet. I opened my eyes to notice.

I opened up space in my schedule for writing that I felt called to do. I was consistent with it for a while. I need to step back and re-open that space.

I opened to hope, as I do each spring, and to being in the moment with my kids.

I opened to possibility, to figuring out how instead of saying I can’t. In the past, friends would post about trips they had taken and I’d wonder how they managed. Who watched their kids? How did they afford it? How did they find time in a schedule that seems always too full? But when an old college friend asked a small group of us to get together, I was open to making it happen—and I ended up soaking up the quiet and the deep conversations in Tucson.

I opened to adventure, the kind I haven’t had in years.

I opened to the fullness of my experience in December as I do each year—and got surprised.

I didn’t open my body with yoga like I intended (though I have a plan for next September when I have two kids in school full time).

I didn’t open up more space in my house the way I wanted to. Clearing out clutter has been a molasses slow process, and the open space I create seems to fill in almost immediately. I’m still working on that one. It’s a good goal for a new year.

The year is closing, but a new one opens. I’m thinking about what I want that year to feel like and staying open possibility.


What openings did you create last year? What openings do you see coming in the new year?

Warming Up

I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start here, with this cool morning that made me pull a sweater Stuck writing? Start with where you are.over my pjs, at least outside on the porch. I curl my hand around the smooth glaze of my coffee mug, the curved walls fit my hand perfectly. I feel the warmth, watch the steam rise up.

I take a bit of bagel, crisp then chewy and taste the sweet then bitter peach marmalade. More coffee. My eyes are still grainy with tiredness. I know more coffee isn’t the answer, but it’s warm and says wake up if only by routine.

There is a high, vibrating noise in the distance. I think alternately coyotes and a swarm of bees, but now it has settled into music, closer. And then again, far away, the high pitched yelp, and above me, “Caw, caw, caw!”

I’m distracted by cold feet, but I won’t go get socks, not until the kids wake up. I want this quiet time, but still, that vibrating hum far away, and within me. I’m restless, feeling the change in the air, school starting, new routines. I’m ready to settle in, get back to writing, back to running or walking, back to knowing when my work time is. And I’ll miss the lazy mornings, when we stayed in pajamas and read book after book and wandered out in the dewy garden.

I look up from my journal. The paint on the porch is peeling, white chips fallen or waiting to fall, patches where it’s been scraped already. It’s supposed to be painted this summer, one more thing of the endless to do list. Over the railing, the garden waits to be weeded. I see the last zucchini plant, shrived and brown taken down by powdery mildew.

And then motion. A bit of red. Hummingbird. I watch it hover, wings abuzz. Does it ever get tired of so much motion?

I hear the feet on the steps before the, “Mom?” at the screen door. And then it opens and a new part of the day begins.


I’ve been reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet, and she talks about five-finger exercises and how even the pages that you throw away have purpose. This idea that writing is like running or playing the piano or any thing you do that you need to practice and keep up with isn’t something new. It’s something I know, something I’ve said, and sometimes I still need that reminder.

It’s been a busy summer and I’ve fallen out of practice with many things, writing among them. So I’m here, doing my finger exercises, getting back into the habit of sitting down and putting words on the page. I almost didn’t come here today. I thought, “Next week, when both kids are in school,” but I’m tired of waiting. I’m doing an exercise challenge with my sister, and this morning I can feel in my legs handful of lunges I did last night. I need to feel my writing muscles again too. So I’m here, and I’m writing.


 

What are you warming up to do again?

Give yourself a break—It’s Mountain Day

Imagine waking up and hearing that you didn’t have to go to work and all your appointments were cancelled today.

The bells rang out on my college campus today signalling Mountain Day. Classes are cancelled. It’s a day to be outside, climb a mountain, eat cider donuts and ice cream.Make your own Mountain Day—stop and notice the beauty around youEver since I graduated, I’ve been tempted to take my own Mountain Day when I get the email announcing the arrival of this fall tradition.

I think about going on a hike or cancelling work for the day, but inevitably I’m on deadline or  catching up after a weekend away or just got a call from a client I haven’t heard from in a while. There’s always something isn’t there?

So I’m not calling off work today or pulling my kids from school, but I had a cider donut with my coffee. I’ll give my girls donuts or take them out for ice cream this afternoon.

I took a walk this morning, just around the block, no mountain involved, but I slowed down. I paid attention to the swirl of colors that has emerged recently, noticed the yellow against gray sky that has now brightened up to blue.

I’m not taking the whole day off, but I’m going to take a little break anyway. I encourage you to take your own Mountain Day today, or a least a Mountain Moment.

Take a break.

Have a treat.

Get outside.

Slow down.

Notice the beauty around you.

Happy Mountain Day!

 What are you going to do with your Mountain Moments?


 

For a month of this kind of Mountain Moment, join me for Abundance.

Abundance: an online writing retreat from www.sarabarry.com