2014, A Year of Listening

I like shoveling snow when no one else is stirring, except the snow plow coming up the highway.
Everything is muffled, except the scrapping of the shovel against asphalt, worked out in a rhythm that mirrors the movement of arms, feet, lungs.
I am hoping not to fuel up the snow blower this year, but to work my way through the snow with a shovel. Slowly. Sensibly.

I usually have three focus words for each year. This year I am choosing an activity for my focus. I am listening. My sister asked me “for what?” She needs to ask that later.
To what? Collected words.
Here, every Monday, I am posting a quotation from my collection. I will be listening to those words. The words will be accompanied by one of my art pieces or a sketch, a response to the words.

Come listen with me. Tell me what you hear.

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Evaluate

I am not running and I am not hiding.

Those words just popped into my head yesterday morning (June 27).  They were distinct, memorable, and puzzling.

I began this year with my three well-chosen words: prepare, practice, and evaluate. (More details are in my blog entry, Three Words 2013.)  However, they have been out of my focus range the last three months.  But the year’s half way point has brought them back, with evaluate front and center!  Last week I was having a hay day of self criticism for all the things I have failed to do since New Year’s Day. Ironically this monologue coincided with the delivery of a major commission, which was received with delight.  Self criticism is not thorough evaluation.

Not running, not hiding.  There is an evaluation; it reminds me of the blank space in a composition.  When we are aware of what we are not doing, we may begin to see what we are doing. What is no longer happening in your daily routine?

Three Words 2013: prepare, practice, evaluate

“What three words will help you in 2013?”  That was the last sentence of the last post of 2012.  I planned to write this post a month ago.  I had my three words.  But I also had doubt, the kind of doubt that sabotages movement.

“I believe in the power of words.  Each year I choose three words to shape and focus my time, space, and energy.  They usually arrive in my brain sometime between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  I am grateful when they appear early, because I can roll them around and get comfortable with them.” I wrote this in the last blog, too.  I got the 2013 words in late November and they have been rolling and rolling, but there is no comfort.

The words are prepare, practice, and evaluate.  For me, they are derivatives of last year’s “invent,”  the word that wanted more time.  Some days these words elate me.  On dark days, they seem to illuminate my inadequacies.  Elation and illumination.  I like it when my art causes that response in my viewers.  Perhaps these words will make me a more wholesome artist.

Does your work inform and illumine your days?  How does that happen?  Do words help?

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Three words 2012

I believe in the power of words.  Each year I choose three words to shape and focus my time, space, and energy.  They usually arrive in my brain sometime between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  I am grateful when they appear early, because I can roll them around and get comfortable with them.

Last year these words arrived: trust, invent, and nurture.  I have come a great distance with trust and nurture.  They have been invaluable for leaving old structures and evolving new relationships.  It was pleasurable to spend time with practices that were once central to my daily life.  I welcomed these old friends back.

Invent was chosen because it seemed like the more intellectual side of creativity.  I love revelling in the intuitive.  Invent triggers visions of research and controlled experimentation.  Invent was a choice beyond comfort towards a new balance.  I believe I need more time with this word.

How do you use words to shape your life?  Do you make resolutions?  What three words will help you in 2013?