New Year's Collaboration

Often, when we think about the end of the year, we simultaneously think ahead to a new year and what we might want to create in the future.

At the beginning of 2010, I took a class with Alyson Stanfield, of The Blast Off course was a fabulous way to begin the new year and led me in a variety of new directions, the likes of which I never imagined. My classmates and I created plans which spanned the entire year and during the last week, I've been going over them to see which intentions came to fruition and which shriveled on the vine.

This process got me thinking. I liked the concreteness of goals and dates, but it occurred to me that I was missing another piece. It came to me when I was reading Gretchen Miller's fantastic post on her altered New Year books. You can check them out here.

Gretchen focused on qualities she wanted to bring into her life in the course of 2010. Words like "balance," "transition," and "sustain" called out to me.

These words spoke to the qualities that often underlay my resolutions; aspects I miss while hurrying to get to the results (e.g.: exercise more,  communicate more carefully, spend more time in the studio...)I forget to savor the experience, which eventually leads to my feeling of accomplishment, once I achieve my goals.

If, however, I focus on the underlying feeling of my goal, I may find that there is more than one way to get there.

In that spirit, I decided to cut to the quick and locate some words for myself. Not hard to do, because they were the feelings I most often find myself lacking.
I decided to start the process while I was at work and pitched the idea to a teen, who had been moved off the pediatric floor and was feeling bored and lonely.
Her disease causes her a great deal of pain and she has a reputation for being a bit ornery.I went in with the sheer enthusiasm I felt for the project, but was still surprised when she agreed.We worked on our pages side by side, giving each other suggestions and checking in on the progress of the television program she enjoyed watching.

We met each day this week and by the end, I'd compiled the six qualities I want to focus on.

My favorite one so far is "forgive." There are
many ways in which I "miss the mark." But most of the time, I haven't--its me wanting more of me than I can give. Thus, forgiveness.

Today, my teenage patient was asleep. It's raining hard outside and the dark gloom is conducive to sleep. We didn't have a chance to put our books together. It's o.k. We'll try again Monday.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear some words that you might be thinking of for the New Year. What are your favorites?