I have found that a new year can carry with it a lot of pressure. Will this be the year that x, y, and z will happen? Will I finally _____________? Is it possible that ________? Truly, what does any new year contain? It contains hope, potential, dreams, and sleep, meal times, conversations, work, rest, vacations, words, and maybe some attention to the Self. So, let’s slow down this newness and really appreciate it, hold it, and infuse it with our intentions. The beauty of this new year is that it is wide open. While there are some things that you know will happen (paying bills, preparing meals, possibly cleaning), there is space for your dreams, hopes, and goals to come to fruition as well. As Marth Beck says, “just specifying your goals is a huge step toward achieving them.” Perhaps your dreams and goals are not completely clear from this standpoint, but opening up that space to allow the light to catch them is more than enough to begin the process. And this is why creating a vision board is a wonderful tool to collect your dreams in a visual representation of what is stirring in your heart. Beck goes on to say that finding your way, your passion, your direction (North Star) is a highly psychological and spiritual act. When you sit down and allow yourself time and space to dream along with the joy of creating a visual of those intangible thoughts, you are being brave. You are showing up for yourself and in your life, you are daring to live and to find a way to make what you desire, what fuels you a part of your every day life. You do not need to live from a place of exhaustion, stress, misalignment, brokenness—you are capable of cutting and pasting and crafting beauty that you can place on your wall—a visual reminder of your dreams to carry you through and to focus your prayers, to remind you of who you are, where you want to go, what you want to do, where you want to travel to, what you want to read, where you want to live, what your bookshelf will look like–what infuses you with life. That, my friends, is a gift you can give yourself at the start of this new year. It is so important to honor all of the ways that you already do show up in your life. One of my most favorite activities is to create a vision board during an afternoon retreat with other women. It is so nice to be able to sit in circle, to breathe, to respond to a few writing prompts, to center my thoughts, to share and to listen to what others have to say, and then to dive into creation mode. I love sharing this rich time in shared silence and comfortable companionship as we shift magazines, paper, glue, and scissors around the circle. If you are in Athens, Georgia, on Saturday, January 10th, I’ll be offering our first Vision Board Circle of 2015. We will be holding space for renewal and clarity as we cut, paste, and glue our dreams to 2015. You can see other upcoming events by going to the heidi.at.heartspace profile on Facebook.
I am a Widwesterner at heart. I no longer live there, but I spent my formative years along the Wisconsin-Illinois border.
It is cold there in the winter, brutal sometimes. Now that I live in the South, I have realized that there was an urgency to our winter preparations. My dad would spend hours hauling, drying, and stacking wood for our wood burner that we’d begin using in October. Along with the urgency, there was a pioneer-sense of survival that guided how much food we’d have at any given point during the winter months, making sure no gas gauge on the car went below the half way point, having enough salt to sprinkle on the driveway, and on I could go with the things we needed to feel secure with winter’s approach.
Throw in the threat of a blizzard, and hunker down. Get ready to jump out of bed at four in the morning to shovel snow to get to school on time. Add in a little fundamental Christian frenzy and you have a recipe for a small apocalypse at any given moment–blizzard or not.
In my family of origin, I learned to work hard, to plan ahead, to worry. I learned to multi-task, to think of everything/everybody else, to rush, and to live far beyond my borders.
I’ve recognized that haste undoes the work of the Spirit–the flow of life, the beauty of time passing, and the joy of letting go.
What is at the heart of my work ethic?
Why do I feel needlessly rushed?
If I am to be honest, it is entirely wrapped up in my self-worth. The more I can do, the more I am loved–that is what my little girl self tells me.
When I am working too hard,
- people notice
- my efforts are applauded
- I think I earn love, respect, and appreciation
- I lose my sense of self
- people ask more of me
Upon noticing what is pushing me to go beyond what I can do in a work situation, I have to pause and view my underlying needs (with compassion). And then I align my needs with my goals and collect all of my pieces that I spread over that conference table, on that spreadsheet, in that conversation, during that meeting, and I walk toward wholeness.
Consider what drives you. Is it love, or is it something underneath something else? Does an emotion present itself when you consider your work life? If so, sit with that emotion and allow it to speak to you.
It is worth our time and energy to dive below the surface and to examine what fuels our work ethic. If nothing else, it provides an opportunity to gather ourselves and to move toward what we do want in this life, what we are called to do, and why we are here in the first place.
My quarterly self-care ritual has been to go to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. It is a place of renewal and healing for me spiritually–in every way, really. It is quiet, beautiful, peaceful, and a loving environment–just perfect for reflection and intention setting.
My story is such that I have experienced much sadness, judgment, and hatred while being in church environments with Christians who espouse an extreme form of Christianity. When I come here, to the monastery, I have an opportunity to sit in a safe place that also happens to be a church. A place where God dwells, and I feel God’s presence in a healing and loving way instead of as the opposite. I meet redemption when I walk the grounds, when I sit in the cathedral, when I listen to the monks sing, when I hear the church bells ring out good news for my soul.
This particular visit gave me back some hymns I had to leave because they hurt to sing, but now redemption has spread over the old and made it new. Now I can hold phrases from “I Come to the Garden Alone” and I hear the voice that tells me I am loved. I am made perfect in my weakness. I just need to show up with my breath, my heart, and my soul:
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear…
I find God in the midst of the quiet and contemplation. The ability to be still opens up something in me so that when I meet the page, I am raw, ready, and capable to express all that needs the divine touch.
What I want to say is: my self-care naturally includes healing. When I separate myself from my routine in such a radical way, I experience life in a differently–I experience words differently, more clearly. I hear what I am to hear, and I find what I am supposed to find so that I can go back into my life, back into the world refreshed and ready to witness others and to support them in their journey to wholeness through self-care, self-love, renewal, and connection.