Sunday, December 28, 2008

Preparing the Way for the New Journey

It's the end of the day here, of 2008. The sun is sinking below the horizon on this year. The photo is, however, from October. I haven't much been taking photographs the last few days, or creating. I've been doing holiday things, cleaning up the mess left by said holiday things and thinking about the future.

I find that I am getting caught in a bit of an overwhelm. This is easy to do when you have big plans and major transitions and important journeys to go on. The truth is I have no idea what my life will look like this time next year. I have huge projects coming up that are addressing fears I have long held. It is understandable that I would feel overwhelm.

But I don't want to get lost in it and fall off of my intentions.

So what do you need to do to get rid of overwhelm?

First thing, I think, is to change the attitude. Look at this upcoming unknown not as scary, but as exciting. This project is a game, not a responsibility that holds all the weight of my future. Think of the soon to be crazy busy year as a long series of opportunities and adventures. It isn't the destination that matters here, it is the journey.

Okay. That helps. But it doesn't get me all the way.

The next thing I need to is to get away from my old fears that are replaying their insidious messages in my head as I sit in my chair and tense up. How? How do I get away from those voices in my head? The ones that sound like my father and his fear of success, or my senior honor's project adviser when he said he didn't think I could do it, or all the common "wisdom" that says being an artist and writer is a foolish path? How to hogtie those demons in my head and give them the heave ho?

I treat myself as if I were a friend of mine. I treat myself as if I were a student of mine. I tell myself with my tough love to "KNOCK IT OFF" and stop feeling sorry for myself. I express belief in my ability to make it through, replacing the negative mantra of "I can't" with the positive one of "I am." Oh, if I were my student, I would give myself exercises to help me believe the truth.
  • List all the experience you have, the qualifications you hold, the education you've received that prove your ability to do this job. List what you already know, and use that as your spring board to your new challenges.
  • Draw a picture of those demons in your head that say you aren't good enough. Paint your fears and negative thoughts and give them form. Then tell them off and put them away, in silence. Hey, you can even go so far as to burn them. Watch them fade away in a puff of smoke and remember how that feels. Now you recognize them, you can tell them to shut it every time they start squawking.
  • Draw a picture or create a collage of what you want your future to look like. See it in front of you. Pin it down on paper so you know exactly what it is you are going after. Then do a backwards plan of what it will look like 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, 1 year 6 months from now. Or if we're talking a 12 week plan, then what does the end product look like, what should it look like at 9 weeks, at 6 weeks, at 3 weeks, at week one?
Actually, come to think of it, that last exercise leads me to the next thing I would do for me if I were my own student. I would create a curriculum.

Curriculum means the flow of the river. This curriculum that I would create for my 12 week Portfolio project would be a path that I could follow, a river down which I could swim, with all it's feeder streams and swampy places and river craft.

I would start planning my project curriculum by thinking about what I want the end point to be, and then working backwards to see what I need to accomplish by when. I need to take into account the project deliverables, the research that would need to be done, the supplies I would need, the resources that I could call on, the time frame within which I must work (not only the 12 week deadline, but also the time I have during the week/day to work on it.)

Frankly, I wish I had all the work I had done on curriculum development while teaching and doing workshops. It would save me a lot of trouble if I did not have to reinvent the wheel. I think it's all in storage, but now that I think about... I may have some of my curriculum work from the last creativity workshop I did.

Maybe my first actual assignment I will give myself is to find my curriculum format. Or perhaps make a new one.


What are you doing to prepare the way for your new adventures in 2009? What are you doing to get ready for the Portfolio Project, if you are playing, or any other project you have going on for yourself. Do you have any tricks and techniques to keep your spirits up and your momentum going?


Anonymous said...

I've been spending time putting together intentions for the new year and have begun reviewing the old year. I have such a long way to go, so much I want to accomplish. I like you idea of creating a curriculum. While I have made progress this year, especially considering all that has gone on this year, I would like to improve my focus. I think creating a curriculum would help with focus. Thank you for sharing.

Emme said...

Hey there, just wanted you to know I'm right there with you, at the cusp of the portfolio project, a nonwriting, writer momma...and scared and overwhelmed to begin. Just found your it. I tried a bout of sewing this last year too, and made a doll for my daughter as well. It was an adventure! Your doll, and your art (and writing) look great. Let's promise to have fun and be gentle with ourselves for the portfolio project. Nice to meet you!

tekeal said...

hmmm, appreciate your curriculum idea, too. i've also jumped aboard the portfolio project and so far, other than leaving out christmas, showing up daily for my new "journal-site" is what i'm doing to ward off the demons of overwhelm. taking this inspirational pre-time as enough to jump-start whatever it is that i'm going to commit to, and create. not sure if it's also wishful thinking, as jan 1st is soon here, but i'm nourished at the moment and i'm letting it be enough.

reading blogs such as yours contributes to the positive momentum and feeling part of a bigger creative action than just my own.

Karen Mowrey said...

Rowena, You have accomplished so much already so you have it in you. I say you just need to start chiseling away at the steps it takes and never mind the large picture of the will get there. I like lists and more importantly, crossing things off lists. Instant sense of accomplishment...even if wash dishes is on the list, once crossed off, it is power!

A very long time ago I went to a psychologist...reason...overwhelmed! She told me to sit in front of the mirror...have your moment...cry out everything from the past that is holding you back and be done with it. The fears of the past are the past and you are a different person now. You did what you did with the knowledge you had at that point but today you are smarter, stronger and wiser.

If you really want something bad enough, pretend you already have it. Live as though it is the here and now, role play if you must but as soon as you embrace your goal for the future in the present the sooner it becomes reality!

Super Nova said...

to me, ceremony is very important. I got together with strangers on Saturday as we did completion ceremonies for our old year, then group meditations and breathings, and then we did a creation ceremony.

I've also turned many of my desires into games, as you call it. I've given them fun names, I've written down what they look like, what actions I will be taking, milestones that will help me know I am on my way.

My vision board is out and in my room, and I just need to be conscious. That's where I seem to lack, taking that extra time each day to meditate and be aware of what I want and what I am.

I can't wait to follow your creativity through another year my friend!!

Anonymous said...

These words have been living in my head for awhile now...

I've been playing around with them and trying to shape them into exactly what I needed to say. I found you through Cheerio Road, and for the past several days, I have came back to read more of what you have written here.

We are about to move 12 hours away from my family, my friends, my comfort zone. We are gypsies at heart, but have just settled in here for such a long time that the fears and the 'head messages' have been pulling at my thoughts.

I haven't had my blog for very long, but you truly said what has been in my heart. Thank you for that.

The inspiration was needed.

Squirrel said...

I think the purpose of school, especially college, is not so much to teach us specifics, as to teach us how to learn on our own. A Curriculum is perfect.

Rowena said...

I have to say that I am already inspired by the comments, even before this portfolio project begins.

So many wonderful ideas. The game, the ceremony, the inspiration board, living as if you already have what you want for yourself, releasing the past, being gentle. And yes, all these blogs are so inspiring. It's like a viral inspiration. Like catching a really nasty bug... but it's not nasty, it's wonderful and makes you stronger and deeper than you already were.

Bzzz. I'm a bug. Watch out, or you'll catch me, too. If you're lucky.

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