Posted by: Cathy | December 12, 2018

New Year Seal

Rather than create a vision board, I decided to try something new for 2019.

Not to knock vision boards; I’ve made some in the past and enjoyed the process. But I haven’t manifested the things I put on them, so I wanted to do something different.

This project was inspired by a post from Benebell Wen, who wrote about the Seal of Changes for activating the powers of the I Ching. I have not studied the I Ching, but I like the idea of an image to activate change. It makes me think too of a heraldic seal or coat of arms. So, to focus my intention, I made a personal seal to invoke the qualities I want in the new year.

Here is how I assembled it.

First I picked a spirit animal to represent me in the center. For the past few years, my primary spirit animal is a black bear.

Next I thought about some qualities and symbols to represent them. The qualities I wanted to include are art, writing, love, spirit, hope, and support. The symbols I chose are a paintbrush, pen, heart, wing, sun, and a few astrological glyphs (since that’s a tradition I’m comfortable with, rather than using the I Ching symbols).

Once I knew what I wanted in my seal, I doodled a main shape, which turned out to be a shield, and then an arrangement of my symbols, and this is what I came up with for my final seal for the new year.

I’ll print out a few copies of my seal and put them in places like my planner for the year, my bathroom mirror, my meditation altar, etc. to remind me of my intention and the qualities I want to embody this year.

Whether you try a seal or make a vision board, it’s important to pause and reflect on what changes we want to make for the new year or any period of time. The first step in creating change is to identify what isn’t satisfying you and what you would like to be different.

What do you want to be different in 2019?

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Posted by: Cathy | December 10, 2018

Give yourself a creative gift

Celebrate your creative gifts by giving yourself a creative gift this holiday season.

We all have creative gifts, whether it’s painting, writing, accessorizing, or baking. Celebrate your creative gift with a little pat on the back and something you can use to be even more creative.

Consider treating yourself to a creative class, a book, a new tool or supply, or buying a frame for something you made this year.

Celebrating what you accomplished will reinforce your good habits and encourage you to create something new. It’s not just indulgent! It’s an investment in your creativity.

What creative gift would you love to receive?
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Posted by: Cathy | December 5, 2018

Baggage drop-off

Wouldn’t it be nice to start the new year with less baggage? Less guilt, judgement, and fear? Fewer obligations, limitations, and regrets?

Try doing a releasing ceremony before the end of the year.

Sit and make a list of all the things that aren’t serving you: old emotions, lingering anxieties, unfulfilled goals, sour relationships, bad habits. Some will be easy to throw away, but most will probably require reflection and conscious detachment. For the difficult things, sit with them each in turn and make a list of pros and cons for carrying it with you into the new year. Focus on a strong con and review it daily until you feel ready to drop that piece of baggage.

This ceremony might take a few days to complete so you don’t feel overwhelmed in one sitting. Give yourself 20 minutes per night over 3-4 evenings to work through your list with a cup of tea or glass of wine.

To make room for the good, you need to clear out the bad. Regardless of what you’ve accomplished or not, you can end the year on a high note by dropping off your baggage. Step into 2019 lighter and with more focus.
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Posted by: Cathy | December 3, 2018

Build a Blanket Fort (yes, you!)

Take a cue from winter and make some time to rest before the big holidays hit later this month. Hibernate, even if only for an hour!

Rest makes us more productive and helps us rebuild our strength to handle the busy times. When you feel like you’re too busy to rest is actually the most important time to make yourself rest!

Winter is a natural time to be still and dormant, but modern society resists the natural model. However, you’re a grown-up and can do whatever you want. Give yourself a naptime one afternoon. Build a blanket fort on the bed and snooze, read, or daydream, or all of them in turn. When you return to the real world outside your fort, you will feel at least a little rested and rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next thing. Consider making it a weekly self-care ritual.

Rest, recover, and then rise up to face the next thing.

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Posted by: Cathy | November 28, 2018

Creative Alignment Check Review

It’s been six months since I shared my new booklet, “Creative Alignment Check,” so I invite you to check in again, notice any imbalances, and work to integrate and re-align.

Many of us are suffering from a “Reality Disorder”: our ideals are not aligned with our day-to-day reality.

It doesn’t matter how you got to this point. You made choices that led to your current reality and you can make choices to change it. We aren’t going to judge and regret the past. We are going to take a Creative Alignment Check and use that to make small changes in the present to better align your future with your ideals.

We’ll do this with three scales: Mind, Body, and Soul.

Review my post from May on how to do this, and/or download my Creative Alignment Check e-booklet, which has worksheets for these three exercises. Find it on my downloads page under “Self-Development.”

You can begin to merge your reality to reflect more of your ideals. It takes mindfulness to notice when you are operating from the “old” states so you can make different choices to cultivate the “new”/ideal states. But day by day, moment by moment, you can create new habits and slowly shift to your ideal states. You have the power to build your reality in a new direction by building new habits.

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Posted by: Cathy | November 26, 2018

Art Harvest Time

Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, so it’s a nice time to pause and think about what we’ve harvested metaphorically from the year. What were your accomplishments? Specifically, what did you get from your creative projects this year?

Think about more than just the projects you completed.
* What did you learn?
* What shifts did you experience?
* What surprises came up?
* What parts did you enjoy?
* What art from others brought you joy or healing?

Think about everything you received from your creative activities this year, and then consider making a memory board to remind you when you feel stuck or uninspired.
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Posted by: Cathy | November 21, 2018

Wrapping up the 12 days of Gratitude Challenge

How did you like the 12 days of Gratitude Challenge? #thankx12

Were you able to come up with your 12 people? Here are mine in review:

Nov 10 – A teacher … Mrs Madigan in 9th grade honors English
Nov 11 – A friend … Julie
Nov 12 – A child … Alice
Nov 13 – A coworker … Rita
Nov 14 – A schoolmate … Fausto 😉
Nov 15 – A family member … My sister
Nov 16 – A service person (mailman, store clerk, etc.) … Sprouts clerk
Nov 17 – A historical figure … Anais Nin
Nov 18 – A fictional character … Margarita (from The Master and Margarita)
Nov 19 – A pet … my cat, Lucy
Nov 20 – Someone who caused you pain (what did you learn from it) … ex-boyfriend who recommended The Master and Margarita
Nov 21 – YOU, yourself! … yep ^_^

Remember, we can appreciate the people around us every day of the year, not just at Thanksgiving! If you don’t already have a gratitude practice, try taking a moment at the end of each day and think of someone who made you smile that day.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for you, too, dear readers!

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Posted by: Cathy | November 19, 2018

Self-care: Holiday Boundaries

We’re moving into the busy holiday-time of year. Set some boundaries for yourself so you can actually enjoy this holiday season and not get swept up in too much to-doing.

* Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? Are you using enough lotion or moisturizer?
* Are you taking on too much or just the right amount, or do you have time and inclination to volunteer and take on a bit more?
* Are you respecting your holiday financial budget? Are you spending your resources on quality items/events?
* Are you doing holiday activities you enjoy? Do you want to give yourself permission to skip something or say no?
* Are you spending time with the people you care about? Is there someone you can’t be with but you could call?

The holidays have some stereotypes and common experiences, but you don’t need to live them if they don’t bring you joy. Choose how you want to experience the holidays and give yourself permission to live your choices.

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Posted by: Cathy | November 14, 2018

Did You Outgrow Any Goals This Year?

What were your goals at the beginning of the year? If you didn’t accomplish something, don’t judge yourself but instead get curious. Why didn’t that goal work out for you? Were you lacking a resource? Were you struggling to prioritize it? Or did you outgrow it?

As we grow and change, we may carry old goals as a habit or from being stubborn. A goal may have appealed to you in January, but maybe it doesn’t fit for who you are now, today. It’s okay to release something that you used to want. Save your energy for what is important to you today.

If you still feel a twinge of longing, you’ll know you’re not done with it yet and can reevaluate the goal or how you could go about attaining it. But if you feel guilt or sadness, that’s just lingering, superficial attachment. Do some journaling, meditation, or prayer, and release it.

Goals come in all shapes and sizes, and what fits you today maybe didn’t fit you last year or won’t fit next year, and that’s just fine. Right-size goals will keep you busy enough; release the ones you’ve outgrown!
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Posted by: Cathy | November 12, 2018

Raise your Standards

Cheryl Richardson: “Where you are is where you begin, but you can always increase your standard of living.”

As we’re beginning to wind down the year, I invite you to reflect on how 2018 went for you. Were your standards and expectations met? Did you even have standards and expectations?

As you grow and change, your standards and expectations should naturally increase. You outgrow the old stuff, but you may be so used to it that you forget to ask for better. When you expect better, you generally get better.

Examine your values and see how they translate into your standards; where are you willing to compromise or not? Then, as you’re raising your standards, look for good examples and focus on growing those; don’t dwell on the negative, just focus on what you can improve. Magnify the good.

Raise your standards and begin the new year on a positive footing.

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