After the first day of Christmas, I couldn't help but start thinking of the new year. This year, however, I heard a distinct God whisper asking me not to make any resolutions. It seems my good Father is molding me into the woman he's made me to be, but I've resisted being for too long. Instead of resolutions, he led me to create an art journal for my weight reduction journey, and to make a vision/dream board for 2010.
I've never made a vision/dream board before. One of my lovies, Rachelle Mee Chapman, has been creating them for awhile now. I've always admired her artful spirituality, but I've been timid about expressing myself this way. Until now, that is. Maybe I'm tired and sleepless. Maybe I'm getting old. All I know is that I'm going to be me, because nothing else works. And who am I? A writer, an artist, a worker of mercy; I'm all these and more, but the desire to create is burning in me now, and I feel I must create all these things: new writing, new art, and a house of hospitality.
So, with God's leading, and the longings of my heart, I did indeed create a new year vision/dream board.
You can click on it for a closer view. I spent about an hour scouring magazines and catalogs to find images that resonated with me. I thought about what I'd like my life to be like in the coming year, and several broad themes emerged. There were only a few specific longings that immediately came to mind: one was to focuse more on my physical self. In fact, the first few pictures that jumped out at me were of a woman doing yoga, and a plus-sized woman dancing with total abandon. Both these images surround my portrait, as a reminder of where I want to be (yoga girl) and where I should be in the moment (still a big girl, but one who isn't waiting for weight reduction to enjoy life).
The background, which is mostly covered, is a big, white church. This satisfies my need for fellowship and the house of hospitality that's in process. Beyond the house is a green nature scene (up top), and African Kente cloth on the left hand side. These are connectedness with nature, wildness, good health, and authentic cultural expressions. Again, there's me, at the bottom center, but I'm a dark image. I wanted that to represent me humbly allowing all the big themes to come forward in my life this year. Beside me is a call to LIFE: "Awake, rise from the dead; let the Light shine on you." Amen to that!
As I worked I realized the collage surprised me. Instead of very specific goal and desires, many soft, unexpected things that remind me of simplicity, beauty, and spirituality that I feel is deeply authentic arose in front of me while I cut and pasted. The top banner is a piece of art I found in a catalog that says, "Very Little Is Needed To Make a Happy Life." And of course, to kick off the new year, the words (twice) "Here we go!
Some other affirmations and reminders are:
"Open each day with the Lord."
"The world is full of simple treats."
"Be strong, and don't be afraid. God is coming to your rescue."
Yoga girl's head says, "Trust your journey." Her neck says, "God is near us."
And then there is at the bottom of this piece the words, "Life is beautiful."
I also have a tiny Mother Teresa on my bracelet beside the words, "I just can't stop." This is to remind me to persevere with my passionate work. The word passionate also appears on the collage, as does "luscious," "peace,", "rejoice" "pure poetry," and inside of a bowl of healthy soup, "and all is well."
I couldn't forget the work I feel called to do, so "matthew 25","merciful work", "Eucharist", and "stories" appear, but not necessarily the word "books." Perhaps this is a subconscious way of surrendering being published to the Lord, as I grow into a non-profit org's leader, and the abbess of a small, new monastic community.
I found the words on my cheek irresistable, though I tried to leave them out, honestly. The little square says, "She's sassy, classy, and a little bad-assey." God help me, but we all know it's true. At least much of it.
Lastly, there is a heart with Jan.1, 2010 that says, "Believe with all your heart." The heart has wings. Jesus and his mom are there--of course, especially since I connected so deeply with the mystery of the Incarnation this year through the baby Jesus. I also have a tiny blue bird. I am expecting a year full of happiness, despite this pain that's crippling me today, the last day of the year.
I found out--oddly--plain old Mucinex from the drug store is an amazing part of a protocol for fibromyalgia treatment. Guess what I'm going to buy as soon as my check comes! And of course, mama's getting the weight off this year. Seriously! I even have help--thanks, Heidi!
And what about you, lovies? Are there longings you're feeling that you're sure are God's compass, pointing you to who you truly are? And how will you emerge from your soul's chrysalis to become a new, magnificent being?
I leave you until the new year with this lovely Celtic blessing:
"I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,
Nor a life on a bed of roses,
not that you might never need regret,
nor that you should never feel pain.
No, that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial,
when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed,
and chasms are to be crossed.
When hope can scarce shine through.
That your gift God gave you
Might grow along with you
and let you give the gift of joy
to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend
who is worth that name.
Whom you can trust, and who helps
you in times of sadness.
Who will defy the storms
of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you
that in every hour of joy and pain
you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you,
and all who care for you.
This is my hope for you,
Now and forever."
I love you. Truly.