January is a time of self reflection, a time of new beginnings. It is a time that I like to review and repurpose my self care goals for the coming year. The holidays are over and I’ve worked hard to choose meaningful gifts for friends and family, to cook delicious and interesting meals and to take time to nourish my marriage and my family. January is my time to focus on how I will take care of myself in the coming year.

(Detail of Wild Woman Sisterhood “Claiming her power.  Being fed by the earth & giving back to the earth. The earth is totally bountiful. Proud. Powerful, Rooted, Joyous. Sharing her gifts with the world.” 15 ½ “x 35”)

You might already be familiar with my writing exercise “These things I know and what do I need right now” from my book One Loop at a Time, The Creativity Workbook. My new year reflection is a bit like this. I take a look at what is going well in my life and my business. I set some business goals (lots of teaching this winter, travel this spring and summer, launch one or two new patterns, my first online course and work on my next two books) and also some self care goals. Those goals include making time to write most days, do a morning yoga practice, walk the beach as much as I can and hook every day.

Some years I choose a word or a phrase to focus on. This year I selected Choose Joy as my words and the phrase I Open my Heart to the Joy in This Moment.

What does it mean to choose joy?

Choosing joy doesn’t mean ignoring or not feeling the pain, or being a Polly Anna. It is a conscious practice of looking for those fleeting moments of joy in the every day moment. It doesn’t make everything better, but it helps to loosen the grip of heavy or painful feelings.  To me choosing joy feels like moments of being able to take a great big breath.

Choosing joy helps me to keep perspective, to be less overwhelmed, to keep my head above water. To feel the pain but then to let it move through.

Some artists do their best work when they express their pain through their art. My process is to express the healing I need in this moment in my writing and design. As mentioned in One Loop at a Time, The Creativity Workbook I first write about the problem I am experiencing. This helps to stop my mind from spinning and worrying. Then I always pivot and write about what it would feel like in my body if this problem were resolved. I usually end with what do I need right now and sketch a basic design. In this way the writing or the design become my meditation or my way of processing and helping myself to see possibilities.

Each person/artist/writer is different. There is no right way, all of our experiences are valid.

For me, I know that what I need right now for 2018 is to choose joy, to open my heart to the joy in this moment.

Do you have a phrase or word for 2018 that will encourage self care?

An invitation:

Are you interested in ‪journaling as a way to get started ‪writing or ‪sketching or figuring out how to move your life forward? In using journaling as a method of self care? Register now for my upcoming workshop The Creativity Workbook Toolkit – Looking Inside for Answers.  The next session starts January 16 and runs for 4 weeks.