Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another Word For The Year

It’s nearly time to sweep the year 2013 out the door and welcome 2014 with open arms.

2013 Patricia Scarborough San Gabriel Trail Head   The last painting of 2013.
If you’ve stuck with me for the past 4 ½ years, you may recall that I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Using the first day of the new year, when everything seems bright and shiny, seems to bring on a bad case of over-reaching. I’ll lose 20 pounds! I’ll start that orphanage! I'll find a cure for stoopid!

Resolutions feel so…resolute. There is is dogged determination, obstinacy and self-assuredness. There is fortitude, grit and pluck and motivation, all of which sound like exhortations plastered on the walls of a fitness center.  Which, by the way, is where many resolutions go to die.

I’m a believer in Christine Kane’s Word Of The Year plan. In 2006 she wrote about choosing a single word that you could hold in your heart and use as a guide throughout the year. She called it a Resolution Revolution.

In a nutshell, by choosing a single word as a guide for the next 365 days, you give yourself room to grow rather than a pass/fail box to check off.

Several years ago I chose ‘engage’ as my word of the year. Consider the difference between this word and a resolution:

Resolution - I will spend 6 hours in my studio.

Engage - I will engage in my studio space.

4 hours,27minutes...
Can you feel it? One has me watching the clock, the other is immersion in a space designed for creativity.

I didn’t achieve engagement; there was no little plastic trophy or floppy rosette to set on a shelf.

Best Engagement Achiever?
 The act of engagement came quietly and gently and settled in like a a comfy old sweater. Or like a collection of finished paintings hung beautifully in a gallery.

In the end, engagement in my studio, classes, conversations and painting brought forth nearly 50 paintings in one year. Imagine if I had simply resolved to finish 50 paintings in one year? There's a failure waiting to happen.

27 more to go...can't do it...Mommmmy...
On to 2014. This year I have chosen the word ‘allow’ to guide me. I’ve got some thoughts of how this will unfold, but since this is an organic, heart-felt exercise I’ll try not to start out with preconceived notions. I'll allow it to unfold. See how easy it is?

How about you? Are you going to check off a box? Or are you going to fill your entire year with a fresh kind of motivation?


Michael Campbell said...

Looks like you chose the word "pillow."

Seriously, that was the most well written essay I've read. So encouraging and so Patty. I cherish you.

Patty said...

You're a sweetie Mick. Thankyew. And your word for the next 365 days?

Jacobjac said...

Its good to express. Best way to grow I think rather than just passing the box.

Patty said...

You bet Jacobjac. It's about growth!

Karine Swenson said...

You are so much smarter than I am! This was the post I needed to read right now. Thanks.

Patty said...

Oh no, Karine, not smarter at all. You folks get to listen to the cleaned up version of the whining in my head. Big hugs to you my dear!