As I wrote here, I chose Deliberate as my One Little Word for 2015.
With this word, I wanted to practice awareness and mindfulness, and be deliberate about how I chose to use my time and put in my days. I wanted to be mindful of what is important to me, what I wanted to achieve or learn, and intentionally make room for it. I wanted to be deliberate in how I worked, how I created, how I loved my closest ones, how I connected with others, how I took care of myself.
At the beginning of the year, I set out intentions and wrote about it here. Below, in italic, is a summary of my intentions for each area of my life, followed by a short review of how I did.
Health & Well-Being:
I want to be healthier. Who doesn’t, really?! At this point in my life, it mostly means healthy eating and resting properly. I’m not so good at either, at least not in a consistent way, and especially not on weekdays, when it is easier to become overwhelmed by work-related stuff… Eating healthy meals at work is a major area of focus. I tend to rely far too much on the nearby convenience store. Getting enough sleep and good rest (unwinding) is the other one. I want to pay particular attention to reducing my stress level this year, and I feel good rest is a good place to start.
→ I kept mindful of resting properly along the year: more sleep, fewer crazy late nights, more proper resting time, more relaxation. I feel this positively impacted my stress level in a big way and I’m sure it helped me feeling less overwhelmed along the year. I also experimented with daily meditation: anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes a bit before going to bed. I kept at it for about 7,5 months before I fell off the wagon. I have since started again here and there, but nothing close to daily. This habit, while it was daily, had a clear effect: I felt calmer and more positive. Not a doubt about it. I will experiment with daily meditation again in 2016 for sure. I’m thinking about varying the time depending on that day’s schedule.
Meal-wise: I did very well in the Spring, and overall I think I did improve the way I eat, especially at work. This was definitely a year of experimentation, and if nothing else I learned that it was possible to choose healthier options on weekdays. I want to keep on choosing better and better.
Creativity & Heart:
I want to consistently make time for creativity. It nourishes my soul, it nurtures my heart, it puts my monkey mind to rest. I don’t even have enough words to express how good it is for me.
I am a photographer at heart, so I want to keep on exploring, improving, having fun with my camera. I have also been dabbling into art journaling for a little over a year, and this is something I want to discover more of and dive deeper into. It mixes together elements that are dear to me like color expression, word journaling, drawing, and all sorts of things I have not a clue about like collage and so much more! I would also like to experiment with documenting life, through visual journals or minibooks I’m not quite sure yet.
→ During the 1st half of the year, I very deliberately took time to spend in my art journal. I used lessons from Life Book and prompts from The Documented Life Project. I have loved LifeBook for the very detailed lessons and all the learning that came with it. It stretched me technically and creatively as I embraced prompts that I wouldn’t have done on my own. I really enjoyed The Documented Life Project for how open-ended the prompts were and how I could made them my own while still stretching myself. Great framework.
During the 2nd half of the year, I didn’t manage to make time anymore and my creative time became less regular. Needing a bit of a push and excited by the project, in September I registered for the 30 Lists project, a month of daily list prompts. I completed my first mixed media minibook with this lovely project and loved every minute of it: trying something new, the documenting, the community on Instagram. I am now completing the December edition of the 30 Lists project in a very different style, very simple minibook.
So, in order to get on with it, I want to create a (work-related) writing habit. Again, I want to focus on the process of doing something about it every workday. My only job is to show up, instead of thinking of the quality of the end product. I want to let go of the excuses (no time, no material, no momentum, etc.) and of resistance by focusing on creating a habit of “just doing it”. I have actually experimented with this in December and it went pretty well, so I’m hopeful that I’m on the right track. I will write about this again in more detail, because the whole process of habit formation is just fascinating to me !
→ I did write and submit a paper, and in the couple of months leading to submission did spend almost daily research time. This in itself is quite a victory. Still I wish I had managed to make this a more consistent practice and will work on it in 2016.
I want to connect more and better with the people around me. I live in Japan, but most of my family and some of my closest friends are in Europe, so I’m constantly in between here and there (hence the name of this here blog!). And then I have these brilliant friends here too, and on the web as well, and I want to be better at reaching out and staying in touch! I also want to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to people I don’t know.
→ I enjoyed tremendously my local friends and colleagues and made time to go and/or initiated monthly diners with the girls. This was really great and made me feel connected. On the other hand, I didn’t do very well in keeping in touch consistently with my friends back home, especially during these last few months. I sometime find it difficult to find ways to be present in my relationships on both sides of my life: the one back home and the one here, in Japan. However difficult it may be, I do want to keep on looking at ways to make it work.
2016 is just a few hours away, and I am ready to welcome it, filled to the brim with gratitude for 2015!