If you read my previous blog post, you know that I had a word for last year, “Radical Self Care”. If I put it in quotation marks, it makes it one word. Maybe I should say theme of the year, but them it doesn’t work for google rankings and so, here we are. Anyway, I spoke a bit about the emotions I felt as I put myself first and I got a lot of response. Many women I know struggle with self care and putting themselves first, and I’m glad to see that it spoke to so many of you. I encourage you to sit with that and think of ways you can continue to add self care into your daily routine. As you read, it was life changing for me.

I followed my desire to retreat this december and took a lot of time to reflect. I loved having a theme for 2018 and felt called to create another one for the coming year. As I pay attention to those longing desires bubbling from within, I realize there are two things I want to accomplish this year. One is to push myself creatively. I want to let go of all fear and try lots of different things. The other is that I want to get organized. I tried to think of a word that encompassed both of those passions and I think I finally came up with something. Let me explain below.

The word of the year that I came up with is Exploration. I want to give myself permission to explore things without the fear of failure. I am letting go of the pressure to pick up my camera and create something to share on social media. I am letting go of the pressure to bring in clients. I am letting go of the pressure to create something perfect the first time I try. And I am going to ask for help. I am going to ask for participation. Instead of hiding in my office/studio, I am inviting people into my creative space and asking them to participate. I can take the lessons I learned in 2018 with me and push myself to trust that the things I believe are, in fact, true.

Some things that I’d really like to explore this year are fine art portraiture, specifically in studio. I need to learn flash, and more specifically, multiple light setups vs the one light I use now. I want to learn more about posing, connection with the camera, directing others, and maybe even something with costumes. I want to learn how to connect with people and get them to open up in a situation that can feel awkward. I want to use my camera to see people, like, really see them. I also have a couple of personal photography projects I’d like to do this year. A color challenge, a portrait challenge, learning light, etc. I want to explore.

In years past, I have joined groups that do 365 projects and project 52s, but I never finish. Partly because life happens, and I’m just not good at staying committed to something when it becomes an issue. But this year, I want to explore organically. I have some themes in mind but I don’t want to create too detailed a plan, I’d rather it all flow to me as I explore what comes my way.

As I mentioned before, I also want to get organized. That sounds like the opposite of exploration but just hear me out. In 2018, I realized that clutter is very distracting to me. It causes me stress and can affect my mood in a negative way. I believe that ridding myself of unnecessary distraction is going to be a part of this creative process. I want to rid my house of clutter that causes me stress. I’d also like to limit my time on social media as well. Both of those things cause clutter and distraction in my mind and stunt the creative process. I am starting an accountability group for organization so if you’d like to be on the email list, contact me and I will add you. I’ve already got a list of places I want to declutter but I haven’t organized the timeline yet. I want it to be loose enough to keep it stress free but also balance that with getting shit done.

A word of the year is so much easier to incorporate into my life than a new years resolution. It’s like setting an intention for how I want my life to look for that year. There is no guilt, no tasks, no setting myself up for failure. I’m not vowing to change who I am, but more, allowing myself to flow as the year unfolds. I want to think and speak less this year. I would rather spend less time reacting and more time creating. That’s easy to write in a blog post, but much harder to live by in real life, but that’s the beauty of letting go of guilt. I can’t do it wrong, I can only try again.

How do you come up with a word of the year? I encourage you to quiet your mind for a few moments. Do something meditation, get rid of distractions like kids, tv, and social media. Get out a journal and write about what you want in the coming year.

I just want to be clear. I don’t mean weight loss. And I don’t mean money goals. Those aren’t things that are going to bring you joy and happiness. I know it feels that way because we’re constantly told our happiness will come when we are this thin and/or we have this much money. But it won’t. So go deeper. I challenge you to let go of the ideals that society has told you are good and to retreat within.

What brings you joy? What makes your soul sing? Is it that pottery class you’ve want to take for a long time? Is it that book you’ve been meaning to write? Is it letting go of a toxic relationship that makes you unhappy? Look deep within. There is a little voice inside of you that is subtle, but it’s telling you what it wants.

In fact, let me make a recommendation. Sit down with a pen and paper and write stream of consciousness. At the top of the page, write down “What do I want this year to look like” and then allow the words to come without stopping. Don’t worry about punctuation or capitalization of grammar. Just write until you feel like you’re done. Then, as you go back and re read what you wrote, allow your word to come.

If you do this, please please send me your word!! I would love to hear what you come up with!