Taking on 2013 and hoping to revitalize my life

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Dreaming of Photography

I woke up this morning from an interesting dream.

In it, I had met this sexy, young Italian man at a conference that I had helped organize. We were extremely attracted to each other and became lovers. Within a few days he had fallen in love with me and asked me to come back to Italy with him. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t falling in love with him too so I said I would for a month. I took a short leave from work, moved to Italy and stayed with him while I pursued my writing and photography. I desperately wanted to photograph him.

I’m not sure what this dream means but it was HOT, and when I woke up it made me want to find an Italian lover and move to Italy for a month, lol.

But seriously, I’ve been thinking about photography a bit more these past few days. A friend of mine told me a couple of days ago that I had an eye for it. And then when I talked to my Mom on Friday she asked me if I had been taking any pictures recently. So I dug out my camera yesterday and went to a Pow Wow to take some shots. It was my first Pow Wow and it was pretty cool. I also took a few pictures of a crow in my backyard today.

I’m not saying I’m going to become a famous photographer but I do enjoy taking pictures so I should probably do more of it. I also need to dig out my photography book to read about taking better pictures. If you’re gonna do something, you might as well figure out how to do it better than before.

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Month 12 Check-In

December has been over for a few days but figuring out my wisdom for 2014 took longer than I thought it would. Who knew that I had learned so much? Anyway, here is my final check-in for 2013, in case you were wondering if it was coming.

I’m not really sure what happened in December. I remember frantically getting ready for Christmas. I remember baking with the kids and us attempting to decorate a gingerbread carousel. I remember present wrapping and unwrapping. I remember last-minute errands and visiting family. I remember arguments, laughter and love. But the rest is just a whirlwind of busyness.

I wish I could say I wrote, ate healthy and exercised. Well, I did write, just not my book… Ah well, there’s always 2014.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – I’m quite sure there were days in December where I didn’t eat one fruit or vegetable :(. I also put some weight on for Christmas. However, I am still down 10 pounds for the year so I’m happy. I just need to eat better!!

Exercising – I think that the only exercising I did this month was one session of yoga and several sessions of shovelling. I also made it to badminton one time this month. As I’ve already said, there’s always 2014. I did find out that there is a free skate at lunch time 3 days/ week close to where I work, so I’m going to try to get there at least one day/ week in the future. I’m not a good skater but every little bit helps.

Blog 4 times/ week – As 2014 came to an end I struggled to meet my blogging goals but I have decided to continue on and keep blogging. Yay!  I think I will aim for 2-3 times/ week as opposed to 4 but we will see what happens as the year goes on. The reason I decided to keep blogging was really because of the Winter Solstice Ritual. It was really great to look back over everything from the past year. It made the learnings more tangible and made me feel like I really accomplished something so I will soldier on and see what 2014 brings.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I had one friend lunch this month and the work Christmas party and New Year’s eve so I did OK with putting myself out there. Plus I hung out with my big, old family and that was awesome.

52 Actions – I tried to make December pretty easy and I did OK with my weekly goals. I think I’m going to keep them up for 2014, I may even re-use a few. But I also think that I will try to do less each week. Working full-time makes it a bit trickier to get some things done but I’m sure I can manage some small actions.IMG_20131231_204109

General happiness – Am I happier? Yep. Why just today I marvelled over a beautiful sunset, some deer I spotted on the way home and the great deal I got at Wal-mart. I was even pretty happy about the warm hot chocolate I drank while trying to warm up from the cold. And look how happy I look (even if I’m a little fuzzy).

2013 was a great year!! I declare it complete!

One other thing I like from the Winter Solstice Ritual is taking the month of January as a time to dream and then starting the new year in February. So there will be no goals or actions for January, just a time to dream and think of the possibilities for the rest of the year. Thanks for following my exploits in 2013, and here’s to more learning, love and laughter in 2014.

Month 11 Check-In

I’m a few days late getting this blog post up but, better late than never.

November feels like a blur. I was sick, my youngest was sick, I had family over for the last weekend in November so that required some prep, plus I was also adjusting to being back to work. Throw a little bit of Christmas shopping into the mix, the regular ups and downs of being a parent and bam, 4 weeks is gone.

I wish I could say I succeeded with my challenge for the month, however, the catching up on my writing course was limited in nature and so was the healthy eating. As a matter of fact, my diet is a disaster area these days. I need to bring it back into a better realm of healthy.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – There were some smoothies this month, of course, but not as many as there should have been. However, if chocolate was a food group I would have it covered. Somehow, I am down one pound which is a total of 14 lbs for the year. I seem to have plateaued at this point but luckily I’m not putting any weight on so I will take it.

Exercising – Exercise has also declined as the month passed. I haven’t been to badminton for the last 2 weeks as I’ve had my kids during that time and the last walk I took was only 15 minutes because it was so cold out. I’m supposed to play squash tomorrow night, so barring any cancellations maybe that will help motivate me to get back to exercising.

Blog 4 times/ week – I’ve struggled to meet my blogging goal for the last 3 months and as the year is drawing to a close I’m wondering if I will continue blogging into 2014. I haven’t made any decisions yet but I am thinking about letting it go. We’ll see, still a few more weeks before the year is over.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I’ve had a couple of lunches with co-workers this month, I also had lunch with a co-worker from my last job and dinner with another. It’s funny how hard it is to coordinate things when you no longer see each other every day but I will keep trying, it is worth it. And as for Sven, it’s been hard seeing him this month too. Between kid schedules and being sick, we didn’t see each other all that much during the month of November.

52 Actions – I wish I was doing better with my weekly goals. I didn’t fail completely this month but I wasn’t overly successful either. For some reason they are no longer top of mind or maybe they are just things I don’t really want to do. Something to think about.

General happiness – Overall, I think I have learned a lot about how to be happier during this past year. It is so important to live in the present. To stop worrying about what may or may not happen in the future and to stop obsessing about what has happened in the past. Some days these things are easier said than done but if you can stick to the present, life will be better. I think that is the key.

Only 28 days left to 2013, where has the year gone? During these last 4 weeks I will try to review some of the stuff I have learned during this past year of blogging and make plans for 2014. Not sure what they are yet, but I’ll figure it out :).

An Abundance of Writing

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I’ve been asking for abundance to come into my life for a while now. The daily mantra has changed and morphed over the months but the premise remains the same. One of the additions to the mantra has been to ask for an abundance of writing. It’s funny how things don’t turn out exactly as planned but how they still turn out.

Originally I thought that my writing would take place here on this blog or in the form of a book that I’m supposed to be writing but that has not been the case. I am still writing here and one of these days I’ll take a stab at the book again but for now my abundance of writing is happening at work.

At work I’m writing. I’m writing blog posts and success stories and today I started writing my first brochure. I’ve been in marketing for years but have never written a brochure before. I was kind of wary about it at first but once I got some words on paper it got easier and by the end I thought it was pretty good.

As my workday came to a close I realized that I was proud of my writing and… I was happy. Happy to have created something. Happy to have a physical existence of my work. Happy to have something to show for my effort. And happy that I had written content that I was pleased with.

Not all of my writing makes me happy. Wait, that’s not exactly right. My writing makes me happy but I’m not always happy about people’s reactions to my writing. For example, we had Open Mic night at my writing course tonight and I put my hand up to read. I had decided to read my poem that I had written 10 years ago. I know it is a heavy piece but I always felt that it was good because it evoked emotions. Not all poetry is about trees and butterflies, sometimes it is about pain and suffering.

After the heart-pounding effort that it took to read my poem I was a little disappointed by the response. Or should I say lack of response. I did get a few people who commented but mostly I heard crickets chirping and I wasn’t even outside. The group follows the old adage that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Based on the limited feedback, I guess people didn’t like it.

I wish that I didn’t care what others thought. I wish that I only cared what I thought about my writing. Why do we seek approval when really we should just revel in our personal triumph of getting the words onto paper? Why should we want the accolades when expressing our thoughts and dreams, since no matter what they are, the expression is a form of success all by itself?

One day I hope to be that person who writes and doesn’t care what others think. Some days I am better at it than others.

For now, I will continue to write and I will continue to try to find the joy in the act of writing itself. I think that the group of people who care about my writing is small but they do exist. And even if the group turns out to be a party of one, I hope that I can still be happy and proud that I did the work, wrote my thoughts down and created a physical representation of the ideas tumbling around inside my brain.

Month 10 Check-In

There are only 2 months left to 2013. The year has flown by.

October has been a bit of a chaotic month for me but in a good way. I have returned to work after a year hiatus (that sounds like a nice way to say it). I have written a short story and submitted it to a contest. And I am still trying to ride the happy train. I find that the hardest time for me to be happy these days is when I think about the whole boy-girl relationship thing or lack thereof. I just find that area of my life frustrating. I’m trying to let things be what they will be more, but that is difficult for me (hence the frustrating part)… maybe there is a better way to deal with those feelings.

I had a writing challenge for September and October. My plan was to write every day for at least an hour/ day. I found the challenge pretty challenging. It was hard to commit to writing everyday but I do think I wrote more than usual during these past 2 months. But in spite of writing more during these 2 months I was short on blog posts for both September and October. I was doing a different kind of writing so I’m still happy with how things have gone.

During the month of October I also discovered that I would like to write some fiction, I had no idea that this would interest me but I was inspired by one of the women in my writing class so I’m going to try something new.

Here’s the round-up for the rest of my overall goals:

Eating more fruits and veggies/ day – This month has not been great for the fruits and veggies. Junk food has snuck into my diet and I need to get a handle on that. Halloween sure does not help the situation. My weight is up a little this month so I’m only down 13 lbs for the year, I need to refocus on eating better and exercising as they are important habits to establish.

Exercising – Exercise has not happened as much as I would like this past month, especially during the last 2 weeks. The new work schedule is making things a bit crazy but I did manage to walk at lunch time a couple of days in there. If I can continue with those walks that will help me fit exercising into my schedule.

Blog 4 times/ week – I missed my goal in October again! I’m hoping to catch up in November or at least to hit my weekly goal.

Putting myself out there more and creating better relationships – I went for a couple of lunches with friends this month and to my sister’s for Thanksgiving. I also started a brand new job and have been trying to get to know my new co-workers.

52 Actions – I managed to purge some clothes and give some gifts but other than that the weekly goals are taking a bit of a beating. I haven’t forgotten about them but I may need to re-jig them as I have less free time than before.

General happiness – I think I am happier than I have been in quite a while. I’m still welcoming abundance into my life, I try to say what I am thankful for every day, I try to focus on living in the present, I try to write about my negative feelings when they happen and release them into the universe, and I think these things all add up to being happier with what you have. Not every day is a stellar day but a greater majority of them are and that makes me happy :).

Only 2 months to go, time to really focus on what’s important during this time. It might be a good idea to reflect on that and make sure that’s what I’m doing. I’ll try to come up with a challenge for November that encompasses that.

Liking the New Job Just Fine

I had a successful first week of work. It was a little more exciting than most first weeks of work.

I met a former Prime Minister this week, he came to the office and I shook his hand. We’re not best buds or anything but the day also involved free lunch and a field trip, so all in all, a good day.

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition, I found out today that the majority of my job is going to be writing (at least for now). Seriously. I’m so happy about that. It’s not writing a book, it’s going to be blog posts, web content and articles as opposed to fiction but every bit of writing is practice and will only strengthen my writing chops. I’m sure other tasks will crop up but this is great for now.

I’m a minority in this new job, almost everyone in the office has a different cultural heritage than I do. It’s a new experience. Right now I’m trying to learn by listening and wading in slowly. I’ve already made my first cultural faux-pas but I’m hoping to keep those to a minimum. Everyone in the office is great. As a matter of fact, I did a little bonding with a couple of people this afternoon. One of the other women and I discussed our kids and then 3 of us complained about the infrastructure of our little city. It was nice to just hang out and chat. We’ll be heading out-of-town one day next week so there will be more time to bond on the road trip.

I really think that this is a fantastic job for me right now after all the self-realization and improvement I have done during the past year. It will be tons of learning, tons of writing and probably more personal growth just as a result of the new environment and culture that I’m exposed to. Plus I’m working in a non-profit environment where the main mission is to help people, it’s a nice change from corporate greed and I think I’m going to like it just fine.

Short Story SUCCESS!

successAfter 3 failed attempts at 3 different stories I have succeeded in writing my short story.

What happened was I asked myself to try to dream about an ending for one of the stories that I had already started. My dreams had other ideas though and I woke up with a brand new idea. I really don’t know where it came from but the whole story was pretty much laid out for me in my dream. When I went to write it down over 1300 words spurted out of my brain and onto paper, the perfect amount for the short story contest!

Now I don’t know if it’s any good, but I like it. I’ve shown it to a few people and they all gushed. But I wouldn’t call any of them critics either. They are more like my support system so they’d say it was good even if it wasn’t, lol. The prize is $6000 and I would fall over from shock if I won. I’d even fall over from shock if I won one of the 4 runner-up prizes. But I feel like I have won a prize already. I am super proud of myself for writing a story!!!

It gives me real confidence that I could write a book. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a lot of work. It would be a tonne of work. But I could and can do it.

I’m not going to share the short story here yet but I will include an excerpt from 1 of the unfinished 3 for your perusal. Just be warned, there is no ending, it is just a fragment. Maybe I’ll finish writing it later but I doubt it will hit the word limit I was looking for so maybe I won’t. I’d love your feedback. Even if you tell me it sucks.

The beginning of the end had already started. She had a way of seeing where a relationship was going and this one was already displaying the tell-tale signs of imminent disintegration.

Things had started out so promising with Greg. He was different from the rest of the men she had dated. He was a true gentleman, he asked permission to kiss her, and he took things slow and steady as if they had all of the time in the world. He was slightly shy and a little awkward around her. In fact, there were times when he had a hard time maintaining eye contact. At first she had found his cautious manner endearing. But before long it just became frustrating.

She needed someone who challenged her. Someone who pushed her out of her comfort zone. She didn’t want another man who needed to be led around on a leash. Who couldn’t make a plan or take action. She needed someone with backbone.  But she also didn’t want someone domineering and possessive. She wanted a partner. A partner in love, adventure and lust.

A partner was so difficult to find. Many of the men she had dated described themselves as easy-going. Well, there’s easy-going and there’s lazy. Many of them don’t seem to know the difference. Easy-going can be a positive trait but it can also be a negative when you wrap it up in a lack of ambition and an excuse to do nothing.

Greg had seemed like a breath of fresh air after the putrid stench of her previous lovers. She had no luck with men, or maybe she had poor decision making skills when it came to men. She always chose the outgoing, charming ones. The ones with little to no substance but lots of charisma and sex appeal.

At first glance, Greg had the potential to be something more than a few months of great sex and exasperating conversations. His air of naivety around women took away all sense of pretence. He wasn’t pretending to be something that he wasn’t. His sole goal was not just to get into any and all women’s pants.

She let herself day-dream of a future with him. Of long strolls together and conspiratorial chats over a few drinks. Of vacations to warm, sultry lands and passionate love-making. Of growing old together and still holding hands like giddy schoolchildren.

But they had been together two months now. Two months of flirting and fun and anticipation. Two months of chatting and getting to know one another. Two months culminating in a sweaty, sexy, no-holds barred copulation and now what? Now he’s pulling back. He’s recoiling from her, retreating.

She’s not sure what happened but the feeling is unmistakeable. Like a ball of yarn unravelling at an accelerating pace as it makes its downhill descent.

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