I was lucky with this year’s theme, it didn’t take very long before it became apparent. Last year was so deeply inward focusing and so emotionally intensive. It was quickly very clear to me that I needed a space for recovery, for rejuvenation, to be open hearted and at ease with the world. I also needed to turn my gaze outward to tangible expressions of my life and what I seek to create.
Last year was intensive emotionally in ways that were often deeply painful. I grappled with feelings around ‘shame’ out of a relationship break up that went badly. Nasty little ‘should’ cycles and self recrimination because I ‘should’ have known better than to end up hurt.
It was a year that reminded me that I am far from trigger free. I spent most of the year processing and considering, working through experiences that left me distressed, anxious and out of balance with the world. The biggest one, and it is still one I’m grappling with is a fear of being too scary, too intense, too overwhelming — in short, too much.
So while I’m still putting this old fear to rest, I seek renewal in my purpose and understanding of myself. Renewal in my experience of myself as a Giant. Renewal in my trust in myself and also in other people around me that I am not ‘too much’ at all. Rather that I am incredibly engaged with those around me, highly focused and also unstintingly passionate about the world around me and how I experience it.
Back when I was dealing with repressed memories of childhood trauma, my logic required me to remake myself. With the addition of these new memories, my personal experience of my personhood and history was suspect, and required me to choose anew who I wanted to be. This was a magnificent though intense personal process, and I’m still grateful that I undertook it today, over a decade later.
I came out of it many things, this brand new personality. But the relevant aspect for this post is that I came out of it wanting to be the art, not to make it separate from myself. I wanted to make a difference in the world just by being who I was, moving through my life influencing those around me. And what I realised as I’ve been struggling with my ‘too scary, too much-ness’, is that this reaction comes from the place where my choice has come into being – and since this is an old fear, has always been present.
The nature of art is to confront, it’s not always beautiful. It is sometimes confronting and challenging, uncomfortable. So what I see is, having created myself as the art and not the artist, is that how I move through the world provokes people as art provokes people.
So as I battle with upset and worry that I have caused upset or even harm, I have been reminded that I am not responsible for others’ reactions. I am responsible for my own actions and I must let others have sovereignty over theirs without interference. I can engage if that is an option, but it is not always appropriate and often I will be required to simply accept and let go, to move on.
It is this last paragraph which specifically relates to how I experience renewal as a part of putting to rest this old and painful fear. I’m not there yet, but I get the sense that I won’t spend all year on this either. It’s just the first big example of where I am setting the space for renewal – and thus healing, to happen.
Renewal as a year long enquiry means moving through things, allowing transitions to happen, to choose aspects of myself and my life anew. I anticipate that it will mean old patterns are refreshed, and some will be retired. Also that new ones may come into play, and that present aspects of my life and personality may shift and grow and change.
This is a year in which I must pay attention to the flow of things, listen to my heart-intelligence as well as my logic. I need to align these with my sense of self, as a genuine entity in the world, being my best self, my biggest and most Giant self.
2012 will be a year of rediscovery, and though I can distantly appreciate that I’ve grown and changed so much in recent years, I do not have a personal knowing, and so I seek this. I seek to gain new and deeper understanding of my self as a person renewed.
This is a year to embrace myself as a powerful and ambitious person, deserving of all the things I wish for.
This quote is one I came across a couple of weeks ago, and it’s quite apt for my purpose I think:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
So what goals do I want to achieve, what elements do I want to bring into my life, what practises do I want to improve?
- Explore the qualifications I may be eligable to pursue as a member of the International Institute of Business Analysts.
- Continue working professionally as a Business Analyst and seek employment opportunities that align with this.
- Consider working as a volunteer in an open source project as a junior Business Analyst as a means of gaining development and mentoring, while improving and testing skills and contributing to something I believe in.
- Remember that I’m studying this year and that particularly in second semester, this will be very intense and I need to make space for study to happen.
- Complete the 5 remaining units to make up my degree.
- Aim for distinctions in the work I am doing, but remember (particularly with what promises to be a grueling second semester) that as long as I am passing, I am doing sufficiently well.
- Read outside the course materials, I have several texts that I have purchased and which to explore in more detail. I’d like to actually do this in 2012, as it didn’t happen in 2011.
- Do a practise run at writing and submitting either a conference paper or a journal article that accepts undergraduate submissions.
- If I can magically afford it, go to the Crossroads 2012 cultural studies conference in Paris in July.
- Remember that I’m likely going to be working full time throughout the year and that I need to take this into account and make allowances for how study will happen.
- Explore options for post grad study, talk to institutions and their academics as well as friends.
- Go and see performances because I want to, and enjoy the opportunities I get to see something alone as much as when I get to attend in a group.
- Blog about the performances I’ve gotten to see over the year regardless of how big or small they were.
- Read fiction that takes me to a happy place, fiction that enrichens my experience of the world.
- Read fiction that is fluffy and light, that I can appreciate when my brain is tired from studying and working.
- Use my enjoyment of television as study breaks so that there is an opportunity just to stop for a set period of time.
- Read 100 books this year for the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge and do reviews of them at the very least using that platform.
- Publish at least half of the reviews for the books I read this year on my blogs.
- Participate in and promote the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2012. I’ve committed to reading 6 books by Australian women writers and reviewing 3 of them here on this blog.
- Read the Down Under Feminist Carnival and submit to it at least 6 times throughout the year.
- Continue utilising online applications to streamline my information consumption and sharing.
- Blog more frequently here and keep up my personal blog elsewhere. I need to keep in mind, particularly for this space, that it doesn’t have to be perfectly polished. I can trust myself to write decently and that everyone get’s it wrong occasionally. I can trust my ability to deal with anything like that as needed.
- Continue to use my online tools to nurture my relationships and connections as well as to form new ones.
- Travel to see my interstate partners at least once and preferably twice or three times this year.
- Celebrate my 15th anniversary with K’ in style.
- Keep my relationship network map up to date.
- Do an artistic mindmap on my 2012 theme of Renewal
- Be gentle on myself with all the emotional intensity and work of last year, allow the healing to take place.
- Practise asking for more and not feeling guilty or fearful that I am asking too much.
- Continue to address health concerns with professionals as required, and find ways of building in exercise that doesn’t result in more pain and less coping/energy.
- Continue to consider and engage with the idea of food and eating patterns and also enjoy any cooking I wish to do but without making it a focal point of the year.
- Play games, guilt free just because you want to and it will be pleasurable once a week.
- Continue exploring my talent and commitment for Conversations and being a Conversationalist and whether I could possibly make a living from this at some stage.
- Maintain integrity with myself as my own best friend, my own partner and beloved and consider holding another ‘Dear Self: I Do’ event.
- Go on adventures and be less concerned with being well behaved – have fun and let go a little, don’t focus so much on how I look/sound and how I might be judged.
- Explore new relationship opportunities if they arise.
- Travel to Brisbane and Sydney if I can magically afford it.
- Explore how I will move to Melbourne and taking on the challenge of (even more) independent living. This involves grappling with money as well as massive fear of changes.
- Continue to send postcards and letters to friends, Loves and strangers.
This list may be incomplete, I’m not really sure yet. It *is* comprehensive. It’s more specific and goal like this year too, less focused on bringing certain experiences or feelings into being through an organic process. Much more of the ‘do this’ and ‘take this on’ complete with numbers attached in a number of cases. I haven’t done this kind of list in such detail for a few years, so we’ll see how it goes – as always I’ll revise as it occurs to me that it is a good time to do so.