39 – January 3, 2016

I know that the road to hell is paved in good intentions – I’ve been reminded – several times – since indicating that “Living with intention in 2016” is my mantra.

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I think that the difference, however, is that I am not setting out with specific, unattainable intentions.  I am just trying to be more intentional in my living.  More engaged.  More involved.  More attentive.  I am hoping that this is not adding any new pavers to the road I have already built…

With that said, I spent some time today studying…  really studying.

I have an affinity for collecting quotes and often using them in my artwork.  I not only collect them, but research them for accuracy and then read – a lot.  I love a good book, especially one that makes me learn more about who I am and who I am working to become.

I read as often as I can, even if it is only 30 minutes here and 15 minutes there…  I want to try and read what I can and process the data as it pertains to my life.  I want to put it to good use and to continue to grow and develop as a human being sharing this planet.

I read articles on NPR, books from the library, short stories on blogs, poetry in magazines, and so on and so forth…  I just love the activity of reading.

So today I spent time reading and looking at quotes that have impacted me in some positive way.  I looked at highlighted passages in my Bible from years ago, wondering how they relate now versus then.  I re-read sections of favorite books on creativity, vulnerability, and art looking for nuggets that meant or still mean something to me.

Then I spent some time pondering them, wondering what it was that made them mean so much to me.  I know it sounds a bit indulgent and a bit self-centered.

It was.

That was the point.

To take a look at words that have meant so much to me and have helped shape me and grow…  and decided what worked, what didn’t; what holds meaning, and what no longer does.

It was completely self-indulgent and emo and everything else.

And it was worth it.

Sometimes taking time to be self-indulgent is perfectly okay, no matter what anyone else thinks.  We are allowed to ponder our own existence.  It is part of what makes us human.  It is part of how we learn about ourselves and those that we share our lives with.  It gives us insight into the human condition.  I truly believe that this kind of self-indulgence is perfectly rational and beyond ok – it is something we all need to do to get back to our center and the core of who we are.

I was reminded of words that matter to me by looking at the types of passages I dog-ear, highlight, and underline:

  • faith
  • courage
  • hope
  • strength
  • create
  • make
  • play

All of these words help to define who I am and where I want to go and who I want to continue to evolve into.

Additionally, new words popped out:

  • generosity
  • gratitude
  • giving
  • reciprocity
  • respect
  • intent
  • collaboration
  • dignity

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These are the new words…  they shouldn’t be – they should have already been on the list – but they are now.  They’ve been there all along, in more rudimentary ways, but now – NOW they are the front runners that I want to engage with.

Art will always be there, but what about art as collaboration with other artists?

Strength does not lose any power when respect and reciprocity are included – in fact it bolsters it to become even stronger.

The building blocks from the old words are still there.  These new words enhance them, enhance me.

Today’s intention was a little bit of learning about myself – it turned into a major lesson.

It was an experiment to verify what I already knew, not a wholly great focus.  I wanted to really just assure myself that things had changed a bit (verifying that I am making progress as a human being I guess and that I am not a total fraud or failure) but instead I saw a seismic shift in the data.  Yes, the foundation was still there and yes, it was stronger. (Growth verified – gold star awarded).

What I wasn’t expecting, however, is that some major core shifts had also occurred.  I am more aware of others in the world – this is a good thing, but also a scary one.  Taking on the feelings of responsibility for helping others beyond your front door is terrifying.  How does a girl from Wisconsin reflect the plight of women in India or Afghanistan or even in Arizona?  What do I know about that?

What I know is this.  I am a woman.  She is a woman.  Some pieces of that shared experience don’t change.  Do I have more opportunities?  Maybe.  Am I still affected by shared issues?  Yes.

I love moments like that…  when you get smacked in the face with reality and truth when you were only half looking for it.

That is growth.

That is intention – looking at something with focus and aim and wholeheartedly exploring it.

39 days to go – millions of opportunities pay attention and learn…

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