A note from Kelly: This past September, I was getting ready for a bunch of activities related to the launch of my first book. I had looked forward to this moment for years, and I really wanted to savor it. So I turned to my fellow creative dreamers and asked their advice. The result was the wonderful Facebook conversation below. This month, we decided to share this conversation in hopes that it may help you celebrate, savor, and enjoy your creative life.
Here's another request for advice from all you fabulous sparklers! The next couple of months for me are filled with activities related to the launch of my first book
. I've been working toward this moment for sixteen years! Also, I've been facing some challenges this year in my personal life. So these two things combined have made me just super eager to suck the marrow out of the next couple of months, really savor and celebrate this moment in my life, this accomplishment I've worked so hard and so long for. So! I would so very much love to hear your advice on ways of savoring accomplishments and good times. It would mean so much to me. How do you celebrate and savor your triumphs and dreams come true? Ginny Lennox, I have an idea that you may have a gift for this, but I'd love to hear from anyone! (thanks!)
Kelly, you made my day. The two words that came to mind when I read your post were awareness and gratitude. Once I became aware of what was really important to me in my life, I began to notice those things more and more. I remember talking to Jamie about living in the moment, since I am such a planner and always thinking ahead. She said it was fine to plan and think ahead and really be in that moment when you are planning, but after the plans are made, to move on to the next moment and be completely in it. (At least, that is what I heard her say.) It was one of those light-bulb moments that has made life so much simpler and exciting for me.
The second thing that has changed my life has been gratitude. Greg got sick six months after I retired and life changed dramatically for us. After adjusting to the changes, I began to look for all the positive things that happened each day. I started to realize what was important to me - it was people, the sunshine, beautiful skies, etc. I don't know exactly when, but each Friday I began to post on my blog what I am grateful for that week. It is a practice I don't think I will ever stop because it helps me focus on and appreciate what is important.
My celebrations are really an awareness and appreciation for the good things in my life, and it truly seems as if my brain has changed so that it spends a lot more time appreciating the good and ignoring the unimportant. A practical thing that I also do is keep a Reminder Journal. When something really important happens, I write it in the journal so that I won't forget the moment. I write only one or two sentences on a page so that the moment is easy to find. I do enjoy this journal!
Thank you, Ginny! I thought of another piece of advice for myself: slow down. It's like what you say about being in the moment, but slowing down allows me to focus on and appreciate the moment better. Rather than, for example, turning all these activities from the celebrations that they should be into a stressful set of tasks on my to-do list.
In case anyone's interested, this little inquiry of mine has turned into a full-blown project: Project Joy. I've been looking into positive psychology exercises, and one of the coolest I've found is to first identify your signature character strengths
and then find fun new ways to use them every day. They can be little things. Like for me, one of my top strengths is "appreciation of beauty and excellence," and so I might make a point of spending twenty minutes in a beautiful natural environment or listening to excellent music. Another one of my strengths is "curiosity and interest in the world," so I might listen to music from another culture or explore a new part of my city. Another is what they call "perspective/wisdom," and one site advised using that by taking a favorite quote and living in alignment with that. Fun. Here's another link
--this is where some of these examples come from.
Kelly, I think slowing down definitely helps. If you think of each thing you are going to do as a small step rather than a task and then acknowledge what you have accomplished, it might help. Right now, I am small-stepping my way into buying a new computer, which can be overwhelming for me, but it is helping to recognize each step I take to learn more about what I need and (what is most important) how to effectively use it.
Celebration!! One of my favourite topics EVAH!
One thing that we simply don't do enough these days is mark our achievements. You have been headed towards this for 16 years and now you are here! How will you mark it?
I have a couple of favourite ways to mark an occasion (I feel a blog post coming on!) and I'd love to hear everyone else's.
* Make it Memorable. Mark the day by somehow making it distinctive from other days. Throw a party. Go somewhere you've always wanted to go. Let yourself be in pyjamas for 24 hours. (Hey, combine the pyjama idea with the party idea and voila!) Dye a streak of purple in your hair. Make yourself an "I wrote a book" cake and have it for breakfast.
* Make it tangible. Buy yourself an author's gift, something that will always remind you of your very first book. Get a tattoo or piercing. Write yourself a beautiful letter congratulating yourself for a dream come true.
When I got my coaching certification, I had promised myself a beautiful clock that I had seen at Pottery Barn. When I went to actually go get it, I almost backed out. I found it hard to spend the money. I thought, "I don't need this," but I did. Now every time I look at the time, I remember that I invested in my dreams and in my goal to help other people with theirs.
And you see that clock in just about every picture of my desk and my studio!
And Ginny Lennox, I'm so delighted that light bulb is still burning bright!
I love these ideas! And Jamie, I have never before thought seriously about getting a tattoo, but that's the idea that jumped out at me most! I might get a tattoo! I might get myself a special present, too! Ooh, fun, pondering what that might be!
Kelly Besecke is the still un-tattooed author of You Can't Put God in a Box: Thoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age. Ginny Lennox, a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. Jamie Ridler is a creative living coach who is passionate about authentic living and making creativity come to life.