intentions

GOOD INTENTIONS

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Here we are again. Another year ahead.

I used to think of new years as a wash, as just another day. But I was young and probably just liked being contrary. When it comes to new years these days, I feel an enormous sense of awe. Not the night itself of course - this year I was asleep by about 11 - but the days after. The in-between time before I'm back to work, and the days seem longer and I have time to think and dream and hope and wonder for the year ahead. And PLAN. I like to plan. I like the idea of resolutions and intentions because it reminds me of the bigger picture. They allow me to take a bit of control back from the day-to-day shambles I find myself in. Make active choices. Think about big-picture stuff. I like making small changes and refining things and working to be my best self. So hurrah for that!

It has been a pretty damn good year. I got a kick-ass promotion that's had me on my toes - writing lots and thinking more and feeling full. I saw the world - spending days alone in new places and days with friends in familiar places. I went on dates and felt loved and had quite a bit of fun with it all. It's been nice, really.

The main thing I'm hoping for in the year ahead is to TAKE IT SLOW. 'Slowly, slowly' as my friend Stella says. It's no small thing, but I feel like it has been a while coming. I'm desperate for some quiet. Slowing down for me means more time to myself, more time at home, more time to write, more time to think, more time to rest (my iron has been so low my GP has me on supplements). Slowing down from all the bustle will - I hope - give me some time to work at finding out what I want. There are other things too, of course. I hope to read more books and run twice a week and keep saving for a house, but they will come if I take it slow. Slow is the answer.

Writing it all out here always feels good - I have a record, I'm accountable. 2013 had me all wow, till 2014 washed me out but by 2015 I was working my way through. I like looking back… 

REFLECTIONS / INTENTIONS

IMG_3498.JPGSometimes, people on the internets have neat, well-thought out posts and lives. I am not one of those sometimes. I am the sometimes that writes a new year's post a few days into February, because that's when I got around to it. It's been on my mind though, ever since my week at the beach. Coming back to work kind of messed it all up - made me think harder in some ways, and then distracted me from thinking about it at all. Real life is COMPLICATED. Not to mention we had Sydney Festival, I tried a new yoga studio down in Clovelly, went out for about a hundred glasses of wine and took three weeks to properly unpack.

I had written off the past year as an in-between one. It felt slow in some ways, but upon reflection, and with some help from Ashley, the word I came to was 'expansive'. My year was expansive. By which I mean I made small changes that I think will resonate for a long while yet. Wheels in motion and all that. Last year I learnt to be a yoga teacher. I wrote and published some stuff. I got lost. I grew a lot (with some help from Clare). I met people, and put myself out into the world in a way I hadn't felt confident to in a while. And I feel better for all of it.

And so, 2015. I don't think I'll list off all the things I have hopes for (though believe me, I have lists - I love lists). For the most part, I think I'd just like to trust myself a little more. Have some faith in who I am and what I have to offer, you know? Doubts are natural - I'm a critical thinker and a worrier by nature - but I don't want doubts to rule my head. I'd like to be more at ease with it all and to do that, I'm going with trust. Trusting that I'll be OK, that things will be OK. Trusting that it might all just it be amazing.

* The picture is all double-chin-and-up-my-nose-on-a-crowded-train charm that I love anyway, because I remember that my friend Ben's beautiful song had just come on my iPod and I was by myself and feeling really happy.

NEW YEAR AHEAD

20140119-145159.jpg There is a new year ahead and I’m starting to think about how it might look. I’ve been thinking about resolutions and writing down ideas.

I’ve been thinking about the year just passed, too. Thinking about what I have been proud of and what I need to let go of. Ashley’s beautiful posts have been very helpful here – she is a wonderful guide and friend in this online world, and I am always inspired by how she writes, how she eats and how she lives.

It isn’t news to anyone that 2013 was a hard one for me. I kind of knew it would be, but I had hoped that things might go differently. They didn’t. I got hurt. And I still feel raw, I ache and over-think things, but am finding my way through. Finding different things to hope for and work towards. I still have a lot to be grateful for, and I try to remember that each and every day.

In reflecting, it has been nice to see that in spite of everything this past year, in spite of love and work and home dramas, that I’ve maintained some goals. In years past I’ve had resolutions to manage my money better, and to focus on yoga more. This last year I have been very sensible with my pay - I have stayed on budget and I have not only saved, but I’ve paid off any debt I had, university loans included. And you should know that after seven years of tertiary study, that felt AMAZING. I’ve also practiced yoga every damn week. I’ve come back to the studio day after day, week after week. It feels pretty wonderful to think that that these aren’t resolutions anymore – they are just habits that stay with me, part of who I am now.

I have some bigger ideas for the year ahead, some personal things I want to achieve, and also a whole heap of small things. Things that don’t necessarily matter, but are nice little starters to share with you:

  • I’d like to learn how to braid my own hair – like those beautiful ones that wrap right across the top of your head. It sounds silly, but my hair is longer now and aside from out and curly, all I do is a messy top-knot.
  • I’d like to use my camera more, and to use it properly. It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, so I should be able to wrap my head around the settings with a bit of patience and practice.
  • I’d like to read more – I wrote this last year, and did a little better, but by June all I wanted after work was to crawl into bed with some pasta and a BBC or HBO series to tune out to. I’d like to use my time more constructively. I got a whole pile of books for Christmas, and ones borrowed from family, that I am longing to get through.
  • I'd like to continue with my SUNDAY posts here - they are a nice bit of structure to my writing and my week. And I have loved looking back through them, of thinking of my life in pictures and words.
  • I'd like to go ahead and frame all the beautiful art I have. I have so much good stuff that just sits neatly in rolls and between cardboard under my bed. I am blessed to have a range of talented friends who have given me work, and some special pieces I have collected on travels over the years. I keep meaning to have them professionally framed - I mean, it is expensive, but absolutely an investment. I'm excited about this one!

HEARTGLOW

20140119-133645.jpg Back in early December I spent a spectacular day up on the Northern Beaches, on the quiet side of Avalon. One of my favourite yoga teachers, Kelli Prieur, runs a special kind of HEARTGLOW yoga from the deck of her house. I've been on her retreats before, and love her weekly classes, so the opportunity to spend a day with her beautiful heart, stretching out the week and talking life was one I jumped at. A one day retreat is so much easier to commit to, and the drive out of Sydney still makes it feel like 'getting away'. Her home is a kind of tree house, perched between climbs of bush, overlooking the Pittwater below. She had hand-picked fresh hydrangea and gardenia in little vases between our yoga mats - so amazingly fragrant - and the only thing we heard all morning were cicadas. After lunch we walked down to the beach below for a blissful dip to refresh us, before a couple of hours of yin practice. 

Kelli talked about presence, and milking the most out of our practice - milking the most out of our days. It was such a perfect time and place to stop and reflect on that, to set intentions and soak in the beauty of the day.

SUNDAY / 42

20131110-220845.jpgI was thinking today about how this year has got away from me a bit. How I am finding myself, in November, behind on all my intentions and goals. One of the small things I had written down back in February, when I was hatching plans for the year ahead, was to make more time to read books. An easy measure I know, but I have spent almost seven years at university in my time, reading and critiquing and writing about books, so maybe it's natural that in this last year or so I have slowed down. That or I've been too busy watching Friday Night Lights and Big Love. I don't know, but I have certainly missed it. I usually read through one thing or another, but find I am distracted, vague, slow, and often feel like I'm just going through the motions. So today, between cups of tea and half a block of ginger, walnut, chocolate-chip blondies, I just sat and read. I'm halfway through a good book, done with yesterday's paper, caught up on my new favourite craft bible (more on that this week) and feeling wholly immersed and happy about it. I managed to get dressed and get out into the grey and wet afternoon to walk to a yoga class with Addy at about 2 PM, talking about my idea to make changes as we took in the cold, fresh air and the smell of the rain. The Sunday afternoon class at my studio is lead by Persia, and is always one to make time for. Her classes are the most challenging, the most rewarding, the most enlightening and the sweetest most humbling, laugh out loud, deep-breath-of-life kind of thing you could hope for. So when she said to us as we settled in that she wanted to talk about intentions, that this time of year often prompted her to think about her goals and where she was in life, and she wanted us to take some inversions and breathing exercises to help us get back to our focus, I smiled at Addy and and had a moment of just right, of things falling together so beautifully. Then I went ahead and sweated through 90 minutes of amazing power vinyasa and walked home under these dark storm clouds, feeling lighter than I have in weeks.

THIRTEEN

Waking up the morning of the 31st, it has occurred to me that I haven't given a lot of thought to my new years resolutions. It's something I usually love to do, and something that has been good for me - I feel like resolutions are good intentions, ways of thinking and being that I hope will carry me through the year with a little more grace or fortitude. I usually give myself just three - three important things I want to consciously work at. Without being too personal, the year ahead for me will be a hard one. There is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of big changes ahead and a whole lot of things that are out of my control. And I'm doing pretty well at being OK with that, at taking each day as it comes, but it still worries me. So I'll be thinking today of three things that I can do, three positive changes I can bring into my life and the year ahead.

It's a nice time to reflect too, and I have to say that this last year has been a very special one - a year I didn't see coming and would never have believed, and a year that has seen me move a little closer to the things that are important to me. I feel especially grateful that my life is full of so many wonderful people, people that love, support and inspire me endlessly and make my world a happier one. To those dear friends and family, thank you - YOU ARE AMAZING...  CA AHD

* This big, colourful and wondrous image is courtesy of British artist Chrissie Abbott, in a range she designed for my favourite stationers and yours, AHD Paper Co - it's available as a gift card and poster and is easily the best thing I can think of to send to the people you love.