"Stories are medicine. I have been taken with stories since I heard my first. They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything - we need only listen."
-Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
Would I do another 365 project?
I've done two 100 days projects and one 366 day project (hello leap year)!
And here's some things I've learned about the two kinds of projects.
A 365 Project
•It's like an extreme sport.
You've got to have a burning desire. You also have to be okay with the fact that you may be burned out afterwards. You are going to invest a lot of time and resources in something, so you need to make sure it's worth it and it's what you want. Or you just need to have the guts to go forth with your, as Rumi calls it, "foolish project," and trust that this idea visited you for a reason. That was what I did, I felt if I said no to this idea I would be missing something amazing, even though I doubted when I started if it was the right decision and it felt very foolish.
•It's stressful when you are a recovering perfectionist.
Because it's such a long project, you build a bit of perfectionism as you go, making sure that it will be awesome and you will have completed the challenge successfully. You also have to plan and prepare a lot to make sure when you travel or things come up you are still able to get to your practice. I never wanted to forget to post on Instagram and I wanted to make sure I always did the practice on the day.
There are two days I still feel a little bit guilty about...
One was very early on and I was having a really rough and long day and a friend brought me a firefighter set, you know, to help me put out my raging fire of fear. So I built the kit and took a creative photo of it, but it was actually the only day I didn't build my own creation. Also, another day I ended up building two creations on one day, and the quote I pulled the next day was so perfect for the creation I had built the previous day that I used that creation. But because my perfectionist said, you need to still build TODAY, I still played around with the bricks some before posting the previous days creation.
•It's going to lead you to places you would never expect, with ideas and also in reality, but you are going to need those new sources of inspiration to keep you going.
You are going to need to refuel on inspiration and motivation and you are going to need to try and develop new things. It's really like 3.66 100-day projects in one. You reach a point where what you are doing is not inspiring you anymore, and you have to end up making a shift to be able to keep going. There were shifts in my interest that occurred in my process thanks to new learnings and sources of inspiration, and sheer development of my craft and pouring in of ideas (because what you focus on grows). But the shifts wouldn't happen unless you were still going. Because you wouldn't have a need to seek them out. Like when I went to a LEGO fan convention and public exhibition, you can bet if I wasn't building with bricks everyday that never would have been on my radar. But it was from going to that I got to experience a presentation on how to photograph your creations that made the second half of my year have much better photos. It was also there that I exhibited some creations, something I never would have dreamed I would do but it came with the price of admission and they said anybody was welcome so I thought, why not? And that led to me having the courage and experience later in the year to be able to say yes when a crazy idea hit me to do my own public art exhibit of my final 30 days of creation.
•It's probably going to make people forever associate you with what you did, and you can expect them to keep connecting you with it long after you are done.
Not necessarily bad, just a heads up. I love that people think of me and let me know when they see something LEGO-related. It's just kind of funny though because I never was a huge brick fan.
A 100 Day Project
Here's my bottom line. I think you can still get the same thing out of 100 day projects without some of the downsides and stressors of a 365 project, you may just have to do several over a period of time.
For example. I started with committing to do daily yoga with my first 100 day project in December 2014. There was a break between my first and second 100 days, but I kept doing the yoga. So when I did my second 100 days, I figured, might as well keep it again. And then I really kept it, and I have stopped since. I'll have three years of doing daily yoga this December. But it didn't feel the way the 365 project did. Because it was just for me, I wasn't posting something on Instagram about my yoga practice that day, so there was no pressure. And I didn't have to worry about what to share or any external feedback, it was my practice. And it has definitely shifted and become my own. I used to think if I didn't do a 20 minute vinyasa flow video, I didn't do yoga. Now I can consider yoga as meditation, pranayama (breath work), chanting and mantra, restorative yoga, and some of my favorite asanas - child's pose and savasana. And what I've focused on has definitely grown, into new types of yoga, into a yoga teacher training and now being a registered yoga teacher, and now incorporating yoga into my workshops and events. Game changer. So I'll have technically done 3- 365 projects and 3-100 day projects (if I include my upcoming 100 Days of Building Creativity that will start in August) by December of this year. So maybe I should call it a tie?
I still think the 100 day project is the way to start no matter what. It takes commitment and determination to change patterns and it truly is a beautiful length of time to build and re-wire some new pathways and habits, and set yourself up for longer term maintaining and benefits, if that's your goal. For example, I have not made building with LEGO bricks a part of my daily creative practice, but I'm still so thankful I did it and that I have it as a skill I can use when I need to be more creative or process an experience, and I still participate in exhibitions as well as teaching about the use of bricks and creativity.
If you are interested in trying out a 100 day practice, I invite you to join us for 100 Days of Building Creativity. We start August 14th and this is a great opportunity to get support, resources, daily inspiration, encouragement, and more. I think when you are taking a leap you need support and that's why I'm offering this course as pay what you want. I want anybody to be able to experience the transformative powers of a creativity practice.
And in case you noticed I didn't answer the question, as of right now, no, I would not do another year-long project.