"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.
Processing is what I call what I do when I finish a book and go back through it looking at what I've highlighted or starred or pages I've marked down. Then I sort the stories or quotes into word documents or journals or letters.
I also say I'm processing when I've come back from a trip or workshop and have handouts or photos to go through and share or commemorate in art.
And finally I say processing for what I do with my word of the year at the end of a year, seeing all the messages I've received, reviewing my year, preparing for the next one.
So that's what I would like to offer you.
How can you process this year, this season, or simply something you've taken in, so that it can feed your future?
Taking the time to reflect and fully digest will lead to new things and new ways of sharing what you've learned or experienced with others, if only with a close friend.
It will fund our future direction and provide the nourishment we need to move forward in alignment with our soul. Helping us to prepare and steady the foundation for the next beautiful messy and imperfect layer.
For those fellow recovering perfectionists, I encourage you to process and fund in a way that reflects your time and energy at this present moment. What I did last year was much more extensive and included an 8-part blog series and that's not what I felt up for this year after being sick for over a week and just with my energy in general.
And don't set yourself up for resistance by thinking you can only do it when everything is just so or super special, allow this processing and funding experiencing to happen now and to be wabi-sabi and trust it will be enough!
Here are 5 ideas for processing the past and funding the future:
1 | WORD OF THE YEAR
If you had a word of the year or vision board, spend some time reflecting with how it spoke to you this year. This is also a great time to ask for what you need for next year and listen for a word for 2018.
I wrote a newsletter in 2017 that included resources for finding your word that you can access here. This idea of a word of the year vision board was shared with me from artist Kathy Ericksen and she has a blog post about it you can read here.
I've done a word of the year since 2015! Embrace 2015, Magic 2016, Sanctuary 2017, and Spirit 2018.
I would love to know how your word has shaped your year and if you have a word that has picked you for 2018!
2 | WRITE AN ANNUAL REVIEW
Write an annual review. This idea comes from artist Cynthia Morris who often publishes creative year end reviews. You can see my 2016 annual review on the blog that was inspired by her practice and encouragement to share it.
This year I just did a simple one for myself by looking over my photos, calendar, work, art, and journals from the year, and my word of the year vision board, and then writing a letter to 2017 about what surprised me, what I learned and experienced, what I was grateful for and what I wanted more of.
The themes for me were definitely about serendipity, surprising fruit in several areas from previous roots put down, tea, support, being stretched, and learning that I can build anything one step at a time.
3 | WRITE A LETTER TO THE UNIVERSE
This idea comes from Sarah Ban Breathnach and her book Simple Abundance where she suggests instead of sending a Christmas letter to friends and family, send one to the Universe! Write one about your year and one about the year to come.
She suggests, "We'll write about the tiny changes that have made a great difference in how we approach our daily round. Then we'll write another letter, dated this time next year, in which we'll describe how our dreams came true. In it, we'll outline our glorious ideal lives in detail - exactly what we're doing, how we're doing it, who's doing it with us. But we'll write these two letters in our discovery journals only; they're for our eyes alone."
Since I already wrote a letter to 2017, I am definitely going to be writing a letter soon to 2018. Maybe I should take my own advice and stop waiting for the perfect timing of having everything from 2017 wrapped up and just get to writing!
4 | CREATIVE ENDEAVOR REVIEW
Do a solely creative endeavor review. What things did you try in 2017 and in what ways did you expand your creativity? Brené Brown in her Gifts of Imperfection Course suggests writing down three creative endeavors to try in the upcoming year.
For 2017 my three endeavors were drumming, dancing, and surfing. I took one surf lesson and I now know that is not an endeavor I want to continue (wow it was hard) but I learned so much about the effort it takes to be a beginner and stay positive (I definitely cried during the lesson and just expected I could do it the first time). It was fun to see the way drumming came into my life in unexpected ways and I incorporated drumming and dancing into my 100 Days of Building Creativity before my tea meditation and intuitive art. It has fallen off since then so I do want to remember to dance way more often! I haven't yet decided what I will do for 2018 but I'll be sure to post it again on my About Me page when I do!
5 | MAGICAL COURAGE SPACESHIP
Yes you read that one correctly! This exercise comes from my online course, UnBLOCKing Your Creative Magic (which is now an on-demand self-paced course so check it out and get your sacred play on in 2018)!
I explain more about where it came from in the course, but the gist is that you create a spaceship out of bricks, asking it to bring you everything you need to accomplish your dreams. This is probably my most favorite exercise of my e-course because it is so powerful. I definitely recommend you journal about your dreams and needs after you playfully create your spaceship.
I just recently posted a time-lapse of me taking apart my last spaceship and building my 2018 spaceship on my Instagram so be sure to check it out.
Well that's it and I hope you enjoyed and were inspired!
I'd love to hear about your processing and funding experiences so please leave a comment below!
Play and Rest Well,