Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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My 2014 Word of the Year-Transform

Most years I choose a word to guide me through the year. Sometimes the word is a good choice. Sometimes not so much.  The process for choosing a word isn’t terribly scientific.  I’ve used Christine Kane’s approach to chose a word. I chosen from random words that pop in my head.

This year I was guided by a more spiritual-intuitive process from Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts. This was a 12-day mini-retreat which included daily emails that provided a daily practice to help you contemplate potential words. What was different with this process, for me, is that it wasn’t about ME CHOOSING a word. Rather, it was about a word CHOOSING ME.

There is a difference.

When we choose a word, we’re looking and striving for THE word. We want it to be perfect. We obsess. Our little noggins say “this is the word that I want.”

When we allow time for a word to choose us, we, hopefully, let go of ego and let our intuition guide the process. We must let go of expectations (the perfect word) and listen to what stirs internally. Words that excite. Words that make us uncomfortable. Words that call us to grow.

So, for 12 days, I paid attention to words & phrases that appeared frequently in readings. I wrote down words that resonated with me. Words that made me uncomfortable. I made note of synchronicities.

At first, I thought my word would be “possibilities” or “possible” as in “With you all things are possible.” After surviving several losses over the past 18 months, I was feeling that in 2014 anything is possible, both good and not so good.

Then I paid more attention to other words that appeared and resonated with me. And the one word that appeared over and over was transform.

Transform means to change markedly the form or appearance of; to change the nature, function or condition of. It comes from the Old French “transformer” and Latin “transformare.” The prefix trans means “across.” So trans-form would be taking the normal mode of behavior “across” into a whole new form.

The word is quite fitting. During that 18 month period with one loss after the other, I started to question many things, from the meaning of life to the meaning of my work. I turned inward and gradually began working on my spiritual development. I thought more about what really makes me happy in life.

Now that we have started a new year, it truly is a time of new beginnings. It may sound cliche but I think of the caterpillar who cocoons and turns into a butterfly. Much work is being done internally in that cocoon. And when the butterfly emerges a wonderful transformation has occurred.

I feel I am gradually emerging from my cocoon. I have made changes in my business plan for 2014, such as not doing any art shows and closing my ArtFire Online Studio account. I’m looking forward to spending more time on personal & spiritual development. And I’m gradually starting to paint again.

So here is to 2014. A year to transform. A year of transformation.

Hanging Around in Sedona

Hanging Around in Sedona

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Welcome 2014

SunThruTreesI have been spending the past week reflecting on the past year, waiting for my word for the year to find me, and setting new intentions for 2014.

Below, I share with you two questions that were posed during my meditation today. They are good questions to consider as we begin again in 2014.

What was the most life giving for you in 2013? Where in your body do you feel these memories? As you recall these memories, remember them with gratitude.

What was the most life draining for you in 2013? Where in your body do you feel these memories? As you recall these memories, remember to forgive.

If you are so inclined, feel free to share your answers in the comments below.


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2012 Word of the Year: Reflect

In my last post, I wrote a review of my 2011 word of the year.  I had a hard time deciding on the “right” word in 2011. This time, my word for the year came to me before 2011 ended. I sat down for a little meditation and poof, there it was. I literally saw it written in front of me.

And that word is….

Reflect

Reflect? Huh? Could this really be the correct word? Where did that even come from?

When I finished meditating I had to look up the word reflect in the dictionary because the only definitions that came to mind were something shiny that reflects, like a mirror, or to look back (in reflection).

Reflect: (verb)- to throw or bend back (light, for example) from a surface. to form an image of (an object); mirror. to manifest as a result of one’s actions.

There it was, the third statement in the definition:

To manifest as a result of one’s actions.

Oh yes, this seemed like a very good word.  A verb. A doing word. Now I understood why this word came to me.

I immediately pulled out an index card, wrote the word reflect on one side and the definition on the other side of the index card and put the card on my desk where I’ll see it every day. I want to make sure I see the word all the time.

The more I think about this word, the more I realize that it serves as a reminder that I need to take action in order to get things done. Writing down goals is all fine and dandy, but if I don’t act on those goals by taking the small steps or big leaps, the only thing I’m going to manifest is good ideas with nothing to show for it.

It also reminds me to get clear about what I want to do. That part about “manifesting as a result of one’s actions” is a little intimidating. The flip side of that could be “be careful what you ask for.” However, this word may help me get over some of my fears in tackling new projects.

Manifesting Begins

Much like last year at this time, an action I took late in 2011 manifested itself this week. Last month I submitted some pictures of my art for possible inclusion in a newsletter. This week, I received word that my Fire Spirit Messenger was the featured artwork in Jennifer Hofman’s Inspired Home Office newsletter. (The newsletter is only available to subscribers. However Jen’s site & blog are great so give it a visit and maybe you’ll sign up for her newsletter too.)

Fire Spirit Messenger, Amy A. Crawley

What a great way to start off the New Year!

Moving Forward

This month I’m focusing on the business side of being an artist. I’m taking an online web design class, I need to order business cards, and I’m creating a video for marketing my Polymer Clay Bootcamp 1 Workshop. I also have some ideas bouncing around in my head for future artwork. It is also time to look at those goals I put together in the last quarter, reflect on where I’m going, and start taking action.

What word did you choose to guide you though the year?


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2011 Word of the Year Review: Thoughts on Being Big

Last year I chose the word “Big” to guide me through 2011. You can read how I chose that particular word here.

I had to re-read the post as a reminder of what lead me to choose the word. Ironically, I didn’t mention the one thing that I thought was the driving force behind this word choice. That would’ve been developing my business plan in 2010 and diving into teaching polymer clay mixed media workshops. I remember having grand thoughts of teaching several workshops in 2011.

The Year Begins

January 2011 was a BIG month in terms of events that marketed my art. I get where my head was at back then. I was also embarking on a new series of artwork that was manifested by my health issues. I did have BIG ideas.

So did Mother Nature. Winter in Massachusetts was BIG in 2011. So big that it took a toll on our roof which led to ice dams, leaking, and water damage. That meant moving in and out of my studio several times throughout the year because of damage and then repairs. These were BIG challenges I had not envisioned. I had to cancel my spring workshop given the state of the studio.

I progressed on my new series of artwork, Glimmer of Hope for a little while (here, here, and here.) Then I think I got too close to the work. Using a health issue to create art is nothing new. However, it can also bring up lots of dirt and emotions. The deeper I went, the less I wanted to see. So I stopped creating these sculptural pieces.

At the end of March I had surgery. Another BIG event that corrected the BIG problem. I left behind the sculptural pieces and started experimenting with encaustic medium and creating abstract pieces like this. Two BIG changes here for me to work with a new medium and play with shapes.

The next couple of months I flopped around. Not a lot of blogging. Still experimenting with art.

A Mid-Year Wake Up

With June fast approaching and a trip to La Cascade in France on the horizon, I decided, with some encouragement, to commit to a new series of artwork that would be inspired by our trip.

Before we even left the country I notified my customers and collectors of my plans to create this new series. I had no idea how many pieces would be made or what exactly the pieces would look like. I only knew I was going to make a new series using ATC encaustic boards as my substrate.

Now this was being BIG. When we returned I chose the date for my open studio where I would debut the new series. Then I worked backwards determining how many pieces I would make and how many pieces I could create per week, when I had to send out postcards and e-newsletters with updates on my progress. This was an entirely new experience for me.

On September 25, I debuted Snapshots & Memories from Languedoc-Roussillon. The series had 15 pieces in it; 3 of which have since sold. You can see the entire series in this video on my YouTube Channel.

I finally felt like I was having the BIG year I originally envisioned.

More Big-ness

Coming off the success of the Languedoc-Roussillon series, I decided to return to sculpting and created my next series of artwork called Ornimals: Animal sculpted ornaments that capture the humor & joy of life expressed by our pets.

With this series I made an active decision to focus only on animals. This was a BIG challenge for me because my artwork has been a bit scattershot over the past couple of years. However the focus on one topic, animals, has paid off. The Ornimals made their debut at a holiday art/craft show in October. By the end of the holiday show season, I had sold 23 Ornimals.

When I decided to create the Ornimals, I also decided to donate a portion of my total sales to Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton. At the end of December I made that donation in the amount of $65.00. It was a great feeling.

In writing these words, I see the year was, indeed, a BIG year on many fronts. Perhaps it wasn’t the BIG I intended, however, it still turned out fine. I survived challenges that were out of my control. And I survived the challenges that I gave myself. I’ve also realized that although I choose a word to guide me each year, I don’t always stop to think about the word throughout the year. After the way 2011 started, I’d pretty much given up on having a BIG year. What I didn’t really consider is that the intention of the word can change. So I didn’t have a trumpets blaring and confetti falling BIG kind of year. But I did have a glittery, hand clapping BIG kind of year.

And I’m fine with that.


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My 2011 Word of the Year: BIG

As I have done for the last few years, I have finally chosen my Word of the Year for 2011. Drumroll please……

The word I’ve chosen to guide me in 2011 is the word BIG.

So, why did it take me so long to post it to my blog? Because I’ve been working on BIG things. That and well, I wasn’t quite sure what to write about the word I chose.

As 2010 drew to a close and I was dealing with my health issues, I started having very vivid dreams. In one dream, a man spoke of his rebirth as if he were a prophet. That dream stuck with me and I contemplated choosing rebirth or renewal as my words for 2011.

And then I read Lisa Call’s blog post on how she chose her word for 2011 and how she distinguished between “doing” words and “being” words. That made me think. Is the word I choose for 2011 going to be a “doing” word or a “being” word?

The words “rebirth” and “renewal” sounded nice but on some level they weren’t quite clicking with me. They seemed too, um, airy-fairy.

And then the word BIG popped in my head.

I was thinking about some of the goals I want to achieve this year. For me they are BIG. And as I contemplated this word, some BIG things happened:

If the last few weeks are any indication, the word BIG is already guiding me and having a positive influence.

So BIG has become my word of the year. I guess it is both a “doing” word and a “being” word. I want to do BIG things. I want to be BIG and live fully. Who knows; maybe BIG will also bring renewal and rebirth with it.


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My 2010 Word of the Year: Soar. A Look Back

In January of last year, I chose the word SOAR as my word of the year. I chose this word because I considered it an extension of the word Momentum. Momentum was the word I almost chose. But SOAR seemed to fit me better. I liked the sound of SOARING through the year. You can read more about why I chose SOAR here.

The idea behind choosing a word for the year, as opposed to making resolutions, is that a particular word provides you with guidance all year along. I admit that sometimes I forget that. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing. If I beat myself over the head with my word of the year, I probably wouldn’t enjoy the process any more than I like making New Year’s resolutions. So I often choose my word, put it out to the Universe, and then let it go.

How did I embody the word SOAR during 2010?

I embarked on a long thought about goal and started teaching polymer clay mixed media classes. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by visiting Italy. I had mixed media artwork (on canvas) published in two different books by Patti Digh. I was interviewed by our local newspaper and a local cable channel. I dove more into social networking by finally creating a Facebook personal page and a page for my art business. I also created an online studio on ArtFire.

Many of these events and other accomplishments happened rather effortlessly. For most of the year, I felt like I was soaring on thermals. Opportunities appeared and I accepted or let them go.

My full phrase for 2010 was SOAR with MOMENTUM into ABUNDANCE and have FAITH.

And in the last two months of the year, FAITH came into play. Big time.

First I received a surprising notice that one of my galleries wished to end their contract with me. The loss of a contract is not entirely new. I’ve ended them in the past and consignment shops have ended them with me. In this case, however, the loss caused me to question the value of my artwork and my self-worth as an artist. Would I be resigned to create production artwork forever?

Then came the health issues. At 47 I expect to be facing some changes as I move closer to a new phase in my biological life. However, what I did not expect was several doctor’s appointments, a biopsy, blood tests, unplanned weight loss, and an ultrasound. As a generally healthy person, to be confronted with a body in sudden revolt over a period of several weeks not only made me angry, I was scared, tired, and crying. I found myself delving deep into prayers and searching for faith in my self and my situation. Faith that I was well, that I would be well, and that all would be well.

The sketch below sums up all the feelings I experienced during those weeks.

As the year drew to a close, my health started to return to an acceptable level of normalcy. Answers were received and a solution to the situation was found. The experience caused me to think deeply about several areas of my life. This has put me on a new path for 2011 and influences the word I’m leaning toward to guide me in 2011.

In some ways SOAR in 2010 was a mixed blessing. Much like the hawks that I love to watch, SOAR carried me on the thermals of success but it also meant I had to dive deeply to find the source of myself.


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Word of the Year 2010-SOAR

At the end of last year, I posted my thoughts on my word of the year for 2009. At that time I mentioned having a list of potential words for 2010 yet none had struck a chord with me. The words on this list included: momentum, motivate/motivation, clarity, listen, courage, abundance, leap, expand, faith, and presence.

Over a few days I worked with Christine Kane’s Word of the Year Discovery Tool contemplating and answering the questions. I was drawn to the words momentum, faith, expand, and abundance yet none of them felt quite “right.” I thought more about the past year and what I felt was missing within me. What kept me from having a better year.

Momentum was the first word that came to mind last month when I began to think about my word for 2010. But that word also scared me. What if I chose that word and all hell broke loose with stuff coming at me from all directions? Was that the kind of momentum I was seeking? What if life came at me faster than I could handle and I found myself in overwhelm?

After answering a few questions in the Discovery Tool worksheet, I decided to sit quietly and meditate on this situation. Getting quiet and clear brought the word to me in an instant.

SOAR

That’s it! I want to SOAR in 2010.

Now where did that word come from? In some ways it is an extension of momentum. I think the reason momentum didn’t quite work for me was the word brought to mind moving very fast and then hitting a wall or gaining speed only to poop out. Momentum is hard to maintain. Sometimes you go really fast but don’t have anything to show for it.

Soar brought to mind the hawks I so admire; the hawks I often see soaring above the earth, moving gracefully on thermals. They show such strength, power, and freedom. And they look like they’re really enjoying themselves.

Having the word soar to guide me through this year gives me confidence and the ability to face fear and move beyond it. I think it actually moves me beyond expansion and momentum.

I look forward to seeing how this word will guide my year. So far it has brought me an accountability (goals) partner, a potential new consignment sales opportunity and the potential to have my artwork included in some soon-to-be-published books.

The word SOAR is written on my calendar along with this mantra: SOAR with Momentum into Abundance and have Faith.