I believe that each one of us is creating our life through our daily actions. The woman I was in 2003 would argue against that belief with deep conviction, believing more that I had no choice in how the big pieces of my life would play, and therefore I was simply stuck within the life circumstances had delivered.
Oh, I saw glimpses of a different kind of life, but didn’t see how to make it happen. Well, unless I was willing to make some very uncomfortable choices. And in the summer of 2004, I could no longer pretend that things were going to get better if something didn’t change, so I made the decision that was pivotal to finally understanding that I was responsible for the quality of my life: I agreed to divorce the man I’d been married to since I was a mere child of nineteen.
When New Year’s 2005 rolled around, I was a different person than I was a mere year before. It was the first time I threw resolutions out the window and, instead, looked to a Word to serve as my guide for the year ahead. I didn’t write about it publicly, yet my heart had chose the word Explore.
Oh, and that was a year that I explored so many ways. (Especially when it came to Sex, but then, that’s a whole ‘nother story).
But that year, and all the subsequent years, taught me a lesson that I had to learn through experience: my choices have power. When it came to the choice of a Word to serve as my guide, if I was faithful to myself and the intent, that word would not only serve as my beacon, but be my companion through the inevitable ups and downs life dishes out.
I can promise you that if I had not chosen the word “Faith” for 2010, my life would look completely different, for I would have never had the courage to trust that I could open myself to love.
When the word “Create” surfaced as my Word of the Year for 2016, I wanted to brush it aside. Because I know that not only does my word need to support and guide me, it must also serve to stretch me. I am a person who practices what she preaches, and running a coaching practice for the last five years focused around “Creating a Life YOU Love” is pretty darned focused on the creation process.
What could the word “Create” teach me? Wasn’t I a master of living a creative life? Didn’t I create daily – be it in the kitchen or with words? Wasn’t I living the purest essence of Create with the way JB and I were choosing to live our daily lives?
I know, we coaches aren’t supposed to use the word “but”.
But the thing is, just when we think we have evolved, God shows us that there is more evolving to do.
We are perpetually going through a transformation – back into a cocoon and waiting to see what our wings will look like in the next stage. We just forget about the whole process in the cocoon when we’re out spreading our wings and flying around in our new glory.
Create chose me this year because it’s time to evolve again.
This time, though, I can’t just edit the hundreds of blog posts I’ve written over the last five years about Creating a Life You Love. No, I need to write new words, even though some of them may be similar.
One of the reasons Create chose me for 2016 is that I need to Create Differently.
For the last sixteen years, I have written most of my words with the understanding that they would be read by others. My experience with my mother reading and destroying my teenage journals when I was nineteen made me believe that any word I wrote had to be written for an audience, which meant the words must be chosen carefully. No secrets could be revealed and no vulnerabilities exposed.
Though I began keeping a paper journal again in 2013, the truth of the matter is that most of the words I write have been written for a specific publication and audience, whether it was for a newsletter, my work blog, a guest post, or other destination. Pretty much anything I have written, especially in the last five years, was written knowing that someone would read it within a week.
In order to write a new book, it must be written in pieces now knowing that no one will read it for months. Yes, I have a self-imposed deadline for completing the Next Book by September so it will be ready to publish in November.
I also want to write words that aren’t in the self-help genre. I want to tell stories for other audiences and that is going to demand that I Create Differently.
But Create isn’t meant to serve only my creative and work life.
No, the word Create found me for 2016 because there are other areas of my life that want to be different.
I want to Create a stronger body and need to Create a more flexible body. Too many hours sitting, not enough hours moving, stretching, and lifting mean that this body I inhabit isn’t in the shape it needs to be in so it can support my life. This isn’t about a number on a scale, by the way, but a desire to be more able-bodied in this edging closer to fifty body.
I want to Create a deeper spiritual life. Except to attend a neighbor’s funeral and visit some churches while traveling, I haven’t been to Mass in ages. I miss Mass sometimes, and have decided that attending Mass on a random Tuesday is good for me. I pray regularly, but my prayer (and meditation) life could still use more attention. I read a lot of books related to coaching, but I also need to read more works that set my soul afire. I am constantly seeking new Morning Reads that mean something, and so far seem to be coming up empty handed.
I have an incredible life with JB, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t create an even better and stronger one. My years of living with critical people means that when I am tired or stressed, I tend to complain too much. I want to create a home life that is even more loving and more welcoming than it already is. Because I know that I can be of deeper service by letting go some perfectionist tendencies. He deserves a more loving space, and I am the only one that can create that for him.
I need to Create a deeper sense of Play. Life was serious for so many years that it’s a challenge to let my hair down. To just relax more, laugh more, enjoy more of what’s offered before me.
I need to Create with Others. 2016 will be the year that I help launch a new Literary Magazine: Modern Creative Life.
There are other areas of creation calling to me, including projects to create a more beautiful and supportive home. I’ll share more as we move forward on those projects.
And still, it comes back to that truth: that I am responsible for creating my life. For cultivating one that is dedicated to creative living over letting life happen around me. Though I’ve followed that belief for many years now, it’s time to become more devoted to the concept in 2016.
An ongoing personal series here…why 2016 is the year of Create – what that means and how it will play out.
Photos: Me in 2008 during my DOE year (Photo by Julie Woodford), Me in 2010 at the Point of View Lounge (taken by JB on that night he said he wanted to take a chance), My Book, and JB and I in Boston in July 2015.