Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Word For The Year And A 100 Day Challenge

Here we are in a new year - 2014.  New years bring resolutions, resolve to do or not do things that have become part of our habits.  Most resolutions do not last very long unfortunately.  It is so very hard to change our habits, our lifestyles, the things we like and don't like, especially about our "selves."  Some things cannot be changed - ever.  This I know, but we can improve, or progress if we try.

The above painting is one I did about how I see myself.  I have always felt like a fish out of water, a square peg in a round hole.  I didn't seem to get a rule book to life when they were passed out.  There are many things I just don't understand.  As an introvert, I am not a particularly social person.  Yes, I can get up in front of hundreds of people and sing, or give a talk, but I am a wreck at one on one.  Please don't make me go to a party where I don't know anyone.  Chances are I still won't know anyone when I leave, because I have been outside, or in the other room where it's quiet.  I turn to jelly inside at the thought of interaction with people I don't know.  If it's loud, noisy, boisterous, please take me  home.  That's just the way I am and I can accept that.  Now.  Thank  you, Jim.

My time is spent creating, reading, and with those I love.  It takes me a good long while to let others know "me."  When we become friends, I will be the most loyal and generous person you have ever known.  I love doing things for those that I love.  It gives me great pleasure and joy.  Until then, I will be trying to swim in that stream in the picture.

If you are not familiar with Dr. Christiane Northrup, you might want to look her up.  She is a very spiritual physician who writes amazing books.  She posts inspiring blogs and statuses on Facebook.  Friend her, you will like what she writes.  Anyway, she wrote about "My One Word" last year as did Brene Brown (get to know her too!).  There is a blog and a book called My One Word and it is about choosing a word for the year that will inspire you, help you make changes, think, look at the world in a new way.

The other day I came upon the word "marvel" and knew it was my word for this year.  It struck me like a thunderbolt.  The definition of the word marvel is:


  1. 1.
    be filled with wonder or astonishment.
    "she marveled at Jeffrey's composure"
    synonyms:be amazed, be astonished, be surprised, be awed, stand in awe,wonderMore
  1. 1.
    a wonderful or astonishing person or thing.
    "the marvels of technology"

When we look at the world and people around us, we become desensitized to all its glory, majesty and beauty.  We keep our heads down, nose to the grindstone, trying to stay afloat with life.  Paying the bills, feeding our family, and repetition become the norm, while all around us there is unimaginable beauty, joy, happiness, wonder, and majesty.  Do we see it?  Do we think about it?  Do we meditate on it?  Do we share it?  Perhaps not.  I am here to do my share to change that for myself this year and hopefully for you too!

I plan to marvel at all the wonder of this world, to share it in kindness, compassion, generosity, and love.  If we all did our small part, we could change the course of this world.  There would be no hunger, no sorrow, no pain, no anger, no hatred, no war, just peace.  We all could use a lot of peace couldn't we?

Perhaps it's time to forgive all the past hurts and move on.  Perhaps it's time to accept our brothers and sisters of the world for who they are and hope they accept us in return.  Perhaps its time to share all that we have been blessed with.  You know, there is plenty for everyone in this world and if we share in gratitude, there will always be more.  Perhaps its time to forget the perceived "differences" such as race and religion and marvel at ALL the amazing differences there are in the world.  There are thousands of species, plants, and people who are all alike and yet different.  What is the reason to hate them for who or what they are?  I marvel at the chance for change and acceptance.

Today my friend Claire posted a video on Facebook made by a woman who said she had never had any self esteem, didn't think she was lovable, was never going to be married because she was so heavy and unattractive.  It was heartbreaking, BUT she did something about it.  She determined to try to lose some weight, to exercise and get herself in better condition.  She  made a video of herself for 100 days, exercising, losing weight, becoming who she wanted to be.  At the end of the video, she challenged everyone to do something for 100 days.  Anything you wanted.  My friend, Claire, asked who was interested.  I said I was in!

I have always wanted to be a visual artist - a painter really.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I do a lot of creative, crafty things.  I owned a costume shop for 10 years and created many amazing theatrical costumes and the work gave me great pleasure.  I am a trained floral designer and balloon artist.  Creating is what brings me joy.  But, always nagging was the desire to paint even though I never thought of myself as a painter or being a painter.

This past year, I was fortunate to be able to do a one on one session with a life coach thanks to the extreme generosity of a friend.   We finally worked around to "what" I wanted to do and I talked about creativity, even wrote a paper for him about my thoughts on creativity.  I believe that everyone is creative in some way.  There is something each of us does like no other person - the way we cook, dress, decorate our home, do our job.  It's doesn't necessarily mean making something although it is a blessing to be able to create in that manner.

While discussing my desire to paint, he asked why I didn't paint.  I said I really didn't know, somehow it frightened me because I was afraid I couldn't.  I used a Van Gogh quote to him about "If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, by all means paint and the voice will be silenced."  I think about it often.  His asked if I could paint my life?  I said I didn't know, but I would try.  And so, it began.  My journey to paint.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am no Van Gogh (my favorite painter), nor Monet, nor Matisse, or Grandma Moses.  I am me and I do what I do.  But, I marvel at what I am doing.  Yes, marvel.   I get better with each painting.  Today, I was watching a YouTube video on painting and the instructor suggested painting 5 minutes every day in order to improve and learn.  Hmmmm, just 5 minutes a day.  So, when the 100 day challenge came along, I knew what I would do.  I am going to paint for at least 5 minutes a day for the next 100 days and see where I am at that point in time.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Serendipity.  Definitely.

Now, I want to challenge you to find something you want to do for 100 days and begin.  Also, find a word that will be your mantra for the year.  If you want to share your challenge or word, please do.  If we are all joined in this together, we can inspire each other in a marvelous way.  See what I did there?  Marvelous?  From the word marvel?  Yes.

It's only January 9 and we have many days to go.  Please join us in this challenge and let's all marvel at the changes that occur in our lives.  Here's wishing you all good things in this year of the horse, 2014.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good.  It's the thing you do that makes you good.
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers:  The Story of Success