A Fresh Start

New Year

Glowing in the New Year in my favorite place. Photo by Marc Schlatter

The world wrapped in a blanket of white. I’ve said it before, it creates a stillness where we can think and get very quiet with ourselves, and offers a blank canvas on which to paint the story of our lives. I love that the new year so often starts with my little corner of the world all dressed up in white — though a warm beach can do the trick as well ?; starting at Lake Michigan or the ocean has a similar effect.

Time in nature

Time in nature to declutter the mind.
Photo by Marc Schlatter

Always taking the new year very seriously, I sat down to journal about what I thought worked in 2017 and what didn’t; what I want in 2018 and what I don’t. Usually this process fills me with energy. But this year I found myself pulling even deeper within, spending more time than usual on the process. I’ve been a daily meditator for well over two years now. I had taken the course “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” at the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness and it was just what I needed to form a daily practice of meditation. This meditation became a important part of my New Year’s process. Of getting quiet and still with myself and listening to my inner voice.

I was also introduced to the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I cannot recommend this book enough. Get it, do it exactly as she says to. It’ll change your life. My ADD head is no fan of clutter and the part of me that has spent six months in Ethiopia over ten years is very mindful of not having excess. “Stuff” just feels heavy to me. Like background noise when there needn’t be any.  This book helps you get rid of stuff in a whole new way.

So as part of my New Year’s goals, finishing the work of the book became very important. In the book, you have to do each item (clothing for example) all at one time and hold each item in your hands and ask if it brings you joy. My studio and my office had not been done yet. They would be big projects and I did not want to go into 2018 without these areas cleaned out and decluttered.

So I took a couple weeks off. “Off” is a relative term. I was busy. But I was not painting, which always unsettles me. The recognition of what I needed to do,overrode my need to paint. And I got both rooms New Year’s ready.

I also got myself New Year’s ready: taking time with my husband and dog to enjoy our cottage in the Great North. That time is also instrumental in gearing up for a new year. More on that next week. For now, I can proudly say I’m re-entering a studio and office this week that has been gone over from head to toe. Fresh start. I’m ready! I can’t help but feel this decluttered space will make room for creativity.

What are your New Year’s goals and rituals? Where are the places you go to get still with yourself? I’d love to hear from you on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Happy New Year!


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