Welcome to a new decade! Do you feel the pressure of starting all the new things and becoming some over-achieving best version of yourself every new year? Yeah, me too. But rather than setting a bunch of resolutions I’m not likely to keep, I subscribe to the Ali Edwards One Little Word line of thought when setting my new year intentions.
Thought Ali of course describes it best on her website linked here, basically One Little Word is a guiding word meant to bring a path of action into your life for the year. The word is the guiding principle by which you should be consistently aligning your choices throughout the year. I particularly like this method, as rather than setting concrete goals, you can move throughout the year adapting as much as you need to. (Although I do set concrete goals as well.) The word can be adhered to very strictly, or more loosely, allowing you to have more of a flow of intention throughout the year which I find suits my artist temperament and mother lifestyle. I never truly know what will be coming my way in the next few months, let alone for the whole year, but I can focus on bringing things into my life space by choosing to be intentional about what I sign up for.
In 2019 my word was “NEW.” After a rather rough 2018 full of family illness and difficulties stemming from that experience, I craved a new path. I was unhappy with certain aspects of my art business, and I needed a change of direction. I needed to push myself beyond just being stuck in a rut. NEW was the word I focused on to propel myself forward in 2019.
Every time I thought about an opportunity or fork in the road, I paused to evaluate if it was new for me. I intentionally set about doing things I had not done before. Writing and publishing patterns, new. Experimenting with ink on fabrics, new. Building and launching a new website, new. Creating for and donating my quilts to charity, new. Writing blog posts once a week, new. Signing up to become an Artist In Residence and teach in classrooms, new. Even finding the power to truly think of myself as an artist and not just a crazy lady who makes quilts and sells them in her basement (though probably the most accurate description 😉 was new.
Even closing down certain aspects of what I had accepted as part of my routine that made me unhappy in my business was new. I stopped taking a lot of custom orders which I found extremely draining both financially for my business and for my work experience was a new approach. Honestly, it meant a deep decline in my revenue for the year. Though that was initially pretty depressing, letting go of the monetary need to achieve has made me a lot happier. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be financially successful with my business but taking it out of the main objective feels a lot more free and is a new perspective through which I view my work and life balance. The truth is I want to play more and be more experimental in the work I create and sometimes focusing on what you think will sell well just drains the creativity. I do want my work to sell, but I think by being less attached to the financial outcome I will make better work that the audience will find, instead of my trying to pander to the audience. It’s a risk, a new risk, and I hope it will start to pay off in the new year.
As for this year, I have chosen a new word to guide me through 2020: OPEN. It is my intention to have OPEN lead me further down the path I started on with NEW. I have opened the doors and started so may fresh new paths, now I need to be open to what is on the path. By focusing on OPEN I hope to go deeper and be open to what will come this year.
I will need to be open in my home life and schedule as some things will be changing for our family this year. I am a classic Taurus personality and change can be extremely difficult for me to embrace. I need to stay open here and be accepting of the fact that life needs to evolve and be forever changing. I am reminded of this quote from Jack Kornfield’s Buddha’s Little Instruction Book (page 21):
Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.
When things come into my life this year, I will try to embrace them vast and open like a large lake or the ocean, not a closed and finite cup of water.
I also want to invite more business into La Rue de Fleurs. I will focus on being OPEN for business without resorting to the draining money chasing. I want to open up my business and work toward a more holistic and creative approach to what I do, sharing so many aspects of that with you along the way.
Another way I will focus on being open this year is through my writing here on the blog. Previously I just felt really uncomfortable sharing anything personal really- except maybe the Mother’s Day post. This year I want to focus on being more open with anyone who chooses to become part of my readership and audience. I want to have a greater connection with fellow creatives and people interested in my work by sharing the good as well as the bad. Aren’t we all so sick of only seeing the good end result of everything? Sure, I have plenty of great ideas and successful projects, but I also make plenty of mistakes and work I am not proud of and I want you to see every project isn’t a winner the first go around. I use the seam ripper a lot. So this will mean being more open with sharing all aspects of how I work, even the messy and complicated bits. I think by sharing some of these trials along with the successes you might feel more inspired to create more as well. Hopefully it will allow us to build a community of camaraderie that is open and honest.
As well as inspiring a larger business and life focus, I will use OPEN this year to direct my intention toward my overall mindset. Again, I want to be open like the ocean to new ideas, other people’s thoughts and experiences and have a more open heart. The state of the world right now so often makes me want to close up. I hate the fear mongering and vitriol that seems so pervasive in our culture at the moment. This year I plan to treat the world more softly with open hands and heart that can spread kindness.
There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in. -Leonard Cohen
I can’t obviously change the world through any of my actions alone, but I can open up the crack of darkness and let the light shine in through my works and deeds.
And lastly, I want to read more books. In my life prior to quilt artist and mother I worked in a library for several years and I read voraciously the whole time. I have had so many transformative thoughts brought to me via paper pages and I miss that. I want to OPEN more books. Not just about becoming a better business owner and how to market myself through the 21st century, but real literature and fun fiction. I want to OPEN my mind up again to different ways of looking at the world through stories. I have a page in my planner this year where I can write down and color in books as I read them, which I hope will encourage me to open more books instead of scrolling the endless mindlessness of the internet in my free time. Here is the link for that coloring page from thisreadingmama.com if your so inclined to join me.
I know this wasn’t my traditional post of quilts or projects, but I hope you got some inspiration from it. My goal with the post is to show how I set intentions for the year and give you an idea of where I am heading in the new year. I hope you feel inspired to choose your own guiding word for 2020 and set yourself on a path of fulfilling choices this year. xoxo Janice
Inspiration and resources are linked where applicable. All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website or source website if you use or share.
(©2020, Janice Bailor // laruedefleurs.com)