January Spark
Transitioning Into a New Year

Happy New Year or Happy Do-Over Day as I like to think of it. New Years Resolutions abound and the goal setting list making begins. We get excited by the possibility of what is ahead and what we can create in our lives ahead. I’m a big believer in goal setting, creating and working towards something greater. These are a few of my favorite activities to celebrate the year I just completed and make a plan for the new year.


The Review

A Graphic Review is just a diagram divided by month like a little pie chart. Go through each month and write or draw a symbol for something you accomplished, kept you busy, how you felt, or what you overcame in that time period. It is done with a focus of celebration rather than guilt. I had big aspirations for my business this last year but most of my months seemed filled with family and childcare. Rather than let myself feel behind or like a failure, I chose to appreciate that my time can be dedicated to creating a stable home for my kids. 

A Graphic Plan is the same thing but projected into the future. You can focus on tangible goals, feelings, areas of improvement or whatever feels right to you. Keep in mind that we are trying to maintain a feeling of creating from a place of joy rather than guilt or “shoulds”.  What things will make you feel good and challenge you to become that better version you dream of each year?


List Making

To do or to not to-do… is that the question?
This year I took my “to-do” or “to-be” list in a new direction. I decided to take things off my list so that I was left with a list of things to BE that felt more open and less restrictive. They will lead me toward a more enjoyable life without the pass or fail quality that so many of my past goals have had.

Write out your Not to-do’s first. 

It seems to be easier for our negatively geared mind to think of what we don’t want first. Then we can play in that space of what we do want.  Start with what you don’t want to feel. Then figure out what actions or thoughts make you feel that way.  For example, a repeating theme in my to not to-do list is comparison. It plays out in so many areas of what I don’t want to feel anymore from body confidence to career actions. Work backwards and you will clear the way to some simple and beautiful TO- BE’s for next year.

Now get to the core of your TO DO DO list.

We can go with the usual “do lose that excess weight” OR we can get down to what makes us feel good. We feel bad that we have extra weight. But what actually makes us feel bad about that? That we don’t fit into a smaller size that we wore when we were 16? Or is it the thoughts we think about our body or the actual physical size keeping us from feeling our best? For me to feel good in my body I need to move it without straining myself. I feel good when I don’t weigh myself or allow myself to stand in the mirror picking myself apart. So that turned into a goal of Move my body. I could also add Talk kind to myself.  I hope you see how these goals have shifted toward feeling good and away from forcing myself to be different next year.

What do you want to do to feel the way you want to be? Create a list of ways you want to be (feel) every day for the next year. If you need it to be measurable goals, great, work from that every day feeling and create actions that will provide that for you.


Explore the next year in paint.

If you have been getting my newsletters for very long or followed me on any social media, you know I am big into finding new insight and understanding through an intuitive art practice.

This painting was started with the intention of releasing something from 2017 and calling in something better for 2018. I didn’t have any particular idea of what I needed to let go of so I just started by writing out the words “out with the old” then I literally used up some of my near empty old paints and colors I knew I had been over using for the last year.

I felt a bit stuck after the literal paint purge so I started thinking about what I no longer wanted to feel (similar to my list making from earlier) Body image stuff came up and comparison as well as letting go of my need for everything to fit neat and tidy in a box in my life. After making some pretty basic drawings of these things I started painting a representation of what I wanted, flow and trust. I started doing layers of what flow would feel like, which lead to what I hoped trust would bring (represented in flowering plants). 

Here is where I had to let go of the control. I was not very happy with the painting nor how I was feeling about it while trying to make it look like what I wanted. To let go of this I started playing. I played with some texture and new tools and just trying to enjoy putting down little areas of paint. I had to consciously let go of what I wanted it to look like and know it might get uglier and messy. 


This is where the struggle gives way to real insight.

Rock forms came out, patterns and line were put in. When I let go a bit more I found that the flow area was building up to form (rocks) and those rocks of effort in my mind were necessary to the ground for anything to grow and flourish.

My image became about allowing flow to inform my tangible action and from that action will my flourishing be built. It was to inform me that I need to work from the bottom up rather than from a goal backward. Reaffirming what I already sensed but needed to hear again. Now I have that image posted on my inspiration board to remind me this year to work from “flow”, which to me means working from a place of ease and joy rather than should’s and musts. 

If you want to paint your release and plan for the year, just keep these tips in mind.

1. Follow whatever ideas come up, from literal to symbolic. Nothing is wrong and it will build to reveal what you need.

2. When you hate what you have, let it be ugly and just play with it. Add nonsense and shape, color and texture. Don’t try to save anything

3. Layers and letting go will guide you toward your insight. Don’t force a sense of meaning if you aren’t finding it. 

4. If all else fails, cut it up and make a collage out of it. Follow your own whims and needs. This is all about discovering how your intuition talks to YOU.