We have come to the end of this crazy year 2020. At last. It’s time to take stock, to gather the harvest of the year.
It’s time to acknowledge, celebrate, mourn, forgive, release. The hard and awful, the joyful and blessed, the crazy, stressful, beautiful, boring, all of it. In that way, you clean the slate, let go any baggage that would weigh you down, and make space for new vision, new inspiration. By making a good ending, you pave the way for a good beginning and for a soulful, heart-aligned new year, no matter what happens.
What you do with this time of the gap matters. This is a time of going within and slowing down in the Northern Hemisphere, a time for replenishing, recharging, renewing and taking stock. This time of the turning of the seasons and the start of a new year is an important time.
I invite you to nourish yourself deeply and take time to deeply reflect on 2020 before you start making plans, inviting visions, setting intentions or goals for 2021.
Every month I give my patrons on Patreon a theme and creative suggestions to play with for the month, a way to keep their creativity nourished, inspired and expanding in new directions. (If you’d like to get those, come join me on Patreon here!) Today, I’m sharing with you here the December Creativity Theme and Suggestions—Taking Stock.
2020 feels, to me, like some awful haunted house ride with spooks and horrors leaping out at you as you reel along around twists and turns and over huge bumps and down slippery inclines, getting splashed and shocked and never able to get your bearings.
But there were blessings and gifts in it too. There were good things that happened and good things we did. And there were tremendous losses.
It is time to take stock honestly, to honor and celebrate and give thanks for what you did and the blessings that came your way, to release what was awful, disappointing, hard, and to clean the slate to make way for the new.
Gather Your Tools
I invite you this month—and it’s fine if it spills over into the start of next month too—to take stock of your creative life this past year. I invite you take stock of your whole life, but to particularly grant some generous time to your creative life, or to whatever matters most to you, brings you the deepest fulfillment, joy, meaning, grace. Things grow and blossom when we give them loving attention, so even if you think 2020 was an abysmal year creatively and you feel foggy, tired and uninspired right now (as I do!), I invite you to do this.
If you keep a journal, get that out. If you write things in a calendar or log book, get that out. Whatever records your keep, whatever helps you remember, gather those.
Make a quiet time when you have an hour or two to stretch out. Turn off your cell phone and computer. Fix a cup of tea. Get some colored pens and paper. Make a fire in the fireplace or woodstove, if you can, or light a candle. Get cozy.
Reflect, Celebrate, Release
Reflect on this past year in your life.
Make a list—or even better, some kind of beautiful, fanciful, creative chart or drawing or collage—of what you did, what you accomplished, what blessings, steps forward, gains came in your creative life.
Did you get a new guitar? Start out the year writing a lot, even if it fell away at some point? Declutter a space in which you can be creative? Did you take a class online? How did you support, nourish, further your creativity? What did you learn? What blessings came your way?
Celebrate and acknowledge anything and everything you can. Every little step. Every photo-taking walk, every poem written, every ten minutes spent noodling on the piano, every spontaneous dance in the woods. Do something to give thanks for and celebrate all of this—a little happy dance, a prayer, a love letter to yourself and/or the Universe, whatever feels right to you.
Now, on another piece of paper, write down everything you need to release about this year in terms of your creative life. (Again, this is great to do for your life as a whole, as well.)
What was a bummer? What didn’t go as planned? Were there goals, projects, dreams that went off the rails? What was difficult? Perhaps someone criticized something you made. Or you planned to write your memoir but only got to chapter one. Perhaps you were half-way through planning a wonderful concert tour when Covid hit. Get it out of you and on the page.
Now, create a simple ceremony to release it. Really let all this go—just intend to do so fully—so you can start clear in the new year. You don’t want to carry the baggage of disappointments, hurts, frustrations, grief, or self-judgment into the new year.
Maybe, you’ll want to write a song or a rant or make a collage of photographs or other images or create a short dance piece about 2020. But it’s also fine to just empty yourself right now of these things.
Rest in the Gap
And finally, let yourself rest in the gap for a while. Be empty and open. Give yourself down time. Take baths, take walks. Read inspiring literature, listen to great music. Replenish by getting away from screens and doing things that nourish your inner artist and recharge your body, mind, heart and spirit.
Invite the New
Then, start to invite yourself to dream what you would like to create in the new year.
How would you like your creative life to look, feel, be in 2021? What dreams or goals would you love to set in motion or see realized in the coming year?
But do this gently. Allow vision in without reaching or forcing it. Make notes when you get inspired by something and keep those notes where you can find them. This is not carved in stone. You’re playing, welcoming the new, opening to new expression, allowing.
If you really want to jumpstart and nourish your creativity in 2021, consider taking the Artist’s Way with me—an amazing gift to yourself and your life!
I Invite You To Share
If you are willing to share one or more things that you are celebrating in your creative life or your life in general from 2020 in the comments, please do! You can also share one or two things that were hard that you are releasing now. I’d love to hear about your year.
For example, I am celebrating that my book, Fierce Aria, was published this year!!! Whoo! That’s so huge. And I’m releasing that I did not finish a draft, nor a book proposal, for my creativity book (though I did make substantial progress on it)
There’s tons more I can celebrate and plenty more to release. I’ll probably do a year-end post about all that.
For now, tell me about your year.