Harvesting the Old, Dreaming the New

Each year I pause to go through a process of harvesting the outgoing year.

Corn HarvestWith colored pens and big paper I make a lively chart of the highlights and events of the year, I write down the major things I did and experienced, what dreams, desires and goals were reached or moved towards, what did not go as planned or hoped, and what I learned.

I give thanks for the many blessings that came, always surprised by how many there were and how much I did, and I acknowledge, grieve and let go of the disappointments and difficulties, so that I can truly make space for the new.

It is so helpful to take this time to pause and reflect, not to plow unreflecting into the new year, but instead to allow a potent gap in which to feel the sacred void, the womb of creation, open before us, vivid with new life waiting deep down in the dark soil.

This harvesting honors all that we experienced and gleans from it what we can take with us to help us in the coming year, as well as giving time to release that which would hold us back. It prepares the soil of the garden.

Then, I begin visioning the new year, what I wish to create, call in, invite, what I’d love to do and be and experience, what this year might be about for me. This is like looking at seed catalogs from the garden store and choosing what to plant in my dream garden. It is exciting and fun.

As I begin to vision the new year, I start with broad strokes, tuning into what I call “the dreaming of the year,” what Life is dreaming through me, wanting to come to birth in the coming year. If I get quiet and tune into my heart and body and spirit, let myself dance and be moved and sung by this dreaming, there can be beautiful surprises, great inspiration and deep wisdom to guide my path.

I ask myself big, inspiring questions and write freely and quickly to see what arises.

I uncover my Breakthrough Dream for the year, the key focus for me, the one thing that will make the biggest positive difference in my life if it were to come to light.

Then, taking time over several weeks, I get more specific, looking at 13 key domains of Life to see what might want to be born in each area this year, which areas feel most important now, and what actions I can take to support my dreams.

I do this visioning to support what is most important, meaningful, joyful, rich for me in life, to walk my path of Heart, aligned with my deepest values and highest aspirations. It is sacred play.

I create ritual and creative play around all this dreaming and intention-setting, so that it comes alive in body, mind, heart and spirit, and has the support of Life moving with me.

And then, throughout the year, I keep reviewing these dreams, desires and intentions, adjusting them as new insight and learning comes. I ask myself what actions I will take this week to support my dreams and desires or whether this is a time to allow myself to just rest in Beingness.

And all along the way, I acknowledge and give thanks for the steps I take and the blessings that come.

I invite you to create your own rituals and processes that feel right to you to harvest the past year and then let yourself dream the new year. You might be amazed at what occurs when you bring this level of attention and intention to your life and take time to listen to your beautiful Heart.

If you would like support in this process, I would love to work with you in my one-on-one Mentoring program.

Love and blessings on a beautiful, heartfelt year, maxima

The Power of Small Bites

Photo by Florian Klauer

Photo by Florian Klauer

This week I read an article in the paper about people who are choosing to do one thing a day every day for a year. One woman made a miniature chair out of found objects each day and posted a photo of it on Instagram.

The article talked about how that one repeated action transformed their lives, giving them confidence and follow-through, when previously they struggled with this, opening up their creativity, helping them make unexpected connections with others, even getting them exciting job opportunities.

In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, one of her “Rules of the Road” for artists is “Set small and gentle goals and meet them.” Many of my students comment on the power of this “rule” for helping them finally reach their heart’s big dreams, empowering them and making it do-able for them to create amazing things with their lives. One of the key tools I teach students in my classes and mentoring program is how to take a big dream and divide it into manageable steps, and how to fit those steps into your life.

Here’s a simple, radical tool you can use now to see huge, unexpected progress toward a longed-for dream in the coming year and do something radical for yourself and your life.

Photo by Christelle Bourgeois.

Photo by Christelle Bourgeois.

First, choose one dream that is close to your heart. Yes, just one. This act of choosing your #1 dream to focus on this year is, in itself, a catalyst for big change. Your dream might be as broad as wanting to be a writer, or even just wanting to be more creative, or to have a better relationship with your kids, or as specific as wanting to make a CD of your songs.

Next, commit to taking one step every single day, including weekends, toward that dream.

It will help tremendously if you come up with a list of steps toward your dream that take 10-15 minutes or less. You can also include on your list larger steps that require more time, but if they require more than a single two-hour period to complete, divide them down into smaller steps. Write these down and keep this list where you can look at it daily. Making this list of action steps can be your first step toward your dream—Day One, check! You can add to this list as you go through the year.

For some dreams, the step may be the same every day. For instance, you might do a 10-minute freewrite every day, if your dream is to be a writer. Or you might make a 10-minute sketch, if you want to spend more time making visual art.

photo by Derek Truninger

photo by Derek Truninger

By supplying yourself with steps that take 10-15 minutes or less, your resistance to taking the step will be less, and you can do this step no matter what your day holds. For this reason, it may be helpful to have on your list some steps that only take a few minutes.

The key is to commit to taking the step, no matter what. If you miss a day, do not allow that to throw you off your dream. Get right back on the horse and re-commit with your full heart.

It will also help you to keep a log of the steps taken each day, even if it is the same step daily.

In this way you will build tremendous momentum, confidence, intention and attention around your dream. You will find yourself taking larger steps that before would have scared you, gaining courage and focus and, most importantly, enthusiasm and a sense of possibility for your dream. And you will find the Universe moving on your behalf with support and opportunities, signposts and companions to guide and help you on your way.

Will it always be easy to take this daily step? Probably not. You may encounter all kinds of inner resistance and outer obstacles. But you will learn and grow, heal and discover, and most of all, be giving time to something that matters deeply to you. And that can really transform your life.

So, go ahead: In the comments below this, post your dream and your commitment to take one step a day towards it. And watch your heart’s dreams flower. If you need help thinking of a step, post your question about that, and I’ll do my best to help.

learn to create your dreamTo your very best life, maxima

P.S. If you would like expert guidance, life-changing tools, and powerful transformational support in making your big life dreams come true, contact me about Mentoring.

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