Summer solstice reflections and setting new intentions
Now is a great time to look back over the last 6 months, take stock of how far you've come and celebrate! Reflecting on what you've achieved is so important, especially in this current situation and will help you move forward with confidence into the next half of the year.
A Summer Solstice walk with a few friends, on a route I don't normally take and we were rewarded with some fab views, including our famous local Emley Moor Mast!
Hi everyone, we've just passed the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year an it always seems to come as a surprise to me that we are already here, even despite us being in the situation we are. Time just seems to gallop along a little faster each year, even when we’ve slowed right down.
It’s also easy in the midst of everything going on to get caught up in the busyness of life and not take a minute to reflect how far you’ve come this year, and to me it’s such an important thing to do.
We are forever evolving and growing, though our work, creativity, or circumstance and especially at a time of such adaptation, and that should be celebrated and recognised. Just surviving through this last 6 months deserves a pat on the back and a virtual hug!
Celebrating no more chemo treatment for now with a FAB lolly and the achievements of this year so far with a glass of wine.
Quite often we don’t even realise what is on that achievement list, because we never sit still long enough to think about it. It’s also a genuinely useful exercise to discover where you are at right now to work out which direction you want to head in. Without having that base understanding of everything you’ve accomplished so far, it’s hard to examine these areas more closely and ask questions.
If, like me you set some intentions at the beginning of the year, you can also look back at those and see which ones can now be ticked off (hugely satisfying in itself), or have you shifted with the opportunities and gone in a completely different direction to what you originally thought?
This year has been one of flexibility, to react to this new situation and it may have taught you a lot about yourself or your business, leading you down a route you never expected but one that may have turned out better for you or your family.
These are the important questions we could be asking ourselves at this time of year, to help us plan as much as we can at this point, what the next 6 months may look like.
So here are a few ideas and questions to get you going down a path of reflection, to you can map out the next road more clearly…
- Firstly, if you do have an intentions / New Year’s resolution list, dig that out and review it, what can be ticked off? And are the remaining still relevant? If not strike them off
- Write down all the things you are proud of that you’ve achieved this year, big or small, if it matters to you, it counts
- Are there any in that list that surprised you? If so why, write down the emotion you felt doing them, for e.g. it may be a surprise because you didn’t think you dare do it or because it was an unexpected opportunity that you jumped at
- Next, highlight the ones that gave you the most joy, again ask yourself why? What felt good?
- Looking at everything you’ve achieved, which things resonated at a deeper level? Put an asterisk against the things you want to do more of, so you know what you want to continue with.
What's wowed you this year? Image from @modocreative
New intentions for the next 6 months
- Now knowing the truth of what you have accomplished, set a new list of intentions, starting with the things you want to do more of from above
- Add in some different directions you may want to try, now you have increased confidence from the previous 6 months, for example you may have started watercolour painting, you’ve got used to that medium and now want to try acrylics
- Next think about what new opportunities may be out there, following lock-down, for e.g. working from home more so you may get more done in the time that you have or a new product you may want to develop that will suit a current need. Add those in felt anything missing over the last 6 months
- Have you felt anything missing over the last 6 months? Should you add in more self-care practices for example if you've been focusing on looking after everybody else?
- Finally, if all boundaries were off the table, internal and external, what would you really dare yourself to try – these are stretch goals and may feel uncomfortable at first, but if in doubt, check your achievement list to boost your courage and add them in. Keep dreaming big, don't let the current climate hold you back.
- Remember nothing is set in stone, it’s just a list to use as a framework for the next 6 months, you won’t necessarily do every action, it’s just to guide and help you set up some plans, so that you feel more in control and to give you some direction.
This book is changing my life, literally! I cannot recommend it enough from @drtaraswart
You may notice I’ve also been talking a lot about the law of attraction and Action Boards lately, it's definitely something that seems to be shaking life up currently, in a good way! And at the beginning of the year I always set a Guiding Word too (or 3 as it happened to be this year!).
At this point in the year I find it useful to check back in with these methods / materials of support to make sure these are still working for me.
It may be that you have forged ahead at a faster rate to what you thought, your guiding word has served you this far, but now you’re ready for a new one to stretch you further. Or because of Covid-19 your whole world has changed and so what you had planned has too.
There’s no law that says you can only do this at the beginning of the year, and these are very different times right now. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to switch things up.
Re-look at your Guiding Word and / Action / Vision boards. Are they still useful, do they serve you or just remind you of what once was, or of the dreams that you wanted that have changed now because of the pandemic?
If so CHANGE THEM NOW, or they will just serve as an annoying, deflating reminder, which is not their purpose.
Wise words from my new focus journal purchase; '5 Minutes in the morning'
Looking back at my chosen words, it was at a time when I was in the middle of my chemo journey, still learning and being floored by the side effects, so my words ‘Rise and Re-energise’ felt like options I needed to be reminded of to get through it.
However, I’ve finished now, and I have no choice but to re-energise this body back to its former energy levels if am to do everything I want, and so it makes these words a little redundant.
The 3rd word was ‘Surprise’ and this has been a revolutionary word for me this year! The choice of this word was to encourage me to surprise myself and others both with how I would get though chemo and in the work that I do. I don’t think in the last 4 years since I’ve been choosing guiding words, there has been one that has been this effective.
Not only did I push through chemo in a far more positive way than I imagined, given that I am normally a very bad, impatient, patient but the way my work has taken off in so many surprising directions has left me quite gobsmacked!
The following things are surprising entries into my achievements list for this year so far, and these have not only re-energised me in my work but have required me to rise up and be visible, so maybe there is a link between the words after all!
- I got more honest, open, personal, and vulnerable in my Blog posts and these are my most read posts this year
- I dared myself to share my childhood challenges in a podcast interview with my friend Lesley of The Midlife Manifesto
- I became more industrious, sharing my Blog posts on several groups and channels, which then lead to more opportunities
- I guest hosted an episode of The Two Northern Lasses Podcast, which was great fun!
- I was chosen to be interviewed by Suzy Walker, Editor-in-Chief at Psychologies Magazine on a Facebook live all about how creativity can get you through tough times, such as lock-down and it’s now had 4.5k views
- @eleanorsnare, creative mentor and teacher also interviewed me for her YouTube channel and Blog, all about the theme connection (to be published soon)
- The relationship with Psychologies Magazine grew and I was given access to this Blogging Platform, enabling me to increase my audience. I wrote an online article for their website and am about to start on something new….more on this later
- I reached out more to experts, like @nickyraby and got their advice or accessed their courses, whilst appreciating and sharing their wisdom on social media
- I started writing a new book, a none-fiction one, because it felt right to park the novel for now, do this instead and trust my instincts
- I started to listen to my gut instinct more and showed my support in my way for Black Lives Matter, stretching myself to write a story based on a black mother, from her point of view
- I bit the bullet and got brave before knowing my scan results and signed up to the Dream and Do Club that @alifemoreinspired is running, to work on my own self-development, what have I got to lose?
- At the same time, I also dared to embark on coaching / mentoring training with a highly qualified friend – the biggest surprise of them all is doing this right now, BUT it feels completely the right place to be and it is filling me with so much joy, I absolutely love it!
- And finally, I got through Chemo, the horrible side-effects, the mental uncertainty, the 5-day neutropenic sepsis hospital stay – (on my birthday!) And at the end during a world-wide pandemic! This I am most definitely proud of!
It's all coming together, now I just need to grow some more hair!
And the above is just the surprising things, there are many more achievements to list in my normal work, like writing my Blog, producing new artwork and photography, continuing to run the Wow Wednesday accountability group via Zoom, continuing attending my creative writing and art groups via Zoom too as well as thinking ahead, planning, social media, updating the website etc etc.
My point is when you collect all these great moments together it becomes a lot and when you see it all in written down it shows you that all your hard work is paying off.
So what are you waiting for, head off for a celebration meeting with yourself, get it all listed and enjoy the sense of pride it will bring and the passion and energy it will give you, ready for the next stage.
Speaking of which I have to start preparing this week for the new project with Psychologies Magazine, I will be doing an Insta Live session every Monday from the 29th of June, at 1.30pm via their Instagram channel @psychologiesmagazine!
I’ll be doing much like I do on here, chatting about different creativity topics and also setting some mini-creative tasks.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous which is why I need to practice but if you look at my list above, most of it is about helping people to understand the benefits of creativity to enrich their lives, by reaching a wider audience, so I can get that message out there and support even more people.
That’s what lights me up and makes me happiest, so yes, I’m excited about this and if you watch, please be gentle! I’m a bit of a technophobe so it may take some practice to get it right, but I’m taking a leaf out of my own book – practice makes progress NOT perfection!
So, I hope this has inspired you to celebrate your own achievements and if you want to list some below in the comments here, I’d love to hear what you’ve all been up to.
2020 may have been the most challenging and difficult year yet, BUT it has also brought about incredible clarity of what’s important, what truly matters to you, use that in your next 6 months planning and it will make all the difference.
Until next time…enjoy the sunshine
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
For more ways to bring creativity into your life, check out my website for a whole host inspiring Blog posts, interviews and resources: