Day 9 NaJoWriMoPrompt: Important or Special Numbers In Your Life

Numbers are very powerful in life. For today’s prompt, write about at least three or four different numbers that have special meaning for you. Examples include: a special year, a particular age, a specific time, a grade level number, a dollar amount, or a number of days.

Numbers.

So. Special numbers. Or rather. Numbers with a special meaning to me. Hm. Am I that attached to numbers? Not so sure, actually. But of course, based on happenings on a specific date, or year, it’s easy to place extra meaning upon those numbers.

Like the number seventeen. I do like the number seventeen. I’m born on the seventeenth. As is my youngest son. And my bonus-son, at that. I remember at school, always picking the number 17 if there was a number to pick. Me and hubby even got married on the 17th. Guess who picked that date?

As a teenager and young adult, I had a certain fascination with the year 2000. I wanted to have a baby that year, thinking it would be so cool to always know one’s aged, based on the current year. Turns out, I opted for the even cooler 1999, having one foot in two millennia.

numbersMy fascination with numbers actually has more to do with keeping track, logging, one after the other, increasing whatever I am tracking by one. And this is something I’ve done since I was a child. I kept track of all the books I read from January 20th 1986 until my son was born in October of 2004. I logged incoming and outgoing letters for a huge chunk of my life, but I think I let that particular habit go way before the book-logging-habit was kicked. Today, I’m logging the number of days in a row I’ve done my Seven exercise (458 days today) as well as my Headspace meditation (460 in total, but missed a day 179 days ago…). I have a certain affinity to numbered challenges (such as #NaJoWriMo for instance) where I know how long it will run and I do prefer when it is done on a daily basis. And even though I don’t keep track of my blog posts the way I did the first year of blogging, I do aim at daily blogging, which has now rendered me the proud publisher of 1063 posts on this blog. (This will be the 1064th.)

So. Numbers. This is what I came up with.
What about you – any numbers with special meaning in your life?

Day 8 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: Write About Your Creative History

For today’s prompt, write about your past in relationship to creative expression. What are your earliest memories of being creative? Describe some great opportunities or missed opportunities for creative expression? What do you think helped or hindered you from being creative? Do you have creative people in your family? How have they inspired you? These are general questions. Write about the topic and see where it leads you. Happy journaling.

My creative history. Wow. That feels like a massive assignment. Especially since the Create the impossible-course I took at the beginning of the year, which made me realize that there is (an opportunity for) creativity in everything, even something as mundane as making dinner is a creation.

My earliest memories…. ah, I honestly I have no clue. But, my maternal grandmother taught me to crochet (and later on to knit as well), and I do remember being at kindergarten an crocheting endlessly long threads from a ball of yarn. Rolled it into a skein, and voila, had myself a new ball of yarn, in a manner of speaking, to start all over again. So I crocheted yet another endlessly long, but slightly thicker, long thread, from the initial endlessly long crocheted thread. Think I might even have repeated the same procedure yet once again. Limited use for long crocheted threads most definitely, but I did create. And I might have been around 4 or 5, I’m guessing. There’s remnants of other kindergarten creations still remaining at my mom’s place. Various ornaments for Christmas and Easter for instance.

wrist warmersAs I’ve written about before, I think my creativity has, to a large extent, been expressed using my hands, in handicrafts. When I think about creativity, that is where my mind goes first of all. And perhaps there’s a bit of a need for results and usefulness in my thoughts around creation, for myself. I create something which is needed, or desired, or that which is useful. Like the wrist warmers I’m wearing right this instant. I knitted them a few years ago, when the urge to create something with my hands grew within, until I couldn’t contain it anymore, and dug out needles and yarn from my various hiding places… Having a set end goal in mind, I started to create them, working without a pattern, but knowing what I wanted them to become, once finished.

I wonder if that’s a bit of a hindrance I’ve imposed upon myself: there must be a need, an end-result that can be put to use? Have I ever created just to create? For the sake of making it? Without any hidden agenda, a lack of purpose? Just. To do it. Nothing more. Nothing less. I don’t know.

I mean, even my blogging is to a certain extent purpose-driven. I blog with the intention to get my thoughts and ruminations down on paper, making them come alive outside of my head. So… How do you do it, when you just create, for creation’s sake itself? I honestly don’t know. Do you?

Day 6 #NaJoWriMoPrompt: How colors speak to you

Colors are very much a part of creative expression. For today’s prompt, write each of the following colors (red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, black, and white) and explain what each color means to you. Avoid thinking about the stereotypical definition of those colors, and instead think about what the color communicate to you personally. Think about how you use those colors in your personal life. 

Red – love, blood, family. Haha. And off I go, diving headfirst into the stereotypical definitions of the color. Ok. Back on track. What does red convey to me, how to I use it? Well, it’s a color that gets noticed, so I actually have some red clothing that I put on when I want to make an impression. I like red as a color tone, as I sit in my sofa looking out on my  living and dining room, red isn’t a predominant color, but the tone of red is very much present.

Blue – Blue is a color that I really like someplace, and really can’t stand in others. Blue lights for instance, yuk. Bought a blue lamp at IKEA once. Had to return it. Makes that awful blue light, that you can see when you walk past a house at night, when there is a TV on. I really don’t like that, it’s too cold and sterile for me. But besides that, I really like blue. Light sky blue, jeans color, is a favorite. I like wearing that color, it brings out the blue in my eyes, and I feel pretty in it. There is something light about it.

Green – Very important color for me. The color of nature, of life, of growth. Makes me feel grounded. Safety is a feeling that I get when I think green. I love when the garden starts to awaken after the winter sleep, when small green growth starts to rise from the snow or soil. And every spring, I get amazed at the infinite amount of green hues that exist in nature.

Yellow – Yellow is a color that I am not too fond of actually. I basically don’t have any yellow (or orange) clothes, and I don’t feel comfortable wearing it either. I am not a big fan of yellow (or orange, these two colors kind of go together for me) flowers etc, so you won’t find many of those in my garden. But again, sitting here in the sofa at night, my entire home emits a yellow/orange(/red) tone. I don’t feel comfortable with blueish electric light, it has to be yellow. Otherwise I cannot relax, my body tenses up. So even though I don’t favor yellow in stuff, clothes, furniture, accessories etc, my home would be totally horrible to live in without the color yellow providing its warmth.

Purple – Ah. That is a favorite color, and it has been for a long time. I remember a purple cardigan I had in my early teens. I loved that cardigan! Purple draws me in, I can dive into it, somehow. While it is a color I love, it’s also a color that I shy away from a bit. It’s as if I am ashamed of my love for it, and I have no clue why.

Pink – Not my color. I don’t think I have any pink pieces of clothing… oh. Oops. Perhaps I do. I’m actually lying to you right now, as I sit here, in my dusty pink wool sweater. So yeah. I do have one piece of pink clothing. But besides that, there’s not much pink stuff around. Pink flowers though – as well as purple! -, those are plentiful in the garden! Interesting this, that I cannot imagine having (a lot of) pink clothes, while there’s an abundance of pink hues in the flowers in the garden. Why is it like that?

Black – Black isn’t my color, in the sense that it doesn’t bring out the best of me, rather the opposite, it makes me look fairly pale and anemic. Still, black is a convenient color for clothes, and there is a fair amount of black clothes in my wardrobe, making it easy to mix and match. I think convenient is a good word for my relationship with the color black.

White – White. Not my color either, at least not chalk white. But just as with black, it is a convenient color in clothes, at least tops and sweaters. White pants I’ve never really felt very comfortable in though, and I can never seem to keep them clean for more than a few hours anyway. I come from a family of white painted walls though, and that is a tradition that I seem to be sticking to. For me, it’s as if the white walls hold space for the rest of the room, for the furniture, the paintings, and also the people. I feel held, within the arms of the white walls of my home.

I am a bit intrigued that I start to relate to colors from the concept of clothing. But perhaps that’s not so strange…. I mean, the clothes on my back go with me all day, regardless of their color, it stays with me for a long period of time. So maybe it actually makes a lot of sense that I start to relate to colors like that. Do you?

DAY 5 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: Write 10 burning questions about your life

For today’s prompt write a list of 10 burning questions for yourself about your life. I suggest not overthinking your list of questions, and you probably should not think about trying to answer those questions right now. Just write whatever questions come to mind. Remember, you’re writing in your journal. No one else should see your list, and you don’t have to answer to anyone about the questions you raise. You may find the this list troubling to write, but the questions might a useful to return to for future journal entries.

Well. This was interesting. I’ve been avoiding this prompt for a few days, for some reason. But now that I have my 10 questions written down, I wonder what I was afraid of? There’s some challenging questions, but none that come as a surprise to me, and none that make me want to stick my head in the sand.

But no. I won’t publish them. If nothing else, I won’t because the prompt actually tells me not to. And I think I want to sit with them a bit more, question by question. Reflect upon them. See what comes to mind, rather than ”try to contrive an answer” to them. That doesn’t ring true to me at all, that’s not the way to go about these. But rather stick them in my mouth, one by one, like a lozenge. Letting it sit, slowly melting away… and possibly, there will be an answer. Or more questions perhaps? That would be welcome as well. I really like questions, and I like the not knowing. Hanging out in that place of limbo, where the question has materialized, but the answer hasn’t. Possibly the answer is like a mirage far away on the horizon. Something illusory, that cannot be analyzed and examined in great detail, because it doesn’t really exist. not knowingOr it might be slowly coming to form before my eyes, a bit like the statue of David inside the great block of marble, being liberated chunk by marble chunk by Michelangelo and his chisels. Or. It might be totally obvious, like a billboard commercial. Neon lights blinking, a clear message to me.

Who knows? Not me, that’s for sure.
And that makes me sit here with a grin on my face, laughing to myself.
Imagine that, huh?

Me.
Enjoying the process of not knowing, revelling in it.

Who would have thought?

 

DAY 4 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: Create personal door signs

For today’s prompt, write and/or draw three signs that you would hang on your home door, work door, or even your forehead to let others know what you allow and don’t allow in your life. For example, a sign might be, “No Gossiping” or “Please Knock First.”

Now write about your signs and how you will enforce them, or how you already enforce them. Are there ways you can communicate your signs without actually posting them? Or should one or more of them be physically posted?

stay out door signs

I am taking part of the MITx #ULab MOOC and one of the things that has really struck a cord in me have been the voices of judgement, cynicism and fear, that Theory U talk about as detrimental to deep listening. Listening to these voices are effective road blocks hindering you from being able to drop down into presencing.

So how to enforce them? Do I need to print these out, laminate them and post them around the house? Well. That might not be a bad idea actually… But is it a necessity? Well no. Not really. I am lucky that I have created a setting whereupon I am around people who remind me of when I do listen to, or talk from a place of judgement, cynicism or fear. My coach Carla does a great job, constantly reigning me in to self-compassion and other-compassion, for instance. Friends in my MasterMind-group and in #skolvåren hold a space where I can voice thoughts stemming from these emotions without being condemned, while gently reminding me of my why, and how I want to show up in the world. Having that ”safe space” where I can rage against the world and perceived injustices is a great outlet of frustration, and getting it out of my system makes it easier to get back on track faster.

I am a great help myself in keeping the voices of judgement, cynicism and fear out, as I have gotten so used to observing myself. So I am better at noticing when I am judging, being cynical (which probably is the one of these emotions that pop up the least for me) or acting out of fear. That opens up for asking myself whether or not it’s in service to me to continue to entertain these thoughts or if I should show them the way to the door.

What really make a difference though is to tune in to the energies of people I am in conversation with. Where are they coming from? Is it the voice of judgement, cynicism and fear speaking, or are they speaking from an open mind, open heart and open will? If it is, and I can spot it, it’s much easier for me to refrain from stepping into judgement myself. Rather, empathy is invoked in me, because I know full well what it’s like to come from the place of judgement/cynicism/fear. Sometimes, the conversation can take a sudden turn to something deeper when I drop down to a deeper place of listening. Sometimes. Not so. And I’ve learned, the hard way, to step out of that type of interaction if there is no shift in energy or awareness. There is neither giving nor receiving in those instances, and hence, I bow out. Politely if I can, silently at times, and hopefully, very seldom with a tiny jab in the back. Because that’s not who I want to be in the world. 

What about you? What would your three door signs look like?

DAY 3: #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: Write to your mental critic

Continuing on the theme of “Unleashing Your Creative Mind Through Journal Writing” write a letter to your inner critic, that voice that whispers to you when you think about wanting to do something creative or different. Think about when you heard the voice before and what it said to you. Talk back to it the form of a letter or a dialogue between you and the critic.

Oh. That voice. I am lucky that the voice of my inner critic today is much less harsh than just five years ago. When I talk to clients about their inner voice/mental critic, I usually tell them that I used to have a combo of Hitler/Mao/Stalin living inside my head. Not so today though.

So. A letter. To my mental critic. Ok.
Here goes:

Hi there.

You know. I kind of like you nowadays. I used to really really dislike you, because you made me feel soooo bad about myself. Now, you’re more polite than before, and have a much nicer tone. I thank you for that change. It’s done wonders with my self-esteem.

Sometimes you do have a point, dear mental critic, but honestly, quite often you don’t. It’s like you are more like the echo of my Ego speaking, stuck in the ways of my personality, insisting I stick to the limits you put upon me, and don’t you dare venture outside those boundaries, dear self… 

But I do. Sometimes. Venture outside the boundaries placed there by you, Mental Critic. I actually pay so much less attention to you today than ever before. And perhaps that’s why you’ve actually changed your language of communication from being predominantly verbal to being much more physical, something which I noticed quite recently

In a sense that just makes it more interesting though, since I am a very verbal person, and much less of a physical person. But it’s good for me that you’ve changed your form of communication, because I am on a journey of discovery of me, all of me, all parts of me, and most definitely the physical part of me is a huge part of that. 

wickedAnyway. Sometimes you might be making a valid point, and sometimes you’re just trying to wield your power over me, and the challenge for me is to be able to tell the difference. The easiest way for me to discern whether or not your message can be in service to me or not, is to ask myself just that: Is this serving me right now? 

That has two effects for me. First it can actually help me escape from underneath your spell, I become not only the person experiencing your communication, but I also become an observer of said conversation. And secondly, it opens up for a choice, a neutral choice, providing me with an opportunity to actively chose my next action, with less of a story attached to it. That question ”Is this serving me?” has probably been the most helpful prompt I’ve been able to give myself over these past 4-5 years or so. 

Perhaps you, Mental Critic, should start to ask yourself that very same question once in a while?

Kind regards,
Helena

I just love this:
Here’s an assignment that when I first read it, it really didn’t tickle me in any way… but once I started, I was really happy I did. And in a sense, isn’t that perhaps the perfect illustration to what the assignment centered around?