Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm a Resolutions Kind of Gal

I can't help it. I love resolutions. I love the idea of setting aside a specific date in time to think, reflect, and commit to certain desired changes. I love the idea of sitting down and planning dreams and goals you'd like to accomplish over a 12 month period of time. I usually choose to make resolutions twice a year--at the start of the new year and on my birthday. Of course I have learned that making resolutions such as loosing 15 pounds or exercising every day don't work for me. I won't stick to those kinds of resolutions because I'm not really passionate about them. For me commitment does hinge on passion. As a result, I generally tend to opt for resolutions that I consider to be more creative and expressive, resolutions that lead me a few steps closer to creating the life I really want. I don't always stick to the resolution for the entire year and that's okay. I don't have to be perfect. I just have to be heading in the right direction. Here are some examples of resolutions I've committed to in the past...

~about 5 years ago I decided to take a photograph a day. I was inspired by an article about Carly Simon in one of the first issues of Oprah's magazine. She takes a pic a day with a Polaroid camera and then keeps them in a scrapbook. I decided I'd do the same and add some journaling about what the pic meant to me. At the time I didn't own a digital camera so needless to say I wasn't too successful with this resolution. To this day I have several rolls of 35 mm film that I've never developed. (Warning: if you undertake this commitment and begin to carry your camera around with you at all times please know that cameras and Sonic beverages you're trying to sneak into a theater do not mix well and can result in the destruction of said camera.)

~in 2003 I committed to finding one image a day that spoke to me. I would cut them out of newspapers, magazines, etc and glue them into sketch books. Some days, if I was feeling a little more inspired, I might make a collage of several images. I have several sketch books filled with images that I collected over the year.

~last year I decided to memorize 12 poems, one each month. I've always wanted to be able to quote poetry from memory so I made it a resolution. (Caution: if you decided to undertake this goal and then decided to share the goal with others be prepared to be asked to recite the poems you've been working on. That was a little too much of the spotlight for my liking.)

This year what I really wanted was to connect to the greater sisterhood. I wanted to surround myself with women's memories, women's stories. I wanted to feel a part of the female collective consciousness. So I committed to reading a memoir or biography, by or about a woman, each month of this year. Here is a glimpse at my year...

January: Eat Mangos Naked by SARK
February: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
March: Kate: The Life of Katharine Hepburn
April: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
May: Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
June & July: Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
August: Educating Alice by Alice Steinbach
September: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother by James McBride
October: Sweet Mystery by Judith Hillman Patterson
November: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
December: The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan

And what did I learn from my year's worth of reading about women's lives? Women are extraordinary creatures and I am proud to be a woman. Some women blazed new trails making the way easier for women in the future. Some women proved the ordinary is extraordinary just by inhabiting their story and being true to their selves. Some women fought culture and society to live their truth, proving that it can be done, even if it nearly kills you. Some women sought healing and found it in their own hearts and memories. Some women changed the world by giving their love and spilling their talent. Some women lost the battle with their demons but even in the loosing offered incredible lessons. Some women just gave what they had and that made all the difference. I'm inspired by all of their stories, by their lives, by their risks, by their adventures, by their commitment to living as full a life as possible. They make me proud to belong to the sisterhood.

My resolution for this year? I'm on a new quest. I'm on a Goddess quest. Like I mentioned in my SPT post earlier this week I'm hungry, hungry for a feminine divine presence in my life, hungry for a concept of God that I can relate to. I'm hungry to find this presence in my life and in my own reflection. So I'm on a pilgrimage this year to connect to my inner Goddess. And I'm looking forward to the journey.

What about you? What adventures will you undertake this year?


Blogger liz elayne said...

This is the first time I have read about resolutions and thought: I could give myself permission to do something like this. Thank you for that invitation. My first adventure will be joining the Artist's Way group Kat is hosting on her blog ( I am also really drawn to your idea about reading one book a month, committing to it, about a subject that speaks to where I am on my journey. I will be thinking about this one...

11:29 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

wow, I am completely inspired by your creative endeavors... which is why I am so crazy about this blog world. I have 'met' so many women out there that have inspired me to stretch myself, to look outside the confines of my everyday world, to try and do and make and write and create. you have been a part of that community of inspiring women (thank you).

as for me and 2006... I have been doing lots of thinking these past couple of days, rolling ideas around in my head. the possibilities fill me with a sort of giddiness I have not felt in a while. I feel open to adventure. my spirit is ready.

1:11 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

Like you, I love resolutions. I also have my end of the year post all ready for tomorrow, with a few minor tweakings.

I usually give myself resolutions that I can keep which last year were frivolous. But this year, I want more for myself. Thank you for the inspiration.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Marit Cooper said...

I'm going to devote this year to being positive about things (that was why I decided to create a new blog with brighter colours and happier thoughts). I'm going to find some way to support myself financially. And I'm going to give away more presents, because that is something that makes me very happy. I've bought a birthday book to write down all the birthdays (and anniversaries) of my friends and I've started to stock up on gift wrap and ribbons. I think if you find ways to boost you love and happiness levels you won't need that many sweets, you'll have more energy to run around doing things, and you'll end up losing weight and being more fit without even trying! :-D Happy New Year Sweetheart! x x

3:42 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

if there is anything i like doing
any more than making my own resolutions
its reading about other people's...
especially other people that inspire me
so...i loved reading yours...
i have not finished mine yet...
but will be working on it on and off
all weekend...
thanks for the ideas and inspiration
happy new year!

4:31 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Unlike you, I'm not much of one for making resolutions, so I was going to say I didn't have any and then suddenly realized that I did, in fact, state what amounts to a resolution on my blog a week or two ago - a committment to create at least one small bit of art every day in 2006, whether it's something as simple as a doodle on scrap paper of a digital photo or working on something larger. It's too easy for me to let myself be distracted and let days go by without stretching my artistic muscles. I want to change that this year.

I loved reading your list, Michelle. What was your favorite/most inpsiring bio you read in 2005?

4:46 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Um, that should have read "doodle on scrap paper OR digital photo". Heh.

4:48 AM  
Blogger artjunk~ said...

LOVE it! Great post. love the little side comments too! I Love making resolutions. I agree with the passion part of it-so true. I also read bio's of women since my youth, esp.reading about the 1st ladies (I get them from my kids school library!) Another favorite is Anne Morrow Lindbergh--her diaries. You've inspired me to get out pen and paper and make a thoughtful list!

6:04 AM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

Now THESE are my kinds of resolutions (something I typically veer away from). :) Re your Goddess quest...have you read Sylvia Browne's "Mother God?"...

6:06 AM  
Blogger blackbird said...

You are inspiring!

6:15 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Wow! Normally I don't do resolutions, but you've got me inspired and wanting to make one or two :O)

I'm working on my list this weekend :O) Thank you for the inspiration!

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Beansprout said...

I'm a resolution girl too! I am passionate about the physical things because I feel like that training puts me in my body like nothing else. Without it I feel like I'm in my head or heart all the time with no tether. So...I'll be racing in sprint and Olympic triathlons this year and creating my base to do the big morther Ironman in 2007. I'm also committing to celebrate the date of my birthday each month by doing one thing I've never done before on that day. This will keep me an active learner and that important to me. I love your list! It gives me a lot more to consider. Thank you so much.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous samantha said...

What a wonderful way to look at resolutions. What a woman! I love the idea of reading a memoir by a woman a month - I adore memoirs, and so I may incorporate this one!

As for the Goddess journey - you have read the Red Tent, right? If not, go straightaway and get thee a copy. Absolutely one of my favorites - I know it's fiction but it's very historical.

7:38 AM  
Blogger bella said...

awesome post, awesome thoughts. i'm on kindof a quest myself. i'm looking for some inner peace that i know can be found.. but to lead a full and happy life, and to stay focused on the positive.. maybe then i'll get there.
Happy New Year to you and your family.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

Well, one resolution that I made in October was to go back to school. I begin my first college class (I haven't taken one since 1982) starts the 9th.

Two of yours that struck a cord with me were memorizing a poem a month and reading a biography a month. I'm not sure how much other reading I'll be able to do considering the class I'm taking (Introduction to Latin American Literature) because there are two pretty hefty novels I have to read but, I may try reading 6 biographies.

I will be working on my resolutions for the next couple of weeks. So will let you know what I come up with.

I do have a physical one. I want to lose 20 pounds and/or be in a size 9 by my 30 year high school reunion which is in 2007.

You inspire me as do many who blog here.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Frankie said...

Oh Michelle! I love all of these resoultions!!! What a wonderful collection of ideas and goals to set for yourself. I guess it never really occured to me that I could make goals for myself that weren't always "lose weight, get organized, find a job, etc." Your list of resolutions has inspired me to make a thoughtful set of my own, one as creative and insightful as yours. You are an inspiration. Thank you!

10:28 AM  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

How wonderful that you have remained committed to your resolutions throughout each year. What an accomplishment! You've inspired me to read memoirs of women as well. I'm hoping for you great enlightenment and peaceful discovery in the coming year.

3:06 PM  
Blogger madreperla said...

great resolutions michelle!
I am a resolution & list maker as well, though I still insist on the typical diet and excersise one ( even though am not passionate at all in those subjets, as you) but the biggest goal is to be calmed, serene and to work on my artwork as quiet and throughly as I can.
Reading a book per month sounds great! Also, daily entries in my blog could be one for me, or maybe... entries in my journal, or in my kids journals...
workin´on all those...
meanwhile, have a great and wonderful new year and again, thanks for inspiration!

7:54 PM  
Anonymous justine said...

Thanks for your welcoming words and inspiration since I have come into the blogging world. You are inspiring and I really enjoy reading your words and seeing your pictures.

12:51 AM  
Blogger ESB said...

wow!! your commitment to yourself is inspiring.....

7:17 AM  
Blogger Swirly said...

What wonderful resolutions - I think I am going to steal a few of them!!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Michelle Fry said...

Journal of Solitude by May Sarton is wonderful. Thanks for reminding me of some great female writers. Hmmm, now I'm thinking about what my resolutions will be.

12:01 PM  
Blogger twistedsoda said...

I am on the quest for the goddess as well. Thanks for the inspiration! Its nice to know I will meet someone else on that road!!!

11:43 PM  

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