Simplify for the New Year

For the last few weeks, when I wake early I make a cup of hot tea and light a candle. Then sit curled up in a quilt on a old comfy chair and watch the flame dance in the early morning darkness. Sometimes draw on white sheets of paper.

I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and have narrowed it down to one word.

Simplify.

I guess it wouldn’t really work to have that resolution and then a long list of other stuff too?

Simplify is a good ambition for me, because I always tend to over-complicate, thinking I’m going to just add one more thing until I end up breaking the camel’s back. In my art, I’m always having to force myself to stop or take stuff out and try to leave some white space.

In my house, there’s clutter everywhere that needs to be eliminated. In my office there’s baskets of papers, newspapers, photos, and notes that need to be filed. And don’t even mention computer files and email boxes!

Simplify – sounds good right now, but it will take me all year… probably my whole life.

Happy New Year’s, with some resolutions

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sketch from Gong Fu Teahouse

Last year I chose three words to define my new year. Now I can’t even find them on my blog (know I did a post about it) and can’t remember them either. Well, that worked well didn’t it?

This year decided to go back to some simple new years resolutions:

1. Not to interrupt people when they are talking. (bad habit of mine, I think, when I get excited about a conversation)
2. Send more thank you notes and letters (not the email kind, the real kind)
3. Draw daily. (even if it’s just a simple sketch)

I know the third will be hard. Maybe I could combine 2 and 3 sometimes for more efficiency. Also I had the idea to set up a repeating event on my iCal program to email myself these resolutions once a week. Otherwise I will forget them by February.

May add some more later, but I think resolutions are different than goals. Resolutions seem to me to be more about creating and reinforcing habits, whereas goal-setting seems like a whole different process. I may not be able to keep them everyday, but hoping to do it enough that they become a habit.

Considering Focus for the New Year

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Thanks for the great comments on my last post about Simplify or Play as a key word for 2008. You all gave me a lot to think about.

Another word I’ve been considering is Focus, because lately my brain has been feeling like a big gnarly hairball. In yoga it’s also called a Monkey Mind because it jumps erratically from one thought to the next.

Here’s what these three words mean to me in regards to creativity and art for 2008:

  • Simplify: Get rid of the clutter, physically and mentally. There’s too much clutter around here, in my studio and house, and it’s weighing me down. Streamline work-flows, and cast off self-doubt.
  • Play: Make time to experiment, try new things, and have fun. Don’t worry about what people will think of the art, because when I’m working intuitively and with joy is when I’m at my best.
  • Focus: Shut out distractions, especially those over which I have no control. Set aside quiet time to finish projects and wrap up loose ends. Get it done.