Every year around Solstice time, we build a fire and burn what we’re ready to release, and welcome the return of the light. This year I released my rigidity, and my need to “do it all/do it perfectly/do it at the expense of what really matters.”
This tendency is in full force as I try to scratch my annual (unrealistic) itch to tie up loose ends before Dec. 31. And to plan a stellar New Year—I’m a sucker for a fresh start.
In that vein, I bought a new tool called a Passion Planner. I’m so excited about it that I couldn’t wait for 2018 to start, so I printed out some blank pages from the freebies on the website, and started planning the heck out of the last few days of 2017.
Irony: I just posted about flowing and obeying internal nudges. I may be crazy, but I think I can integrate structure with flow, and this might be just the tool to do it.
So now I’m geeking out. I bought erasable ink pens, some stickers, and a roll of balloon-patterned Washi tape.
I’ve never used Washi tape in my life. I’m not the least bit crafty. I’m way better at writing than drawing. But I’ve started putting goofy little sketches in my planner pages, just for fun.
Now whenever I spend my early morning hour on my writing project, I’m rewarding myself with a sticker. Jennifer Louden blogged about celebrating our daily efforts, and these nerd-stickers help with that.
I also love that the planner has space to write “Good Things That Happened” each week. I’m recording things like a heron sighting, a new client, a neighbor all happy showing me her progress after an injury.
Of course, a planner can’t advise me on the best time for a walk based on the weather and the body’s needs (or the dog’s wishes). It can’t plan for all the interruptions that pop up in life. It can’t magically make my ever-extending to-do list cross itself out.
What it can do is:
1. Help me minimize distractions and lower priorities, based on my higher commitments and plans. (A good question: Do you want to be known for your writing, or for your swift email responses?)
2. Help me be more judicious in what I schedule, based on a realistic assessment of time. If I see how long something really takes, and block time, I realize that I can’t do the 10 million other things that crowd into my brain whenever I have appointment-free space.
In short, I have to choose. Choosing is always tricky.
Which brings me to no. 3:
3. Help me design my life based on my mission. This particular planner starts off with space to map the most important pledges. (OK it calls them “goals” but as I mentioned before, “pledge” or “commitment” works better for me.) It sets them up in a 3-month, 1-year, 3-year, and lifetime span. With these pledges literally at the forefront—they’re in the first few pages of the planner—I can align my daily choices more consciously.
Very exciting stuff.
But back to rigidity. I can get all tense about my lists and plans. Truly my left brain LOVES these tools. It loves to schedule every minute of my day with the intent of DOING IT ALL. In fact, my left brain reminds me of the greedy villain from every Saturday morning cartoon show of my childhood. After gaining enough power or whatever (in this case list check-offs), “Finally—I shall RULE the WORLD!”.
(I always wondered, why would anyone want to rule the world?)
It’s getting easier to talk back to my left brain, to bring it back into integration with my body and my higher Self (Soul). I can tell it, I know that you had this plan to go like gangbusters all day and check off a million things, so that tomorrow we can get up early and do it all over again, but what we really need today is some open time to rest and integrate.
Left brain devalues dreamy-drifty time. So does society. But time to noodle is so critical to quality of life. And, it turns out to be absolutely key to my true work as a writer and energy worker.
That’s where internal listening comes in. The roadmap provided by my soul must align with the roadmap I’m unspooling in this planner.
My intention is not more constriction, but more spaciousness in my life, and the clarity gained from working my Passion Planner can help with that.
At the fire, on the flip side of my little wood round where I’d written “rigidity,” I wrote “passion.” On the other side of the card where I’d written my “do it all” refrain, I wrote “I commit to alignment.” These are the things I invoke for this next cycle.
What about you? What do you release, what do you invoke? And does a planner figure into your process? (What kind do you use, and how do you use it? I’m so curious!)