Sunday, January 02, 2011

By Chance or By Change

While we were fiddling with the computers on New Year's Eve, I noticed for the first time that the date for the first day of 2011 was 1/1/11. I'm not superstitious about numbers or dates, but seeing all those ones lined up seemed like a poke from the cosmos: Pay attention, this is important. Or maybe it was just the universe's way of nudging me to watch The One movie again. Been meaning to do that; I love Jet Li.

Rather than get all wrapped up in the concept of one (the cosmos is never that obvious) I decided to be on the lookout during New Year's Day for four things that would inspire me. Using the world as a creative navigator is one of my favorite things to do, and I thought it would be fun to see what directions the universe thought I should take for the next year.

The first one came as I went to file a bookmark I'd made for my readers. I put it together from a photograph I'd taken of one of our pines, and a haiku that I wrote on Christmas Day. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, so I wanted to save it. Then I opened the filing cabinet and found that my 2010 poetry folder was empty. While the haiku wasn't the only poem I wrote last year, it was the only one I thought was good enough to print out, share and save. I know poetry makes me a better writer, and one resolution I'd been thinking about was making a conscious effort to write more verse in 2011. Looked like the universe agreed with me, so #1 -- Write more poetry went on my list.

The first project of 2011 my guy and I had planned is to renovate one of our bathrooms, and that morning we went to local home improvement store to pick up some things we needed. On the way to the check-out we passed a magazine rack with all the usual how-to gardening, painting and other home stuff, when I spotted the Dec/Jan issue of Fine Cooking. Generally I don't see many cooking mags in home improvement stores, so that struck me as odd. So did the gorgeous towering dessert featured on the cover, which was one I'd never tried to make (and mentioned that here on the blog.) The message couldn't have been plainer if they'd printed it on the cover: #2 -- Don't be afraid to try things you think you can't do.

Then came the third inspiration, almost as soon as we got home. We've been hustling to get ready for Mom, our first visitor of 2011, who was due in on Monday. While I always love having company, after the holidays I'm a little wiped out, and prefer to have some downtime to regroup, shop, straighten up, etc. (who wants their mother to visit when the house is a mess?) On my desk is pile of writing work that I wanted to get a jump on, but family comes first, so I had already resigned myself to some late nights playing catch-up. Until Mom called that day and unexpectedly rescheduled her visit for mid-January. This never happens with my mother, who is the acknowledged Queen of Planet Scheduling & Punctuality, so I saw it as another kick in the backside: #3 -- Be more open to the unlikely and unexpected; it isn't always a bad thing for you.

Nothing more sparked my imagination that day, and I thought I might have to go with three inspirations versus four. We happily tired ourselves out working on the bathroom, and as a reward ordered take-out from our favorite Chinese restaurant. During dinner we talked about our new year's resolutions (no one had made any) and then finished with our take-out ritual of passing around the fortune cookies and reading our slips out loud. My cookie yielded this dour advice:

At first my fortune seemed like a universal slap on the wrist: Bad girl. No cookie for you. The more I thought about it, though, the more it tickled me. I got this cookie purely by chance; and it was telling me not to depend on that (I love a good paradox.) But I felt the fortune wasn't condemning chance, it was simply telling me not to rely on it to improve my life -- that I had to do that myself by following through and taking action. It's something I completely agree with, too. So the final addition to the list was #4 -- Make the changes you need in order to make life better.

Now that my list is complete, and I know what I'm going to do about it, I feel more centered and ready to take on 2011. How about you guys? Any new year's messages from the cosmos land on your doorstep? What's one thing you're planning to change this year?


  1. Great post, Lynn! :) Thanks for the inspiration, it's just what I needed. I have quite a few goals for 2011, but one that I really want to change is to learn to be more patient and to be more aware of my surroundings.


  2. Some psychic said that when you look at the clock and see all ones, that means that the universe is saying "hi!"

    This amused me so much that I always say "hi, right back, universe," when I see all ones on the digital clock.

    So far, it's not replied.

  3. Does reading your blog count? :)

    I wasn't planning on lurking today (as I usually do) since one of my goals today was to get back to my WIPs.

    And yet, here I am and your #4 inspiration completely hits the spot.

    Here's to Change...the only thing that is ever constant :)

  4. I'm going to stop making excuses for not working out, the fallout which effects my writing. So: healthy mind, healthy body, better writing. :)

  5. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Well, I set up two resolutions yesterday, and have acted on both so far.

    One was to try to create art 6 days a week. (I figure allowing a day off worked for the big guy, so there's probably something to that. Plus, it gives me more flexibility for the weekend.) Today, I was rewarded with a surprise, an unexptected discovery of a needlework book. I hesitated and dithered for few moments ("I'm not shopping for me... I don't have any supplies... Do I have time... -- I'd already forgotten my resolution) before I flipped it open. Once I did, I knew I needed it and I've been happy just thinking about it all day.

    The other one I made after reading an interesting story in the NYT yesterday on how happily married partners who stimulate and stretch each other into new ways have happier marriages. I decided to BE that partner all year long. Even if I'm the only one doing so (which I doubt I will be) it will be a good investment.

    Happy New Year all!


  6. That's a wonderful way to be open to the universe, and I agree with your take on the fortune cookie. However, just to be contrary, you made a change to make yourself specifically open to messages, so you're off to a good start.

    Enjoy the new year :D.

  7. No cryptic messages... but I do get the sense that it's the little actions, all adding up together, that will get me where I want to go.

    No epic gestures, just tiny little insignificant ones, every day, day after day. I like the idea of making changes happen little by little.

  8. My household moved across the state since my husband got a new job and I'm currently at loose ends since I'm not working three jobs anymore. I'm not working any atm.

    I've rewritten this twice now and I'm not really sure it makes sense but...

    I want to declutter. To streamline my life, my household. The amount of stuff we had in storage for two years was horrendous.

    Learn to cook. Like, really cook - I'd like to expand my crock pot knowledge to do something besides beans, corned beef and wassail.

    I really like your art journals and while I'm not feeling that ambitious (I haven't done anything art like in years) I've picked up a day planner with spaces big enough to journal short entries every day. Things that have happened, what I've done, why my cat is lovable but stupid, that kind of thing.

    That's some of what has been going through my head, sorry to take up so much space. Guess I just needed to tell someone other than family.


  9. I just want to get up and move! If I'm not working at my outside the house job, I'm procrastinating and that's getting nothing done for me. When I do that I don't write, don't clean, resent cooking...I turn into a slug! So I'm going to work very hard at changing that.