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?