What’s In Your Creative Vision Tile for 2017?

With the new year quickly approaching, it’s a good time to think ahead to what we really want to focus on for ourselves (I know that I preach selfless acts a lot, but we also need to think about what’s best for us). It’s easy to look back at 2016 and reflect on what we did wrong, or where we went astray. That’s important, for sure. It’s equally important, though, that we look at where we are right now and focus on what we want or need to refine or change in the next 12 months.

One way to do this is by creating a vision tile for 2017.

tile

The tile above was created by a few of my students about 6 years ago, but it serves as a testament for capturing a bit of self-love and vision for what we want for ourselves in our immediate future. Whether you are (Super) Dave or Jalagna, you’ve made a statement that you are proud of.

So what’s in your creative vision statement for 2017?

First, brainstorm a list of what goals and dreams you want to experience in 2017. Find words, pictures, and images that capture the essence of what you want to achieve.

Second, find a square paper, card stock, or even ceramic tile and design a powerful layout. You might want to begin with a skeletal mandala frame (see below) that gives you some real focus and forward motion in reaching your vision.

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-1-21-45-pmThird, be creative in your layout and don’t be afraid to bring your vision to life. Use every inch of the tile to capture the essence of the 2017 YOU. 

Here’s one sample of a polished vision mandala that focuses on new energy for the new season. You can really see the swirl of movement and motion showcasing the interconnectedness with the various elements.

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-1-34-43-pm

Finally, put the polished vision tile in a prominent place where you can keep your vision present. Take a photo of it and make it the wallpaper on your laptop, phone, or tablet.

Keep focused on your vision for 2017, and capture the energy and possibility of what certainly awaits for you — if you visualize it!

Share More, Think Less

TBW writing spaceI spend a lot of time in my head, thinking and thinking and thinking about what to write about. Even though I keep a little Piccadilly notebook with me at all times, capturing little snippets of life that I find interesting, I don’t do enough with them.

In those moments, I am happy that I jotted them down. Good to make that thought concrete, I think to myself. And it is good. I believe there’s a lot of life that passes us by that is fascinating, especially the small things that we see between the bigger events.

Sitting at a table with a group of high school friends, listening to one tell a fascinating story of saving her small business, I glance across the crab cakes and buttered vegetables to see another friend pick up her napkin, dab the corner of her eye, and try to push a smile to support the success of her friend. Try to fit in. Try to not let the world see that she is elsewhere, caught in her own memory. I meant to mention something to her after the dinner, but by then she was — or seemed — totally fine. She moved on, and so did I.

Later, I remember and I jot these observations down in my little notebook, then go about my busy life. Months later I page through the old notes, and there it is:

Kelly’s tear when Tracy was sharing her business story. What memory composed that tear?

My notebook is filled with notes like this one, and many of them are left unexplored. While that little journal is capturing the immediate observations, I just don’t do enough to follow through with the deeper stories, whether they might be real or eventually fictional, as “Gretchie’s Gift” turned out to be.

There’s a reason for that. Simply put, I need to think less and share more.

I’ve always enjoyed coming here to the Baltimore Writer and sharing my ideas and observations with you, but I just haven’t done it enough this year.

In fact, when I take a quick glance at the stats, I’m pretty ashamed of what I see. The last five years have been ridiculously light, posting 40 or fewer pieces each year, with just 11 posted thus far in 2016:

published-posts

Now, these stats don’t mean that I haven’t been writing. When it comes to constructed fiction for the purpose of publishing with a larger audience (beyond this blog) in the 11 years since I started blogging regularly, I’ve written nearly 500,000 words. And my larger daybooks are filled with hundreds of thousands of more raw words that have never been shared with others.

But what I am sharing with all of you here at the Baltimore Writer… That needs to improve — not because I don’t think that I am writing enough. It’s because I don’t think I am sharing and publishing enough. What good are the thoughts if they never reach the hearts and the minds of my readers, both today and tomorrow?

That’s why I created the Baltimore Writer. I wanted to reach all of you more with my daily thoughts, even the mundane ones, about what life is like through these eyes. It would be easy for me to make this a goal for 2017, but I don’t want to wait until the new year begins to do that.

So, it is my intent to resume publishing posts here as daily as possible about writing, about living here in Baltimore, about being a dad, about being spiritual, about being a human being just trying to manage a complicated life that needs to be simplified.

I expect the entries will be a little less polished, but you will hear a genuine voice, uncensored, about life as observed through these eyes. What my readers wish to do with it… well, that is up to you. My hope is that it will leave you thinking a little about what you are observing (and maybe eventually writing and sharing). But even that’s pushing it. In truth, I am just throwing these thoughts into the Universe; may they be used as necessary, now and tomorrow.

I appreciate that so many of my friends do this via social media platforms. Those posts, stories, and pictures capture what I believe is becoming a more genuine reflection of their lives. I’m seeing less of the cherry-picked moments of joy and perfection and more of the authentic experiences, both good and challenging.

That’s all I want to do here: give you the good and the challenging, and more often.

I look forward to sharing them with you in the days, months, and — God willing — years to come.

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You can read more on my professional site, The LifeStory Lighthouse, where you can also download my latest collection of Christmas stories, essays, and reflections (featuring “Gretchie’s Gifts).