Roz Stendahl is Brilliant

I’ve written about my friend Roz many times before. Sure, she’s funny. And creative? Yowza. One of the smartest people I know, sure. But maybe the most inspiring thing about Roz is her annual New Year’s Day tradition, one I start thinking about in December every year. Here’s the post she did at the beginning of 2013. Basically, the ritual involves spending New Year’s Day doing a little bit of everything you love and want to do during the rest of the year. It’s setting intentions in a very concrete way, but there’s more, as Roz explains in her post. You end the day feeling that you’ve accomplished something, and you’ve had a great day doing things you really enjoy. Because you do each thing for just a small amount of time—so you can get to everything if you have, gee, kind of a lot of things you love to do—you’re teased a little: you might start a sketch and not have time to finish it and then have ideas for it swirling around in your head, clamoring for more attention and sparking ideas for half a dozen more new sketches. It’s just a brilliant way to start a new year. So as I prepare for Wednesday and think about the things I want to do in 2014, here are some of the things on my own list~~

~~first, the basics, of course: hanging out with my husband and the cats, which happens every day and is important because they all inspire me. Walking, which is essential to keeping the ideas flowing. Eating stuff I know is good for me because supporting myself mentally and physically is the base of everything I do, so it has to come first.

~~reading. That’s another given, of course. Readers can’t go a day without reading something, even if it’s just the inflight magazine in the seat pocket on the plane or the side of the cereal box at breakfast. I plan to read at least a couple chapters of something fabulous.

~~Stitching. For me, a day without hand stitching is a day that must have gone horribly, horribly wrong from the very start. I get up, eat a cookie, make a cup of coffee, and head to the sunniest room in the house with whatever hand-sewing I’m working on.

 

~~Writing. I’ll write something because I can’t go a day without it, even if it’s only a Facebook status update that I hope will make someone laugh. Writing is my way of communicating with the world and with myself: I write to find out what I think and to capture ideas that would otherwise escape.

 

~~Dancing, even if it’s just me in the office by myself. I love to dance, and I don’t much care where or when. It’s great exercise, but that’s not it. Sometimes you can’t *not* dance, like some random piece of music grabs you and yanks you out of your chair and gets your brain sparking in ways nothing else does, something about the heart pumping and not-thinking-just-moving, which is key. I don’t think square dancing or line dancing would have quite the same effect.

~~Yoga. The stretching seems to loosen up not only my body but my brain, as well. Sometimes I keep a notebook and pen near the mat because ideas keep popping into my head.

~~Meditation, because that’s another thing that really invites ideas. When the chatter in your brain quiets down, those half-formed ideas can make their way up into your consciousness.

~~A nap. I’ve recently become a fan of naps, something I avoided for most of the middle of my life, which is odd: when I was in college, I lived for naps. They were what I looked forward to in those early-morning labs when only coffee was holding me upright. In the last year I’ve re-discovered there’s a whole dreamworld full of amazing ideas just waiting for me to visit, and taking a late-afternoon nap gives me fresh energy for working on a project after dinner.

And at some point I’ll lie on the daybed in the sewing studio, in the sunny (I hope) window with a glass of wine, covered by sleeping cats. It’s not something I’ll do every day, or maybe any other day all year (because it kind of brings your productivity to a screeching halt, that sun and wine and pile of purring felines who refuse to let you get up and get back to work), but it’s a lovely way to bring in a new year when you’re spending the rest of the day doing all the things you love.

 

Happy New Year—and may yours be full of all the things you love best! XO

Creative time and spaceRicë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.

 

 

 


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