Today is a powerful energy day! Not only is it a new moon, but it’s also Losar (Tibetan New Year) and Chinese New Year. The year of the fire monkey. In Tibetan Astrology, Phillipe Cornu describes the year of monkey as:
“extremely rich and holds many surprises—anything can happen. This is a year in which one must be cunning and seize new initiatives. All opportunities are open and one should be flexible enough to take advantage of them. This is a year of daring progress, not for the slow or timid.”
Well, count me in! I spent the first month of 2016 working hard to steer my life in a new direction by transforming from the inside out. I have been experiencing some pretty incredible shifts that leave me feeling a sense of hopeful anticipation, and I’d like to share a little of the magic with you!
I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been working with a new and inspiring tool: Leonie Dawson’s 2016 Create Your Shining Year in Life workbook. I carry it with me everywhere and have been using it to brainstorm goals, set intentions, and map out my year. It’s an incredibly motivating resource.
One of the most powerful features of the workbook is the “100 Things to Do in 2016” list. This is a list of things large and small that I would like to make happen this year. Although it was a little intimidating at first, I managed to come up more than 100 ideas and could have kept going. But I decided it would serve me better to limit it to 100, so I moved some off the list and onto the back burner for future consideration. Some of the items are things I’ve wanted to do for a long time or am curious about. Others are activities that will force me to stretch out of my comfort zone and say yes to things I’ve been resisting all my life – things that don’t come easily to me at all. I’ve already accomplished some of the goals on my list and feel that the list helps me to live a more amplified and creative life in greater alignment with my true self and really gets the energy flowing! I feel so much more engaged and alive and have no room for thoughts that used to weigh me down.
Throughout January, I worked on creating my “100 list” and mapping as many items as possible into my 2016 planner. I find that mapping it prevents me from trying to take on too much all at once. When it’s written in my planner, I can take a deep breath and know I will get to it in time. And with a few different balls up in the air, mapping it out ensures that I will attend to seasonal tasks (such as developing summer workshops/classes and creating inventory for my Etsy shop) without missing the boat. There are other, smaller items that I couldn’t pencil in right off the bat but will revisit at the end of each month to consider whether the time is right to add them to my planner. For instance, this month one of my more lighthearted goals is to take a tai chi class. It’s been nearly 30 years since I tried tai chi. It’s something I’m curious about and feel drawn to. I want to give it a try to see if I like it. See if it’s something that might be useful. If not, I can at least say I tried it. Keep the chi flowing!
My 100 list keeps me on track with my goals – many of which are about putting an infrastructure in place for my creative work and newly launched photography business. My focus on infrastructure includes technical knowledge, technology, social media, and the “business piece” that will allow me to do what I love more effectively and efficiently and generate more income from it. The business piece is not something I have ever enjoyed or felt comfortable doing but is something I cannot avoid if I want to make a living doing what I love.
Another aspect of the infrastructure I’m putting in place involves the thoughts I think and how I utilize my feelings to direct my thoughts and raise my vibration. Eckhart Tolle maintained, “You attract and manifest whatever corresponds to your inner state,” and I am finding that working on my inner state is critical – every bit as critical as taking action.
My main outcome is to feel good. I’m letting inspiration, intuition, and curiosity drive me and see where I go, and my 100 list is my roadmap. There are a few items that are really big goals for which I have listed and mapped several steps. So I have some particular destinations in mind, but I’m also open to possibilities that arise in the process. It’s a monkey year, after all!
Maybe it will turn out that something related to what I’m already doing will be how I generate the bulk of my income. Or maybe something I’ll discover in the process will lead me to new, lucrative opportunities I’m not yet aware of. I am experimenting with following what I feel drawn to and living a bigger, more colorful, dynamic, amplified, engaged, and inspired life!
A lot of work went into creating my 100 list. In the process, I:
- Brainstormed by filling out workbook sections for creative, soul, mind, relationship, family, body, house, travel and adventure, finances, community, self-care, and support goals
- Created “magical mountain maps” for my two biggest goals
- Went through my Pinterest boards to find intriguing ideas I haven’t tried yet
- Was inspired by other women’s lists and ideas shared in the Facebook group of (mostly) women who are using the workbook
- Drew upon resources including: notes from presentations I attended, lightning flash inspirations, advice from my spiritual guide, and inspiring materials I came across in the process of purging household possessions
- Recalled things I’ve been wanting to do but never got around to.
After creating my 100 list, I grouped the items into categories, prioritized them, and put the most important and/or urgent ones in my planner. In addition, I broke down two of my biggest goals into smaller steps and put each step into my planner. It probably sounds like a great deal of work – and it is – but I find great value in doing it because it helps me to:
- Really take inventory of my dreams and desires and map out a course of action
- Remember what is most important to me – and make each day count
- Challenge myself to stretch out of my comfort zone and grow
- Keep life juicy and inspired
- Brainstorm and notice what resonates most – and focus on that
- Stay on track and get the work done to manifest my goals.
I carry my “manifestation tote bag” everywhere. It is my magical tool box that includes:
- My workbook and companion diary planner
- Colored Sharpies (two different styles), including special metallic ones
- My gratitude journal
- Sketch book (because some of my goals are artistic)
- An inspirational book I’m reading
I also keep two highly inspiring audiobooks in my car to listen to as I’m driving around: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Wishes Fulfilled by Wayne Dyer.
I keep all these resources close to me at all times because you never know when ideas and inspiration will visit! The workbook is also a great source of support because I took the time to reflect on:
- How I want to spend my time (and use it more efficiently)
- My personal mottos and affirmations
- My strengths and “amazing habits”
- My sacred word for the year and ideas for embodying it
- My medicine bag of what I can turn to when I’m low on energy or inspiration
- “Things to do when everything sucks”.
…and a dream board that helps me to remember my dreams and intentions every day. (I keep it next to my bed so it’s the first thing I see when I wake up and then bring it downstairs so I’ll see it during the day.)
I also created two vision boards on Pinterest that I can keep adding to and changing around as I feel inspired. One is a general vision board, and the other is a photography vision board. And I keep labyrinth art in sight to remind me that sometimes when it seems like I’m far from reaching my goal, I’m just about there – so keep going!
As you can see, I’m serious about transforming my mind, energy, and life by surrounding myself with resources and reminders of my goals and intentions. When I hold them in my awareness, I have more energy and attract all kinds of clues, insights, possibilities, conversations, serendipity, and magic moments that I might not have noticed or encountered otherwise. My intuition is supercharged and at the wheel, and I am having a full-blown love affair with inspiration that makes it easier to deal with the stuff that isn’t so fun or doesn’t come easily. Life feels much more expansive than it used to, and I place my trust in that.
I also check in daily with a large online tribe of women who are also using the workbooks and a much smaller masterminding/support group. This community is an incredible support system. We share our goals and the progress we are making, celebrate one another’s accomplishments, and encourage one another when we experience blocks and setbacks. Reading the “100 lists” other women have shared was so inspiring and helped me to create my own list. That is why I will end this post by sharing my own list with you. Another benefit of sharing our lists is to communicate what we want to accomplish, and then we can let one another know about opportunities and resources we come across that might be of interest. Being part of this community guides me to so many useful and inspiring resources I might not have found on my own or so soon. It speeds everything up, and I feel ignited!
Although it may sound corny, I wake up in the morning and wonder what I will learn, create, and accomplish today and where I will find beauty and inspiration. That motivates me to spring out of bed ready to engage with intuition and curiosity and see where it leads. It gives me the energy to take action and go to the places that scare me, fueled by gratitude and intentions and supported by a community of kindred spirits. So far, I have discovered that the combination of inspiration, intuition, curiosity, and gratitude is magical and transformative and takes life up a notch! This is my year of experimenting with Alan Watts’ question: How would you really enjoy spending your life? I wonder where this journey will take me through the course of the year. So far, it is anything but status quo – which seems like an apropos way to begin this fire monkey year!
Before sharing my 100 list, I want to share two videos that have inspired me greatly. The first is narrated by Alan Watts
…and the second is a presentation by Elizabeth Gilbert: Flight of the Hummingbird: The Curiosity Driven Life (click on title to view video).
Here is my categorized
LIST OF 100 THINGS TO DO IN 2016
- Complete my book (multiple steps – mapped in my planner).
- Have a photography exhibit.
- Northern Lights
- A sunlit, frosted willow (Winter)
- Snowflakes (Winter)
- Really creative scenes featuring the full moon and a person and/or prop
- A spectacular sunrise or sunset over the ocean
- Pink water lilies
- Hot air balloons (Lake George Balloon Festival, September 22-25)
- [My daughter] (and other pregnant women)
- [My daughter] (and other new moms and babies)
- Hospice patients (capture the light/essence that shines through as the physical body becomes more transparent)
- Ocean waves (production quality)
- Fireflies in the back yard
- Write a poem inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem, “Gratitude”.
- Write about moments when I wished I’d had my camera.
- Practice calligraphy.
- Make a mandala from natural materials (Danmala for inspiration).
- Collect pressed flowers and ferns for art projects. (May-August)
- Create beautiful papers with acrylic inks and plastic wrap. (January)
- Make photo candles.
- Create zentangles.
- Decorate rocks with Sharpie and/or acrylic paint (and inspirational words).
- Record a guided meditation.
- Learn how to use the video function on my camera.
- Take a Lightroom and/or Photoshop course. (January-February)
- Finish reading the book about my camera.
- Attend presentations at Exposure (photography guild).
- Purge photo library.
- Create awesome résumés.
- Compose a really great Artist’s Statement.
- Connect with TB regarding photography biz.
- Learn all I can about wedding photography. (February-March)
- Buy a screen and another strobe for portrait/indoor photography. (February-March)
- Enter a photography contest.
- Get my photo coasters into stores for tourist season. (May)
- Apply for and receive an artist grant. (August – Community Arts Grant seminars)
- Participate in a craft fair. (September: SSPL Maker Faire)
Online Business & Social Media
- Redesign my website, and add a shopping feature.
- Boost social media following and mailing list dramatically.
- Master Instagram, and post daily.
- Sculpt Linked In presence.
- Share blog posts and images on Pinterest.
- Purge and migrate Flickr photos to a new platform. (Behance or Zenfolio?)
- Make branding consistent across all social media.
- Connect with JL about selling art online.
- Create and sell 100 calendars. (October-December)
- Have a giveaway to build my mailing list.
- Offer spirit lanterns via my Etsy shop.
- Explore passive income opportunities (including stock photography).
- Provide creative classes/workshops based on mini courses I’ve already developed, “the best of” my classroom activities, and what I am most passionate about.
- Create a course menu with descriptions and price ranges. (February)
- Re-establish a relationship with [a local independent school].
Finances & Prosperity
- Complete the Money Manifestation course (January)
- Make a habit of feeling my “Thriving Creative” money persona.
- Create a filing system for business expenses and record keeping.
- Resume my full student loan payments, and pay off Sallie Mae loan completely.
- Get into the habit of searching Craigslist for opportunities.
- Float monthly in a float tank.
- Go on retreat at Light on the Hill. (September)
- Do all the experiments in the E-Squared book by Pam Grout.
- Make a photo album of magic moments and serendipity.
- Make a gorgeous and inspiring physical vision board.
- Make and maintain a Pinterest vision board.
- Maintain a list of inspirational quotes to pair with images and share online.
- Practice leaning into and ventilating thoughts that arise with an emotional charge rather than getting hooked or resisting them.
- Discover and walk new labyrinths.
- Have an astrological reading with Rick Jarow.
- Experiment with tapping.
- Take a tai chi class.
- Participate in a drumming circle.
- Take yoga classes at the YMCA and/or online (Yoga with Adriene).
- Whip up a batch of body butter.
- Obtain a Comfort U body pillow.
- Have a gift massage from [a local massage studio].
- Buy a pair of hiking boots to replace the pair I had to discard.
Exploration & Travel
- Go to the beach.
- Visit [relatives] in Vancouver/Sunshine Coast. (May or August)
- Visit [friend] in Wyoming/Yellowstone.
- Visit Watkins Glen State Park when the fall foliage is at peak and photograph waterfalls. (October)
- Hike Cascadilla gorge.
- Hike Robert H. Treman State Park trail.
- Visit The Wild Center.
- Purge SO MUCH STUFF. If I don’t use it and it doesn’t bring me joy, let it go! (January-February)
- Create a home workshop/office space.
- Clean tarnished jewelry.
- Grow an herb garden. (May)
- Obtain a larger, comfortable bed.
Family & Relationships
- Take [my son] to visit Ithaca College.
- Attend and photograph Ava’s birth.
- Write a love letter to Ava.
- Watch Downton Abbey with Dad.
- Obtain a baby sling(s) for [my daughter].
- Use Hilton gift certificate.
- Make a meal for someone who could use it.
- Have a garage/estate sale.
- Hold gatherings for making spiritual, season-inspired art with other women.
- Leave positive, empowering messages in public places.
- Accept invitations from female friends.
© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer andRiver Bliss Photography (river-bliss.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.