Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Looking Back..and Ahead

As my friend Carri and I drove home from a ski trip last week, we discussed “New Years” resolutions and goals. We asked each other about the goals we set last year. I didn’t formally set any, but I’m always trying to better myself.

As I look back on this past year and the things I remember consciously telling myself “this is important to do” I can, in retrospect, see a cohesiveness and common purpose. And as I examine what I was trying to do, it has become clear that I was trying to heal my soul.

I think our confidence and spirit can be damaged in many ways by things that happen to us, people that hurt us, and mostly things we do to hurt ourselves. I decided I didn’t want to do anything to hurt myself; I didn’t want to deprive myself of opportunities for whatever reason, and I was going to embrace what I love without limiting myself or shrinking for fear of comments from critics (and my own demons). I was going to stop inventing obstacles or reasons why I shouldn’t have what I want.

In retrospect, I can see why certain things were important to me in 2008. I'll share some:

1) I began the year volunteering at the Capitol building as a docent. I adore that building. It was always something I looked to on the hill when I was young. It was almost a beacon, straight ahead; a focal point of beauty, truth and order. Being able to go inside seemed like a special privilege. Now I live a block and a half away from that building, and once it was restored and open to the public, I knew I wanted to be part of it’s history so I spent two weeks telling people about the architecture, the artwork and the function of the building. I loved it.

2) At the beginning of the year I decided I was going to take every opportunity I could get to travel in 2008. I have expressed before how important travel is to me. I need it to reboot my mind, to discover new things and indulge my curiosity. I went to D.C. with my dad and we packed our days with tours, lectures, performances, and what I maintain to be the best meal I can remember. I traveled to Wales, England and France with the Utah Chamber Artists. The best part about that trip was having my mother, brother, aunt, uncle and a couple cousins with me. Spending time away with them was a treat that doesn’t come around often enough. Going to Aruba with friends was the most relaxing and carefree trip of the year. No schedule, no expectations, just going with the flow – which is good for a planner like me. I visited my best friend in Idaho in November and there’s nothing like just sitting next to your best friend that reminds you who you are, what you love about yourself and what you want for yourself. New York City was just fun. I probably spent more money there without thinking about it, and if you decide beforehand that spending too much money is what you’re going to do, it is liberating.

3) In the fall, I joined the Utah Chamber Artists. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but always pushed aside. It has enriched my life in so many ways. Rehearsals are time consuming, but I love them. Performing again has been exciting. Sharing a common talent with 40 people that are so different from one another is a fun and unique experience. And being able to sing and spend time with my mother and my brother has made it even more rewarding.

4) Something that I never thought I would do was actually stick to a regular exercise regimen. I’m using “regular” and “exercise” so loosely, it’s ridiculous. But I instigated a weekly yoga class at work. I don’t do the gym, so I thought if I hired someone to come to ME and my coworkers, we would be more likely to accomplish our goal. So every Tuesday, we have a yoga instructor come to our building and about 6 or 7 of us spend an hour with him. It has taught me patience, calm, focus, and in many cases how to relax. I’m sure I’ll learn much more as we progress and our workouts get more challenging.

Healing your soul is a lifelong pursuit because life’s knocks will always come around. I plan to keep looking for ways to reintroduce myself to what I love and what I need.

I’ve been preparing for the next art exhibit here at my gallery. We are doing a commemorative show on an artist who passed away right before Thanksgiving. I am sorting through all his notebooks and am realizing that he collected a lot of affirmations and other encouraging quotes and articles to help him achieve his goals. I decided to use them in the exhibit. A couple really stood out to me and that is a definition of the word “elegance” that I never thought of before:

“Elegance is the use of the least amount of energy to accomplish what you are after. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That’s elegance.”

"To know what you want, to know why you want it, to have impeccability and a vision, and to step into it -- that is elegance."

Elegance is going to be one of my goals for 2009. I know it takes a lot of work to achieve what we want, but I believe we have a tendency to make things more difficult than they need to be. If we have clarity, vision and purpose and apply that to our decisions and behavior, we can accomplish what we are after with ease – and elegance.


Ilene said...

Loved this post. I'm scared to look back and evaluate my 2008 goal of being productive. Once I found out I was pregnant (surprise!), all productivity went out the window.

However, I can say that I had a very successful reproductive 2008.

By the way, I feel the exact way when I am with you. It has always annoyed me that I have not been able to put that feeling into words but you expressed it perfectly. Thank you for that. I'm entering into my own quote book.

Steph said...

That really was such a beautiful and poetic blog post. I love that definition of elegance. I already think of you as being an elegant person so maybe you don't have much farther to go to get there.

Lisa Marie Trent said...

kinda deep..

Jergs Family said...

I've decided that you need to be published! Everyone needs to read the things you write. This post was absolutely eloquent - (especially the part about being with family in Europe :))

P.S. When are we going to get together again as cousins?

Kelly D. said...

Very insightful and thought provoking post, Laura! I'm jealous of your travelogue and your deep self-reflection :)

I'm with Ilene. Years where I reproduce kinda end up being about survival. So my goal for 2009 is basically just to get through it and enjoy my babies as much as I possibly can. But now I'm going to add doing it with as much elegance as possible, thanks to you!