By now the glitz and glitter of the holiday season are behind us, a time of brightly colored packages tied up with ribbons—but also a time of harried running around for many of us.
Perhaps, now, we can pause. We can catch our breath.
And we can look forward to another year on the calendar. We’re still deep in the belly of winter. For Pagans, we’ll mark Imbolc on February 1, a celebration of the slightest quickening of the earth, of impending spring. And it’s still a long march forward to Ostara, the spring equinox, when daffodils trumpet the season and robins sing their merry tunes.
No, those of us in the northern, colder climes can look forward to trudging through snowdrifts and returning home to curl up under a blanket with a cup of steaming tea and a good book.
But there is a gift in these colder months. Winter is a time of stillness, of reflection, of rest. We can renew ourselves and look forward to the year ahead. We can plan our goals for the year just as we would plan our gardens.
Too many times, we sally forth without a clear vision. I am called, again and again lately, to Mary Oliver’s lovely phrase in her poem “The Summer Day”:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
I spent much of 2017 scattered, and through that scattered energy, I found a renewed call to my purpose: to live a life that blends simplicity with whimsy, the everyday with the magical, creativity with calling. Above all, I am a storyteller. I took on too many things in 2017, trying to be and do too much, trying to make everyone happy, trying to live a life that satisfied other people’s definitions. I was exhausted. On the day before Yule, I woke up feeling awful, burnt out and stressed. It was a wake-up call to focus on what mattered, to return to my creative center. Out of that scattered chaos I found renewed purpose. To eat healthier. To care for my body, my mind, and my soul. To focus on my creative gifts. To simply be. To create from my center, my heart.
My goals for 2018 are to revise and polish several of my manuscripts and send them off on submission. As far as the first quarter–or “round”–of the year goes, I have several upcoming, self-imposed deadlines. My deadline for submitting Oak-Bound is January 8. My deadline for submitting Spellfire’s Kiss is March 3.
I’d also like to finish a draft of another story finished by the end of March–possibly Riverspell, the sequel to Spellfire’s Kiss, or one of my unfinished novellas, such as Fates Entangled or Silver’s Stray. Both of these have drafts finished but aren’t ready to be submitted yet. I’d like to get a draft of either finished, but Riverspell somehow feels more pressing.
On the home front, I’d like to continue various projects in our townhouse and continue my massive decluttering project. If I can tackle one project per month related to this goal, I’ll be satisfied with that.
I’ll also continue teaching English as a Second Language and, perhaps, branch out to animal rescue and take in a foster dog or two.
Magic. Simplicity. Creativity. Whimsy. These are what I strive for as I move forward.
The winter solstice has passed. The days are growing longer.
Perhaps, the signs of quickening are here. Even in the cold, short days of winter, the promise of spring remains. One need only look to the evergreens to remind us of the sleeping promise of the earth.
What about you? What are your plans for 2018? What are some of the words you’d use to define your “purpose?”