I love how holidays have a way of making you stop and focus.
It’s really what they’re there for. Most of the time, you walk up the staircase of life with your eyes on the step right ahead of you. Special annual events have a way of getting you to lift your gaze for a bit and put your attention on the whole staircase, or somewhere else entirely.
In November, there are two days in particular that never fail to sharpen my focus:
My birthday, which always gets me thinking about what I’ve done with my life so far, and what I want to have done by the time my days on the planet are over.
And Thanksgiving, which brings my attention to the many blessings in my life.
As I’ve been writing in my upcoming e-book, gratitude is one of the keys to overall happiness. And cheesy as it may sound, I try to keep an “attitude of gratitude” all year round. I really do pay attention, several times a day, in fact, to what’s going well, and what I’m grateful for.
But staying focused on any one thing can be a challenge, especially in this age of short attention spans, so I’m thankful for Thanksgiving, which reappears like clockwork every fall to remind me to put some special attention on gratitude.
I feel particularly blessed this year.
Only two years ago I was in financial straits, in a relationship that didn’t support me, and which (though I didn’t know it at the time) was about to implode, leaving me in even more serious financial straits. Perhaps worse than that, I was disconnected from my creative passions, burned out, stuck, and completely at a loss about what to do next.
A year ago, at Thanksgiving dinner I was hobbling around in a knee brace after major reconstructive surgery, but I’d alchemized the broken relationship and burnout into a more fulfilling, creative life than ever.
Today, although I still have a big ‘ol mountain of debt, I’m paying a fraction of the interest that I was a year and two years ago, and I’m on track (Universe-willing) to pay it down by my original target date of Valentine’s Day 2003.
I’m in the most loving, supportive relationship of my life (I honestly didn’t know they could come like this. Why didn’t somebody tell me years ago?)
I’m back doing yoga, walking, getting up and down stairs without issue, even throwing the football around with my sweetie, and my knee is 90% improved.
Best of all, though, I’m more creatively engaged, inspired and actively involved than I’ve been in my entire life! On of my favorite things in my yoga classes is at the end, when we’re seated on the floor with hands in prayer position, and the teacher invites us to take a moment to think of something we’re thankful for. My creativity, and ability to engage with it, is always top of mind.
Here are just a few of the things I’m truly grateful for in my creative life:
- Since February, I’ve created over 150 finished works of art (100 of which you’ll find in my new mini coffee table book).
- I have a small (and growing) body of original songs to my name, all of which delight me. (This week I got to record them in a professional studio for free! Watch for info about how to get your hands on them when they’re ready for prime time!)
- I discovered the ukulele (uke!) and have realized my long-time dream of performing my songs solo.
- I’ve rediscovered a love for writing that got lost for several years, and thanks to the internet I get the incredible gratification of knowing that sometimes what I write makes a difference for someone else.
- I’m growing a heart-centered, profitable business that utilizes my various creative outlets to change the world, one Creative at a time. (Thanks, especially, to the brilliant Sinclair for helping me gain clarity around how to do that in a way that feels really good.)
- Thanks again to the internet, and the life’s work of Steve Jobs, I have amazing tools at my disposal to create in ways I could have only fantasized about a couple of decades ago, and I get to share my creations with people around the globe!
- I’ve been building a loving, supportive community of Creatives, who inspire and energize me, and keep me charging ahead with my creative life in ways that feed all of us.
- I’m currently involved in four (4!) super-fun and exciting joint venture business projects that are juicing up my creativity in ways that would simply not be possible on my own.
(Curious about that last one?
One of my joint ventures is ArtEmpowers.Me, the online course I built with Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist, to teach artists to deprogram themselves of the “starving artist” mindset and learn to thrive from their art. Doors open again on Monday for new members.
One is the freshly unveiled Day of Genius, a day-long, live streaming virtual retreat for that I’m presenting with Michelle Nickolaisen of Let’s Radiate, to help you start 2012 off right. [If you’re on my mailing list, you should have gotten an email about a special offer just for members. Not on my mailing list? Sign up at top right and I’ll send you all the deets. Or take advantage of our Early-Bird Special, Tuesday through Friday next week.]
The others? Let’s just say one is taking place next year in Istanbul [yep, as in Turkey], and one is taking place, um, somewhere on the Caribbean. Or maybe the Pacific. We’re not entirely sure yet. Stay tuned!)
The complete list of things I’m thankful for is, of course, significantly longer than a single blog post could contain. Just one that I have to include, though: later today, right after I click “publish,” in fact, I’m headed over to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner, and the fact that they are nearby, healthy and active, and part of my life, is a source of tremendous joy for me. (Thanks Mom and Pop. If you’re reading this, I love you guys, and I’m so grateful you’re in my life!)
In short, I’m thankful to be living the creative life I really, really want. My Blisses are evolving, and by gum I’m following them!
Tell me, what are you thankful for in your creative life this year?
PS – Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!