Weekly Reflection 2017 – 01

Three ways I shone this week:

  • One: I worked really hard this week to get a bunch of logistical tasks out of the way so my teams can move forward.
  • Two: I tried to be patient and kind to my son when he was struggling. Not sure if this counts as I find these moments are never the perfect way I wish they were. I am flawed and say as many wrong things as I say “right,” so I walk away unsure of how much they helped.
  • Three: I have been working on nourishing myself more and better.

I celebrate: getting back into the groove of life even though i wasn’t sure I was ready.
I am grateful for: having a three-day workweek this week. it made the transition a bit easier.
I nourished myself by: eating a lot more vegetables this week. especially spinach. i love spinach.
Reflecting on my worries: i worried that it would be a disaster going back to work. i would be disconnected, things wouldn’t come back to me, etc. it didn’t happen. i love my job and was able to come in and be impactful pretty quickly. what’s funny is that i was worried about this and it didn’t happen but a bunch of stuff I didn’t think to worry about did happen and this is just another proof that i need to stop worrying so much because it doesn’t actually help.
I let go of: my email. i didn’t even bother to try to read all my mail from December. I might never get to.
Core Desire Check-in (bold, mindful, nourish, love): 

  1. I made several bold moves at work this week, trying to make sure i could get better connected to some of my teams. i was scared but it worked out okay, i am proud of myself.
  2. I had some moments this week that required more equanimity than I usually can pull off. I had mixed results. Sometimes i wasn’t able to contain myself and yelled despite the fact that I didn’t want to. Other times, I held my tongue but only for a while and then exploded. Neither was great. But I did succeed in a few instances too. So maybe it’s like 3 steps forward, 2 steps back?
  3. I have been doing a pretty good job on nourishment. It’s been extremely hard to break habits (but also eye-opening of course.)
  4. And love. Well, I’ve had more grumpy moments than I’d like to admit. I’ve realized that when I am rushing, I am not at my best (is this really surprising??)

What made me laugh this week: my book, Learning to Swear in America. It was great. Also The Middle, TV show. And of course my boys who really love Calvin and Hobbes so much.
What I tolerated this week: getting up early. i don’t like having to wake up at 6. I wish it were 7. also giving up coke zero and my latte.
My mood this week was: some really low moments but some high ones filled with gratitude.
I forgive myself for: being less than my perfect self at least in three major incidents this week. once to david, once to nathaniel and once to Jake. It seems I covered the whole list :( Graciously, they all forgave me, so now it’s my turn to forgive myself.
What I love right now: I still really love my Christmas tree. I am not ready to take it down. Is that awful? I told myself I get one more week but a part of me wishes I could have the shimmer all year long.

Week one is over already. Here’s to a wonderful week two!

January 2017 – Loving Hearts – 5

You can read about the start of this project here.

karenika.com

It says: Because you are alive everything is possible.


Loving Hearts is a Monthly Project for January 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

January 2017 – Loving Hearts – 4

You can read about the start of this project here.

karenika.com

It says: There is a sun within every person.


Loving Hearts is a Monthly Project for January 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

Books I Read This Week 2017 - 01


I started the year by finishing The Regional Office is Under Attack! I had read in several end of year lists that it was an amazing book. That it was a bit like Hitchicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I have this pet peeve about how books should just never be compared to classics. I hate it when I read that a book is like Catcher in the Rye or another book I love. I feel like it’s just setting the author up for disappointment. While I might have liked this book on its own, I will now be comparing it to this completely different book. Not wise. Anyhow, this book was ok. It was funny in parts and not so funny in other parts. It was definitely quirky and different. I feel it started strong and funny and sort of fizzled out in the end.

I then read Wolf by Wolf because I had it for an upcoming book club meeting. I had no idea what it was about and hadn’t read the blurb before I started it (which is quite rare for me.) So I didn’t know it was about WWII. I usually avoid books about World War II but each year seem to end up reading a few. This was wildly different than any other one I’ve read and I really really enjoyed it. It’s YA so the pacing was quite fast and action filled. And there was a bit of a supernatural bend to it. I really enjoyed this one and am glad I read it.


Books I Read this Week 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

Nourish Me – 01

When I was thinking about 2017, it became clear to me that one of the main focus areas I want to have for this year is feeling more nourished. I want to feed myself whole, healthy and nourishing food for my mind, body, and soul. This means I am not only mindful with what I eat but I am also mindful with what I read, what I watch, what I say and do. To me, this is the bare minimum work I have to do to get to a place where I can shine. So my plan here is to set goals and track my nourishment in an effort to encourage myself and be more mindful. I haven’t figured out a more detailed plan than that but I am having faith that one will come together soon. If it doesn’t, I’ll make a more concerted effort to make one.

Since this is the first week, I will start this one with goals instead of tracking.

Mind:

  • I read: I would like to read a little about positivity and eating whole this week. I would like to have a list of foods that are both nutritious and filling.
  • I learned: I plan to start a new class this week. I will give details on it next week, I will spend some time picking one.
  • I watched: I was going to write that I’d like to watch a TED talk each week but I am not sure I do. Maybe I do. I’m going to be thinking about this one, too. Any ideas on worthwhile things to watch in general is welcome.

Body:

  • Exercise: My plan here is to start small. While I love making the puzzles I’ve been making lately, they’ve resulted in a lot of joint paint. My back and jaw and my left knee all seem to be in a lot of pain. So, one goal for this week is to rest all of these body parts. I would like to pick a small exercise, maybe the 7-minute one and do it twice every day. That would be a solid start for me.
  • Food: My plan here might be a bit too drastic, but we’ll see. I would like to just jump in and eat only whole foods this week. Not Whole 30 or any diet plan, just foods that are fresh. I’d like to eat nothing processed. No coffee, no diet coke. Tea and water instead. Let’s see how I do.
  • Skin: This should be simple, but you never know. I’d like to put moisturizer on every day. My skin, my feet.
  • Floss: Also, should be simple. Just once a day before bed.
  • And More: If I can pull it off, I’d like to meditate for 5 minutes. Is that body, mind or soul? Maybe all three?

Soul:

  • I rested: I would like to sleep for at least eight hours each night. I am better when I get solid sleep. I’d also like to make sure I don’t drink tea or eat anything three hours before bed. I think that will help me sleep more easily.
  • I connected: I will be spending time with my friend Adam this week and would love to connect with Laura and Leslie, too, but honestly, this week is about connecting back with work and getting back into routine. If I manage to get back into the groove of things by the end of the week, I’ll call it a success.
  • I journaled: My plan is to journal for 20 minutes each morning. Let’s see if I can pull it off.
  • I made art: I made my One Little Word art earlier this week and also my January art. I will see if I can plan my February art this week.
I know this is a lot. I will take it slow and see what I can do. A little is better than nothing. I can do this.

Nourish Me Week 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

January 2017 - Loving Hearts - 3

You can read about the start of this project here.

karenika.com

It says:  Only from the heart can you touch the sky.


Loving Hearts is a Monthly Project for January 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 01 – One Little Word Class

 

I take a lot of classes each year. I take classes on self-reflection, classes about drawing, literature, mixed media, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I have found over the years that taking classes is a way for me to take the time to do the things I already want to do. If I decide I want to learn to sketch on my own, I might never make the time for it, but if I take a sketching class, I will take the time to do my homework, to listen to the lectures, and to practice. I am a dutiful student which means that taking classes is a good strategy for me to encourage myself to move in the direction I want.

Ali’s One Little Word is one of my very favorites. I’ve taken this course since she’s started offering it. Initially at Big Picture Scrapbooking and then on her own site. It has the magical combination of reflection, art, mixed media and scrapbooking. This is one of those classes where I might not learn a new skill each month, but I am learning how to live my life more intentionally. I am learning more about myself. I am learning more about how I want to live my life. I am learning to pause and reflect on my life while I am living it.

This class has never let me down. Here’s to starting the year intentionally.


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

January 2017 – Loving Hearts – 2

You can read about the start of this project here.

karenika.com

It says: Life is only as good as your mindset.


Loving Hearts is a Monthly Project for January 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

January 2017 – Loving Hearts – 1

As January approached I couldn’t get myself motivated to put a project together. I was still resting, still trying to relax, so I decided to keep things really lowkey. To honor my core desired feeling of “love” I decided to paint some hearts and couple them with some lovely quotes by rumi, thich nhat hanh, khalil gibran and others who inspire me. sometimes all you need is a simple little project to get started.

karenika.com

It says: Your hearts knows the way. Run in that direction.


Loving Hearts is a Monthly Project for January 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

Living Intentionally 2017 - 01

Weekly Intention: This is an atypical week for me. I will still be on vacation on Monday and Tuesday, so first day back at work is Wednesday and the same goes for the kids. Which means that the first half of this week, I want to focus on resting and reading and taking the last bits of time for myself. And then I would like to spend the second half of the week getting back into the groove of things. Catching up on my immense amount of email, getting into an exercise and food routine, doing the assignment I had for the volunteer work at David’s school, etc. I don’t expect to do a ton this week but just feeling caught up, making some intentional plans and slowly integrating back into life would be a good place to start.
This month’s intention is: Rise and Shine. Hit the ground running.
Ways to Shine this week:

  • One: Bold: Showing up at work on Friday.
  • Two: Open/Reflect: Listening and reflecting on Thursday when I am at David’s school for Lit Club.
  • Three: Heal: Journaling for my January OLW work.

I am looking forward to: the next two days of rest and then slowly getting back into routine.
This week’s challenges: easing back into work will definitely be challenging.
Top Goals:

  • Work: catch up on email. finish mentor matching.
  • Personal:  create nourish routine.
  • Family: create some routine for Nathaniel and math.

I will focus on my core desires (bold, mindful, nourish, love) by: journaling, making a plan, starting to slowly integrate one thing at a time into my daily life.
This week, I will say yes to: being here now. not resisting. not wanting something else. just being here.
This week, I will say no to: negative thinking. overwhelm.
I am worried that: i will not have enough time to catch up on the things I want to catch up on.
This week, I want to remember: to just take it one moment at a time. and that i work well with plans and should make some. it takes time but it’s always worth it.

Hello 2017!

2017 - Plans and Projects

My goals for the blog in 2016 were relatively contained and that worked relatively well for me. Here’s some of what worked well:

  • Monthly art projects: I did indeed make 20 pieces of art each month. I loved all of them. Some months were really small and none of the months were really big but I loved them all.
  • Living Intentionally and Weekly Reflection posts were my favorite and even though I have some 15 weeks off in the middle of the year, I loved doing these and feel that they were the strongest contributors to my year of choosing wisely.
  • Stories from 2016 were lovely. Intermittent at times but I have 46 stories that would otherwise have never been told.
  • Today I Choose was a bust. I just didn’t have the time to do the sketches or even the journaling. This was lovely while it lasted but I couldn’t keep up.
  • Reading – well this one wasn’t a problem. Actually it sort of was in a different way but more on that in another post.
So all in all, 2016 wasn’t terrible considering the goals I had. I sketched, lettered and used a lot of watercolors. I worked on my health some but really nowhere nearly enough. I reflected and set intentions. I didn’t journal daily. I didn’t paint enough but I told some stories. I didn’t take enough photos but I read a lot. You win some, you lose some.
Areas to Improve:
  • Nutrition, exercise, self-care
  • Schedule

Reflection:

  • OLW & Core Desired Feelings – how much I am honoring them
  • Daily journaling

Things that Make me Happy:

  • art time
  • photos and telling our stories
  • reading
For 2017, I decided to keep the same structure, sort of, with more of a set focus on my core desired feelings.
  • Monday: Living Intentionally: This is the same as last year. I want to think purposefully each week and set goals, choices, projects for just that week. I try to write these on Sunday nights. These help me be more mindful. They will also help me identify ways in which I can shine.
  • Tuesday: Stories from 2017: I will give this one more try in 2017. Let’s see if I can do it. I think it will also help me take more photos from my life. It helps me feel grateful and present.
  • Wednesday: Nourish – This is something I want to make a main focus in 2017 so I want to do reflection specifically around ways I am choosing to nourish my mind, body and soul. I plan to have a specific format for this.
  • Thursday: Books This Week – I will talk about the books I read this week. Or recently. If I haven’t read anything new, I’ll talk about something else. Maybe what I want to read? :)
  • Friday: Weekly Reflection: This, too, is the same as 2016. These posts help me to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work so I can set proper intentions for the following week.

These are the only weekly projects I will commit to. And even these I might do more irregularly, we’ll see. These all mean something to me and I’d like to do them and I believe almost all are pretty doable. We’ll see what surprises 2017 has in store for me.

For art I’d like to do what I did last year.  20 items a month. I don’t have something in my pocket like I usually do for January so we’ll see if I can hit the ground running this year but I will do the best I can. Here are some preliminary ideas of some themes I might do.

  • Lettering
  • Collage
  • Sketching
  • Doodling/Zentangling
  • Mantras/My Word
  • Art Journaling
  • Quotes
  • Photo a Day
  • Month in the Life?
  • Watercolor Blossoms
  • Faces
  • December Daily
  • Fashion Ladies
  • Line Drawing
  • Chalk Art

All of these might happen, none of them might happen. I might repeat projects. I might do wildly different things. I commit to doing something but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Here’s to a wonderful 2017.  Here’s to doing more art. Here’s to making time to enjoy art. Here’s to learning new things. Here’s to practicing more. Here’s to reflecting. Being intentional. Creating a positive cycle. Here’s to shining inside and out.

2017 - Core Desired Feelings

 

As with all the previous years, I knew I wanted to pick my core desired feelings this year, too. If you want to know more about core desired feelings, please go to my post from last year and you can see the links there.

I struggled with the process this year because I realized that I walked into the process with some attachment. I’d already picked a few words that I wasn’t willing to give up and I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to go. Unlike how I felt in 2015, I was ready to let go of my words from this year. Maybe that’s because I focused on them a lot more this year than I ever did before, thanks to my weekly intention posts.

Even though I was feeling a weird attachment and no desire to do the exercises, I decided to give it a go anyway. I told myself that I would do it and see if anything emerged.

And of course it did. Because when I do these exercises, things always emerge.

I am learning that there’s a pattern to my words each year. I always pick something around peacefulness, something around being brave, something around being open, and then maybe a few new ones.

Here’s what I came up with this year and what they each mean to me:

  • Bold: This is my brave word for this year. I want to be bold. Take adventures. Be strong. Speak up. Take chances. Try new things. Take myself to the edges of my discomfort. Be willing to fail. Live in full color. I want to show up to my life. I want to always be pushing my boundaries. I think this lines up with shine wonderfully. Bold helps me go big. Be my bravest self.
  • Mindful: I struggled with this word a lot. This started as easy. Mostly because I so deeply wish I were easy. I wish I wasn’t one of those people who needs to have certain things go exactly how I want it. I wish I wasn’t neurotic in some of the ways I am. I wish I were easier going. But I think that’s not what core desired feelings are for. At least not for me. Then I switched this to serene but I’ve had that before and that’s not the word I feel drawn to this time. I then thought of content which is my favorite feeling. Which then led me to google what the opposite of worry is. Because really what I want to feel is not worried. So then came this pot of gold. Mindful. Here’s what the article said: “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.” Yes. This is what I want. To be present in this moment. To pay attention to this moment. To soak in it.  I want to feel mindful. Be fully here and now.
  • Nourished: This one feels a bit like a catchall but honestly this was the one I just couldn’t put down. I want to feel nourished all over this year. Mind, body and soul. I want to feel strong in my body, I want to feel engaged in my mind, I want to feel alive in my soul. I want to feed myself healthy food both literally and figuratively. I want to walk away from everything toxic into everything nutritious.
  • Love: This one came to me as I sat to write this post. I looked at all the words I’d written as part of doing the exercise and everything seemed to have a home except for words like generous, worth it, valued, kind, giving, contributing, etc. So I wanted something that encompassed all. And love is the one that came to me. I want to feel love. Love for myself. I want to show the love I feel to the people around me more. Focus on the love. Give it. Generously. I think this, too, goes wonderfully with shine.

So there we are. Even though they still fall within the themes I seem to have each year, all of these feel new to me in their own way and I like them all. I want to feel all of them. And that’s what Core Desired Feelings is all about. Here’s to feeling bold, mindful, nourished and love in 2017.