I usually make resolutions on New Year’s Eve, put them in an envelope, and seal it until years later when I’m feeling nostalgic. This time I bailed. I kept thinking I should continue this tradition, but just put it off. As an ardent fan of resolutions and lists in general, I wondered if something was wrong (pandemic, Betty White).
Maybe this year should be different. I don’t know. What do I know? With questions like this, I typically pick up a book or watch a show. It’s an easy save. Taking in someone else’s creativity helps me figure out what to do next. Today, though, I have no such desire. It’s time for a little introspection sans outside noise.
Often, when I need guidance or inspiration I have this trusty exercise. The best part is that it’s free and entirely up to me. No astrology, Fitbit, Noom, or pulse oximeter to show me the way.
It involves asking myself one question:
What do I need to know today?
I find a blank piece of paper and pick up my crappiest pen (à la Natalie Goldberg). The question hands in my head and I wait. Then, my hand just moves along, creating words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages. I’m never quite sure what will emerge but when I reach an end, I go back and read. What I find always shocks me. Asking this question usually unleashes powerful feelings, benevolent ones. There is a message from somewhere that turns out to be exactly what I need to know today.
Writing reveals so many mysteries about who you are.
A secondary advantage to this exercise is loosening up the creative muscles, which don’t get a lot of use during Below Deck: Mediterranean marathons. I remember that I have my own stories. They need to get out somehow, so a little guided scribbling can be the right brain’s perfect Drano.
So what do you need to know today?