My initiatory, bardic year has officially come to a close and now I can look back and reflect on some things I've learned, what I've accomplished, and what I didn't.
First, I didn't accomplish any of my goals from my initial vow, though I did get a bit more than halfway through the Bardic Handbook and did a lot of the exercises. I did hold one women's creativity group meeting, but that fizzled out about as soon as it came together. I barely danced, I didn't make a costume... but I may have repaired a few things... and I didn't write even one song!
I did a little better with my second vow. The first goal was that I decide to matter everyday. While I didn't consciously do this everyday, I like to think that I accomplished this one. It has been a process, but now I know that I matter, what I do matters, and hey, you matter too! I also met my goal of 30 consecutive days of creative action (even though it may not have been exactly consecutive). I have to say, that it was really fun and it brought some important things to light, mainly that creative actions can be microscopic in the greater scope of things, and still have a profoundly positive impact on one's life. Making the intention to do just one creative thing every day, made me feel good, successful and less stressed. I love that I didn't define what that creative act had to be, it just had to be creative. I did it because it was fun, and for no other reason. That is what remembering how to play looks like, and there's nothing better than playing, am I right?
Okay, so I didn't go out and sing a bunch with others, in performances or otherwise. I didn't get a hammered dulcimer, write a lullaby for my baby ("hey, I don't suppose you want to come out now, do ya?") or put on a bardic salon. I did, however, discover that I don't want to pressure myself to sing, to be a singer or do anything having to do with music unless the passion for those things returns unbidden. The fact is, I just don't feel it anymore... and I'm okay with that. As for the dulcimer, I'd still like to get one someday, but hey, why rush a good thing? If I'm meant to have one, I will have one, when I'm ready for it. The bardic salon got traded in for a blessingway, which was a beautiful preparation for my impending initiation into motherhood. I shared this event with my closest lady friends and wouldn't trade it for a billion bardic salons. The lullaby I was going to write for my baby is living inside of me, just waiting to be sung the first time I hold her in my arms. I've sung many a lullaby for other people's kids when I was a nanny, and I anticipate that it will be just as much of regular ritual with my daughter as it was with all the other little ones I've loved. These lullabies just don't get recorded or written down. They live in the moment, channeled in soft and gentle tones, exactly as they need to be for baby and me, and that's what's so wonderful and magical about them.
So, things didn't turn out how I anticipated. I had no idea that this year would bring with it all of the intense life changes and revelations that it has. That's why I didn't accomplish all of the specific goals I set for myself. Maybe on another plane, my life would have danced in and out of circumstances that favored my realization of the (rather arbitrary) things I was aiming for, but here, it just wasn't meant to be. The biggest lesson I've learned from all of this is that taking life as it comes with a good measure of grace and acceptance, will always lead to the most important accomplishment in life, that of growing even deeper in to your highest potential. What more could I ask for? After all, this whole project was ultimately meant to bring me to a greater place of self-understanding, a more solid foundation from which to stand (or jump, or dance), and to help me find a stronger connection to my creative self, my God-self, and my Creator. In that context, I can say, mission accomplished! Yay for me!
There is another lesson I take from all of this, which may not be as profound as the one above, but I think it will help me as I move forward (and maybe it will help you too). I picked way too many goals all at once. Sure, they were all interrelated, but really, I could have taken one of the goals from my lists and spent an entire year on it. I tend, in my ADD sort of way, to want to do it all NOW, thank you very much! Unfortunately, all that multitasking actually leads to lower levels of productivity and sub-par outcomes. It's overwhelming and usually impossible. Considering my circumstances, I don't feel bad that I didn't accomplish most of my goals, but I recognize that under different ones and in the past, this lack of accomplishment would have made me feel like a failure. It's no surprise, that piling on more than one person can reasonably handle is just setting them up for the fall. I realize now that I need to be more realistic about what I can actually handle at any given time. I am not a super woman with two brains and six arms, so I shouldn't set goals that require such mutations. In the course of this year, I have learned some things that will help to improve my goal setting abilities. The most important thing I've learned for goal-setting (and life) is patience. I finally have some of it. Yeah, amazing, I know. In order to have patience, I have also had to foster the ability to go with the flow, let go and to be grateful for what I have in the present. Now I know better when to persevere, when to give up and when to shift gears and I don't beat myself up for any of it! Yowzers! This is big, it's huge, it's super awesome and profound and I am endlessly grateful for this shift in me.
So, now what? Well, now I'm going to keep learning about how to patiently aim towards my goals, one tiny step at a time, all whilst going easy on myself and you know, having some fun. In fact, I'm not gonna even bother setting goals for myself if they aren't fun for me. What's the point? I'm not doing anybody any favors by setting out to accomplish things that I don't want to do, just cause "I have to" or whatever. I'll only be helping y'all out if I stay true to my heart and go for my wildest dreams. Why not join me in the process? I'll be blogging all about it over here, just for fun, of course!
Oh, and I can't forget...
I now pronounce myself a more wizened bard than the novice bard I began this year as. I am now officially, a Bard of Life (in my second year in a lifetime of years to come)! So ends this journey. Thanks for joining me, it's been great!