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2017 Life Lessons (365 Creative Exercises & Prompts, Day 45)

2017 Life Lessons / CollectiviteaIt’s a lovely time of the year with its long, cold nights and short days with hazy sunshine. We are heading towards the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere. The holiday season is here, and there is also a new moon tomorrow. I know it’s fanciful, but the atmosphere has this feeling like it’s the beginning of something new. Is that just one of my feelings or do you feel it too? It’s the perfect time for some reflection and journaling. Plus it’s also the time of the year when people are making their ‘Best Of’ compilations for 2017. Best photographs, best travel destinations, best moments etc. For Day 45 (a whole 1.5 months of showing up everyday! woot, woot!) I thought we could compile our own list. The 2017 life lessons list! How about a list of 10 lessons that you’ve learnt this year? If that seems like a lot of lessons, please pick a number that resonates with you because I know there can be some years that are chockablock with lessons, and others that are gentler! I haven’t been sharing my answers to some of the creative prompts because we all have our individual journeys, and I didn’t want my interpretation to color yours. Today, however, I thought I would, because I know I always want to hear what someone’s life lessons are – sometimes, people share thoughts that are so powerful that having once heard them, we can never un-hear them again. It’s as if the lesson’s effects keep spreading like ripples on water, and reach more and more people. Not to say that these are all-powerful thoughts that I’m sharing, but there may be some that resonate with you.

My Day 45 Prompt: When I started writing today’s post, I thought I had learned 10 lessons in 2017 and maybe, even more than 10. (Not just 2017, but the last 2-3 years have felt like one life lesson after another served up for my exclusive education.) But now that I think about it, all the lessons are sub-lessons to one critical, mega-lesson, and that is this- learning how to love myself. Letting go of the picture in my head of how I ‘ought’ to be and loving who I am. Taking ownership of my strengths, not because I’ve always had them, but because I know that most of my strengths have been built brick by brick. Do I have faults? No, duh! And that’s okay. Because perfection is never the goal.  We work with what (strengths and weakness) we have and we try our best. Once I learned this, it has felt like a great softening. Have you ever eaten a chocolate crunch lava cake? It’s firm outside but when you cut into the middle, it’s all gooey. And that’s how I currently feel. What are the sub-lessons? For one, this means the more accepting I am of myself, the less I judge. Second, I accept responsibility for my happiness. Third, I value myself and take good care of myself, whether it is by eating right, exercising, saying ‘No’ when I am tired or over-committed (very hard for a perennial people pleaser!), getting off social media when it feels like it’s all about the “likes”! The last one especially has made me really take a step back- while it’s awesome to share and reach a community of individuals, I am re-examining how I use social media, and the impact it has on me. I don’t want to mistakenly look for validation there just when I’m realizing that all validation starts inside of me. It also means that I work to not give my power away.  I set boundaries. Learning to accept where I am, versus where I ‘should’ be. To periodically take time to just be by myself. I can go on. Like I said, one mega-lesson, and thousand of sub-lessons. It’s your turn. What has 2017 taught you? I would love to know.- Priya

Background: Welcome! We are now into Week 6, Day 45 of the 365-Day Creativity Challenge, and I am excited and happy to have you here!  I use the terms ‘creative’, ‘creativity’  or ‘creative exercise’ very loosely. While they have very specific meanings within the art or business worlds, I define it as any activity that allows us to access an inner stillness. Where the mind’s incessant chatter decreases, and for that short period of time, we are in the presence of a magnificent quietude. Where we feel joyful and recharged as if accessing a powerful, bountiful source of imagination and ideas. It makes what we do- draw, write, paint, work in a science lab, dance, sing, play music, photography etc. etc.- a spiritual experience. It has nothing to do with talent and skill level, and everything to do with joy. Whether you take part in all 365 days, or 7, 21, or 30 days, or join us when you can, I hope you will take the time to relax, slow down, and be your joyous self! Want more details? You may want to read this introduction to the 365-Day Creativity Challenge. Have a wonderful day! Just as a reminder, it really helps to have a dedicated journal or notebook because you will see  a continuous record of your creativity expanding and changing as you devote time to it every day. You will also be creating a year’s worth of creative work. As you work through the prompts, write down other things that strike you because you may want to revisit these ideas. Have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow! To share what you are doing, please use the hashtag #ctea365 on social media and /or leave me a comment below. – Priya

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