anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘resolutions

Give Your Creative Self Time to Breathe

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Are you ever so slightly overwhelmed by the month of January? The expectations and anticipation that come with the blank slate of a new year?

In writing my monthly newsletter Creative Fuel, I was considering what this year means politically and culturally (an election year after all), and the intensity of the news in the last couple of weeks. Wildfires. War. Crisis.

There’s no one antidote to any of that, but I do know that if we are to work our way through big problems as a society, if we are to take ownership over our everyday lives, if we are to build better communities, if we are to challenge the status quo, then creativity isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

If creativity is a necessity, then investing in our creative selves—no matter who we are or what we do—is a matter of ensuring that we show up in the world. That we are awake. That we stand up for what we believe in. That we help to spark change, in big ways and in small ways.

interviewed author and journalist Alice Feiring this month for my Women’s Wisdom Project series, and she said this: “Writers and other artists give voice to what others cannot or will not articulate.”

That got me thinking: as an artist, as a writer, as a creatively inclined person, what are you going to articulate?

At this beginning of a new decade, I have been thinking a lot about the intentions behind creativity. Yet I look at that question, know its importance, and know that it’s one I need to ask myself.

Not quite yet. The creative self needs time.

You might think that I would kick off this year with some grandiose essay about the importance of setting up a creative resolution for the year. Or strategizing about a new project. Quite the opposite.

I want you to allow yourself to take the time you need.

January is a month of goals and resolutions. Of new projects, of new commitments. We take a tiny moment for our winter hibernation, two weeks if we’re lucky to have a vacation around the holidays, only a few days for some. We try to slow down, but we’re exhausted after the madness of the holiday season. We’re burnt out. We need time off. We need time to rejuvenate. And so we try to slow down, and then January 1st rolls around with the intense expectation that we have rejuvenated, that we have healed, and that we are ready to commit to a newer, better version of ourselves.

It’s an unrealistic expectation. It’s an expectation that’s driven by outcome, leaving the process quickly behind.

There’s a reason we do this: the first month of the year is a prime time to assess and make sure we are moving forward in what feels like a good direction.

In order to do that, I think January should be an in between month. A month where we ease into the new year, where we extend our hibernation, where we let ideas marinate. Where we allow our bodies and minds to catch up, where we take a collective breath that allows us to refocus on our forward movement in a way that isn’t frantic and reactive.

Toss out the expectations. Avoid the goals. Instead, breathe. Refocus. Rejuvenate.

In this in between space, before we launch into something new, before we ask ourselves what we want to accomplish in the year, I would like to offer up the practice of intentions.

Intentions are not goals, they are not resolutions, they are a commitment to ourselves about how we show up in the world, how we participate in relationships, how we do our work, how we take part in humanity.

Intentions guide our creativity, helping us to navigate when the water gets murky. Intentions carry us, challenge us, invite us to open up as humans.

I would ask this: as an artist, as a writer, as a creatively inclined person, as a human being, what is your intention?

Asking this question means asking not what you will do, but who you will be.

Our intention is our “why” behind whatever it is that we end up choosing to articulate.

Our intention is our commitment to our process.

The good news is, you have the entire month, the entire year, your entire life to keep thinking about it, evolving it, adapting it.

A version of this was originally featured in my monthly newsletter Creative Fuel. Sign up to get more creative inspiration directly in your email.

Written by Anna Brones

January 13, 2020 at 14:47

I Don’t Believe in New Year’s Resolutions, But I Believe in This Daily One

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Beach glass by Anna Brones

Resolutions.

This time of year the “R” word abounds, always filled with aspiration and yet an impending sense of guilt. Few people keep their resolutions, and most of the time by the end of January, those good intentions have melted away, like the snowbanks by the side of the road, that once shone in pristine white and that have inevitably turned to a wet, grayish mush.

But the reason that resolutions can be so hard to keep is that we put so much pressure on them. Our expectations are high. This is the year I will change! This is the year I will be better!

Those are admirable desires, but when one day out of the year is the day slated for the beginning of all of your enormous life changes, it’s easy to crumble under pressure.

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Written by Anna Brones

January 5, 2015 at 09:37

Conscious Living: Notes from the New Media Age

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This article is cross-posted from Elephant Journal.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

That quote was pulled from an excellent list of 50 inspirational travel quotes that is a constant point of reference whenever I need to be reminded of the important things in life. Last week I also came across another list of good “life reminders” entitled How to Be an Explorer of the World. Good stuff, eh?

So with all these wonderful, inspirational reminders, I should be living a healthy, balanced and creative lifestyle, right? But something still feels a little off, and I’m not alone. From my friends in the social media world (you know who you are) I often hear “it’s hard to keep up” or “the amount of information out there is overwhelming.”

There are many of us that spend plenty of time writing about the benefits of living slow, conscious lives, but when we take a step back and look at our daily realities, how slow and conscious are they? In fact, although they’re necessary tools to doing my daily job, a Crackberry, a constantly updated TweetDeck and a plethora of RSS feeds aren’t really vehicles to feeling more balanced.

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Written by Anna Brones

February 17, 2010 at 06:00

Printmaking: Winter Trees and Rosehips

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I made a commitment to set aside more time to being creative (read: spend time away from the computer) in 2010 and so far, so good. Result? First prints of the New Year!

I was inspired by wintry flora, which turned into a tree series as well as a rosehip print.

Both of the prints were carved onto simple erasers and then printed onto white and brown paper. Need some printing inspiration? Check out the fantastic book Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin.

Written by Anna Brones

January 5, 2010 at 18:49