You can listen to the introduction here:
Is it still 2020? December is upon us, and the year that was knocks its tail end up against our backs with all its lessons and tricks, in ruffles or deep pleats, or maybe even resembling a car crash. It’s been bumpy, for sure, and in perhaps a twisted turn of glance, I find it reassuring when walking down the street that everyone I encountered – everyone- has been through a tough time. I’m not wishing ill, it is just that these months have been a leveller. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it is a level playing field- buttresses of wealth and privilege have both fortified and exposed the fault lines which run through our social and political landscapes; but not one person on this planet has been immune to the consequences of what this year has brought, and continues to ruffle up.
Towards the end of each calendar year as we inhabit deep winter, there is what seems to be a natural urge to occupy internal space and navigate it for meaning. By December, I generally feel the call to a make some sort of sense of the year that was, but this year, something different seems to be demanded of me. Time has felt distorted, and the timescale of a single year feels too narrow a gauge to begin to unpack what this threshold of 2020 has carried us through. In fact, I am not even sure that unpacking is the action required. I’m thinking instead of magpies; how they search out pickings, the gleaming things, and hoard as a treasury, or a reliquary, for a day when that very thing is required again, or if nothing else, to weave it deeper into the fabric of their nests. What they build is an act of choice then, not consequence; architects of their future by virtue of their preference for sparkle and gleam.
So, what is gleaming, and what is worthy to build our own future with? I am thinking here of lessons, moments, insights, savourings- bright or pointed projections along the ruffled timeline of these months which demanded our attention; sensing there is either energy in their amplification and continuance, or lessons contained within- diamonds in this blackened coal of time- to be excavated; still to be revealed, then polished. Moments, that is, to be treasured for their worth and weight. So rather than an attempt to unpack the year, I am drawn instead to bring my attention to those things which I want to build my future upon.
From this intention came the a creative practice, which I share over on my site. Doing it, perhaps you may find some treasures to build your own nest, ruffle some feathers, fortify what gives you strength or builds your resilience. Perhaps, in the mapping of your own gleaming things, you will glean something of weight and worth, upon which your future is build. To the magpie in you, I bow.
Blessings to all that you are, and all that you are becoming.
The Inner Magpie: An excavation of gleaming things- 8 Step Process.
You will need:
- 20 – 30 minutes (min)
- Large sheet of blank paper
- Coloured pens or pencils
To begin your excavation of 2020, here is a little creative and reflective practice for you -should you care for some pause and space. Set a timer 20-30 minutes, then on a blank page, create a mind map, magpie like, of your ‘gleaming things’. Don’t worry about chronological order, or trying to differentiate ‘good’ moments from ‘bad’ moments. What you are trying to do here, is capture the year in a series of memories of poignant resonances.
Like all creative practice, I find it best to approach it as an experiment. This may be useful to you, it may not suit you. But there is something to be learned in the attempt and in the approach.
The Eight Steps..
At the centre of your page, begin to map your personal insights, memories, or poignant moments of the year. They may be things which could be marked as a highlight, or it maybe something which was intrinsically challenging, even dark, but you have this gut sense that 10 years down the line, when you look back at this thing or event, there has been a strengthening force in it.
Continuing around the centre of the mind map, think about moments in the year which helped to build your stamina or resilience. What were your moments of courage? What were your moments of speaking your truth?
In a similar motion, think of moments in the year which moved you in some way. What were they?
Now, moving outwards, begin to do the same for moments or events in the wider social field. This could be something in your community, country or the world at large. What stands out as holding particular resonance or significance? What was challenging? What was strengthening?
Take a moment now to survey the whole map. Do you notice any themes or patterns? Of all the things on the page what is really jumping out at you? What sparkles? Circle these things in a different colour.
Again, considering everything on your map, what are the things/ lessons you want to amplify in 2021? What are the highlights you’d like to replicate, or events/ experiences you’d like to create more of?
From the challenging aspects, what are the lessons or insights you can carry from this? What do you think can serve you in the future?
Look at what you have now circled on the map. Now, list one action to can take around each of these things to bring them to their next stage of development. That might mean needing to have a conversation with someone, spending more time journalling about it, organising a hill walk- whatever it is, what one small action can you take to bring you close to the essence of the insight/ experience you want to excavate further.
Well done on taking time to support your own learning and growth