Summer solstice, or Litha, happens on Wednesday, June 21, and is the longest day of the year. You probably already knew that, but what you might not know is that solstice actually means "sun standstill."
Thuri Calafia says, "This is a good time to take stock and assess the growth of one's garden, both the inner garden as well as the outer, physical one."
I agree, as we're already half way through 2017. The summer solstice is a great time to come to a standstill and take a "walk" through the garden of life.
In Alexandra Franzen's latest email, she posed 10 questions to help her readers take stock of the year so far. Where have we been and where are we going?
Join me on a walk through my garden, then meditate on your own.
And happy Litha!
1. What were my goals at the beginning of this year?
Every year I open a new doc folder in Google and write down my goals for the year.
A lot of the goals for 2017 had to do with publishing articles in digital and print magazines and business stuff like create another online course and update website about pages.
I also put down fun stuff like snorkel, have coffee with a new friend, and take a tarot workshop.
The BIG goal is to finish the first draft of a novel.
2. Are my goals the same--or have things changed?
I don't think I'm going to get around to publishing articles as much as I had hoped, but finishing a novel is still super important to me and #1 on my list of things to do.
My freelance business, in which I write articles for wedding magazines and blogs, has grown this year and a part of me wants to continue growing it. Another part of me is content and doesn't want to add too much to the plate, lest I put the novel on the back burner.
3. Is there something I've been doing lately--like a writing project, a business project, or any kind of project or commitment--that's not feeling "right" anymore? Do I need to keep doing it? What would happen if I just stopped?
No, I haven't started any projects that I'm just not feeling. I have a lot of projects I'd like to start. Like painting. I bought paper and paint and brushes and everything and they're still sitting in the bag in my bedroom. I also have shell crafts I want to do, paint coral, make wall hangings. So many great intentions to do these things, but they just sit there.
4. What's something I'm sick of hearing myself say, over and over? Like, "I really need to start..." "I really need to stop..." "Seriously, for real, this week I will..."
"I will work on the novel this weekend," or "I really need to work on the novel."
5. What's something I definitely want to create, achieve, or experience before the end of this year?
As if I haven't said it enough already. Write the damn novel! The problem is that I keep writing them and then get to the middle and stop because I've thought of a newer, fresher story idea, then start on it. It's the same cycle over and over again.
I just want to start a story and finish it, even if it's crap. Just to be able to say I did it. Plus, practice makes perfect, right?
6. Who are some people I feel jealous of right now--and why? What do they have--or appear to have--that I want?
I can't say that I really feel jealous of anyone. I feel inspired by people like Francesca Lia Block, Gala Darling, Alexandra Franzen, and Leonie Dawson.
Confession: sometimes I do get jealous of Gala Darling because she seems to have it all going on, you know? She's always creating courses and writing books and having her photograph taken in exotic locales. And I think, Why can't I have that? Why does it come so easy for her?
7. Who's someone who's been an important part of my life this year—like an amazing friend, mentor, or colleague? Have I said "thank you" to that person recently?
Francesca Lia Block for offering novel workshops and a safe space to share my work.
8. What's something I see out in the world that breaks my heart? What could I do, say, create, or contribute to be "part of the solution"?
You know what really breaks my heart? Dogs. Hungry, mangy ones on the side of the road. Or dogs kept in cages or on short leashes because they're not seen as pets, but as guard dogs. Sometimes I just want to lock their owners in a cage and see how they like it.
9. Fill in the blank: "This year, one of the best decisions I made was _______."
I started taking ballet classes again (after about a 7 year break) and got to perform on stage. It's been a decade since I've practiced in the wings and then danced beneath the spotlight. Exhilarating!
10. And lastly: Fill in the blank: "This year, I feel proud of myself because _______."
I've been through some tough stuff, but didn't let it break me. I've also learned a lot about myself and about how I communicate and how I react to certain things. I've seen my darkness and I'm learning to work with her.