Looking back to YesterdayOne of the rituals at the end of the December is lists. Lists of things we did, things we didn’t do, weight we lost (or gained). We make lists for the coming year — goals, resolutions, where we’ve been, where we want to go. What we want to achieve. What we never want to do again.

Many of those lists are put away shortly after New Year’s, along with the resolution that we really are, absolutely, going to [fill in your resolution here] every single day, never to be looked at again. There’s a real danger of potentially overburdening yourself at this time with expectations, only to have it come crashing down because you don’t have time, resources or the energy — and progress can seem to be painfully slow in the face of all the other things pressing in on you.

And yet, looking back is important from time to time because it’s the only way we can see how far we’ve come. I don’t see it referenced much these days, but fifteen years ago, lots of folks were following The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I did three rounds with an online circle and while a number of practices fell away almost as soon as the group dissolved and others dwindled over time, I did take away two things that stayed with me:

  • The first Rule of the Road is that you show up at the page every day. I don’t write every day, but there is always something burning in the brain. (Goal for 2016: Get it out of the brain and onto page more frequently.)
  • Amazing things can happen when you’re willing to take baby steps, fall down, get back up again, and take more baby steps.

Without showing up, nothing will get done. Without being willing to take the baby steps, you cannot walk. If you cannot walk, you cannot run. If you don’t learn to run, you’ll never learn to fly.

For some things, I’m still in the crawling stage. There were major upheavals in our household this year whose repercussions will be felt for a long time. But I also see three manuscripts drafted, actually have something resembling an act where social media is concerned (not necessarily good, but it is more than I had last year at this time), and a sense of forward movement. As one year melts into another, I’m going to hold that as my touchstone, determined to keep moving forward.

What are your high points for 2015?