Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shedding my skin

Every spring I sort through things and discard what’s no longer needed, and this season is no different …

Except in what I’ve thrown away.

I have always firmly believed that writing down one’s goals helps bring them into actuality. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s very unlikely that dreams and wishes will come true if you don’t write them down. And if you do write them down, I believe that nothing can stop them from happening.

Having been a subscriber to this concept since 1991 (when I went back to college to earn a bachelor’s degree at age 30), I have scrupulously written down my goals, the steps needed for them to be realized, and the date by which I wished to achieve them, and I have updated these lists and charts every six months or so. I’ve always kept them in a notebook so I can review my latest goals easily, and look back over past achievements and give thanks that they have come true.

I’ve also kept diaries for years, in bound blank books with fabric covers. Not filled with daily “what I did” types of entries, but stories of my frustrations and confusions when I didn’t know what to do about certain situations in my life and didn’t want to burden someone else with my troubles.

Yesterday, while doing my usual spring cleaning, I had the strong and sudden urge to get rid of all these old notebooks and diaries from the past 17 or so years. I flipped through a few of them and skimmed here and there, just to make sure I was doing the right thing. As I did so, it dawned on me … these things are IN MY PAST. If there were lessons to be learned from the events I was writing about, I have already internalized them. If a certain goal was achieved years ago, I have long since used it as a stepping stone to a subsequent goal.

I knew that it was time to let these old words and dreams and experiences go, to make room for new ones. Now that they have been discarded, I feel lighter and ready to move forward.

Note: The above photo was taken by my husband, Kevin, in my studio.

By the way, the BEST BOOK ON THE PLANET when it comes to achieving one's dreams is Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. That book totally changed my life. I have achieved so many -- most, in fact -- of the goals I set out to accomplish over the years -- from earning a master's degree when I had no money to becoming a professional artist when I had no experience to losing 30 pounds despite the fact that I love to eat -- all thanks to her ideas and methods. Love her.

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