Closing the Door on 2014

Legoe Bay, looking west

2014 was a year of surprises. Good ones. The biggest one, of course, was our return to Heron House on Lummi Island. One year ago, Craig and I had no idea we would be selling our Bellingham house and moving back to the island. We sure didn’t know how happy that move would make both of us. (As I look at last year’s New Year’s Reading, I see that I pulled the Dark Goddess Tarot card Chantico, Aztec Goddess of the Hearth, for the position of “what I leave behind in the old year.” I puzzled over that one, and did not really know what it meant. In retrospect, I see that it was literal. I was literally leaving behind my Bellingham hearth and home with the old year.)

Bellingham house, Rainbow Cottage

The word I chose as a theme for 2014 was “write.” On January 1st, I set myself the goal of finishing the manuscript of my book-in-progress. One year later, have I accomplished that goal? Not quite. But I do have about 80% of it done. I discovered that, instead of fulfilling my intention of working slowly and steadily on the book, I would work in spurts where I accomplished a great deal, followed by fallow periods of time where I didn’t work on the book at all.

Writing by hand

But I don’t recommend this “feast or famine” kind of a writing process. I still want to write consistently, every day in half-hour increments, as Elizabeth Gilbert recommends. Still, no matter how I got there, I am pleased that the book is so much closer to being finished.

"Brigid's Fire" in process

I was also surprised by a longing to create new art and explore new artistic mediums, after making a commitment to write. I completed only two full-sized pieces of art in 2014, Brigid’s Fire and Guadalupe Mermaid, both of which I love. But I also did a lot of half-completed pieces and messy experiments, which made me very happy. I loved co-teaching with Lyn Belisle in San Antonio in October. Her fearless approach to mixed media continues to inspire me.

Mixed media collage made in Lyn Belisle's workshop, featuring my Elder of Fire from the Gaian Tarot

Not so surprisingly, I continued to love, love, LOVE creating retreat experiences for women. I adore the women who come to my retreats and workshops, and I am thrilled to see some of them become true soul sisters for each other. I cannot even express how deeply satisfying it is to call these circles together.

Gaian Soul Retreatants, September 2014

In many ways, it was a very “outward,” traveling kind of a year, with retreats or workshops I led (7), retreats I attended (3), and fun vacations in distant states (2).

Grace and a fairy house on Monhegan Island, Maine

This, on top of moving and renovating / repairing / redecorating our island house. At the beginning of the year, only a few of those things were planned. The rest came later, as opportunities arose.

Craig laying tile in my studio, Heron House

But an introvert like me needs a lot of solitude and downtime to recharge after these periods of high socializing, and I managed to take that time for myself this year too. I spent hours walking the beaches of the island, becoming reacquainted with the magic and mystery of this place. Artwork and writing happen in silence and solitude too, most of the time. And in that silence, rising up from the earth and the sea, I was moved to create my Mama Ocean Blessing Bags & Ritual Service. It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done, and I treasure every letter I received in response to them.

Mama Ocean Blessing Bag

Now, at the hinge of the year, I find myself craving even more solitude and silence, magic and mystery. Who knows what this year may bring?

Fireplace in Heron House

As I reflect on the plans I made a year ago, and then see what actually happened, I realize that our plans can only take us so far. I still believe in setting goals and intentions, and making a map for the year to come (especially as a self-employed heart-based entrepreneur). But now more than ever, I realize that we must be open to serendipity, “for how else can the Divine enter in?” (Joseph Campbell)

Painting in process, serendipitous rainbow

I think my theme word for 2015 is “open,” as in open to surprises and serendipity. (And perhaps, as in opening a door. A window. A box. Hmmm.)

Farolito Walk, Christmas Eve, Santa Fe, New Mexico

And now I’d best get to work on those plans. 😉

(All photos taken by me in 2014 on my trusty iPhone.)

7 thoughts on “Closing the Door on 2014

  1. I, like you Joanna, am entering 2015 not quite believing what’s transpired in 2014. I know that one year ago I couldn’t even imagine that what looks to be the new reality could even take place! So I do agree with being open to serendipity, “for how else can the Divine enter in?” However, this strangely works hand-in-hand with making lots of well-thought-out plans. Who knows what the balance is? Happy New Year, Joanna.

    1. I’m not sure there *is* a balance, Diane! I sure do agree that being open to serendipity does indeed go along with making plans. It’s a conundrum and a mystery (my favorite!).

  2. Oh, how I love you! Your words and photographs always inspire. I love making plans, and then going with the flow. I feel so honored to have participated in some of your activities in the last year, and hope to continue to be included in your circle of women in the future. Life has changed for me completely (for the better) since our first meeting, and I love watching my life unfold with new surprises and turns as time goes by. I look forward to the upcoming Art online program in April, and I certainly look forward to a book by you when it is ready. Thank you for being such an inspiration, and allowing me to participate and admire all that you are. xoxoxo

    1. Thank you Christina! I love having you at my retreats and it was fun to travel to your home turf of Houston and meet some of your family there. Much love to you, and may 2015 bring you wonderful surprises!

  3. Your photos and writing are all so beautiful. I’m excited to read your new book when it comes out, whenever that may be.

    Many blessings in 2015.

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