Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kwanzaa Values, Word of the Year and a Story of Holiday Magic...

Hello dear friends,
It's been a wonderful holiday for me this year with a few surprises of holiday magic. I'm still reveling in it, and I deserve to after this year of struggle and challenge, but I've been looking forward to the new year of 2015 since participating in Kat McNally's writing challenge Reverb14, and even earlier since joining in August Moon14.

Following along with such thought-provoking prompts has helped me to discover a few things I need to make my new year a fruitful and rewarding one, but I've been wanting to return to the values of Kwanzaa since I skipped my usual annual post last year. I think that these extra values will help me to stay on track as I move through the year ahead.

So here is my year end post as I review these values and think of how I might incorporate them into the year ahead of 2015.

NOTE: This is a long post as I plan to include my Word of the Year for 2015 in this post, along with a little story of holiday magic, so cozy up with a cup of tea or coffee and let's begin!

The holiday of Kwanzaa was created for the African American community in 1965, which is the year I was born in! However, when I look at the values on which Kwanzaa is founded, I believe they are strong and positive ones that we all can find a way to use in our lives. To start with, here is a list of the values, or principles, behind the Kwanzaa holiday:

Self Determination
Collective Work & Responsibility
Cooperative Economics

From this list, I look at each principle and think of how I can incorporate each principle into my life as I move forward in the new year, and move forward as a creative artist...

The aspect of unity I want to focus on in 2015 is COMMUNITY, as I continue to build a community of kindred creative folks (or 'beasts'!) that can support me with what I need in my life at this time, which is laughter, kindness and generosity. I am excited that I have begun to create this artful community that I need and I look forward to finding more members as 2015 moves forward...

The aspect of self determination I'll focus on in 2015, of course, is creating for myself - creating a community of fellow artists and creating my career, which I've been working on but I feel it could use some fine tuning, so perhaps 'defining myself' might also come into play this year as I sort out what would work best for ME as I continue to search for a way of working and crafting a career that is a right fit for my needs...

The aspect of this principle I would like to focus on in 2015, as I continue to build my creative community, is to find ways to help others discover their own creativity, find the common issues artists grapple with and find ways to solve those issues. I do hope that some of my workshops can help others with creativity and I hope to find ways to help fledgling artists overcome some of the issues we face as we all continue with our creative work.

The aspect of this principle I would like to focus on in 2015 is to find more creatives with Etsy shops and to shop from them. There are many Etsy vendors providing creative materials to work with, and a few wonderful vintage Etsy shops I've bought from in the past, and I hope to be able to earn more money in 2015 so I can continue to patronize some of these favorite shops, and maybe even a few local ones when I am able to discover them in my own neighborhood. I really want to support local businesses in 2015, however I can, when I am able to find them.

The aspect of this principle I want to focus on in 2015 is to keep on track with some of my goals for 2015, such as some of the things I'd like to do more of in terms of self care, or the accomplishment journal I plan to make and use to remind me of all that I manage to do as I continue to build my creative life.

The aspect of this principle seems pretty clear to me! However, I do want to focus some creativity just for me in 2015, in ways I have mentioned before, such as making myself a few new clothes or a few new pieces of jewelry, and after some of my baking adventures this year, it seems as though a little creativity in the kitchen is on deck for 2015!

The aspect of this principle I believe I need to work on in 2015 is to have more faith that things really do work out as they need to. It's not always easy to believe this when faced with a lack of money earnings, but sometimes magic can step in to fill the gap...let me share a little story of holiday magic to help illustrate this:

A Little Story of Holiday Magic!

In early December, I was out on an errand to find some plain boxes to decorate with my style of collage for a potential client who wanted me to collage the boxes that would be used as gifts with decorative glass objects included inside. Unfortunately, I was unable to find boxes in the sizes or thickness needed to pack the glass objects and insure no breakage during delivery.

I was unhappy at the prospect of losing a job that had the potential for some great pay, but on the way home I stopped at a favorite cafe I had not been able to visit since my move to my new home. While in the gift shop section of this cafe, I spied a fun 'piggy bank' and took a picture of it in the store, in case my dear boyfriend just might be able to buy it for a gift:

In truth, money has been pretty tight in this first year of our shared household together, but I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page anyway, knowing he would see it. I made mention of how cute I thought this 'birdy bank' was and how I'd love to have it to save my pennies for a trip to PARIS one of these days...

And my dear boyfriend did see this photo, along with a few other friends on Facebook - particularly an old friend who moved to Paris many years ago...

The next morning, after posting this 'birdy bank' photo, I found an email waiting for me - a gift certificate for the very shop that carries the 'birdy bank' with enough funds to cover the cost of this adorable bird!

And this wonderful gift certificate came from the old friend who lives in PARIS!!

She bought me the gift certificate to use to buy this very bird bank because she thought this bird was too cute and it had my name written all over it! She also told me I only need to save for airfare since she has a spare room in her home that I am MORE than welcome to stay in (with my dear boyfriend included in the invite!) and she provided the best times to come out to see Paris - fall and spring!

I made a call to the shop to insure it was still available and, after telling them the story of how I got the certificate, they got very excited at the story! They made a special online listing for me to buy my bird bank and placed it on hold in the shop so I could pick it up at my convenience and my sweet bird arrived home to be on display before the little holiday party we hosted for some good friends:

And in the end, the client that wanted collage art gift boxes used my creative skills to artfully gift wrap the glass gifts instead, and deliver them, with all tasks to be paid at the original sum that had been quoted for the original project, so I really didn't lose out on a creative job after all!

For a little while there, I lost FAITH that things would work out, but with a little holiday magic from an old friend, my FAITH in magic was restored and everything worked out wonderfully...

***   ***   ***

What sticks out for me in this story is how a member of my Facebook community came forward to give me a surprise gift, something that has been happening a lot since finding a few creative friends through the magic of August Moon. The idea of community has come up a LOT since my writings for August Moon, and they came up again during my writings for Reverb14.

It seems pretty clear now what my Word of the Year should be in 2015, and it is this:


A few years ago, I used 'abundant support' as my WOTY and it was hard to let go of this as a guiding principle. Abundant support can come from anywhere, which can be a wonderful thing, but I am feeling the need for a COMMUNITY of people that I can trust to provide support in the years ahead, and I know that I have the seeds of that COMMUNITY with the mail art friends I made this year. I'm sure that more folks will come my way as I begin to focus on building my COMMUNITY of Creative Beasts!

And I hope YOU will be a part of this wonderful new community!

Many thanks to each of you who stop by my blog to read and take inspiration from my creative adventures - I hope that you'll take time to say hello by email or to leave a comment on my Facebook Artist page. It would be great to say hello back to you =)

May the New Year bring Health, Happiness, and Creative Joy to YOU!


Deborah Weber said...

What a fabulous heart-warming post Monica. I LOVE your new birdie and the story of how it came to you - that's simply fabulous. As is the creative job morphing into something else wonderful. That kind of stuff really IS magical.

I love your ideas of how to incorporate the Kwanza principles into your year. That's a wonderful idea and one I'm going to give thought to as well.

And what a perfect word you've chosen. I'm excited to see all the magical ways you'll be dancing with it in 2015. Wishing you all the best!

Sweet Red Clover said...

That birdie back is ADORABLE and made even more special for how you came by it! Kind people are out there, and it's wonderful to be reminded of that!<3 The principals of Kwanzaa are good ones to keep year round! I especially enjoyed your explanation of how you plan to apply them in your life...I am often guilty of knowing a certain quality or the idea of something of a good attribute in the broad spectrum, but not so good at putting it into practice when it comes down to it. I think I would like to be like you and think of ways to practice those good things in my life (and then act on those goals), instead of just thinking how good they are! I also wanted to say thank you for the mention in your last post. It made me glad to know that I could bring up a good thought in someone else's mind, like you've done for me today! <3<3<3

humel said...

Your birdie is adorable - as is the story of how it came to be with you :) Paris is amazing, we love it there!

PS How did I never before notice that 'unity' is part of 'community'?!