How incredible, to type in Journey 365 this evening. Another year is coming to a close. As I did at the end of my Year of Firsts, I’m concluding my Year of Journeys with a review.
On January 1, 2015 I began a journey that consisted of 365 daily journeys. I discovered that my word for the year came from the Old French word journee, which literally means the distance one can travel in a day. I was excited to see where my companions of curiosity, enchantment and soulfulness would lead me, and I was not disappointed. It was an extraordinary year.
One of my mentors, Lu Ann Cahn, who inspired my Year of Firsts, was an important part of the year. We met for the first time in January, when Lu Ann visited Joplin during her 30 Dares in 30 Cities Tour. We did a first together, preparing lunch for the homeless at a Joplin shelter. In June I flew to Philadelphia, my first time in that beautiful city, to stay with Lu Ann while attending the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. What an amazing experience, to associate with and learn from other writers. In September I had the privilege of spending the day with Lu Ann in Springfield, MO where she was the guest speaker at a conference there. I appreciated the friendship and advice that this lively woman offered.
I also had the opportunity this year to journey to Wichita, KS to hear another of my mentors speak. Elizabeth Gilbert has greatly influenced my life, through her online community and the book Eat, Pray, Love, and her newest release Big Magic. At her event, Liz recommended the book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Campbell. This 12 week course, coupled with Big Magic, a book on living the creative life, has ignited my creative side.
My awakened creativity has been one of the most fun journeys this year. I’ve drawn more, discovered the joys of coloring as an adult, created vignettes in all kinds of interesting containers, gardened throughout the growing season, and of course, I’ve expressed my journeys and my growth through my writing. I am grateful for 730 days in a row of writing, an accomplishment I would have not believed possible three years ago.
I had adventures with family members, attending celebrations and events that ranged from talent contests to football games to concerts. I wandered around in my first corn field maze with Aubrey, London, Linda and Mom. With a group that included my sisters, nieces and grandson, I watched my favorite musical, The Phantom of the Opera, from the front row. Dayan made a Whovian of me and I have a deep appreciation for the Doctor Who series. I shopped and dined with each grandchild during the Christmas season. Throughout this year, they have touched my heart and expanded my thinking just by being who they are.
When I was given the symbol of the open door for 2015, I wondered. It came to represent adventure and opportunity, much as it did for Bilbo in the movie The Hobbit. For me, however, an open door has always been a symbol for passing through to the other side. I wondered if loss would be part of my journey this year, and it was. Six beautiful souls close to me departed this world during 2015, and journeyed onward without me for now. I said “see you again someday” to my cousin Mindy, to Aunt Annie and Aunt Jeannie, to Uncle Dale and long time family friend, Loretta. And I walked with Greg’s dad, my second father, through the valley of the shadow of death until he slipped away and I could walk with him no more.
I miss each of these kind and loving people. And I know I’ll be reunited with them at the right time. I have grieved, but I’m not without hope. I’ve created reminders in my home and garden of these lives. I treasure items that once belonged to them and I’ve repurposed some of those to function in new, creative ways. My garden has containers that were once theirs and there are flowers planted in their memories.
The most incredible journey this year was centered around my expanded awareness and consciousness. My perceptions about the way life and the Divine work opened my heart and developed my intuition. I adopted the mantra of staying open to everything and attached to nothing. This attitude freed me to travel through the year with deep peace and joy. I was led by curiosity to explore new places in my world and new places in my heart. I embraced my inner creative child and revisited my childhood with fresh understanding. She was a plucky girl, that little Cindy. She has much still to teach me. I value her.
I have seen this year that my journeys are guided by the Divine, through signs, synchronicities and life itself. As I stayed open, opportunities came, doors swung open, people appeared at the perfect time. I was led, invited, joined in the journey. Life kept presenting opportunities as well, to grow, expand, shift, love, offer and release. I began the process of decluttering, my house and my soul, so that I could journey lighter, less encumbered. I settled deeply into who I am.
I am grateful for my year of journeys, 365 of them! And I am excited about 2016. I compared my journey at the beginning of this year to Bilbo’s, as he headed out through his front door on the greatest adventure of his life. Unlike Bilbo, I am not making the return trip, not just yet. I am about to embark on a new adventure. Join me!