Setting Intentions and Confronting the Shine

My friends,

Each year as the New Year draws close I am overcome with a sense of renewal. It's a natural time for reflection as we seal one more year away in our memories and charge ahead into a new year with all the promise and hope and excitement that only new beginnings can bring. But given that my birthday is also New Year's Day it adds another level of newness. Not only does the calendar year flip from one year to the next but on that very day I also become exactly one year older.

Honestly, it's always a bit strange for me to imagine that not everybody has this experience! That most people experience the calendar year and their own years as separate dates, separate times, and separate markers while for me they are irrevocably one and the same. The New Year is really the beginning of my new year. And with it comes all the promise and hope and excitement of the new.

Each year since having my son feels even more remarkable than all the years before it. Somehow his tender years mark my life in a different pattern of lines and circles and crisscrosses and stars and triangles and clouds. He's only two-years-old. His own life has only existed for two complete rotations around the sun.

And while my own life has rotated around the sun a few dozen times--I am forever changed by his place in my rotation. A switch. A change of course. A redirection. A new momentum that only came to be in the rhythm of my own life because he is here with him.

And so this New Year feels important. I'm happy to seal away many of the trials of 2013 but also with a tender knowing heart that will hold them close and cherish the opportunities they brought to live fuller. And, of course, right next to the trials sit the triumphs. The opportunities. The achievements. The victories and celebrations.

The times spent intimately with loved ones. The places traveled. Our evolving life as parents and freelancers and artists living in one of America's most expensive cities--this itself feels like a victory. And I'm grateful for my health, happiness, and a very full life at home.

I try to set an intention at the beginning of each New Year. I try to write down my goals in a list that is very honest and courageous and ranges only from about 5-10 things I want to accomplish in the next 365 days. Sometimes one goal gets moved from year to year until it makes its way to the top of the list and magically (and somewhat surprisingly) happens.

But I try to boil all this thinking and feeling down into just one word that can be repeated like a mantra or a meditation. Can be tacked to my inspiration wall in my studio so that I see that one word staring back at me when I glance up from my table in distraction or pontification or daydream.

So I think my word for 2014 is shine. Yes, shine. Like the moon. Like the stars. Like that one red beaded ornament I bought on sale after Christmas this year because our tree needed a little more shimmer. Shine. It's a daring word for me. A shimmery word for me. A word full of courage and confidence and possibility. It's also a word that evokes defiance. Insistence. Perseverance. Like it holds determination to dust itself off when it loses its luster.

Oh gosh, just one little word but all the feelings it evokes. I think my hesitation is a good place to start. To sit with a word that makes me a bit uncomfortable and see where that discomfort might lead. Which doors it might unlock. Dusty as they may be.

Happy New Year's, my friends! I am so glad to share this space with you. Even if you've never left a comment here in all my years of blogging. Thank you for showing up. May you be filled with shine in 2014.



  1. I've only recently found your blog and enjoy what you share.
    I hope you have a very shiny new year!

    1. denise: welcome here. it's very nice to "meet" you. happy new year to you.

  2. Shine on! Happy Birthday and Happy New Year.

    1. thank you! a very merry new year to you and yours. xoxo

  3. I think you have a lot to reflect upon and have a great promise for this New Year. 2014, how? I wrote about 2013, knowing that I was on the brink of a career on my own. I was scared, but so excited. I made it, and higher up the mountain than my 2012 mind could have imagined. I wish the same for you. May your shine be so great that you squint to look back on "fourteen".

    At first, I wondered how you could be scared of your new year word. Shine? Really, that's not so bad. Then I thought what my single word should be. How should I propose in a few consecutive letters what I should hang on to, chant and live by?
    I finally found "eliminate". As in, eliminate debt, eliminate work hours, eliminate a little of this post (2) c-sections waistline. Then I thought some more. Be careful what you wish for, right? It scared the shit out of me. I understand. Maybe I should simply stick with "shit". Afterall, it's what I am constantly wiping, cleaning seeing, and exclaiming. Nah, it's too easy and I ain't scared of that. ;)

    1. beth: ha! i laughed aloud when reading this. i think motherhood takes the fear of shit out of us completely. for better or worse. eliminate is a great word. shine is not my natural tendency--i prefer to hang back at the edges and observe and then go home and write about it or make art in my solitude. but there is a part of me that doesn't mind being on stage if it's a formal event--so trying to bring that spirit to the foreground in 2014. the dare to shine. xoxo

    2. Do it, do it. To many around you, it seems, you already shine very bright.

  4. Dear Katrina - I'm one of those readers that diligently reads your blog - but rarely comments! However, I look forward every week to reading your thoughts and I always think the same thing: why cannot I not express my thoughts so clearly??!! I love the thought of having a word to look
    at, focus on, think about. I'm giving it a lot of careful thought and going to find "my" word. Love it!!! And thank you! ~ Dori ~

    1. so very grateful that you visit this space, dori. and very grateful that you keep coming to visit each week. and thank you for your very kind words about my writing. i just added my "shine" to the studio wall yesterday. it's a good reminder. xoxo


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.