My Summer Manifesto 2017 :: Reflections

Summer daisies

 

It feels a little odd publishing a post about my Summer Manifesto as the leaves are turning and we are firmly into Autumn. Having drafted this post during September I clicked save, forgot to share and mentally moved forwards. I wanted to share this with you today rather than leave it behind. For me, creating manifestos are about noticing how intentions change each season and what I can do when I have a set of statements to turn to. It’s about seeing the journey that I’ve taken, how intentions can shape the season and uncovering those manifestos at the end of the year that have helped me create forward movement and connection to my word of the year, Thrive.

In many ways the summer felt like a blur. Full weeks in my day job and weekends spent restoring my batteries, sorting and tidying our space, and disconnecting from being online. Reconnecting once again gradually over the past month or so has felt different and steady with a new perspective. I wanted to share with you my summer manifesto that I jotted down in my journal in July and let you know what I brought into my life this summer and helped me put focus on the word Thrive…

My Summer Manifesto 2017

Take things one step at a time

Make time to gain clarity

Take a break

Tend and water all that I am growing

Step into the sunlight

 

Take things one step at a time

For me setting an intention to take things one step at a time felt connected to my move into a new job and trying to maintain a similar feel in my life. Things felt different and so by writing this it was meant as a reminder to taking things step by step. I had forgotten what it was like moving to a new company and new job, processing leaving an old job and learning the complexities of the next one and how I would feel. At times I felt mentally under prepared and not on top of all that I had expected myself to deliver. I had a list of things I wanted to bring into a basic space that I could really make a mark on in my role. Having my intention to take things one step at a time reminded me to focus on those small stepping stones on a journey, and to be a little kinder to myself. Truthfully I was so hard on myself, feeling behind in my progress because I wasn’t even meeting the basics for myself. Emotionally I needed to take one step at a time, to disconnect fully from one space and fully connect to the other.

Taking things one step at a time for me also linked closely to growing food in our garden this summer. There were moments of joy as I harvested many green beans, using the shelving in our greenhouse in the best way to grow plants, using our shed and planters. There were moments of frustration when our cabbages were eaten and some plants didn’t quite grow in the way I had hoped. What I learnt is that gardening will be something I learn season by season, year by year and one step at a time.

Make time to gain clarity

I’m not sure what I meant by this when I wrote it in my notebook in the early summer but I think it was about getting clear on what I really wanted to do. I knew that I had a mind full of things to sort out at home and work and felt like I didn’t make space for reflection. I struggled to make the time to gain clarity and to have the energy and desire to process my thoughts. My commute to work had shortened so I discovered that I had less walking time to process and reflect before and after work. For many years this was something I cherished. During late summer I decided to switch up my routine and when I could walked home to create more distance and time exercising to gain clarity of thought.

Crystal clear clarity and purpose arrived when Mr C and I had a week long holiday away in early September. We took time not to rush around, enjoying walks in nature, making time to relax during the week with a book, dip into magazines, and re-watch films we loved. Getting head space from our normal day to day, having the time to really stop, and be away from home (where there always seems to feel like there is a project to finish or things to tidy), enabled me to really get clarity on my next steps. It sounds odd but after many months I felt me again. This season has taught me to really make personal time to reflect so that I can stay on track with my progress across the small things in life.

Take a break

Over the summer and for a few months leading up to it I took time away from things that I enjoy, the creative time, listening to podcasts, and craft projects that I like to work on gradually. I look at it now as a purposeful pause on creating new things, and allowing myself to just sit with where I am and what I currently have. I let a new routine get settled in, reshaping my time in a different way and noticing how I felt. During the months that I had away from being creative I gained deep clarity of thought, knowing that in my soul I really needed certain creative outlets to enable myself to flourish and thrive each day. I needed that creative time at work and at home to allow me to be my true self.

Taking a break enabled me to appreciate that there are seasons to my creativity and what I like to do. Crochet and time on the sewing machine feels best saved for darker evenings and cold rainy weekends, gardening is best suited to me during spring and summer, and writing my book can happen in fits and starts when I have a flash of inspiration rather than pushing myself with a schedule. After many months last year spent creating the handmade elements for our wedding day, I think that I had used up my creative reserves and by the end of the process I needed to take a break. The simple act of taking a break and giving myself time away has enabled me to connect once again to my personal journey. I know now what I miss and what I can let go of and that it is ok to veer completely off plan if that is what I intuitively need to do in that moment in time.

Tend and water all that I am growing

It makes me smile as this was a note to myself to not just plant the plants I had ordered online and leave them to grow, but to tend them and keep them watered. For much of the summer I did do this for the garden, I watered plants, tended and then I lost focus on the tending part of it when other things became more of a priority.  There were slip ups during busy weeks where the basil and chilli’s in the greenhouse started looking pretty thirsty but with a top up of water were soon re-established. Then there were the plants that got munched by caterpillars and slugs, it all happened when I took my focus off the details and left things unattended for a week or so. It felt like a metaphor for other things in life such as my creativity versus work, it’s important to tend to all that I am growing not just one thing.

Step into the sunlight

For me this was about taking time to be out and about in our garden, walking our dog Juno, and spending time with friends outside in pub gardens to capture the sunlight and soak up the vitamin D. It was additionally felt through a feeling of stepping into the light in my career and coaching passions. For both I managed to do this in some way this summer. I was active in what I did, made personal steps forward towards the sunlight. I allowed bright energy to feed me from the energising and inspiring culture where I work, to the benefits of soaking up the sunshine.

I am forever grateful to myself for taking the time each season to create a manifesto, to make space for ways to reflect and connect my intentions in someway to my word of the year, Thrive. I can see that in amongst a summer that felt a blur I managed to thrive in a few different ways. I know my weaknesses, the moments of lapse of focus and I know what does and doesn’t work for me. Having a manifesto is special, it’s a way to give myself a pep talk if I need it, a set of statements to live with and it’s about discovering more about myself everyday and really engaging with those moments that help shape the season and the year.

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