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A new year, new data, new intentions

WWF polar bear tracker

I've started the new year off with new intentions about my work and my art. And some great news! With the success of my sales over the 2017 holidays, I was able to send a decent donation ($500US!) to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.

Many thanks to everyone for their contributions - large and small. It was a particularly heartwarming season of giving this year. I was really humbled by the terrific positive feedback I received on my postcards and polar-specific artwork.

So what's with the picture that starts off this post? That's the WWF's polar bear tracker. I spent some time after the holidays on the site learning more about these specific, tracked, bears. I was fascinated to see that all three of these bears had cubs in 2017 and that the last data for each female was as recent as last month. These bears would have been denning in the Fall of 2016 to birth their cubs that winter. And that's when I was in Churchill! Though we can't know what's going on with Mom and Cubs on a daily basis I was excited to see how current the tracking data is. This is a fascinating project run by the University of Alberta. FWIW, they're also on my list of causes to donate to when the next revenue bump occurs. This is one of my new mantras for 2018 - earn some, share some.

Mom and Cubs in Fall 2016

In addition to tracking bears (and feeling grateful to those who have tagged them and to those who created the system), I spent a lot of time thinking about what my intentions would be for 2018. Yes, intentions. I've always felt that new year resolutions are by definition made to be broken. So I was intrigued when I read the blogs of the fiber artists I admire as they shared their 2018 intentions (check out Sarah Swett and Rebecca Mezoff among others). It inspired me to think along similar lines - an intention implying both a commitment and the necessary focus.

Focus - well it was through these artists that I found Growing Gills, Jessica Abel's book subtitled How to Find Creative Focus When You're Drowning in Your Daily Life. It's been an informative read and the accompanying workbook exercises have been helpful. I'm a pretty organized person so some of the work is familiar, but other exercises - in particular taking a long, hard, clear look at what I value - has been very helpful in my re-thinking what I'm doing juggling the return to a full time day job with the premise of a creative life.

So here's my first creative effort of the new year. My original photograph is on the left, and my work-in-progress being needle-felted, is on the right.

original winter moon photo
needle felted winter moon scene

I have some significant work still to do trimming back the trunks of the trees in the felt work, but I'm liking the start. And, more importantly, working on this piece over the weekend is a concrete example of my new focused intentions. I've developed three - one for each of the areas I value in my life: my health, my heart, and my home.

My home intention is to not forget my family and friends in this re-shuffle to day job and creative output.

My health intention will take me to the gym on a daily basis.

And my heart intention is to create at least one piece per week...based on something I see or experience or just feel needs to be expressed. I'm leaving the medium open, and not assigning any expectations around results (particularly parking the "how will I sell this" expectation until later). This past weekend's work-in-progress is an important example of valuing my heart intention. I actually *did* creative work rather than procrastinating it away. And I took control of the consequences for doing the creative. It meant that I was not able to attend another compelling event but, to be honest, that event was more relevant to my past-me than to my future-me.

We all make time for the things we value. And I want to live in alignment with what I value. Like living creatively and helping others secure a future for arctic wildlife - including polar bears.

What's your intention for 2018? Are you making time for what you value?

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