Usually on or around the 31st of December I reflect on the year just past and the year ahead. My friend Beth was here last weekend and we did some collaging together. Beth lives in Victoria and moved to B.C. from Ontario as Sarah and I did. Beth and I met in Guelph where I offered women’s writing circles which I’ve been doing since 1997.

Looking back I wanted to think about the things I’m proud of, pleased about and grateful for. I wanted to see if I had followed my intent: Focus. Finish. Celebrate. Yes I did! My book of poetry, Fishing for Mermaids, was published by Leaf Press in the spring. Writing Home: A Whole Life Practice won’t be a book but the program materials are complete and will be offered as a PDF in the new year. A chapbook of poems was written and sent to a contest at Leaf Press. More poems were written to be part of a longer collection called Putting Things By. I’ve applied for two grants for working on the manuscript so here’s hoping.

There are people and things to let go of in 2015. Dad died in October and I can still hear his voice and see him going downstairs in his Kelowna home to fetch a bottle of Grey Monk Latitude Fifty. We had a light and warm-hearted connection. I’ll miss him in his physical form.  I’ve been writing poems about him recently.

Also to let go of: projects that I won’t complete because I’ve lost interest in them. As it turns out, when you know where something is going it’s no longer any fun. I like to work on projects where I’m also learning and surprised along the way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs for the collage, I just picked images that called to me for looking ahead. I didn’t look for specific images like a house, a garden, a car, a trip to Haida Gwaii. The collage becomes a sort of divination tool. In the images I chose, there is a map of the Botanical Gardens in Tofino and what look like images of Long Beach so Tofino may be part of my 2015 adventures.  There seem to be lots of circles, spirals and mandalas. They represent gathering in circles, spiraling inward and meditation. One of them is an image of Gaia, her roots in the earth,  her arms outstretched embracing the world. What can I do to save Mother Earth in my small corner?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA butterfly is perched at the edge of an open book. That could represent reading, sharing writing, and being more of an “open book” myself.

Some words include Glorious, Burdock, Strength. I like the message that reads: Leave encouraging post-it notes in library books and other random places. I think that’s a good idea for poems and fragments of poems.

Some of the words are from paint chips and create a paint chip poem. At the foundation of everything I do is my poetry practice. That requires solitude so there will be more cat sitting in my future!  Here’s what Rainer Maria Rilke advised:

What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours – that is what you must be able to attain. Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet translated by Stephen Mitchell

Whether you are a poet or not, it’s a necessary practice for all of us: to walk inside ourselves. All the best to all for 2015.