At the end of 2011, my partner and I did a fun exercise- where we pretended that we were toasting in 2013, and we spoke of all of the things that we were grateful for that had happened in 2012 (even though the year hadn't happened yet). Now looking back, I have to say that not many of those things happened. I surely didn't wish for a life threatening illness that would wreak havoc on my body and family. Oh well.
The other day, I saw a beautiful art journal that a very talented fellow art therapist named Gretchen Miller made for 2012, where she had laid out visually her intentions for the coming year. (I totally recommend you check out her site for more information and for a beautiful video of her intentions.) What I loved most about this was that it wasn't just a mechanism to make wishes- but rather about setting intentions. How do I want to be this year? Where do I want to set my focus? Such important questions that we all should be asking ourselves - cancer or not. And these are things that I actually can do without too much divine intervention.
I decided that given it was 2013 - and 13 is historically considered an unlucky number - and I am hopelessly oppositional (wink wink) - that I would create a book of 13 intentions. I wanted to complete the book to share with you, but lets face it- I am undergoing chemotherapy and things do not always go as planned. But I did want to share with you my list of intentions and the first page of the book.
I am using collage, writing, painting, drawing, and whatever else comes to mind to express what I mean by each intention. So far, it has been a lot of fun and at the same time challenging. I am including a butterfly on each page. I love butterflies. I know that they have become a kind of tired symbol of metamorphosis- but I can't deny that ts is a symbol that resonates with me. I feel very much like I want to emerge from this journey changed. Something better than I was before. I want to be able to fly where I once couldn't. I want the way I see the world to be profoundly different- and I don't want to ever lose that perspective.
The first intention I tackled was health. I chose the Kale leaf to represent the food I nourish myself with. I drew a body on a musical composition to represent a body in harmony. I chose the blue to represent water. I was thinking about drinking more water- but also taking the time to drink more water. I can be so busy in the morning that it will be almost lunch before I realize that I have not had anything to drink. Everyone's needs come before my own. This has to change. I am an important part of my family, and must take care of myself so that I can continue to take care of those that I love.
I almost considered scrapping the butterfly the other day because I became superstitious around something that happened with my daughter. I haven't shared my book with her as of yet- although I intend to when it is finished. Out of the blue, she told me, "Mommy, when you die, you can visit me as a butterfly." I got a little scared. Is she psychic? Am I foretelling my own demise? I quickly breathed, kissed her, and told her that I promised that I would - but for now, I am right here and I am planning on being here for a long time. I then looked at her, hoping to get some look confirming that what I said was true. She smiled, and said, "I know."