Even more gratifying than all of that was meeting the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2014: finishing my book draft by the end of the year and completing the 365project.org photo-a-day challenge without missing a single day. Maintaining my daily meditation practice–the third goal–has become as integral to my morning routine as brushing my teeth.
I was nervous about going public with the book deadline and photo-a-day goals in my January blog post. But that accountability, along with the focus afforded by my mindfulness practice, kept me moving forward.
A lot of us do what we can to avoid accountability. Accountability raises the prospect not only of failure, but, even worse, of PUBLIC failure.
This year’s experiment of being very public with my goals has taught me that accountability doesn’t have to be fear-based. On the contrary, it can be deeply motivating and enriching. Accountability connects us to others who support our efforts and provide feedback. That support and feedback lights the path to our purpose.
So I’d like to dedicate this post to all of you who have helped me meet my goals and find my purpose over the course of this very big year.
1) My book coach Marion Roach Smith, who not only wrote the book (The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life) that convinced me to write my own, but also guided me all the way to the finish line. After stumbling around with disconnected concepts and false starts for well over a year, hiring Marion as my book coach was the turning point in wrestling my pile of ideas into an organized, meaningful framework. Check out Marion’s fabulous website for a wealth of memoir writing resources.
2) My husband Mark Gardiner, who gave me the macro photography lens that opened up a whole new world of amazing details to explore right in my own backyard. Thank you for supporting my creative and contemplative endeavors over the years (and never whining about my becoming a very different person from the income-earning economist you married two decades ago).
3) My Facebook, Google+, and 365.org friends, who have been so supportive of my photography journey this year and provided much needed inspiration when I had no ideas of my own.
4) My fitness group and running girlfriends, who make me want to show up for classes and runs most days of the week, and in the process have dissolved the misguided notions I used to have about how far my body will take me.
5) My blog readers, who haven’t cancelled their subscriptions while I’ve taken this year to do more book writing and less blog posting. You’ve stayed with me during the past two and a half years while I’ve experimented with topics, voice, and writing styles. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. I will be back on a weekly blog schedule in 2015.
Without all of you, including the rest of my family and friends who have been there for me through every other of the varied chapters in my life, I wouldn’t be standing here at my half-century point with the sense of fulfillment, contentment, and anticipation that I feel today.
You have provided the safety net as I’ve rebooted every aspect of my life–mind, body, and spirit–since my cancer diagnosis five years ago. My gratitude knows no bounds.
Though I haven’t finalized my 2015 goals list, first and foremost will be exploring publishing options for the book, which is with a copyeditor right now. With so many routes to publication these days, I still have a lot to learn before making a decision on whether to manage the whole process myself via online marketing, or try to find an agent, or use a hybrid publishing house, where the book is vetted (they don’t accept all manuscripts) but you can pick and choose from a range of services. Wish me luck!
Many of you have asked what my photography plans are now that I’ve made it to the end of my 365 Project (if you’d like to see my year’s worth of photographs, click here). Photography, especially the macro (close-up) photography that has become my passion this year, has become an important part of my mindfulness practice. I will continue to post photos on Facebook and Google+ but without the stringent rule to post a photo every single day that was taken that day. I may use archived photos from time to time. And I have a few product ideas that might put the images to work for me–more new territory.
You can connect with me on Facebook via my Whispers From My Garden: Musings on the Art of Mindful Living page. Though the page has primarily been a venue to post my garden photography this year, I’ll be expanding the content to include a broader range of mindfulness-related posts. If you’re a Google+ user, look me up at +Martha Brettschneider.
On the fitness front, despite swearing I would never do it, I’ve signed up for my first half marathon in March. Training through the winter with my running girlfriends will be the first of my 2015 “live life fearlessly” exercises. (Climbing onto the roof for my final 365 photo was the last on the 2014 list. Can you see me up there?)
What about you? What goals and dreams do you have for 2015? What risks are you willing to take to get there? How will you live your life fearlessly in the coming year and beyond? I’d love to hear about it!
Wishing all of you the very best in 2015! Go get ’em!
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