Questing, Merrily. In Summary.

Hi Friends.

You’re probably here because we’re questing together. If you don’t know about Quest2016, you can find the basics here.

Some days it’s hard to decipher if I like plumbing my own depths to answer these question, or if I like reading the responses of others. Let’s just say I’m leaning more toward reading the writing of others. Holy cows, this is an amazing pack to run with.

Some highlights from the #MissMe prompt – which really seemed to pierce, puncture, and rough up us all. More below.

Read, read, relish, repeat.

Katherine Reynolds, Would they miss me?

You see I’ve already left the planet once.  From what I can piece together from all the information I have, my heart stopped on the surgical table after I was attacked in 1987.  The surgeons familiar with the case during rounds would tell me I was a miracle, that I should have died, that I was a lucky girl, that I was a fighter. Their eyes would shine as they smiled at me while teaching my case to the medical students. The EMT guy who held the artery closed with his finger in the ambulance told me he’d never seen anyone cut as deeply as me survive. He fully expected me to be a DOA case in spite of how hard I’d screamed at him to keep me alive in the ambulance.   So,  death has jumped up at me out of the dark suddenly, and I’ve lived to tell about it.

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Stan Stewart, Mus 4 Now. What if?

I don’t want you to miss me when I’m gone.
I want to live the sort of life that invites you
To be the biggest, best you possible.
My one, shining wish is that my life

Would be enough of a beacon to let you
See the brilliance that is your beauty
And your gift to the world.

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Podcasts that Keep Me Sane: Importance of Creative Expression by Suzi at Blue Car Painted Green.

Woo, because we all know podcasts are the best!

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Author AK Anderson. Missed Me, Missed Me? (this is just the intro, her voice gets EVEN better!)

Dear Seth, You must have really hated Existentialism. I’ve read this prompt five times. I keep imagining you in college, feeling the nausée  for the first time, and desperately wishing you could leap back in time and punch Jean Paul Sartre in the nose.  I don’t know whether you were studying him in French class, or in Philosophy. Philosophy, I think. A Sophomore-level class. No earlier. No later, certainly.  Phil201.  I imagine you curled up on a stained rug being angry at a dead French guy that we can’t ever really know what other people think of us. And there’s nothing we can do about it, even if we did.

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The tender-hearted Brenna Layne misses sweet Dijji, and calls it like she sees it. Plus, dinosaurs and other tiny things on Stay Tuned.

She was the one who witnessed (or at least slept through) the creation of everything I wrote.

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Suzi Banks Baum on Laundry Line Divine, Missing, again. Quest 2016 with Seth Godin, again.

In closing, I dare you to show up for yourself this season. Take better than usual care of yourself. Sidestep the open maws of guilt and shame that yawn in our direction. Keep on your path towards simple beauty and connection. Be truthful where you haven’t yet found the courage to be so. Open your journals and then write. Let yourself enjoy solitude if that is what is calling you. Sit under the stars with your people and feel the magnitude and the gift of this dark time. And then, send some love to someone else on the planet.

And, please don’t finish this without reading Suzi Banks Baum’s #MissMe from last year.

These are responses to #Quest2016 coordinated by Jeffrey Davis and the amazing folks at Tracking Wonder. This is a smattering of responses to Seth Godin’s questions…“Would they miss you if you were gone? What would have to change for that question to lead to a better answer?” (Oh so strikingly similar to last year…)

 

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I Don’t Want to Care About The Answer

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Dear Seth Godin,

I hate this question. I hated it last year. I hate it again this year.

It’s tricky. It’s shape-shifting. It’s hard work. It feels like coming up against a tall, stone wall – and I think I can predict what’s on the other side, but I can’t tell exactly – and I am pretty sure my prediction is shallow and wrong and so I have to actually do the work instead of dial it in. And I can’t figure out exactly how to get over the wall. And it all just makes me angry and frustrated and stuck feeling. Because sometimes a girl just wants easy answers, not the very long route over or around the wall. A journey that takes a couple of days.

I call this question a shapeshifter because I don’t see the question the same way you do. (And because it continues to change as I probe at it.) Maybe, I don’t see this missing as part of building my tribe or an audience as you do. For me, it’s about personal relationships and the baggage we heft and carry with us that keeps us unnecessarily holding still because sometimes it’s just too hard to think about hurting people. You see, I don’t fit into that description you assign to people. That we all want to be missed. I don’t want to be missed. Maybe it’s because you’re a man. Maybe it’s because you’ve never suffered from being too nice. Maybe you’ve never been faced with the social norm that says: put other people’s feelings over yours. I don’t want people to miss me, or at the very least I don’t want to think about it – because that holds me back from action.

[Plus – quite frankly – shouldn’t we avoid assuming we know what other people are feeling? I’m not going to assume that I can put words in anyone’s head, nonetheless feelings. So last year, when I answered this question, I started naming the easy stuff. The handful of individuals about whom it did not feel egotistical to assume that they would miss me. The dog. My parents. My brother. I digress…]

Because, to me the thought of being missed is in the same category of being nice. It’s a dangerous thought. It’s one of those things that’s based in other people. What I mean is: you are asking a question that has to do with not just how I act – but how other people respond to how I act. And that maybe there is a certain way I want them to respond, which in turn requires me to act in a specific way to garner that response. And it implies that I may somehow change my actions, my self, because of how people react toward me, and how I want them to act toward me. To me, that makes me feel weaker, not stronger. That stretches me thinner, not growing my roots deeper. It’s a slippery slope. It’s a rubber band that holds me in tight, not the slingshot that catapults me forward at a tumultuous, joyful, chaotic pace into the unknown.

Let me rephrase. Maybe, at my core – I don’t want to care so much about what other people think about me.

Here’s the thing. Here’s why this question stung so bad last year. And why it still makes me curl my lip at you now. Last year, right before this Quest, I stepped out of a long, committed relationship. I left. And my world was full of missing. (Not my missing, but feeling the weight of other people’s missing.) And the kind of missing I couldn’t handle was the thought that there was someone missing me. And that missing caused her suffering. And that I was the cause of that missing, and in turn, suffering. And that, to end her suffering required me to reduce the missing, which meant to go back to something that I didn’t want to go back to. I didn’t want to do it anymore. And if we really want to put it into as few words as possible, in the middle of all of the goop of it – it came down to two sides of the scale. My happiness, or hers? Which is a dangerous place for nice girls who are so good at putting other people first. Who actually wants others to think badly of them? To rock the boat intentionally? I stayed, for a long time. I stayed out of nice and out of fear of another’s painful missing. And it meant that I put someone else in front of me. That missing was a disservice. I stayed based on what other people said they wanted. It was precisely because someone was going to miss me that I stayed – when I didn’t want to. When I shouldn’t have. Missing is inertia. It’s revering something that isn’t present. And if it isn’t present – just let it go.

So, last year, when you asked us Who would miss you? it wasn’t a hypothetical. I had just left. There was this one person who was telling me that she missed me, or any variety of things that could fall under that label. Or, at least that she wanted things to be different. And I had to do everything to talk around this one single fact when answering this question. To ignore that missing. To talk around it. To talk about everything except that. Because, I couldn’t admit that there was someone who did actually miss me. I had to ignore it. To pretend that it didn’t exist. In order to leave, and to stay gone – that last thing I needed to think about what if, and who was going to miss me. Because that question didn’t serve me. That question made me think about others. It took me out of being the center of my world, precisely when I needed to be the only thing at the center of my world. And, sometimes, you need to be the center of your own world. And you know what? Sometimes, sometimes – you just have to put blinders on and totally walk forward and be completely selfish and not care one tiny bit about who misses you and ignore anything except your self and the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other path you are trying to walk.

And quite frankly, I’m not sure this question will be helpful, ever. Looking back, had I stopped to think, or place too much weight upon the answer, of who would miss me – I never would have traveled across the country for the best four-year college experience a girl could have. I wouldn’t have quit my job and packed up my flat and biked cross country. I wouldn’t have felt brave enough to say nope-Mom-and-Dad-I-love-you-but-I-don’t-want-to-live-in-North-Carolina and instead settle down in Wisconsin. I wouldn’t have been strong enough to leave each and every time I needed to. I wouldn’t have the clarity to recognize, each time the need arises, when a relationship, a practice, a job, a pursuit, a person – is past its prime. When it’s not serving me. When it’s just time to move on. Because us nice folks, we place too much weight on what others think. And we don’t want to hurt their feelings. And we don’t want them to suffer in the missing, so we stay. And we miss a lot of really great scenery.

I don’t want to care if they would miss me if I were gone. That fear and discomfort can hold me back. This isn’t about building a bigger audience. Not about building a tribe. It’s about cultivating the willingness to ignore the question, to be brave, to move forward.

So, to make it official, after this long and winding rant. Here’s what I have to say to Seth Godin’s #MissMe questions for the latest Quest2016 prompt:

Would they miss you if you were gone?
I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to ask this question. I don’t want to be bound by the answer. This question doesn’t serve my growth and freedom, it only keeps me locked in with fear. Plus, how could I ever know anyway?

What would have to change for that question to lead to a better answer?
To not care at all what the answer is. To not be a person who acts in a way to avoid hurting the feelings of others. To know the truth and not care so much.

Here’s my response from last year: Nothing to Miss. It ended with one idea, and giant questions. Mostly, that I missed myself when I had lost myself, and this question “Are we to give the world what we think it wants, or are we to give the world our purest, most intimate, most real selves? Perhaps if we give the first of the two, there is nothing for the world to miss?”

I am deeply grateful to Mr. Godin for asking such a shapeshifting question that dragged my responses all over the page, ending up in so many states and counties of importance – while somehow still avoiding the one, very easy answer. I still hate the question, but I am grateful to be asked it again – to dive straight into that pinpoint of centered truth that I wasn’t brave enough to touch last year.

Dream Into It

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It’s something between a daydream and a walking meditation. At its core, it’s probably wistful mind-less-ness. Walking (or mowing) through the summer days, planning for the future, grasping for more stillness – instead of being fully present.

That’s not entirely true. There is plenty of being present. But, in giving myself this year of trying it out, there is just as much self- and situation-assessment as there is being truly present in the moment. But, since they are all thoughts about how to stay here, how to make the farm work, how to make this life work – since I am not trying to escape anything, I think they count as daydreams. Not frolicking on the beach kinds of daydreams, but perpetual self growth and scenario improvement dreams. (That’s a thing, right?)

I’m not sure if I can call it daydreaming, because in so many ways I am smack dab in the middle of my dream. This farm, and the tending and creating that go along with it – they are exactly where I want to be. There are just a few things that can make it even better. Adjustments. Improvements. Smoothing out.

Here’s the list-ish of daydreamsih things on repeat:

  • More stillness. (To be with animals, to hang out here, to navel gaze, to observe, to write, to (gasp) relax.)
  • More sleep.
  • More groundedness.
  • Slowness.
  • Stillness.
  • More time.
  • More time.
  • More time.

I don’t really daydream of being somewhere else. I think I am just thinking of ways to be here, exactly here, but just in a more present way. The hammock. A mid-day nap in the sun. Maybe I need to practice the actual daydreams, to envision what I want. Instead of phrasing things as less (less moving, less busy, less car. Which, let’s be clear, were the first things that landed on the page here. The things I want to do less of, not the things I daydream of having more of). Less things whizzing around in the brain. More time to focus. I know there are a lot of ways to manage time. But I think I have a solution, and I think it translates to an actual goal.

I daydream of having more time to be present on the farm. I can do that, by literally, sculpting more time to be present on the farm. The goal to make this daydream a place to actually hold still and have daydreams? Work, actively, to generate enough real income from farm-hosting-writing-creating to allow me to step back from my job-job, just a little. Yup, 2016 will be a practice to see if I can translate enough of what I do creatively (making, crafting, hosting, farming) into something that can (financially, because we are not dummies and money is a part of this) supplant 20% (aka, one day a week) of my job-job.

The business as unusual for me is to believe, to put work into, translating the creative things into the business things. I can’t forget that I’ve done this before. For myself, and for others. I’m just out of practice. My daydream to hold still more motivates me to do this translational work. Translating craft into business as unusual. My daydream is to work-work less, and to daydream more. Because, the core of the creative work is having the time to daydream and translate those visions. So, this year ahead I’ll test the waters. And, quite possibly, the year after this I could say Hey! only four days a week of job-job for me! We’ll see how it goes.

What recurring daydream for 2016 inspires you to do business as unusual like never before?

This is question #5 (following a very wordy and not so comprehensible response) to the Quest2016 from champion of the imagination SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN. He researches and writes about human possibility and believes in the power of imagination and creativity to transform society for the better. (That’s a message I can totally get behind.) Scott is author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (Basic Books 2013) and co-author of the upcoming book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (Perigee Books 2015). He is also host of The Psychology Podcast and co-founder of The Creativity Post.

P.S. I am totally clicking post even though I know this is far from perfect, far from coherent, far from concise or clear. Part of my practice is to just get things out of the brain, and in the world, without being held back by perfection. Even if the message gets skewed. Even if it isn’t clear. It’s all just practice.

There’s Only Make

Only Make

What is Failure anyway? And why are we all so afraid of him, along with its always-so-ominous-sounding kin: Mistake?

Here’s the thing. I’m done with it. All of it. Fail and Mistake. I am done ostracizing you as evil doers and sending you to the corner. I’m sick of running in the opposite direction from you as if you are infected with the most contagious plague. I’m done letting the thought of your duo raise my heart rate and give me the hot flashes of panic and anxiety and what-have-I-done?. Done. Done. Done.

Welcome you sad and misunderstood duo. Welcome to my clan. Let’s be friends. How about we try to understand each other a little bit more. What do you say to that?

Here’s how I see our new relationship, my new friends. Fail and Mistake, you have an important job. You are the fire watchers, the feeling sensors, the cushioning to the fall, the lookouts. I used to think of you as some scary, hidden-in-the-bushes, invisible forces. I didn’t know where you lived. I was constantly afraid that you would be just around the next corner, that you were just lurking in the bushes and waiting to jump out at me and scare the shit out of me and steal my self-worth and perfection, as if it were something as easily to snatch as a handbag. But I get it now, that’s totally not your show.

You are actually the first line of defense. You’re not mean and hiding and waiting to send me into an anxiety attack, you are with me all the time. You are not lurking to destroy me and my endeavors. No, you both are like the friendly garden gnomes out front. You are like a protective home alarm system. I have just been misreading your signals my whole life. You just want to protect me. Protect me from going too far in the wrong direction. And, quite frankly, I could use your help more often.

Here’s the thing. I am full of words and ideas and plans and inspirations and – well, mostly words. They are begging to come out. Even though they are mostly nonsensical or navel-gazey. About 75% of it is worhtless. Often poorly formed, misspelled with frequency. But they exist, all of the craziness in my head. And, they all want to see the light of day. And I want them to see the light of day. And I don’t want a bad relationship with you, Fail and Mistake, to keep them locked up inside me. So, I’ll keep letting them out – the words, the ideas, the art, the nonsense – and then we can have little check-ins. Okay? You let me know what’s working, what’s not. You have a good view from out front. You see how all of this stuff hits the world, how it falls, how it resonates. I promise to take your guidance realistically, as long as you promise to dole it out gently. I promise to embrace you. You promise to keep showing up to guide me in the right direction. Okay? (I will also bake you cookies and give you a warm place to sleep, if that helps at all).

I just don’t want to spend my life hesitating and walking on eggshells and holding stuff in because I am afraid you are right around the corner. I don’t want my fear of you to limit what comes out of me. I just want to generate, and I want you to help me be brave. So, let’s see if we can work together. I think we can. Here’s to a fruitful new friendship in the year ahead.

Mmm, I got a little off track from today’s Quest-ion, but I’m okay with that. Today’s prompt comes from author, brand consultant, and radio show host of Design Matters DEBBIE MILLMAN. She wraps up the Quest2016 Week One Theme of Get Clear with Yourself with this: How would you do business as unusual in 2016 if you knew – no matter what you chose – you would not fail?

Door’s Open, Come On In

The Quest2016 is so energizing. It girds me to stay grounded right now, while looking forward onto the horizon. I still have wake-up-with-Christmas-morning levels of anticipation and excitement.

Quest2016 Prompt 2 comes from Jonathan Fields, author of the book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance and energizer of the Good Life Project. Here is his highly hypothetical, launch-you-into-the-future, break you away from your limitations nudge toward bigness.

You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.

You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day. A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.

What is your question?

What's Knocking Question

So this may look familiar to you, and that’s because this is the same question (like, literally the same Post-It note) from the #DareToExcel challenge this summer. The question remains the same friends. The question remains the same. And that makes me feel, for once in my life, that I am doing something with some consistency – and that I might just be a few steps in to the path of practicing living with the answers.

About 11 months ago I made this video as part of the Quest. It took all of my courage, for so many reasons, but I started asking the first big question: HOW? That video was a tide change for me. It was a launching point. A demarcation between the ebb and the flow. Something.

So, I decided to make a video response to Prompt #2. Here’s my response to What’s Knocking, even though I’ve gone and written a whole bunch of other stuff about it here anyway.

I could just leave it there, without addressing the whole financial and other freedom to dedicate (the requirement to dedicate that time) to answering the question. But I won’t.

There’s another angle to Mr. Fields question that I’ve been thinking through too. And maybe this resonates with you. It’s a bit off the cuff – but we’ll see what comes of it. (and, let me know if this resonates with you!). If I were to accept the challenge Mr. Field outlines – if I were to accept the funds and live the question – how would that change the current balance of where I place my effort in my days?

Here’s what I mean: Right now I work full time. I love my job-job. I also am responsible for running a household-of-one (cleaning, feeding myself, paying the bills, shoveling the snow) and managing a teeny-tiny farm. Those are all, to an extent, the super-high priority things. Those are the things I have to get done because the social and economic order of the world puts priority on them. So all of this fun stuff like writing to you each day and quoting and collages and writing prompts – it has value, but no one is going to die and I am not going to get fired if they don’t get done. They are, despite their contribution to my well-rounded and need-for-creative-outlet-ness: optional.

So, what if that shifted. What if I could spend all day observing this place and writing and making a mess? Would I still want to engage with those activities as much? What if I love diving into the creating because it’s not part of the ‘have to’ list – would it be as much fun? What if it was my source of income? Or it had deadlines? Or it had to be approved by an editor? Would I be so spirited and eager to show up and generate so much crap volume each day and think about my creative process all the time, and lose time seeing the world and wanting to translate it in my head when it becomes the thing I should be doing, instead of the thing I am doing instead of the thing I should be doing? Or would this just become on of those other should things?

I think, or I wonder, if all of this writing and quoting – if it’s so fun because it serves the purpose of distraction, of fun thing to look forward to – and how my perspective of it would change if its role in my life changed to mandatory. I don’t have answers for that right now, but I’ll think about it. And I would love your thoughts on this, and if you struggle with this too. Me thinks this is also some sort of real or perceived barrier I toss up to prevent myself from moving forward with pursuing creative things professionally – the dear that the joy would be sucked out if it became my job.

So, I guess those are all the big questions that come out when you open the door!

I wrote a whole bunch more (less refined) words on the topic (along with adventures in pig processing) in yesterday’s TinyLetter too. You are welcome to take a peek if you want to climb inside the head of a crazy person.

Time to go find out #WhatsKnocking at the doors of all the other Questers!

 

I Will Not See This Coming

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Welcome to Day 1 of Quest2016! Today’s prompt is from Susan Piver – “What I most need to tell myself about 2016 is…”. Thanks so much to Jeffrey Davis and the team at Tracking Wonder for hosting this second year of the quest. If you want to learn more, or participate (You should! It’s free and awesome!) visit this link. I’ll be sharing my responses to the Quest2016 each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of December. I wrote a bit more about what the Quest is, and what it means to me, here too.

From this morning…
It’s December 1, and I just did chores without gloves on. It’s that warm out, it’s just that unseasonably warm out. I didn’t see that coming.

And that’s how most if this year has been.

And this is exactly what I most need to tell myself about 2016…that I will not see any of this coming.

If 2015 has taught me anything, it’s that there is a great mystery in exactly what will churn itself up minute to minute, day to day, and week to week to make up this thing we call a year. Looking back one year, to all the hesitation and nervousness and unsure-ness as to the precise contents of my life’s suitcase, I could never have predicted I would be so BIG and full and alive as I write this now.

One year ago I hoped that things would get better. I worked hard to make a plan, a map, that would sail my ship back to the island of brightness I know my best self can inhabit. I had an amorphous vision, lots of feelings (many of which were totally contradictory), a shit ton of uncertainty and a fierce determination. But, frankly, that was it. I didn’t know what life was going to look like. I didn’t know if I would still be farming, where I would be living, how I would spend my days, if spring was going to come again. I didn’t have any answers. I just had a suitcase piled high with ginormous questions.

And I learned to live with those questions. I learned to be comfortable living without answers, but still grounded. I practiced saying I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure. I let answers surface slowly, at their own (very, very slow) pace. I listened deep, and trusted that the answers were somewhere buried inside of me. And that I could find them and trust them if I held still and quiet and poke a flashlight into all of those dark and mysterious places. I learned to trust myself. I grew to listen to the tiny voice inside myself. I kept moving forward, even though I didn’t know where the path was headed. It was hard work. But good work.

But that’s enough about the past. The past is full of really good lessons, but I’m pretty determined to keep moving forward. And what I need to keep telling myself most about this year ahead is that it is chock-full of big questions and big goals and amorphous-big visions – and, ultimately, the content of the days will be full of mystery. And that the meaning of those days will only shine through as they are slowly stacked one on top of the other on top of the other like bricks as the calendar pages flip by and things happen.

And things will happen. Wonder-full things. Mysterious things. Things that don’t make sense. Things that break my heart and feel like unbearable loss. Things that break my heart into a million pieces that get reconstructed to be even bigger and better than before. Things that make me smilecry in the car or the kitchen or while walking in snowfall. Things that feel like they are throwing my boat off course. Things that guide me to a new and totally, joyfully unexpected path. Things like fireflies and fireworks and snowstorms and peonies and cake and sweet kisses and writing so much I run the ink right out of my pen. And all I can do is stay soft and open and take all these things into my heart and build them a little nest. Because, let me tell you, we hardly know the meaning of things as they happen.

What I need to remind myself most about the year ahead is that every day, every second, will be there to meet me – I just have to show up to be present in it. To Be Here Now. That practicing patience will keep me grounded. That farms and creative practices and big ideas are not birthed over night. No, everything BIG and GOOD grows slowly when we show up to glean the absolute most from every day. Like boiling the turkey carcass not once, but twice, into two batches of clear – and then cloudy – stock to store in the freezer as sustenance for the year ahead. I just have to show up, observe, notice, learn, hold still, breathe, smile (and sleep more) and dig deep. I don’t have to have the answers now, I just have to show up to catch them when they fall as bright stars out of this big Southern Wisconsin sky.

Because this year ahead is a giant, unknown mysterious ball of sparkly gold thread that will only unravel itself with the slow turn of time. I want to hold that unwinding thread softly, gently – and knit it lovingly into the arteries of my big, soft, wandering heart.

Happy Questing!
This was originally published, with a whole bunch more words, at the #365Quote Project daily TinyLetter. More on that here.
 

Quest 2016: A Creative Mess

Hi Friends. It’s been a while.

I stared this little nook one year ago, as a place to post my responses to Quest2015, the crack-you-wide-open visioning project for the year ahead hosted by Jeffrey Davis and his team at Tracking Wonder.

I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I made the split decision to run with the wild Quest pack – but I am so glad I did. From the late nights and early mornings spent writing to the lightning-bug-in-a-jar-bright online Quest community to the inspirational prompts and people – Quest2015 really did launch me into a fantastic year of growth. Catapult may be a better word for it. I continued to write and dissect here after the Quest. The #365Quote Project was born on Instagram. That evolved into the daily #365Quote TinyLetter, my favorite daily writing practice ever. (You can sign up here.) MAKE TIME evolved from idea to real-life-on-the-farm monthly event!

And that’s just the external stuff. I also feel deeply grounded; connected more meaningfully with friends and family; alive with a spark of big dreams; mentored and electrified by a creative community nearby and across the globe; and more in love with and determined to make something of this farm.

All really, really good stuff. With a whole bunch of other really good stuff that is only half as tangible and express-able as all of that juiciness.

So what?

So…2015 is almost over. 2016 is almost here. I’ve signed up for Quest2016, although this time with a lot more thought as to whether I have the energy to tackle this big self-turning-in-side-out project over the course of the next month. We start tomorrow. I’ll be posting here some, but mostly I’ll be sharing through the TinyLetter. You can view all those posts here, or you can join the newsletter to receive one typewritten quote and daily writing in your mailbox each day. (And I swear you can unsubscribe anytime and it won’t hurt my feelings.)

I’m excited to face this Quest2016 from safely back inside my rowboat, and on a determined course. I have a firm sense of the direction I’m headed, and can’t wait for the landscapes I’ll encounter along the journey. I hope it is creative and muddy and a giant, fun mess. I am looking forward to connecting with fellow Questers (like you!) over the month and year ahead. I can’t wait to see what golden threads we spin and how big we can grow.

Happy Questing!
vanessa jean

P.S. Here’s some really good other stuff to read in reflection of 2015, and in preparation for the Quest ahead.