A ritual for the new year

At my Unitarian Universalist congregation today, we had our annual ceremony to usher in the new year. Instead of a traditional service with a message (sermon), the worship leader guided us in thinking through what we most wanted to give up from the old year. We each wrote it on a slip of paper, and burned it in a burning bowl (a bowl of sand and our flaming papers). Then we considered what positive words to make our own for the new year.

These types of rituals never interested me in past years, but this year it seemed especially meaningful. I found myself really considering what I would like to discard from this year, and what traits I could be focusing on in the coming year.

To watch your fears and angers from the year past burn up is powerful. Release your fear, your anger, your despair. Burn it up. It is yours no longer.

Find your power, your love, your compassion, and hope. Find your courage, your mystery, your ability. Find them, and use them. Seize the moment and soar into the future, ready to succeed.

Happy New Year!

A Clean Desk for A New Year

I was sick over Christmas, and just got better the last couple days. Yesterday I cleaned my desk off, and I have been enjoying all the lovely space as I get in a lot of writing. It feels really good to have a nice clean workspace to start the new year with.

Christmas Orange
Fragrant, lovely citrus
Just the thing to brighten a
Dull, winter day.

Business Goals

Goal CalendarIf you’ve been reading my blog a while, you may recall that I set goals for my business early this year, and posted monthly updates to keep myself on track. Or, at least that’s what I was doing, up until June. After June, life got in the way, and I stopped regularly tracking my goals and updating here on the blog. Coincidentally (or not), July is when my sales in my shop really fell off and haven’t recovered since.

A new year is almost upon us, and I am preparing my goals for next year. This year, I have a written plan, and I have a tracking spreadsheet set up. I plan on updating my spreadsheet every month, and making sure I am on track to meet my goals.

I’ll probably still write a few blog updates, though.

So what are my goals for 2013? Mainly, I want to see an increase in numbers of unique visitors, and an increase in my views to sales conversion rate, leading to an increase in sales. So I have a lot of goals designed to increase traffic to my Etsy shop.

I also want to be working on larger and more complicated tassels to show at art shows and the regional state fair. So look for updates on those in the new year. I also plan to introduce new potpourri lines, shoe tassels, napkin rings and holders, and baby shower garlands (yes, those are still in progress!). And look for more engraved metal, artwork, and collages, too.

New Year’s Resolutions for Politics

So much we hear about politics today is about how dysfunctional it is. The two parties can do nothing but bicker and squabble while the citizens either take sides or watch in apathy. A few of us are still interested, despite the rancour. David Adler, director of the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho, gives us five resolutions for the still interested citizen (subscription only link).

  1. Stop political labeling.
  2. Listen.
  3. Citizens must be fair to one another.
  4. Avoid the politics of destruction.
  5. Avoid ideological rigidity.

I especially agree with numbers one and five. As Professor Adler writes for number one, “The practice of endorsing or dismissing an idea merely because it is characterized as liberal or conservative is the lazy citizen’s way of avoiding the work of citizenship.”

I resolve to follow these resolutions in my political discourse for 2012 and beyond. How about you? Would you change anything? Add anything? What are your thoughts on political discourse going into 2012?

Happy New Year!

High on the Happy Side

Image via Wikipedia

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable New Year! I have been enjoying cleaning my house and getting all the clutter cleared up to start 2012 with a nice neat house. I normally don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I thought I would make a few this year, both personal and for my business, and share them with you.

Personal

  1. Write more. Post every day to this blog. Work more on my novel — at least a paragraph a day, preferably 500 words a day. Get out of the no-poetry-writing slump I’ve been in.
  2. Start writing notes and letters to friends and family again. I used to write letters to my friends and family on a semi-regular basis. I’d like to do that again.
  3. Keep the house clean. Start following a housekeeping/cleaning schedule again.

I think that’s enough resolutions on the personal side. :)

Business

  1. Get brochures about my tassels and (maybe) actual tassels into at least one local bridal gown store and at least one home decor store.
  2. Take new tassels for each season/holiday to the local gallery where my tassels are on consignment.
  3. List a new tassel or item every day in my Etsy store.
  4. List a new item weekly in my Zibbet store.
  5. Make at least one Etsy sale per month.
  6. Make at least 40 Etsy sales this year.
  7. Have a home show.
  8. Teach a class on beading tassels.

And, specific goals for January:

  1. Create brochures.
  2. Stock up on tassel-making supplies.
  3. Create Valentine’s tassels, enough for the Etsy store and the local gallery.
  4. Finish previous line of wedding tassels.
  5. Start new lines of wedding tassels, baby shower tassels, and spring flower tassels.
  6. Start new line of engraved copper medallions.

That’s it for me. What are your goals and resolutions for the New Year? Please share in the comments.

Losar Today

The Gompa being performed in Lachung during th...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Losar, the first day of the Tibetan New Year celebrations!

From the Wikipedia article:

The Tibetan calendar is made up of twelve lunar months and Losar begins on the first day of the first month. In the monasteries, the celebrations for the Losar begin on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth month. That is the day before the Tibetan New Year’s Eve. On that day the monasteries do a protector deities’ puja (a special kind of ritual) and begin preparations for the Losar celebrations. The custom that day is to make special noodle called guthuk. It is made of nine different ingredients including dried cheese and various grains. Also, dough balls are given out with various ingredients hidden in them such as chilies, salt, wool, rice and coal. The ingredients one finds hidden in one’s dough ball are supposed to be a lighthearted comment on one’s character. If a person finds chilies in their dough, it means they are talkative. If white-colored ingredients like salt, wool or rice are inside the dough it is considered a good sign. If a person finds coal in the dough it has much the same meaning as finding coal in one’s Christmas stocking; it means you have a “black heart”.

 

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