Monday, 20 January 2014

January Joy & Jest!


Oh January is such a maligned month isn't it? Well, I've got a few things  to share with you that may persuade you otherwise, on this 'Blue Monday' too, apparently the most depressing day of the year. 

First of all, there's the January Mindful Writing Challenge (Mindful Writing) I've been taking part in. The concept is simple: notice one thing every day and write it down. ~Notice one thing every day and write it down.~ As Mary Oliver urges: 'Instructions for living a life: Pay Attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.'   From sunsets to skies to food to clothes to coloured paraphernalia, I've been going around this month with my eyes wide open. The exercise encourages awareness, and with awareness comes gratefulness and a willingness to find significance everywhere.
Here are some of my observations, or small stones as they're called on the website. They're neither poetry or prose, just a small written note of significance:

Silver streamers 
flung on the clock 
from last night's celebrations 
make time sparkle 
                                     -(New Year's Day)

A constellation of pink stars 
sparkle around me - 
a sequined cardigan 
hanging in wait 
                                       -(5 January)

The new moon 
always a surprise
a wink of silver
from a sympathethic eye
                                                 -(6 January)

Tangerine sunset 
like a shot of Vitamin C
for the soul
                                                 -(8 January)

Shining in the window
the wolf moon
bright as a floodlight
white as a tooth
howls for attention
                                        -(13 January) 

Seagulls stretch their wings
delighting in the blue,
while we warm our winter faces

in surprise sun, subtext singing
of Spring

                                             - (today)  

I plan to finish out the month with these, and hopefully continue on throughout the upcoming months. It's such a great idea. Days you feel pass you by with nothing seemingly happening, you sit down to write your small stone and realise that something did happen, no matter how small, it had significance for the fact that you noticed it, and partook in the act of writing it down.  

You can read a kaleidoscope more here: or try searching on Facebook or Twitter for the hashtag #smallstones.  You don't have to write them to enjoy reading them. But reading them will only inspire you to write them!

Another great tool to banish the January blues is this book: The Awe-manac by Jill Badonsky. Yes that's not a dud spelling on my part, it does say 'awemanac' rather than almanac - promising as it does a daily dose of wonder. Every day is noted with a special array of inspiring content such as:
- the Daily Soul Vitamin (inspiring quotes, which I heartily enjoy) 
- Toast of the Day (appreciations of ordinary things, for example: 'here's to pens that make your handwriting look better than it actually is')
-Aha-phrodisiacs (writing prompts - my favourite from this month - 'write what accordion music would look like')
-Dose of Mirth (funny witty offerings of advice)

It's quirky, fun, surprising and as it says on the tin, inspiring. I highly recommend it! Today's 'soul vitamin' is: "In order to achieve the impossible, you have to attempt the absurd" - Miguel de Cervantes Savedra.  It's also National Hat Day. (The book follows the American calendar, so lots of interesting national days...) Like did you know that January is national gourmet coffee month? And it encompasses lots of cool interesting days like National Cat Day, National Make Your Dreams Come True Day, Festival of Sleep Day, National Bath Day and National Nothing Day! Did you ever consider January to be a bastion of such fun days??! I can't wait to see what trivia and whimsy the upcoming months will bring!

Another January joy I've stumbled upon is Vintage's decision to start a year long #shelfhelp book endeavor. Their idea being that 'shelf help' - reading good books - is better for you than reading (sometimes drippy) self-help books. It's book therapy at its general best! They have chosen a feelgood book for each month and an online bookclub space in which to share and discuss views.  First up for January is 'The Examined Life' by Stephen Grosz. You can see the rest of the book selection here:

And if you don't agree with their chosen books, why not choose your own? For there is nothing better than a good book to make you feel better, pick up your mood, and put a swing in your step! 

So there. I hope I've added a little joy and jest to your January!

~ Siobhán

Useful Links:

Mindful Writing ~
The Awemanac ~ 
Shelf Help ~

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