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Happy New Year, everyone!

In the flurry of the holidays and trying to get back into my groove, I wasn’t planning on doing a New Year’s post, but I’m a little too goal-oriented to let it slide. (And that’s something I’m going to address in this post.)

2013 was a pretty spectacular year; my first book came out (a second time), our family welcomed two niecelets into the world, I had some more travel adventures, got certified as a yoga instructor, and continued weaving words. 2014 promises to be just as amazing, with the release of many new books (including my first YA novel and my first foray into spiritual non-fiction) and countless adventures waiting around the bend.

In 2013, I worked on cultivating gratitude, and this practice has become an integral part of my day. In the coming months of 2014, I want to learn to pause and be present.  This is going to be challenging for me.

As a writer and a teacher, I’m hardwired to plan ahead. I have to stay one step ahead of my characters and students, and I’m always looking to the next thing, the next idea, the next lesson plan. And that’s good and necessary, to a point. I’ve got a really organized mind (despite the outward chaos), and I take joy in juggling commitments and staying “on the ball.”

But especially with the upcoming releases of my various books, I don’t want to rush through this year. I want to savor the moments as they come, and really devote my full self to each experience. This doesn’t just go for my books, but for everything; no more planning the next vacation while I’m out of town (if I can help it). No more TBR pile from the library that threatens to take over the living room; one or two books at a time, please! No more being so caught up in what ifs and contingency plans that I miss the beautiful, miraculous moments of day to day life.

In short, I am working towards mindfulness this year.

009Sure, I’ll still slug down my coffee in the mornings (no amount of yoga or meditation seems to be able to turn me into a morning person for long), but I resolve to enjoy each cup; my caffeine fix is just one place I can stop and savor. I’ll have to keep working at my pace, because otherwise I might just go insane, but this year, I give myself permission not to worry too much about working way ahead. A little ahead is okay (and necessary for my mental health), but taking moments to pause throughout the day and notice the view out the window (or, better yet, head outside just to sit on the porch) is okay, too.

In fact, a whole lot more porch sitting would be okay with me this year…just as long as I can take my work outside with me.

There’s an ad on my bulletin board that I pulled out of a yoga magazine last year, and I think it sums up my 2014 mantra:

“Be still. Be strong. Clean your karma. Check your chakras. Make mistakes. Breathe. Salute the sun. Ask for the moon.”

This year, I want to be present. What do you wish for 2014?

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