Chasing Down The Muse: New year is a time to grow

"I think that artists live and work with symbols and that may be why we need to have symbolic dates and objects for the events of our lives. It is how we look at the world."

—Marsh Scott, artist


Is this a good time?

Good as any, I suppose. Arbitrary? Maybe, yet somehow it does not feel to be so. For whatever reason, we have chosen the first part of January as a time for taking stock, making resolutions, setting goals.

The New Year is here. Twelfth Night on Friday marks an end to the revelry of the holiday season. Endings and beginnings.

Why not set goals now? It is a time for goals that build on the past and look forward to the future. What is set into play now with full intention can easily come to fruition by this time next year.

So what is missing in your life at this juncture? What if you had it? What, then, would your life look like?

What would have to change in order for you to obtain this missing piece? (Uh-oh! There's that dreaded word "change.") In fact, what might you have to change to get what you want?

This brings me straight to how I personally handle this business of resolutions. Each year, I consider carefully some aspect or trait (sometimes more than one) that I might embrace in order to experience growth as a person.

Sometimes, these traits are self-centered; in other years they show up as magnanimous and/or compassionate. Generally, they work toward some change, though, in the way that things are. Whether prosperity and abundance or authority, compassion, creativity, optimism, curiosity, spontaneity — any number of possibilities shows up each year at this time. I winnow through until the right one(s) strike a chord that resonates with me.

Once the characteristic is chosen, I simply hold it and watch what changes focus, time and intention bring. Always surprising and sometimes disappointing at first, the mere acts of focus and intention definitely stir the pot.

Prosperity and abundance? There are consequences. Authority? There is a responsibility that attends this growth. Optimism? Even in the face of overwhelming odds? Compassion? At what cost?

You can see that there is more here than at first meets the eye. Still, the active involvement in what you choose for yourself can bring amazing results. So, symbolic or not, the time is now for setting things in motion. Choose a trait or two. Focus on these traits in your journaling over the next few weeks. Then, just let it flow and see what comes your way.

This somewhat structured method has the capacity to open up new terrain, new vision for personal growth and authenticity. Sometimes risky, possibly life-changing, it is still a simple enough creative method.

I advocate that we all celebrate this Twelfth Night by looking backward to all that has gone before and forward to what promise is held there and take this simple action, symbolic or not.

Remember the words of Goethe: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Take that first step.

For the start of this New Year, CHERRIL DOTY is filled with the joy and excitement that anticipation brings and wishes you the same. She can be reached at or (714) 745-9973.

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