Back in May, my therapist recommended that I do The Artist's Way &/or compile my own program of practices for creativity and self-care to do regularly and with intention. I do have a number of practices, little rituals, mottos and mantras that have worked together, over time, to bring me from hard times/despair/insecurity into a place of comfort/security/sweetness in my life and relationships. I decided to assemble them into a book I'd call The Almanac.
Once I started listing the items to go into the Almanac it started to change. Mapping my Almanac against conventional almanacs, I structured it with the calendar year. Dates and their significance for me stood out. Equinoxes and solstices. Birthdays and death days. Cultural and religious holidays. The table of contents grew from practices and ideas to include my most meaningful relationships and other significant symbols.
The types of entries will vary, like a quote with what it means to me or a description of a practice and how I use it, etc. Entries for each person will be a letter to the person describing who they are to me, how they've influenced my growth and my life, and how I see them. Writing these letters is the slowest, most heart-rending, and probably most cathartic part of creating the Almanac. It's a process of pulling from my insides out, to where I can bear witness to the people who made me, make me, and accompany me in this life.
I'm beyond excited about this project. I'm building a physical artifact of who and what is meaningful to me. I'm representing how I make meaning. As someone who wrestles with depression, this is a big deal because my depression churns up questions about the meaning, the value, of my tiny life. The Almanac bears evidence that my life is meaningful - to me, individually, and through the connections I have with other people. Crafting the Almanac is a commitment to witnessing the meaning in, and maybe of, my life.