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  • Writer's pictureTamsin Hartley

A creative look at the year ahead

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

There is nothing quite like beginning the New Year with a day of calm reflection after the busy-ness of the festive season. A group of 12 fellow participants decided to join me for a one-day retreat to do some peer-supported mindful exploration at the beginning of January. Using Clean questions we invited one another to pause and take a creative look at the year ahead.

The day opened with the question,

What is important to you in the year ahead?

Everyone chose a handful of key words in answer to this question, and we gently encouraged one another to explore the significance that these words held for us.

This was followed by a mindful walking activity taken from The Listening Space book, which I’m going to share with you now. You might like to try this activity for yourself as a way of exploring your thoughts about the year ahead. You can either do the activity on your own or with a partner, either way is fine.

Bear with the somewhat repetitive nature of the questions. They are designed to invite you to dig a little deeper beneath the words you have chosen. Valuable new perspectives often reveal themselves in the process.

If you do choose to do the activity in pairs, complete the whole activity before changing over roles. It can be helpful if the person asking the questions repeats back key words that the ‘explorer’ has used. There is something very affirming about having someone bear witness to your thinking in this way. And if you like, you can vary how you repeat the questions by placing the emphasis on different words each time.

Enjoy 😊

Activity: TAKE A WALK

Choose a walk that you would like to take. It could be a walk around town, in a local park, or out in the countryside – anywhere that you are drawn to walking.

You might find it helpful to bring a notebook and pen to jot down the answers to the questions below as you go, or record your answers on your phone.

When you are established in your walk, pause for a moment to look around you.

Thinking about the year ahead:

  • How does what you see around you inform you about the year ahead?

  • Is there anything else about what you’re noticing?

  • And is there anything else about what you’re noticing?

  • And is there anything else about what you’re noticing?

  • And is there anything else about what you’re noticing?

  • And what do you know now?

  • And what difference does knowing that make?

After the activity

Take a look at the answers you have given.

Were there any surprises for you?

Did you gain any fresh perspectives?

There are number of creative ways to capture the essence of what you have discovered during your exploration. You may like to try one (or more) of them:

Create a piece of writing: you could create a short story, a blog, or poem – or simply create a mind-map from the words that have arisen.

Create an image: using pens, paints, photography, collaging or searching for images online.

Create a model: using clay, Plasticine, Lego, or any other 3D modelling material of your choice.

Create a sound: some people like to find creative expression through sound or music.

Create movement: for others movement and dance is their thing,

Remember, this is not about trying to create a masterpiece. It is about finding a way to represent what you learnt from your exploration.

Below is the collage that arose from my exploration as I came to understand more about what ‘gently galvanising’ means to me over the coming months.

How about you?

Where does your exploration take you?

How might you nourish your creativity in the year ahead?

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