thought on letting go, 2009 words, and more.

Jan 9, 2009 | Life in Progress

i still love mason jennings. lately, i keep going back to this one particular song where he sings “life is something that you can’t control….when you try to hold onto it, it makes you let go.” i’m reminded that it’s when i get sick that i’m forced to let go – to slow down, nurture, and loosen the grips on life a little . it happened last april, and it’s happening again now. the lesson keeps coming around and around until i get it: slow down and let it go. every time i don’t, i get very ill after all the excitement of travel/projects/holidays are over.  so, that’s what i’ve been up to – forcing myself to take meds, hot baths, and to get better fast.

i’m also coming up with a plan for myself in 2009. my words for 2008 were self-care and balance. and i’m making them my words again for 2009. again, i believe the lessons keep repeating themselves until we finally get it. and these two words sum up my ever revolving lessons/needs/wants/wishes/goals. my hope is that if i can find ways to balance my days with work, play, and self-care, then i’ll be happier, more creative, more productive, and healthier. that’s the hope and i’m all over it for 2009. because, frankly, i will be SO embarrassed if they are my words for 2010.
i know there are a ton of words out there circling for 2009. now, one week into 2009, how are your words feeling? what are your words? why did you choose them? what is your biggest wish for yourself in 09 (i’d love to know)? and like me, does it take you several weeks to really start in on new year beginnings (please say yes)?
ps – i wanted to thank memory makers magazine for publishing a fun how-to article i wrote for their current issue. the jan/feb issue is in stores now!
pps – and this is killing me. in the best of ways. can you believe it? can you? so many people, friends, kindreds have pulled together to make this happen. it’s so exciting to witness, really.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (33 comments)
  1. Anonymous

    It was very difficult for me to narrow down my words this year. So I chose three:


    So far they are good. Sometimes, though, I see them on my bulletin board and want to cry, because I am not living them. But generally they are encouraging, rather than mocking.

  2. justagirl

    I do really like the words ‘cellar door’ they sound other worldly. I guess to me they mean, stop hiding things about myself and my thoughts deep down behind a door. Be myself and not be afraid to show it, not be embarassed by what I think.

  3. zquilts

    My words are strung together on thin line:
    slow down
    less is more

  4. Jill Nalette

    I have SO many words for the New Year. One is to RELAX and most people would think wow, that should be easy, but it’s not. Two TREAT because I rarly ever treat myself(I’m always worried about everyone else. This year I hope to TREAT myself). Three BREATH to simply let go(another hard one). I’m sure I’ll come up with more, but these are my starters.
    I hope while you’re not feeling well Kelly Rae you remember to RELAX, TREAT and BREATH.
    Smiles and xoxo

  5. Marie

    je suis toujours en admiration devant tes toiles !

  6. karen

    YES it takes awhile to greet the new year, introduce each other, have some tea, talk about possibilities. I don’t want to feel so compelled to have all the answers or solutions this year – or expect myself to know the next step – because I don’t. I want to say, “I don’t know” more times than not. However you roll that into a word. Letting go, like you say. Having faith that what we need will come to us. Happy New Year!!

  7. Heather,

    My word for 2009 is CeLebRaTe…and I have started slowly, just taking the time to smile at EveRyThiNg ~ doesn’t smiling just open you heart? even in moments of sadness, frustration, despair? So that’s my start…being so inside myself makes this a hard word for me, i’m very cognitive about things like this, but have difficulty expressing what i’m thinking feeling to the world, so that is my next step. AND of course, some days are harder than others to focus on celebrating, but i know that with repeated practice something becomes habitual. Happy 2009!

  8. Jennifer

    Redefine in ‘o9. That’s my motto this year. It (being my creative life) feels like it is finally all coming together. It’s as if the stars are all lined up for me – connection after connection keeps happening. Seriously, shy of coming and standing before me, my Higher Power is speaking to me loud and clear this year.

  9. Tally

    Discovered your blog this morning. The quote “life is something you can’t control…..” just got me right away.
    Exactly this is what happened so far this year. This year for a change I had laid out everything for a good start into a whole new year of chances to change.
    My word was chosen, it’s *lightness*.
    Then a practical kind of problem hit me. All my emerency-insurances didn’t help because even persons would have been paid they didn’t help.
    The first days my effort to focus on *lightness* did help, but after some days my systems refused, I couldn’t sleep, went into awful stress and so on. “….when you try to hold onto it, it makes you let go”

    Since yesterday evening part of the problem is solved. This morning feels like a new start into the year. Then I discovered the 12-secrets-project. The book I had bought already in December!!! What a coincidence. What a fresh chance!

    Oh, and you asked for our wish. Mine is: I wish to be together with a (me loving) partner to whom I can say “yes” with all my heart.

    Hope you get well soon, being able to dig into your 2009

  10. Jilly in Idaho

    The words that are whispering to me over and over are SETTLE and RELEASE. I need to settle and calm myself to heal from the inside out. To settle down and accomplish the things that I crave to do but always seem to put on the back burner.
    Release is to let go of the distractions and clutter that keep getting in the way, both in the physical and mental sense. To release the unnecessary things that clog up progress.
    And oh yes, I’m very slow out of the gate for the new year. I just wrote ‘2009’ for the first time yesterday.

  11. Laurie G.

    I think self-care and balance are words for a lifetime!

  12. Tanya J.

    My word or quote right now is..”Graceful Dancing” in my head it means. keep your head up and walk with your head high. no regrets:)

    Thank You for your kind words on my blog 🙂 means a lot to know I have support from people I only met virtually a week ago 🙂

  13. Imelda

    I need to learn to slow down too. That’s on of the mian reasons I got ill so frequently last year. Always working long hour, rehearsing for one show after another, marathon training, busy social life… throw stress and poor diet into the mix and you got endless colds, lurgy flu and worse!

    I don’t think I can sum up my 2009 in one word. Have to get back to you on that!

  14. Kirsten Michelle

    no word. no theme. no list.
    not yet.
    so YES it’s taking me a little time to start in on new year beginnings…it’s comforting to read i’m not alone.

    happy new year to you 😉

  15. honeybee

    Hi Kelly,

    I joined the 12 Secrets book club yesterday. I am looking forward to being a part of it. My word for 2009 is “healthy”. As someone who has suffered from depression for many years, I want 2009 to be the year I do everything I can to manage it in a healthy, functional way. It has held me back for far too long. And I know exactly what you mean about needing to let go. Sometimes that can be the hardest task.

    I love your book and have even made a few collages. And I even started a blog after reading your book. Thank you for being such an inspiration!


  16. Jennifer Valentine

    Have I told you how honored I am to see my own handwriting in your work? As I wrote those letters (most I don’t even remember writing!) I never thought they’d be included in such precious things.
    Yes, my “New Year” has gotten off to a kinda slow start, but I feel something happening…I have a feeling that my 40th year is going to be a memorable one.
    I hope you start feeling better…nothing like being sick to remind you of how wonderful feeling un-sick is.

  17. Trish

    My word for 2009 is “energy.” I want to have the physical and emotional energy to respond to my life– in all of its joy and complexity– with the energy of mind, body and spirit that living wholly and abundantly demands of me.

  18. Steph

    My word for 2009 is book. I’m writing one on tea and related stuff. Your book has inspired me greatly!

  19. lauriejacobsen

    I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well – i know what it’s like to get sick after all of the action, on the letdown. take good care of you!

    it took me a minute to come up with words for 2009 but i decided on “dream awake.” i’m going to try to dream big this year and now i have a mantra for it!!

  20. Kathryn Hansen

    In metaphysics it’s the year of celebration…so that is my word for 2009…plan on creating a sign for it this weekend and putting right over my drafting table!

  21. Renae C

    My word is “possibility”

    I am finally letting myself entertain what might be possible in my own life – including my very first ever passport and the chance at a life-changing trip over the summer.

    Yes, it always takes a while to get started into the new year – it doesn’t even BEGIN to happen until the Monday after New Year’s and it takes several weeks – and then I look up and it’s almost February.

    Feel better soon!

  22. whenigrowupcoach

    I have to admit I haven’t thought of my “words” for 2009. Goals, yes. “Resolutions”, yes. But tangible THINGS, not words. I like the idea of words.

    I think my word for 2009 is FOCUS. I like BALANCE too, but it would be too easy for me to use that to my advantage – slip into my old excuses of not doing what I need to do to get to where I want to go. FOCUS will allow me to adopt some new habits while making sure my priorities in life (namely, the people who are priorities in my life) still get the attention they deserve.

  23. Deborah Boschert

    I’m not sure I have a word yet, but there is still time, right? But my hope for my family is that our kids have a good experience at school. They spend 7 hours there 5 days a week. I just really really want it to be time well spent in every way.

  24. Katie

    My word is NOURISH..and yes, it takes me a bit to get into the New Year swing. I’m hoping to nourish my body better by eating healthier and exercising, and nourish my spirit and soul by making room for the stuff I really love to do.

    My biggest wish for myself in 2009 is to tackle a major writing project. I’ve got several in my head, so we’ll see which one it winds up being.

    Thanks for your beautiful, vulnerable honesty and tireless optimism.

  25. Sandi Keene

    My word is DARE. It is about courageously undertaking things that normally are filled with fear and doubt. Already wonderful things are happening because I am daring to believe in what I can do.

    Your book has been helping me with my goals. The questions in each section are guiding a discovery of things I truly want and need. When I first looked at them I was SURE that they were too hard. I skipped over them repeatedly sure that they were meant for someone else – better artists, braver people, clearly someone that I wasn’t. That is when my word stepped in again. DARE to do it – just try – be quiet and see what happens.

    The questions ARE for me and the answers? Definitely for me.

    So, thank you Kelly Rae. I also just bought the book for the creativity blog. I am going to join in (even though it is SO scary!)I am determined to find a larger community while nurturing the tiny one I already have.

  26. Amanda

    Looking back on 2008, my word would have been SPROUT (heehee, such a fun word).

    For 2009: CONNECT.
    It’s an action word.

    Connect with myself, with my body, with my dreams and goals, with action towards my dreams and goals, with my art, with my friends, with my community, with my partner, with a place to volunteer, with writing.

    I’m an Enneagram type 9, and I struggle with connection. I can disappear…I spoke with my grandmother recently about what my mother was like as a child (we aren’t close), and she said she was never present. I don’t want to live the same life as my mother, and I am willing to CHOOSE this life, this one I have right now, with all of it’s pain and all of it’s glory, and I am willing to choose to make an effort to connect to all of it. Like you’ve said: brave in sadness, brave in love. connection is the bravest action I can take.

    Sometimes I process New Year thing quickly, but not this year. I’m still reviewing all my journals from last year (I filled several!) and reflecting on what I heard in my writing that I still haven’t honored in my life.

    Much love to you and John.

  27. Emme

    I think my word is EMBRACE, the little moments with my family, my inner whispers and dreams, being mindful and present to draw it all in close. And yes, with the cuh-ray-zeh weather we’ve been having in Seattle, snow then floods…I’m a bit behind in embracing the new year so far too!

  28. Shalet

    My word is “simplify”. I want to get back to the basics of what life is about, have gratitude for the the things I have and want not for the things I don’t have.

    I want a simply joyful life. Bring it on 2009!

  29. Sherry Goodloe

    Balance seems to be a common word for 2009 🙂 It’s my word this year as well. I’m working it another angle though. I’m going to try and follow a saying that my cousin told me once when I was complaining about having too much on my plate in life: “Don’t ask for fewer burdens, ask for broader shoulders”.

  30. tiffany

    I’m going to go with balance as well. And inspiration. Throughout December, I kept thinking, I need more balance. But what I realized was that, it’s not “more” balance that I need, just better balance.

    And, I’m hoping to find inspiration in the everyday.

    So far, 2009 is off to a great start and is getting better every day!

  31. risa

    Just last night I decided that my two words for 2009 are “Dream Big”…and reading your blog and the blogs of other artists is inspiring me to do just that. I want to keeep challenging myself. Last night I kicked things off by sending off an article submission.
    You never know until you try!

  32. Meri Arnett-Kremian

    My word is “manifest.” I juggled three or four, trying to see which ones would get dropped. “Manifest” was the ball still in the air. There are several projects I need to bring to completion; several I need to start; partners I need to attract. So “manifest” it is. And it’s a kind of “manifest destiny” that I can support.

  33. Tinniegirl

    My word for 2009 is ENJOY. It’s a reminder to live in the moment, slow down and celebrate life. It feels like a good choice.

    It does take me a while to get into the new year groove too. It’s only the last couple of days that I’ve really started to get a sense of what I want this year to be about and to gather some momentum.


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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