Inventing a New Year

On the first Sunday of 2011,  I slept until 10:10 am! Amazing. Clearly my body and perhaps my mind were in need of the rest. Ahhh. I felt refreshed and renewed and then, argghhh.  The reality of the clock set in. There was no way that I could get ready and get myself to the 11:00 healing prayer service that I enjoy attending. And by missing it, I was neglecting one of my main areas of focus for the year – to cultivate greater spirituality in my life.

I closed 2010 by reading the Art of Possibly by Ben and Rosamund Zanders. It won’t be on my list of all time favorites but there were parts that I thought spectacular. In particular, Ben Zander, the Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra described a situation where he was working with a group of students. Despite their progress and their performances, the individuals were completely concerned about what grade they might receive for their participation. Fast forwarding, Ben called them together and let them know that they would each receive an “A”. Their task was to go home and pen a letter to him from the future – “Date it in the future and say, Dear Mr. Zander, I got my A because…”. In their work product, he saw incredible breakthrough performances. The students began to cast aside fears and limitations and truly invent their futures.

I’m a goal setter and always have been but when I set goals, I start from where I am and project forward. This new idea is intriguing – if I were to tell you that 2011 was the best year ever – what would I say to describe it’s glory and more importantly, my participation in that glory?

Dear Mr. Z,

Today my community is better place and my place within it is better too. It’s become healthier and wealthier as I’ve watched the fruits of my time and attention take off and ripple through those that I come in contact with. People have access to good local food and they know how to prepare it. No one is hungry. The energy and spirit of learning this has created an atmosphere of shared purpose and dialogue. Even when neighbors disagree, they engage in civil discourse to understand both sides of the issue. There’s less stress and that allows more time for community building activities and the arts and humanities. Our community garden is abundant and by documenting it, I have the foundation for my second book. My family is strong in body, mind and spirit and watching all that we’ve accomplished has only made us closer. We’re really proud of each other. Inventing 2012 is going to be even better.



P.S. I learned to let myself off the hook for little things like occasionally sleeping in on a Sunday morning.

What does 2011 look like when you tell it from the future?

Celery Root Soup
Serves three
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts chopped
  • 1 large celery root, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups stock
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder
  • pepper to taste

Melt butter and olive oil in a soup pot. Add leeks and saute until transparent about 5 minutes. Add salt and celery root and stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 40 minutes or until celery is soft. Run through a food processor to puree and then return to soup pot. Add chile powder and pepper and water if it’s too thick. Enjoy on a cold January night.

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  1. GREAT POST! In 2011 I have learned to let my self off the hook.. I really recognized I am going to make mistakes & I am not perfect. My family is stronger & we have found a healthy balance in all things we do. I have significantly impacted my world. Peace is in abundance for mankind.

  2. Sally Mom

     /  January 8, 2011

    Delicious and Delightful!
    I recieved a beautiful little book of poetry from a dear friend and wonderful educator, for Christmas. “MALA of the HEART”.
    An ageless collection of divine poetry. I find myself picking it up often when in need of solace or reflection, opening it and enjoying the piece my fingers have found.
    Tammy you seem to find the right subject matter for all of us to reflect on weekly and as usuall, this was a delightful read.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks Sally and your poetry book sounds wonderful. My dad gave me a Poetry Anthology for Christmas and I am really enjoying it.

  3. Dear Tammy, I am all for sleeping in once in a while. Your Soul in Sleep is gathering all you need for this fabulous year. Ease and Grace, my dear, ease and grace.
    I will pen my letter.
    On it.
    Love and hugs and congratulations on all you are creating!

  4. Great reflective post, Tammy, and you’re right, this is a great exercise! It really is all about inventing a new year ourselves, about having the motivation to do so 🙂

  5. I love the idea of painting a detailed vision of your community as you want it to be, and of yourself and how you want to be in your community, and then putting energy into really seeing that vision. I truly believe this to be a very powerful process. I’m so very thankful to know other people (like you) who share a common vision for feeding our communities in a more healthful, fair way, and are working to make that a reality. Thanks for another powerful post and Happy New Year!

  6. kjacobs729

     /  January 8, 2011

    Love this writing idea! Planning to try it myself and have my students try it as well.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. That’s a terrific way of looking ahead. I like it. Achieving your goals before they happen. 🙂

    I wish I could let myself sleep in until 10 am…more so, I WISH the dog would let me sleep in until 10 am!

  8. I love this post Tammy, so powerful..! Making you help set yourself up to a challenge in your own words..? Maybe that way, you are realistic and because you know your limits and surroundings, you will write down what you can and will be happy to achieve them too.. Nice idea.. I think I will try it, And thanks for the recipe, I like my celery soup with a little carrot, so I will cheat 😉
    Just now, I quickly stole a mid Sat nap while putting the kids to sleep and boy, I feel refreshed!

  9. 2010 was the first good year I’ve had since Stephen died. I’m going to concentrate on making 2011 just as good. I love Tom Waits and his Chocolate Jesus

  10. I love the idea of giving everbody an “A” so they’ll stop worrying about it and focusing on the task at hand. That is such a great lesson. Also, your posts are always so thoughtful. I forget how I stumbled across the blog in 2010, but I’m really glad I did.

  11. What a perfectly inspiring post. Thanks, Tammy!

  12. Tammy, what a brilliant way of looking at the year ahead. I shall try the letter AND the soup!

  13. Love this idea and I cannot wait to implement it – talk about a self fulling prophesy. Speaking of inspiring, have you seen the TED talk given by the Facebook CEO, blanking on her name about women in the workforce – another really terrific piece.

    • I just saw that TED this week and it really was inspiring. It was so in line with that Women in the Labrynth of Leadership that I posted on – sort of depressing really.

  14. Kath (Eating for Living)

     /  January 9, 2011

    Shaping your present from the perspective of future is a very interesting idea! I think it somewhat makes you feel obligated you to your ideal self rather than outer conditions. I really like this! As much as I like your celery soup recipe! 🙂

  15. Jingle

     /  January 9, 2011

    cool attitude..

    Happy 2011.

  16. Ghazi

     /  January 10, 2011

    Loved the idea of making goals by writting them as if you’ve accomplished them. That way they seem more possible, and you tend to be more positive about them! Great post!

  17. Deb

     /  January 10, 2011

    i love the idea of writing a letter from the future this way. puts a whole different spin on goal setting and makes it a bit more interesting. also, love the recipe and will use it as we’re getting leeks this week and have lots of celeriac. 🙂

  18. It isn’t often that I read something and am so completely wowed by the genius! I love this idea of visualizing the end result and then fashioning the path that it took to arrive there. Positive thinking, right?

    You’ve given this girl lots to think about!

  19. Great idea and very inspirational. My Dad had a brain haemorrhage in December so I see 2012 with him happy and healthy and back in full swing with the rest of the family and friends.

  20. Love the idea of writing about things you hope to accomplish as though you already have! Maybe I’ll try writing one of these letters myself.

  21. I LOVE this. What a brilliant idea. Here’s my letter:

    Dear Mr. Z,

    I got an A for 2011 because I continued building and maintaining a blog that enriched and inspired my readers. That taught them how to let go of all their excuses and baggage and begin the work. That taught them to be unafraid of being writers and to go boldly forward with their most ambitions plans

    I got an A for 2011 because I finally was able to make a living as a writer–my passion.

    I got an A for 2011 because I finally eat organic foods, eat healthy, sleep well, and take care of my body, and treat it as a temple

    I got an A for 2011 because I learned how to establish a healthy, loving romantic relationship with another.

    I got an A for 2011 because I finished the 2nd Draft of my novel, despite everything that got in the way of the process.

    I got an A for 2011 because I followed my heart and did not compromise my values on my path to success.

    Thank you Tammy, I needed to write this. 🙂

  22. Tammy, this is an answer to one of my dilemmas – how to live in a state of “forward feeling” which is what one of my spiritual teachers promotes.

    It’s one thing to know my aim, but to write about it in this manner would bring the feeling of having “it”. I’m taught that this would open the gates of abundance.

    Synchronicity. Many thanks.

  23. This is an inspiring post for 2011, and its something I’ll apply to my own goal setting (: — you might want to see my new ebook, it is the second post in my pearlz site, Hope you are really really going to have a great 2011!!!

  24. Thanks Nancy.

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