Can I share something personal? During this pandemic, I am finding it extremely hard to focus. I'm bombarded by change everywhere I turn, in my home life and in my personal life. We recently moved our home, my work with the nonprofits is on hold, my studio is a huge mess while I am reorganizing, and my family life is in transition. That's just a few of the things going on right now . . .
Nothing seems the same from a year ago, yet everything seems the same from week to week and month to month. And it's all blurring together into one long "blursday." Can you relate??
And while my life is filled with change, I know that many others are filled with tragedy and anxiety. I am constantly reminding myself to count my blessings and stay grateful for each breath of air. At times I feel tiny bursts of joy, and then some moments out of nowhere I feel like crying. So I take a deep breath and say a prayer and know that I just need to keep moving forward.
BUT WHICH WAY IS FORWARD??
Usually in January, I cut snowflakes and use one to create a compass for the year. It's one of my favorite activities in my journal, as well as with my nonprofit art groups! And it also makes a wonderful family project.
Cutting snowflakes makes me so happy because I never know what they will look like until I open them up. They are beautiful surprises! Yet in life, I don't always like surprises, even beautiful ones. I want God to tell me exactly where I am headed so I can, you know, take it from there and carry on, thank you very much. But I'm not always ready for the whole big picture. And I am very much still learning how to trust God.
Once I cut a bunch of snowflakes, I will pick one as my favorite and trace it to be my compass for the year. I draw around it, color it, decorate it and add my goals around it. Then I use it to stay focused throughout the year. But so far this year, I am simply trying to stay balanced and happy. There's just too much change in my life for specific goals (at least right now.). Sanity IS the goal at this point in time.
So I thought I would share with you my simplified Compass. I'm calling it my 12-Step Compass, because I use it to try to take 12 steps a day (3 in each quadrant).
Instead of an 8-point snowflake (as pictured above), I simply cut a 4-point snowflake from a square folded into fourths.
Start with a square the size of the paper you want to trace it on. Fold your square in half, and then in half again the other way (so when you open it, you will have 4 quadrants.) While it is folded, cut designs into the folded sides (which will be the arms.). Keep it simple, because you can always add more designs to it on your paper when you trace and draw around it.
I like to add a heart to the middle of my compass to represent my prayer to God for His guidance. Here is an example of how to add lines and patterns to decorate around the snowflake:
Each of the sections of my compass represent a different area of my life I am trying to balance:
NOWledge (N) - things I need to do or mental activities; problems to solve
Social (S) - things I can do to reach out to others and not feel alone
Emotional (E) - things I can do that bring me happiness or make me feel beautiful
Wellness (W) - things I can do to stay healthy and take care of myself
I used my decorated compass to brainstorm a list of things in each of these areas. I am sure your list would look different, and there is no wrong way to do it. Your arms may even stand for different things, different areas of focus or roles you play in life, or even your goals.
It's become a fun game for me each day to give myself a point when I do something in each area! I track it in my planner by drawing a SIMPLIFIED compass, starting with a circle, and then a heart in the middle of it. Then I draw a line from it to each side of the paper. During the day I write down my points in each area. This is how it helps me stay balanced and sane: It's not just another day of laundry - it's a point for each load! And when I don't have points in an area (such as social or emotional), it reminds me of why I am feeling off balance. Usually it's when I need to reach out to others or do something kind for myself, or something kind for them!
Drawing this simple compass takes only a few minutes, and gives me time to say a prayer at the beginning of the day. In a way, it's like a tiny daily HEartPRAYER! (Click here if you would like to learn some other HEartPRAYERS.)
If you're curious about my planner pictured above, it's called the Passion Planner. I love it!! My daughter Josie talked me into getting it last year. She loves it so much that she became an Ambassador with them. It has so much space for drawing (check out the dotted grid on the right side!), plus the paper is nice and thick for my art pens! It's a great way to combine both my left and right brain :). They daily sections are also great tools for mental wellness. If you'd like to try it, click here and use her code at checkout for a 10% discount: JOSIES10. (She'll also earn a small commission to help support her college goals. So thank YOU.)
This compass exercise has been a big reminder for me that the little things I do each day aren't meaningless, they really are filled with purpose. (Even though they may feel mundane.) They help me be who I need to be in this world, especially in these crazy times, and for those around me.
If you would like some help setting up your compass, just send me an email at Nicole@ARTstarters.net. I'm happy to spend a few moments with you by phone or by Zoom to get you started!
More Resources on Creating Snowflake Compasses are on my YouTube Channel:
Cutting 8-point Snowflakes: https://youtu.be/VDxXoPtC86M
Adding Zentangle to Your Snowflake Compass:
Using Colored Pencil with your Snowflake Compass: https://youtu.be/PrqlGOX7TIU