setting the chords for this year's songs

A new year and new semester means establishing a new chord structure and a new rhythm for my weeks.

This semester, Tuesdays are going to be sarah tells stories days - one day a week set aside amidst the primary work of the PhD to ensure that other projects – such as the book about innovation and creativity in church, a new poetry collection, and the storytelling show (in)humanity – continue to progress.

Weekends will be weekends time off, with a bit of story and poetry thrown in, no doubt, and study when deadlines loom.

I am quite intuitive, feeling, perceiving, which means I like to go with how I am feeling in the moment - do I feel like studying, I will study, do I feel like walking, I will walk ... but I have found that setting a structure around which to work allows the work to actually get done. It's a bit like the chord structures around which a jazz musician improvises, and as a person engaged in multiple pursuits in any one season of life, this image has become a very useful tool. Parameters guard against chaos, encourage harmony and beauty.

So on a study day I set the chords for my intuitive feeling my way by asking where is the energy for the various tasks within the study schedule - reading, writing, conference or journal papers, etc.? On a story/poetry day, I will spend time on whichever project the creative juices are stirring over.

Was it Jung who recognised that for any strength, there is a shadow side? If I only went with what I feel like doing, some necessary tasks might be neglected. Giving myself a structure, I recognise my strength in intuition and perception, that I work by feeling my way, and enhance it by providing the chords through each movement that needs to be played.

What tools, structures, rhythms or patterns will help you make the most of your gifts and passions as you enter this new year, new semester, new season of life?


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