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Good-ish  /January 2020
"Trusting the process is based on a belief
that something valuable will emerge
when we step into the unknown."

from Trust the Process by Shaun McNiff

Hi, my friends.

 
It’s 2020. That’s a bit surreal, isn’t it? Thinking about the many pie-in-the-sky strategic plans that looked toward 2020 and here we are. (BTW, I’m not a fan of strategic plans. Do or do not – there is no try.)
 
I’ve heard a number of stories about people who pick a word for the year, so I decided to give it a go.

Ready? Failure.
 
It’s a little scary, I know, but I gotta slay that particular dragon. Or defang it. Or earn an A in failure. Pick your metaphor.
 
So how about you? What are you up to? Tried any tasty recipes lately? We liked this artichoke pasta (with gluten-free pasta and minus about half the cheese) from the NY Times.
 
If you have a recipe or a word, or a big goal for the new year (or decade), reply to this email and tell me all about it.
 

Slay Your Sugar Habit for 25 Cents a Day

Nothing focuses the mind like stepping on the scale.

That and I signed up for the New York Times 7-Day Sugar Challenge right before New Year’s Day. The article linked to a lecture that I am familiar with but hadn’t watched, Sugar: The Bitter Truth with Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology. Yikes, it was the equivalent of a Scared Straight experience, especially right after my many sugary indulgences throughout the holiday season. Sugar addiction is real. Many companies use food scientists to make foods irresistible, and science works.

I did the NY Times challenge, but I went one step further and decided to follow the American Heart Association dietary recommendations for added sugar intake: 25 grams of added sugar per day or about 6 teaspoons/100 calories is the recommendation for women. 

Holy geez. It sounds like a lot, but it’s really, really not.

Read more about my sugar slashing adventure

Embracing Failure

After reading The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by the legendary dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp, I feel like I received a masterclass in the merits of failure. I’m neither a dancer nor a dance fan, but I am interested in habits and learned about her daily workout ritual while reading Atomic Habits by James Clear (one of my top book recommendations from 2019), and I tracked down a copy of her book.

Dancers and dance lovers will appreciate this book, but it’s a book for all creative people who want to develop and deepen their creative muscle.
Read more about embracing failure.

On the Bookshelf

Three books that I have read and recommend:
 
Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe
In his book Permission to Feel, Marc Brackett reports that the two most common answers to the question “How are you?” are “Fine.” and “Busy.” And sometimes it’s, “Fine, busy.”

This situation is not a good reflection on our lives or emotional states. Deciding not to be busy is a courageous, outrageous act in our society. However, it might be the best decision that you’ve ever made. Crabbe lays a convincing how-to guide for moving away from busy as your personal brand and way of being. (This book also has an excellent chapter on personal branding that did not make me gag.)
 
Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki
I am brushing up on the entrepreneurial mindset, and this book was that and more. I very seldom want to memorize books, but the chapter on leadership is something that I would gladly commit to memory.
 
The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
There are so many layers to this book: creativity, habits, how to start, innovation and more. Tharp invokes names from art, music, literature and other fields. Imagine a fascinating dinner party with an all-star list of artists: that’s what it feels like to read this book. It also provides a blueprint on how to gracefully and successfully age with your work and art.

2-4-6-8-Create!
This is my latest quilt, Tree #18. Green is my favorite color, so I have always been fond of trees. Or I have always been fond of trees, so green is my favorite color. Hard to say which came first. If you want to sing along, the soundtrack for this quilt is Branching Out by John Gorka. I'm gonna reach. 
 
This month I did a major cleanup of my sewing room, which will now be called the studio. I realized that I have the space that I have always dreamed of having, and it needed a better name. This year I want to try new things and be prepared to fail.
Take care of you

Let’s rock this year. Pinky swear!
 
One of the best parts of the book Busy by Tony Crabbe is the deal of busy as a brand—and what a terrible brand it is. It’s a good idea to take five and think about what you stand for and how you want the world to see you. And then take steps both tiny and bold in that direction.
 
You’ve got this!
 
Jake

P.S. Snowy photo by Robert Haight.
 
 
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