“Not all those who wander are lost.”

"Not all those who wander are lost."  J.R. Tolkien

I come to the start of a new year with my lists.  My to do list, my dream list, my theme list, my goals... But also a sense of wandering.  A sense of uncertainty about how to go forward in this creative journey and life.  

My newsfeeds are filled with lists of how to be more productive.  How to get the most out of each moment, year, experience, etc.  Tips on how to be the best and succeed.

I appreciate intensity.  I'm naturally intense.  But I've also learned that we can't live in that intensity at every moment of our lives.  That sometimes being productive isn't good.  Some days you need to dream.  Some days you need to rest.  Some days require "being" time.  And some days you don't know where your life is going.  

I step into this new year - with my own share of fears, with broken parts of my life and heart, with mess and mistakes and scars.  And I think of a favorite book of mine, Deerskin by Robin McKinely. A fairy tale that does not hide the dark but dives into pain and suffering.  A story that leaves the princess at the end making a simple choice.  The choice to step towards love.  It isn't a happily ever after, walk into the sunset, ending.  It is a decision to live and move forward despite the scars and her fear.  

I think of a film I watched called Always.  A film about two misfits, with broken lives, who choose to step forward in love.  Not without cost.  Not without pain.  But still they choose a path of love.  

I want to move forward in 2015 not hiding from fear.  But moving forward despite the fear and despite knowing that there are dark days.  It's not easy to create this way or live this way.  But when I find myself immersed in stories I love, I find characters who move forward even in their fear.  And they remind me that we can't always choose how productive, successful, or beautiful our lives will be.  But we can choose which direction we will wander in.   

As I take time to write goals and dreams for this year I know that it will be another year filled with unplanned moments and forks in the road - but even when I don't know if I'm taking the right path I want to journey forward with a heart that beats with the courage to love.  Again and again.  

And on the days that I don't choose love I hope I look for the stories and lives of those around me who help to remind me to keep choosing to wander towards love instead of despair.  So fellow dreamers and creators - I need your stories.  Your lives and work that remind me that beauty is found in the wandering towards love.  

May we create beauty and love to fill this world and fight against the violence and hurt.  May we step towards love, leaving a path that others might see.  May we lend each other courage to take one step after another towards things greater than our own stories - towards the power of love to drive away our fear.