Last night I was at a Nearly New Year Party with five friends. They were in East Anglia (the host/DJ lives in Suffolk – thanks, lovely Em!) and I’m in northernmost Scotland. We danced, hugged, kissed screens, shared candle glows, and journalled about our individual – often solitary – challenges and achievements in 2020.

And recalled some of the appreciations, gratitudes, and delights that had inspired and sustained us through this enraging, estranging, poignant, wistful, awe-ing and extraordinary year. This salutory, stern, unsettling, strange, sometimes serene, sometimes starry, sometimes stormy year.

Dhruvaloka due north copyright Kathy Labrum McVittie 30 December2020
Looking north from Dhruvaloka, through a misty window, with snow on the low hills

You can add your own personal adjectives (please do, in the appropriate Brain Dump below).

Because at its heart ©writing our way whole© is about acknowledging and witnessing what is going on for us, moment by moment, just like this.

After we had journalled separately and witnessed together, we (friends who met on the dance floor) frolicked and fluttered in our safe bubbles.

I recognised one of the tracks as music that had stirred and moved me (literally) in autumn 2019. At two embodied movement workshops (‘Unchartered Waters’ and ‘Nexus 4’) in Cambridge, during a very different, touching, intimate winter.

(I was training for a healing touch practice which – you know why – I have since put “on hold”. These words: holding, holding on, “holding my horses” have taken on a new flavour.)

Breathing into resourcefulness

One thing that hasn’t gone away for me (and I hope, for you), is the dynamic of the breath. The way that breaths come and go, largely without us noticing, every minute of our life. Every moment of our precious, magical life. And in the lives of all those with whom we share this tender, precious, magical Earth. Until we, like those millions whose passing we grieve at this year end, reach our last letting go.

And not yet. There are more breathings in (“inspirations” ) and breathings out. I encourage you to take a deep breath in just now (through your feet, that rest upon the Earth) and to breathe it out in a big sigh of letting go.

And to do that, a few more times, as you take a break to move. Either to move about your room, or to have a good wriggle – your hips, shoulders, hands, ears, tongue … whatever takes your fancy. Move it!

And become aware of your breath, kindling your inner fire, fuelling your movements, however spacious or subtle they are. Even an eye-roll of exasperation is movement! Even a laugh, a smile, a sniff, or a sob is movement. Especially those things , signals of emotion, e-motion.

So, on with

Brain Dump: challenges

Scribble, splurge or scatter down what have been some of your particular challenges this year.

There is a strength and security in naming stuff, for your eyes only, in the containment of your safe, confidential ThoughtBook.

In the tradition of this practice, we can be specfic, juicy, bold, blatant, and vivid in what we release onto the page. And as ever : we get to choose what to let loose.

Five minutes maximum for “challenges” BrainDump, then draw a line.

It can be dotted … or bold, or wavy, or jagged. Let rip >>>>>>>>>>>> or let wriggle ~~~~~

Next, we can have a wriggle or a rumpus, some quick sharp intakes of breath, and a big sigh out.

Then go for:

Brain Dump: achievements

With just as much verve and explicitness, again have a Brain Dump, this time in celebration of some of YOUR OWN unheralded small or huge acts (or experiences, or observations) of courage, kindness, imagination,… Saluting the wisdom, appreciation and visions of possibility with which YOU have gifted this Earth and its beings this year.

Go on, feel free to boast!

And with a new and prolonged breath of inspiration, and a soft letting go, let’s move to the third exercise today (because as we know, I like to work with threes of things).

Appreciation practice

And here, in the time-honoured way, and this time with a new spontaneity (if you can welcome that in, like the new year) why not list, stutter, scribble or scrawl just a few of the things that have brightened your days in 2020?

Or record the encounters that have warmed you?

Or simply – who or what have inspired you? And why not even write and tell them so?

Today I am grateful for these (at least three):




Dig deep, cultivate the soil in your soul-garden, and scatter lightly these seeds of appreciation.

Just for now, that’s all you have to do.

©writing our way whole© 30 December 2020

Ah, now at last I have identified what the mystery music is, thanks to Em.

Thanks also to teachers Ruth Hirst and Alex Svoboda for first introducing me to this wing-lifting music. And thanks to you my writing companions.

May we all be well; may our pencils dance and sing on the pages of our waiting ThoughtBooks; may we write our ways whole.

Blessings for 2021 and beyond, each and every one of you, readers.