Your What’s Next Journal
By Cynthia de Lorenzi, Hope Katz Gibbs, and graphic designer Cindy Seip
You are about to embark on a journey that started during the Coronavirus pandemic when women everywhere were asking the same questions. “What is happening?” “How am I going to deal with this degree of crazy?” and “What in the world is NEXT?”
Researchers explain it’s partly the protective instinct built into women’s brains that makes us want, but need, to plan so we can safeguard our families. Therefore it’s not a surprise that so many of us are looking for support and options to plan our next moves.
Our answer was to do what we, as artists and journalists, do: We decided to create a journal to help us figure it out together.
That’s where Your What’s Next Journal comes in.
- Hope says: “Cynthia’s magnificent award-winning artwork (one example is pictured above), insight, and background as an entrepreneur have helped us create an aspirational, informational, educational gut check to help you master your world, one month at a time. And Cindy’s brilliant design turns our project from some really good ideas into a magical experience!
- Cynthia explains: “This journal not only provides a powerful guide each month to inspire you to think big. The prompts on the journal pages that follow each Truly Amazing Woman of the Month encourage you to express what’s in your mind, body, spirit, soul — and especially your heart — as you make your way through the coming years.” See more of her artwork at Cynthia.art!
- Cindy adds: “While featuring a dozen truly amazing women as cover stories in each month’s journal chapter, all totaled, there will be dozens of Inkandescent Women to guide you throughout the year. And, because we have no idea what the coming year will bring, we’ve tapped leaders from various industries to share their big ideas. Each woman is at the forefront of change and candidly shares thoughts on what she believes the future will bring. These forecasts have grown from the intuition born of their experiences.” Discover more of Cindy’s design and photography at seipdesign.miami.
We hope you’ll tap into the magic inside you, too, as you discover What’s Next in your life, career, and the world we are all creating together.
What you’ll need:
- We want you to be as active in the process as possible, hence the reason we’ve created this journal.
- So grab any and every art supply you desire that will help get your creative juices flowing strong — that perfect pen, paintbrushes of all sizes, markers, the 64-pack of those waxy sweet Crayolas that you loved as a kid. Then go to town as you unleash your inner artist.
- The goal is to begin the journey of expressing your joys, fears, anxieties, hopes, frustrations, wins, and losses on the pages of your “2021 What’s Next Journal.”
- Remember, this is your journey — and this journal is a safe space to explore your inner world.
As we do in our sister publication, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine, in each month of the Journal, we will offer you prompt to play with to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing:
- Mind: Each section will offer you a Writing Prompt where we invite you to scribble your heart out as you release any thought that comes to mind on these pages. Be positive when inspiration strikes, and feel free to dump out any concerns and fears flow, too. There is tremendous power in writing things down! Go to town expressing your thoughts and feelings about each Writing Prompt of the Month.
- Body: Because we know from experience and science that exercising daily allows your body to release whatever stress it’s holding on to, we offer a simple Get Moving Prompt for you to try each month. Each month, ranging from yoga to cycling, a new woman will turn you on to her favorite way to help you get up and go!
- Spirit: We’d be remiss not to include an Affirmation Prompt each month because we believe mindfulness and meditation are essential to personal growth.
- Soul: We believe that creating art is your soul speaking to you in 3D. Using the Art Prompt you’ll find in each section, go to town decorating your pages with whatever flows through your fingers. Hearts, flowers (perhaps Georgia O’Keefe is an inspiration, or doodle a daisy), a sketch of your kid or cat, or the view outside your favorite room. Use those art supplies to unleash your pure imagination.
- Heart: Last but never least, each month, we also offer an entire spread for you to be creative. This Heart-Opener — a Love Prompt, if you will — reminds you that the key to true happiness is first loving yourself and wholeheartedly loving others, come what may. What better way to do that than through grabbing a pen, pencil, Sharpie, or even one of those super large boxes of crayons! Just have fun!
Clean, Cleanse, Release, Repeat! While people worldwide are eager to close the door on the past and begin anew — with a sigh of relief — we find it most helpful to clean house, so to speak, before ushering in What’s Next. To that end, we suggest you perform a Cleansing Ceremony. Please invite your friends (virtually or in a small gathering outside) and family members, or celebrate it all by yourself.
Here are some of our favorite ways to let go, with a little (lot) of help from ancient traditions:
- Smudge: Buy a bundle of beautiful sage (available for less than $10 at natural grocery stores or online), light it on fire, and travel around every inch of your house, letting its earthy scent burn off the negative energy that needs to go. A common practice in feng shui and Native American and Eastern traditions, smudging makes room for the positive vibes you will ring in on January 1. Cynthia and Hope practice this ancient ceremony regularly. Hope shares: “If the scent of sage is too strong, a few sticks of your favorite incense work, too. Tie them with a red string representing strength and power, and smudge away.” Cynthia’s tip: “Leave a bay leaf in the corner of each room to invite abundance in.”
- Pick a mantra: A word or sound repeated aids in concentration, especially in mediation, believe practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism. They have practiced this contemplative version of the song for thousands of years. A similar ritual is practiced by yogis, who for millennia have believed that repeating a simple phrase has the power to interrupt negativity and invite change. The reason: “Sounds are vibrations that create specific states of being,” writes Sandra Ducey in her book Malas, Mantras, and Meditation. She explains that repeating words can help to heal us. In Kundalini yoga, mantras (and mudras — how we hold our fingers during meditation) are chanted during class to enhance the practice’s power. Om Shanti Om, for instance, is a mantra said to bring peace. Om (a sacred word also recognized as a sacred sound) purifies the mind and soul; Shanti is the Sanskrit word for peace.
Write, burn, release: One of our favorite things to do when we are full-throttle determined to let go of something that once served us — but now needs to leave — is to write down on a piece of paper all of the things that are bugging us.
- Write: Get out that legal pad and write down on paper all the perceived negatives you experienced in the past year. Everything. Just pour it out on the page. Then, please take a look at your list and add to it until you are sure you’ve got it down there.
- Burn: Ceremoniously roll it into a ball with all the passion you can muster, and toss it into a fireplace, outside grill, or a burn-resistant metal can. And let that baby burn.
- Release: As you do, perhaps with a glass of your favorite wine in hand, sit back, relax, and watch all that negative energy evaporate up in smoke. Nice!
We look forward to going on your What’s Next journey with you and hope your What’s Next Journal will be a helpful guide! We invite you to connect with us through our magazine InkandescentWomen.com.
Cheers to a year filled with exploration and growth as you make your way through 2021 with us. — Hope, Cynthia, and Cindy