I have been in an evaluative mood recently. It’s not just about the start of another year, but also about getting older and wanting to really make progress on what’s important in my life. So, I have been feeling the need to really edit, not just physical belongings (a part of my life that is already quite stream-lined) but all the things that take up my time and that I give attention to.
What do I want to keep? What do I want to throw away? What’s the fear that stops me from letting go? Am I making any real progress? Why do I keep on getting distracted by what’s ultimately not important?
Because I have been in this mood of weighing and appraising, this post about going deeper instead of just wider on the Raptitude blog really spoke to me. In it, David talks about wishing to invent the tradition of a a “Year of Deepening.”
What is a Year of Deepening and how can it help you as an INFP or Sensitive Creative?
He says, “After you’re established in your career, and you have some neat stuff in your house, you take a whole year in which you don’t start anything new or acquire any new possessions you don’t need. No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.”
Instead, what you might do in this year is really go deep into the things you already enjoy or hobbies that you have already developed.
“You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites. You pick up the guitar again and get better at it, instead of taking up the harmonica. You finish the Gordon Ramsey Masterclass you started in April, despite your fascination with the new Annie Leibovitz one, even though it’s on sale.”
He goes on to say something that has real appeal to me:
“In the consumer age, where it’s so easy to pick up and abandon new pursuits, I imagine this Depth Year thing really catching on, and maybe becoming a kind of rite of passage. People are already getting sick of being half-assed about things, I like to think.
Having completed a Depth Year would be a hallmark of maturity, representing the transition between having reached adulthood chronologically and reaching it spiritually. You learn not to be so flippant with your aspirations.”
What happens when the INFP tendency to explore new things is not used mindfully?
Although I love new things and experiences, maybe because I am an INFP, I really hear the wisdom in these words. There comes a time when widening feels like not consolidating, when it feels like it is keeping you at a superficial level. The real progress would come from staying and working through those things that already speak to you at a soul level.
I also think it’s about maturing, as David says, and learning to stay with the same things, instead of running after the next new thing.
This year, although I still want to push new buttons and explore in certain areas of my life, I really want to live by these words.
I don’t want to buy another exciting book even though I have other books still waiting to be read. I want to do art (which always nourishes my heart) more consistently instead of trying to become an even better cook (I am already a pretty good one. I already know enough to experiment, and it’s not my go-to creative space.) I want to focus on my first love, which is dance, and do all the natural-to-me-things instead of always looking to add on something new.
For me, this has started with practical things like being mindful about what I buy and consume.
The letting go of old ways can lead to clarifying what really works for us as Sensitive Creatives and HSPs.
I recently went to a local metaphysical bookstore I love after a very long time. In addition to books, it also some really cool art by local artistes and things like essential oils. I only ended up buying a journal. Because I was being mindful of this concept of going deeper, I didn’t find a book I wanted to get. I almost felt sad because browsing in a bookstore is one of my favorite things to do. But I already have books on most of the topics that I am interested in, whether it is Jungian Depth psychology and Dream work or Eastern systems like Chakras. I am lucky that I already have access to that knowledge and now my path is about really living out the ideas contained in these books instead of simply adding another book, which might just give a little more detail or some added nuance to my collection.
If you are an INFP or sensitive creative, you probably have the magpie-like tendencies that I have. I love to go out and collect things, whether it is books or leaves I find on the ground or a piece of information that I learn when I travel. All these things add joy to my life, but when they become automatic instead of mindful, then I am no longer mindfully organizing what I collect.
I am not sorting them, editing them, digesting them. I am not thinking about what use they have in my life.
By going towards this process of deepening David talks about, I want to really honor this tendency to explore. I want to use it in a way that adds richness to my life, instead of going zig-zagging with it. I want it to simplify my life and expand it, so a clear pattern emerges, instead of going after many potentials that are not ultimately realized.
What do you think? Does David’s ideas of a year of deepening appeal to you? In what areas of your life do you still want to keep things wide? In what areas do you now want to go deep?