So late last fall I attempted to learn something that always seemed to elude me. Goal setting. I had read about the seven habits of successful people, incorporated the use of a calendar and daily maintenance of said calendar, I had even gone so far as to set up a dashboard for responsibilities around the home. Something that is still a work in progress. One of those key aspects to the dashboard is setting goals.
I like acronyms. I have found this works well to help me remember certain key points. SMART goals is catchy, quick and to the point. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Cool. Now what the heck does all of that mean? For me, it means that I pick some things to work toward, assign a loosely defined timetable, and get to work.
So what goals have I set for myself? Well they are listed categorically in my new errands application on my iphone with some “target” deadlines. I put the word in quotations because the intention is already there, just by writing it down. A…how shall I say, loosely defined promise to myself. As far as I’m concerned the WHEN, is negotiable. I’m not going to be a stickler on deadlines. Just that it gets done. At some point. What were some of those goals?
Well, academic papers and ideas, creative projects, research projects, and responsibilities at home are a few of the categories. These come from many different sources of inspiration. Dreams, conversations with friends, readings, academic or philosophical observations, and for fun.
A long time ago, I had a dream. To create a Traditional regalia. It has been nearly twelve years since I had that dream and it’s taken me a long time to grow into it. But this year, I finally put the finishing touches on it after working like a mad woman This is what I’ve come up with. It’s taken me nearly two life cycles to feel worthy of wearing something so beautiful and while I certainly wish my parents could see this, I know they were there when I did ceremony for it and they danced right along with me when I danced it out for the first time.
Conceptually it appeared different than it did when I was finally finished. But I was happy to be able to complete it, even though I fought myself all the way. I’m not a seamstress, and while that was a challenge, I never let it stop me. I worked with the skills I had, and found innovative ways to limit the amount of sewing I had to do.
I still found myself beating myself up along the way, admiring the many wonderful seamstresses out there who do amazing work and I wondered why my work looked so rudimentary. Why doesn’t mine look as beautiful and polished as those other regalia out there? Comparisons. Yay for my wonderful ego. While I berated myself constantly, I allowed the conversations to play out and once that negativity was quiet. I reminded myself that I am self-taught. I never took the regalia making classes, I never asked an experienced regalia maker to show me, I never once made anything like this before. I saw my skillset, acknowledge weaknesses or areas of challenge and sought solutions. I used my ingenuity, my skills of observation, deduction and strategy to find a way to attain my goal. I was resourceful. When it is all said and done. I am immensely proud of this accomplishment. While I may one day sit with a seasoned seamstress for some tips and tricks. I am very pleased with all that I have accomplished. I also recognized the one thing necessary for me to complete. Cheerleaders, help with motivation. Someone to report in to, to check in with, to update. As a measurement for my own progress. I enjoy feedback. So, I kept my drum sisters informed on my progress and with their feedback and support, was able to complete my project in just under a month. From design to final dance out. After twelve years, it seemed that this dress was ready to burst into life.
I found that for my son’s regalia I also had to work around the sewing. I love to create, and even though my sewing skills are rudimentary at best. I also realize I’m at the beginning of this journey. I have to be realistic and a bit more gentle with myself. It’s not like I’ve been doing this for a long time, nothing like the work someone who has been doing this for twenty years. Afterall. I realized how many unrealistic expectations I had of myself and reassured myself that with some patience, experience, and a good long while of working at it, I can become adept at sewing, sketching, singing or any other art I choose. I allowed myself to ease up on the criticism and dispense with the expectations. Setting realistic goals and doing away with the negativity will help fully delight in the accomplishments of said goals.
So far this year, I’ve accomplished two of the three main goals I’ve set. My book is published. My CD is launched. There are so many more creations and ideas just waiting their turn. And so, I turn to my goal chart and dream about the next set of goals…with determination, love, and joy I will them into creation.
Finally, as with my son’s regalia I must re-iterate:
Note the terminology. This is NOT a “costume”. As many others before me have said: Costumes are things that you wear to become something you are NOT.
Regalia is made to identify who you ARE, and where you come from.
Respresentations often include (but are NOT limited to or exclusive):
Clan (governance system, or community responsibility)
Spirit name (life purpose, focus, gifts)
Spirit helpers (animals, etc)
Colours (Clan colours, spirit name)
Nation – sometimes denoted by style (beadwork etc)
In point of fact, for myself the everyday clothing I wear is a “costume” something I use to “fit in” to contemporary Canadian culture. Though I have heeded advice from others to incorporate and wear my colours. Still working away on my own regalia, a labour of love 🙂
Will post photos as I finish.