For the New Year, I’d been looking for a quick, shorthand way to identify all the various bits of my Diva philosophy in order to have a one-word intention to keep me focused; sort of a personal “code word.” Much like “River of Cream,” the solution was staring me in the face, patiently waiting for me to learn what I already knew. (Isn’t that always the way?)


Now, let me explain. I don’t mean that my goal for this year is to be showered in rose petals. What I’m referring to is actually a century-old rallying cry from the labor movement – “Bread for All, and Roses, Too.” It was a demand for living wages, yes, but also for the leisure time to enjoy the fruits of one’s work. Being a firm believer that work has dignity, I find this absolutely magnificent. If you’re just work-work-working to keep body and soul together, well. Demand more. Museums and music and art and flowers and good food are not simply for the non-working class. We all deserve these things. All the time.

The past year had some challenges for me that I met head-on, and also a few where I didn’t do so well. That’s okay. It can’t always be smooth, but it can’t rain all the time, either.  I picked up a paintbrush this year and found satisfaction beyond anything I’d dreamed. I also fell victim to a bad case of Calvinism and overworked myself to distraction, somehow equating voluntary burnout with virtue.

Sigh. I have to keep re-learning the same lessons, it seems.

So my “code word” for this year is “roses.” I hope it will remind me that everything has a cost and cause me to pause for a moment and ask myself if the price I’m paying – in money, in time, in emotional labor – is worthwhile. In other words, “roses” is a way for me to question whether I am merely existing or if I am being true to the causes and attitudes that are central to who I am (or at least, who I want to be).

Make no mistake, Divas, living authentically is hard. It’s much, much easier to simply go along and do what others tell you is right for you. It’s taken me my entire life to get to this particular moment – I want it to be worth the journey. So this year, I’m going to make a concerted effort to be on the lookout for those “roses” opportunities. I started today by carving out some time to really think about what I want. And I painted the roses at the top of this post to serve as a reminder.

As ye seek, so shall ye often find.






13 responses to “Roses”

  1. […] you know, this is my “year of roses” – a time devoted to me figuring out how to live my values on an everyday, practical level. […]

  2. […] But before I say, “Adios, Albuquerque!” I want to touch on something that I think is vitally important – and not just for fancypants academics. This is also something that goes to the heart of my “roses” journey. […]

  3. […] are there roses here? How can I continue to work towards my goal of living my values authentically in the whirlwind […]

  4. […] voice in my head is wrong doesn’t stop it at all, I’m afraid. My year-long journey to “find roses” was in danger of being thrown totally off-track. It became very important to stop and take […]

  5. […] My only advice about setting up your sacred space is to make it beautiful so that you want to tarry there for at least a few minutes every day. If you’ve never done this, setting up a personal sacred space may well be the beginning of your own “year of roses.”  […]

  6. […] I started this “roses” journey at the start of the year, I never anticipated how a virus would wreak havoc upon the world. In all […]

  7. […] Take a deep breath. That delicate smell you almost missed? Those are roses. […]

  8. […] We’re officially into summer now. Spring was completely and totally weird, due to the pandemic. Think about it – many of us spent big chunks of that entire season inside. We learned how to sew masks (or at least, knew friends who did). We saw scarcity on grocery store shelves. We got used to some strange things – like one-way aisles in stores and shuttered storefronts. Then came atrocities caught on phone cameras and massive protests. So how does that tie into my “year of roses?” […]

  9. […] and catastrophe” (honestly, Homer would have been taking notes on the doings of 2020), roses may be in short supply for you right now. I know I’ve have stretches of the last few weeks […]

  10. […] pandemics, strife, and the sturm und drang of life, the Wheel of the Year continues to turn and my “year of roses” continues to progress. Today is the first official day of fall, which means that today is the […]

  11. […] in January, when I first embarked on my “year of roses,” I wrote about the labor slogan “Bread and Roses,” which was a rallying cry in the early […]

  12. […] want you to reconsider. Part of the Splendor path in general and my own “year of roses” in particular are about slowing down and looking around – and few things slow you down like […]

  13. […] that the “Year of Roses” and the month of “December Delights” have come to a close (you can find all of those by […]

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