This month, I am working with the kind promise “I will reinvent whimsically.” I am asking what changes I want or need to make in my life. What would I like to do differently?

I see a physiatrist once a year. (Think “rehab doctor.”) She asks me “what’s bugging you?” She means physically, but it’s a good question for reinvention month, too.

Reinvent is a verb that demands a subject: reinvent what? That is part of the discernment process.

The psychology of reinvention isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In my case, it’s often increased disability that drives the need for change. That means making space for grief. I find that if I don’t allow myself to feel the sadness, I get stuck. I am unable to take any action, certainly not creative reinventions

So make way for the heaviness in my chest, the furrowed brow, the teary eyes… Breathe into that for a while. Dwell there, but only for a while. Pitch a tent; don’t build a mansion. Let the feelings arise, abide, and dissolve.

Then pull out the Journal and write for a few minutes, answering these category questions.

  • What would you like to reinvent?
  • What are you being called to reinvent?
  • What are you being invited to reinvent?
  • What bugs you? What isn’t working?
  • What are you being forced to reinvent?

Take the juiciest of those results and ask these innovation questions:

  • How might you do it differently?
  • What would be better?
  • What’s the most whimsical variation?

Your journal can become a lab notebook. Try things, record the results, conduct more experiments and repeat until you find some new ideas worth prolonged practice.

It will work for a while – sometimes years, sometimes a lifetime, sometimes minutes. Then you get to reinvent all over again. (Here’s a song to sing while you’re working it out.)