My Creative Year in Review – Part 1

In recent years during December I’ve taken the time and space to reflect back on the past twelve months in terms of my creative life. It is always inspiring and surprising to remember the things I have achieved as well as the mistakes I have learnt from along the way.

Following this practice of review means that I enter the next year, fired up and focused about the choices I want to make going forward.
If I had to sum up 2017 in 3 words it would include courage, voice and business.

Let’s take a look at each month ( the year will be split into two parts) and see what happened along the way to carry me into 2018, older but so much more younger in terms of wonder and curiosity.

January came in cold and dark. The ideal time to go deeper into my practice of hygge. During my winters walks #TheHealingPeopertiesOfTheSeas was conceived as a one day symposium all about our relationship with water. This has still to take place but the concept is out there and can be found on IG  and Twitter. Holding this idea throughout the year has meant that I’ve been curating short 10 second films around water. These will be available to watch and add to during 2018.

February was the beginning of my exploration of voice. Having been chosen to take part in an Arvon foundation residential course for writers wanting to make change happen, I met a whole heap of interesting people who supported me on my journey of claiming and using my authentic voice around the theme of my body in the environment. This led into further publications of my creative non-fiction poetic writing here. I was also exploring my voice through painting by completing Painting the Feminine with Connie Solera. This was another opportunity for me to embody my multi-layered identity, providing the tools and techniques to support my self-expression.

March saw me return to Iceland as part of a self-directed residency with The Westfjords Residency. To spend an extended amount of time in an isolated village miles from a major town was testing. I questioned what I was trying to achieve by doing this, in terms of my creativity as well as my life. It was unsettling to some extent as all my usual boundaries were missing and for a while there I did flounder. I also experienced some racial abuse while in Reykjavik which made me question my relationship with the whole country. March was definitely a learning curve which manifested in a deeper love of Iceland which meant before I left I made plans to share this love with my family.

April was another month of learning as I not only completed a Woodland leader training course in the Highlands of Scotland but I also went live with my new website and brand name Living Wild Studios. I’d procrastinated enough and it was time to be seen, showcasing all of my creative adventures under one roof.
It was a scary time but one that I wouldn’t change as I went with my gut and created a beautiful website I’m proud to call my home. It’s varied and dynamic and changing to reflect how I’m changing.

May seemed to have gone in a blur. I know it was a time of disrupted plans due to Alan’s mam being in hospital for an extended stay. It was a time of sticking close to home and putting my family first and foremost. But I did try to keep moving forward with Living Wild Studios as a business, extending my reach through social media. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this month as I was trying to operate in a way that wasn’t being authentic to me. I had to explore my relationship with social media, with the pubic arena at large and withdraw to do so. This was good for me, for my sanity.

I continued my social media hiatus into June. I felt I was just settling into my own space and voice by the end of May so wanted more time away from distractions to listen within. This was an important month for me to dive deep into the Creative Facilitator Training I had started with Lisa Sonora this year. I had been building up a resistance to the course as it wasn’t as I had thought it would be. I expected more. But then I realised that this is an experiential course and I get out of it what I put into it. All along I’m using myself and my experiences and beliefs as the learning examples so in order to learn and move forward I had to be more engaged. A light bulb moment which saw me returning at the end of the month to social media to share my visual journaling practice, the foundation of my creativity, much more extensively and thoroughly than before.

Advertisements

New Practice : Ten@Tuesday

I’m planning to share my new practice with you, just on a Tuesday, even though I’m completing this task everyday. This practice came to me first via Alisha Sommer and her beautiful writing and photography. And this practice came to Alisha via Marie Howe being interviewed on On Being.

Within this podcast, Marie Howe talks about the power of poetry and the sacredness of the every day. Sacred space is there always just waiting for us to stop and pay attention. To stop and hold space for the now.

I love the thought of this. I love the idea of gifting ourselves the beauty and grace of our present moments. All we have to do is slow down and listen. Slow down and observe.

Marie recommends to her students to write down 10 observations of the actual world each day. No metaphors, no comparisons, just detail the world as it actually is. Simple. Engage the senses and be up close with the world around us. Be present.

After embarking on this practice for a few weeks now, I have to say it hurts, sometimes, to be so present as the tendency is to look away. To want to distract myself and move on. Get moving, get producing. But at the same time as the pain and is the simple joy of being present. There’s pain but also happiness to be found in being present. And this is amazing. Try is yourself and see.

Marie Howe calls this ‘a gift of holding sacred space.’ And you’re doing this for yourself, no one else, just yourself. I claim this as self-care to the max.

Each Tuesday, I’ll share my 10 observations. Feel free to share yours too, here with me.

savouring the moments 

Even though the last few days have been full on with the house move ( and we haven’t finished yet), I am pleased to say that I have managed to find the time and space within each day to stop and admire my surroundings. I can recall moments of stillness when I have been present; catching myself smiling into the season, noticing the changing light, sensing the coming chill. Relishing the ruby richness of the berries. 
It really has been a gift to experience these moments of clarity, these moments of bliss in the sheer speed of passing time, and the sheer frenzy of activities. 
Time is running out in terms of getting the house cleared as well as for my favourite season being here in all her golden edges.
Tonight while driving back from the council dump, high up in the sky in front of me is a sliver of the moon. She moves out from the dark, slowly revealing a pale silver cheek. I feel blessed in so many ways,  to be living this life now. Thank you.

a marrying of sites

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood,

Since May 2015, I have lived a nomadic life on the internet. I have created two different websites, in addition to Living Wild Studios, since then.
August 1st 2015, saw Wild Soul Woman being born.
my new home
I created Wild Soul Woman as a safe place to heal. A safe place to heal after a very harrowing and very public shaming. Wild Soul Woman was a space from which to RISE.

A year on from then, and I felt the need for more space, more room to grow into the wild soul woman I was becoming. Bit by bit, day by day, I have been becoming a better version of myself. I have been becoming my authentic self.

Hence, Authentic SheShe was born as a blog where I shared my practice, lessons learnt, opportunities and love affair with creativity. Running parallel with this site was my site dedicated to ,my photography, presented under the title of Sheree Angela Matthews. I used this place as a showcase for my projects in progress as well as a portfolio.

Living Wild Studios is now my creative home, where I am finally sharing multi-coloured strands of my creativity all under one roof. Finally coming home to all of me. To the whole of me. Living wild, living true.

Please consider signing up for Studio Notes. You’ll find out what’s happening in the studios before anyone else!

Blog

threads

threads

#liberatedlines:: amplify :: day 6 #threads

Yeah man, I’m a strong black woman. Independent, resourceful, push me down and I get back up. ‘Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. ‘ As the advert used to say.

Hell I’ve even been proud to state that I’m an independent black woman. But that’s not my whole story. This is not all of who I am. Something I have to explore and step out from behind this cardboard cut out of a woman of colour. And something those looking at me and judging have to realise; I am more than just one story. I have many multicoloured threads running through me that I am just starting to be brave enough to explore.

I’m an introvert. I hate crowds. I’d rather stay quiet that speak up and out.

I was a girl who idolised her daddy even though he beat her to keep her quiet.

I was a young woman who didn’t want to be like her mama; a virgin till married and then only being with one man for her life. So I slept around at Uni so I could at least feel I had variety. Even if none of them touched my heart or my ‘g’ spot.

I was the career woman following education’s path right up to doctorate level thinking at least then they would listen to me. Take me seriously. I was wrong.

I am the mother who is constantly second guessing herself if she’s doing a good enough job or not. This time, this energy could be better off just giving them my attention. My love.

I am the wife now who lives like a virgin.

I married a man who each day expects me to be that strong black woman. When each day all I want to do it climb into my woman cave and write. I want to dive deep inside of me to give in to all parts of me. To embrace the light and the dark. I want to be able to play in my shadows 24/7 and not have to worry I have to come back out to make the tea or go do the school run. I want to be free of this strong black woman hashtag so I can break apart, break down with the aim to build myself up in a different way. In a way more aligned with my soul, my heart, my voice. Not influenced by any outsiders or societal situations but staying true to the multicoloured threads that take their hue from the rivers flowing inside of me. Wild and free.

#liberatedlinesamplify

ready to roar

iberated lines :: amplify :: day 5 #readytoroar

she’s been small and silenced and caged for so long that when everything crashes down around her, she is lost. she doesn’t know what to do or say or be.

scared of this nothingness and fearful of stepping into freedom, into the arena on her own terms; pure and clear and naked.

she curls into a tight ball, curls in on herself.

tight in her protective sphere, she hears her heart beating. knows she lives. she gives thanks. breath in breath out

away from the public glare, she starts to sense a fluttering in her core. a gentle coaxing of wings, caressing out waves of love for herself.

these feelings talk with her heart. small sounds. quiet whispers echoing through blood and bone and skin. there be singing. singing to herself of the trees and seas. singing with her shadows. singing through her shadows.

and through the process, she’s uncurling, unfolding until like the blousy blooms of peonies, she’s standing in her truth. beaming out her light; a beacon. a guide for others to see and to feel and to be.

#liberatedlinesamplify #readytoroar #atthecrossroadsofshouldandjust #hygge #alchemy #compassion #patience #water #authenticsheshe #beyourownbeloved

ready to roar

naming my bones

naming my bones

liberated lines:: amplify :: day 2 – Can you class teeth as bones? As when the North wind blows and gusts straight through me as if I am air, I smile. Later my teeth ache, like the cold has seeped into my teeth, into my bones.

The cold can nestle within my womb for days. I feel it bedding down. Not bothering to warm through. Instead content on chilling me from the inside out. Right through to the tips of my fingers and toes.

I look at my hands and wonder. You can have more than 206 bones, you know? Unnamed bones that develop in areas of friction and tension and stress.

I feel unnamed bones in the in the palms of my hands. Because I’ve always tried to please, giving away parts of myself in the hope of being validated and loved.

I feel unnamed bones in the soles of my feet. Because I’m trying to walk back to me now. Trying to get back to my whole self; the self who was lost behind masks others forced upon me and the ones I took up eagerly, if it meant I belonged.

Gut and bone and bleed. I name these as authentic me. Sinewy strong fibres knitted close together. Taking up the slack. Gut and bone and bleed. Lined up like rows of teeth, ready to do battle, ready to bear my soul. Gut and bone and bleed.
#liberatedlinesamplify #namingyourbones #authenticsheshe #alchemy #belovedbodypeace #hygge #practice #wildsoulwoman #voice #standinginmytruth #patience #compassion

there is darkness

there is darkness

liberated lines:: amplify :: day 1

There is a darkness … I am the mother who sleeps in late because I skywrite my intention days before. It’s Monday morning and I’m playing hooky from expectations. I scrunch my pillow up closer feeling into the silence of the house, holding my dreams of the day.
I am the tender of others even when alone. As I put the washing in, prepare the evening meal, wash the dishes, dry the dishes, turn the dishes over. I am a healer while still healing myself. But isn’t that always the way?
I am bed and pen and computer and toffee-nut coffee. I navigate the bends in the river, I want to say with grace. But I know with strength.
In the darkness, I bed down, make myself cosy as I know here, layers of self echo and shed, amplify and shimmer.
Right down to the bone and soul, there is alchemy with patience, alchemy with compassion. I am becoming, always becoming into my truth.

#liberatedlinesamplify #throughouttheday #hygge #alchemy #intothedarknight #compassion #patience #authenticsheshe #liberatedlines #belovedbodypeace #alchemy #atthecrossroadsofshouldandmust

Time and Space

Things haven’t been going to plan recently. No correct that. There’s been no plan. There’s been little reflection on my life, on things that are happening. Things are happening to me. It hasn’t felt as if I’ve been in the driving seat of my life. I’ve just had to get on with things. The things that have been demanding my time and attention. All full-time work related. Things I don’t really want to do. But if I want to keep my job, things I have to do.

So because of this scarcity of time and energy, all creative ideas and projects have been put on the back burner. At one point I was getting annoyed about this. And I must say to live with me was hell. But then I remembered HERE. Here I am on hiatus from creative stuff. I gave myself permission to be creative. But when I got into the thick of things, I forgot my commitment to self. Remembering eased the pressure slightly. But it didn’t make me feel any better as I know I am at my best when I am lost in the creating.

I am in the state of waiting until this chapter of my life ends and I can get back to making big shakes in terms of getting to know myself better. Until I can get back to sharing my story, I am waiting. I am practicing waiting as patience is not part of my make up. But during this process, this muscle is being strengthened. So maybe at the end of this phase I can celebrate my developing patience. We’ll see soon enough.

time and space