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

ten:three

1. Re-entry into my everyday after being away is harsh.
2. The sun glows low.
3. We walk the shore alone and smell the waves.
4. My everyday life is full of kinks.
5. The terns dance within the foam.
6. Strong black coffee steams.
7. Luther Vandross ‘Searching’ on the radio.
8. Emails plying up as is the washing.
9. Box set bingeing late into the night.
10. Not ready to start it all again tomorrow.

ten:one

1. He goes into the bathroom and slams the door.
2. The candle flickers in the draft.
3. My shirt with black blobs of paint is creased.
4. The coffee beside me smells hot.
5. I curl my legs up under my bum and feel my muscles stretch.
6. A car drives past outside.
7. There is cloud. There is weak light.
8. A fine drizzle speckles the window.
9. The central heating rumbles into life.
10.The house groans in its spaces.

listening to the voice of my soul

When my days are lived at a pace.
When my time is filled with noise.
When my eyes are lit up by a screen.
I feel a creeping dread up my spine.
Red ants invade my hairline
and I feel as if there is no escape.
I’m uncomfortable in my skin,
taking only shallow breaths.
Heavy and awkward, never feeling rest or calm,
I forget who I am.
I’m distracted.
When I withdraw to slow down.
When I turn off external sounds.
When my ears become accustomed
to the voice deep within my being,
I can feel my soul and she speaks
from heart of love.

years of marriage 

My husband, Alan and I have been together longer than I can remember, yet I’m still surprised by the turn of events, sometimes. At these points, I have to chuckle.
Alan, annoyed,  has said that I mine our lives for writing material but I do believe it’s not just my story to tell, so I do shy away from writing about our marriage as it is, while in the thick of things.
This relationship, when two individuals come together into a partnership, does play a significant part in my life and to not explore and reflect upon it in within my writing is denying a part of myself. As well as living a lie, as believe it or not, marriageland is not all hunky dorky.

During the years we’ve been together, Alan and I have experienced the rough with the smooth. They say a couple’s relationship changes when children come along. And that much is true. There’s had to be a lot more understanding and communication and patience. And sometimes it hasn’t always been there. 

I’m not offering marriage guidance here as I’m not an expert is marritable bliss. I only know what works and doesn’t work for me/us. So we’re still in the thick of moving house. This follows on the back of months of ill health, cancer treatment and hospital visits. You don’t realise the calm within your day to day until it is disrupted. You don’t realise the love and companionship and trust within your relationship until it has disappeared.
This isn’t a post about Alan and I spliting up, far from it. But it is a post about holding on and appreciating what you have when you have it. It’s obvious but sometimes we fail to acknowledge it, fail to act upon it, fail to live it. 

As we settle into our new home, the time and space has arisen to speak my needs and concerns to Alan as well as to check in with him about his needs and concerns. We’re still part of this dance, growing all the time as individuals and together. But it never ceases to amaze me as you hold a crystal up to the light the myriad of shapes and colours and delights that are revealed.

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

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

In Bed With SheShe

in bed with sheshe

I know it’s not all about me …

I took my mother-in-law to her radiotherapy session this morning. Her last one. Yes!!! She got to ring the bell afterward; the sound telling the world that she has completed her treatment.

We do not know as yet if all was successful. But we accept this moment with joy. She has undergone her treatment with courage and grace. And I’ve told her as such.

So when I say I know it’s not all about me … I’ve come home and I’m just so tired. I am exhausted and have just come to bed to rest. To switch off and recharge.

And there is a part of me that wants to beat myself up for being such a wuss, for feeling so tired. I know there is a sense of shame because I feel I have no right to feel this way. I haven’t just undergone cancer treatment. I haven’t been fighting cancer like my mother-in-law for the past year or so.

I’m trying to quieten this critical voice and just let things be; to acknowledging my tiredness which is an accumulation of a number of things. To stop beating myself up if I reach for the next chocolate or chuck of crusty bread instead of that green smoothie or handful of nuts and seeds.

I’m practicing letting it all be and surrendering to how things are, how I feel. How exhausted I am. And it’s hard. It means stripping away a lifetime of beliefs and behaviours that include holding up everything for everyone. That’s the way I should be, the way I’m expected to be by myself and others.

I cried today in the hospital when I saw that frail old woman almost skip into that treatment room. She couldn’t get it over with quick enough. I cried for what she’s been going through. For her family, for us, for our lives, for our fears and for our love.

I cried in surrender as I couldn’t carry on any more with everything packaged up so tight inside, a practice I’m so expert at as a means of just getting on with things.

I realise that the world will keep on spinning if I decide to take a rest now. Life does go on with or without me. With or without you.

This is starting to sound like a Jerry Springer moment, but really take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

I’m learning this and practicing this.

Trying to silence those voices of shame, guilt and selfishness. It’s not. It’s self-care. It’s self-compassion. It’s self-love.

#hygge #alchemy #authenticsheshe #compassion #practice #belovedbodypeace #cancertreatment #family #love #shame #surrender #voice #letitbe #letitgo

I’m the Obeah Woman

i am an obeah woman
I’m the Obeah woman from beneath the sea
To get to satan you gotta pass through me
‘Cause I know the angels name by name
I can eat thunder and drink the rain
Been through enough
Yeah they call me Nita and Pices too
There ain’t nothing that I can’t do
If I choose to, if you let me – Nina Simone

#rewilding #seagoddess #Nita #ocean #obeahwoman #priestess #atthecrossroadsofshouldandmust #mammy #pain #trauma #healing #listening #thecallofthewild #thecalling #whisperings #bleed #lifeanddeath #darkandlight #whole #heart #soulfood

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