My Creative Year in Review – Part 2

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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 is split into two part,  part one here) and see what happened along the way to carry me into 2018, older but so much more younger in terms of wonder and curiosity.

July offered up the opportunity to share my practice with others as I became one of the women in residence with Idlewomen for a week on a canal boat. This was such an amazing experience, one I was most thankful for as I got to share my love of visual journaling with other women who were in need of a safe space to explore their own voices. I also felt reaffirmed in my desire to support women, particularly black women in their relationship with the natural world.
Hence me putting feelers out there on social media about who was interested in the creation of an Iceland Creative Retreat.

August was downtime as I took the family for a tour of Southern Iceland. It was lovely to return with the family and witness them fall in love with the country just like me. The only problem is now is that they want to return so it might mean I don’t get back there alone ever. But it’s not really a problem as I love sharing my experiences of Iceland.

After the summer break, in September, I came back to business with planning a visual journaling workshop just down the road from me. I also completed an important draft of the chapbook focusing upon black women’s bodies in society due to be published with Culture Matters in 2018.

October was a month of upheaval and change as we were forced to move house and downsize. But it was really a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to declutter, to become more minimalist as well as to prioritise my creativity. As a reaction to less time, I made time to blog more consistently through the move.
I started my next creative non-fiction project around the theme of death. More to talk about around this soon.

November was earmarked as a period of time to settle into the new home but that didn’t go to plan as I did withdraw from social media again but I was still beavering away behind the scenes. I was interviewed by Amanda Fall from The Phoenix Soul, as part of this digital magazine’s Truth Tribe Interviews. I had a soft launch of The Iceland Creative Retreat and filled half the spots. And then I enjoyed a women’s gathering in Pendle Lancashire called Shifting Loyalties when I enjoyed the challenge of sharing my visual journaling practice with over 30 women all at the some time. To be there, to witness this transformation in creativity made my heart sing.

December was time to wind down and get ready for the holidays. I took the time to explore December Reflections on IG hosted by Susannah Conway. With a much needed rest again from social media, I spent the time gained to read as well as fire up the creativity with completing Tara Leaver’s Practical Intuition course to create my own Iceland Oracle Deck. This fed into #IcelandInsights where I am sharing text and images each day in January in relation to my love of Iceland. There are more Oracle Decks in the pipeline for 2018.

So on reflection of 2017, on the whole, was very productive and successful in terms of moving forward with my voice as well as increasing my courage in being present as my authentic self. I hope to build upon the gains made here into 2018. I have learnt that the downtime and rest is just as important if not more so than the productive times. In these quiet moments, conversing with myself, I am learning to listen and observe more deeply and truthfully.

evening

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The sun moves west. You walk the road out of town to meet it. Your progress is slow as you keep stopping to hold the moment. To wonder as the pinky peach light. In awe you question this reality. As the water lights up from within a golden glow that draws you closer. Close enough to touch. Something stirs inside you, deep within that sings in tune with this present.

A lonely concrete hut
rusty roof taste
metallic mixed with fear

April – A Poem A Day

Out in the sun

I got up at about 5.00 am. Ella was calling. I ‘d had a rough night’s sleep. Couldn’t get off. Too many things, ‘worries’, running around my head. So up and down tending to Ella, was annoying just something else to add to my disturbed sleep. This went on until 5.38. I’m thinking this was a sign that I should be up and out in the world. So I put Ella into our bed and got dressed and out the door before I could think about how tired I was.

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It was a lovely morning. The sun was up but still playing with colours as it graced the sea and rocks. I walked with a brisk pace, with purpose as it felt right to be up now and out, getting some exercise, starting my day with good intentions towards myself. I was out for 50 minutes. I got back and practiced yoga for 15 minutes. Then created a green smoothie for breakfast and settled down in my space to write my morning pages.

Before I knew it 2 hours had passed. This is an indication of how much time I need at the start of every day to come home to myself before I’m ready to start the rest of my day with others and responsibilities. I am being honest with myself here, and if I want to see out the rest of my day in a balanced, happier and truer way, I need to make sure that more times than not this is how I start my day, even if it means getting up at 5.30. It’s not a luxury but a necessity.

‘ The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized.’ Taken from Audre Lorde, ‘Poetry Is Not A Luxury.’

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