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.
Over the weekend, our clocks went back. We lost an hour and gained the darkness. Usually at this time of year, I go into a bit of a slump. With the night’s drawing in so does my mind and emotions. I get a bit grumpy as this is the way I’m supposed to act. I’m not supposed to welcome the dark, to enjoy the dark, I should be reaching for the light, or so I’ve been lead to believe. But this year, I sense a change.
This November I plan to go within, deep within. Cosy up and settle into my new home at the same time as explore my internal darkness. I’m looking forward to the rest, to the reduction in the pressures to perform and show up. I’m looking forward to just being. and don’t get me wrong, I’ll not be idle. I’ve got plenty of things to keep me busy, to be getting on with behind the scenes. But allowing myself to rest and to take care of myself, is a change, is an advancement for me that I will continue to cultivate as I reap the benefits of such. But of course if these plans get disrupted, I have also learned to be flexible.
This time last hear, I was knee deep in curriculum planning, marking and examination preparations. Self-care amounted to getting to bed before 10pm and most nights that wasn’t achieved. Things weren’t really going to plan and I was constantly knackered. What I can take from that time now is my ability to be flexible, to not make a fuss but to just go with the flow because I learned that it was me and only me who was hurting. It was me and my unrealistic expectations that was causing the ruckus, not anyone else.
I carry this nugget of knowledge with me now, when my best laid plans go up in smoke because of unforeseen circumstances. I become disappointed and hurt and yet I also see that these things happen and I’m more adept at being centred, rooted in myself but still allowing my trunk to bend, and my branches to sway in an unexpected wind or storm. These things happen, it’s nature. It’s how I perceive and handly these changable circumstances is the development, is an indication of my growth as a human being.
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.
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.
As I travel to work, again I am paying attention to my surroundings. Now it is the sea as I take the ferry across the Tyne, from one shields to the next. The light always makes me relax into the moment. It is ever changing as time passes. But then when I look down upon the water, I see patterns, I see movement, I see beauty.
I’m collecting images each journey. I’m doing the work and not looking back at what I’ve created. I’m saving that until I have more time and space to reflect and move the project forward somehow. At the moment, I’ve just capturing what I see. And this makes me happy. This brings me joy and the flutter of excitement in my gut. And that’s enough for now.
This is my time of year. I’ve always loved Autumn since I was a child and taking as many different routes to school as possible to kick through the leaves.
There’s a crisp freshness to the air. Yes you can see your breath as you breathe out but you can also feel your fingers and toes getting cold. Your nose feeling the chill. There’s nothing like this time of year to bring you into the present moment.
October is my birthday month. The Black Moon in Libra was at the end of September marking the mid-point in the annual horoscope cycle. Libra, my sign, the sign of beauty and balance, is totally me as I seek both within my life with a passion.
This is a time when I will spend weighing up what has happened, what I have done so far along my path of enlightenment and authenticity. I intend to savour these moments of chill and beauty. Not rush off and make new plans for the future ( although I did make a couple yesterday. More to follow here!!). I try to refrain from doing and instead being.
This is a starting point, yes, but to pause, reflect, rebalance.
To say that the aim of this residency is to not engage in any artistic activities from September to December inclusive, I would have to confess that things are not going to plan.
I’m finding that making something, doing something creative; be it cooking a meal, baking, knitting, reading about art, playing with paints, these little moments of colour in my day are my highlights. These moments of play energise me, bring me back to me and how I want to spend my time.
I suppose I’m not learning anything new from undertaking this residency. I always knew that creativity was my life force. I suppose it is only reinforcing my self-knowledge.
I know I devised this residency to ease the pressure off myself, while having to work full-time. But I’m finding that these moments of creativity are what gives me the strength and energy to carry on with the full-time work. Without these pockets of colour and joy my life would be grey and nothing. I would be so unhappy and lost that I would worry how to carry on.
I know frustrations are creeping in as I wish I had more than just pockets of time to devote to my creativity and future projects. But I’m allowing myself the space to rest and dream. Not pushing myself but also not denying myself the time to plan and imagine.
I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted trying to be all things to everybody. I’m exhausted trying so hard to be liked and popular. But I’m not in my new job, in the position to be liked. I’ve got a job to do. But I could be doing a better job if I wasn’t trying so hard to be funny, agreeable,and gracious.
This isn’t something new. I’ve always had an extreme desire to be liked and loved. But it is only recently that I am more aware of this flaw and have attempted to change direction. And that is exactly what I plan to do this next week. I’m giving up on being liked and popular. I’m going to spend my time and energy on getting the job done to the best of my ability. If that pisses people off, if that means I am not liked, so be it. As at least I will be true to myself. I will be my authentic self. And that may at times be ugly, but it is way less exhausting.
So things have started with my self-imposed residency of being an artist on hiatus. The aim is not to engage in anything creative. To try and not feed my artistic tendencies but to focus all my attentions on my paid work and not my creative work.I am finding this residency difficult as I realise I need colour in my life daily in order to live. In order to get out of bed and feel alive, I need colour within my life. It is my buzz. So deciding to wear a different coloured nail varnish each week to work is I think exercising my creative gene ever so slightly.
This colour fix is also evident within my work planner. So that every day is not a dull day, I pre-prepared each page within my planner with paint, with colour and inspirating images. I did this so that even if I am locked into the system, working 9 til 5, I can still dream, I can still scratch my creative itch.
All this sounds as if I’m not trying in this hiatus residency. But really I am. But at the same time, I am finding out more and more about what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what makes me, me. And I’m okay with that, with this residency. I am taking each day as it comes, and I know I am happy in what I am doing each day. So I am going to continue as I am doing.
I have even inspired others to re-engage with their creativity, with their dreams, through just showing up to meeting using my self-created planner. This colour focus is catching.