Reflections on the year

A few things I have learned about life and the creative process in 2017

On the Walk Home – A Montreal house seen on a rainy night. Screen print on paper.

Time. It takes time and space for thoughts to percolate. It takes effort to slow down. I find a need to allow for quiet, for time spent working with my hands: repotting plants, doing a puzzle, baking something delicious, or going for a long walk. Also, that time is too precious to waste not being your fullest and brightest self – your health, well-being, and energy deserve respect and care.

Patience. I am learning that it’s sometimes necessary to put things aside if they are not working. To be patient, work on something else, and come back to them later. I have a tendency to be impatient, so this is hard for me. Gardening has helped teach me patience.

Trust. There seems to be a theme in my life this year of faith, trust, and resilience. I have been living more intuitively. I am increasingly clear on my big goals and direction, but am trying to allow the details to take shape on a daily or weekly basis – to trust that if I’m open and looking, guidance and next steps will come.

Small steps. I feel I’m constantly telling myself, it’s ok, just keep going. Take the next right step. I move into action more quickly, and spend less time planning ahead. Instead, I reflect on things as I go, or once I’ve taken action and have something that did or didn’t work. I take more, smaller steps and make changes through awareness, intuition and habit, rather than setting specific targets and numbers.

Gentleness. I have tried many approaches over the years and truly find that a gentle, compassionate and loving approach does produce more results than hard goals and tough love. I was doubtful about this at first, but I have made more significant and lasting changes this year than ever before.

Learning. I love learning new things. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with learning a new thing even if I’m not good at it at first. I still remind myself frequently that it’s ok to ask for help, it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to not be immediately good at something.

Taking up space. This involves figuring out your values and your boundaries and standing your ground, with kindness. For me, it also means lifting my head and shoulders a little higher, speaking a little louder… being willing to be seen. This has been one of the hardest things for me and I find myself returning to gentleness and small steps to make this shift.

Presence. I believe it’s important to expand and grow, to approach life wholeheartedly. To show up fully. To be kind to others, and to yourself. To look and see your surroundings. Wherever I am, I try to focus on what is going on in that moment and in that place.