Yes, one can feel so confident when they start a new venture, or a new practice, and everything is going swimmingly. I felt very smug last year when I seemed to have no problem writing a blog post twice a week. Others asked “how do you do it??”
“It’s easy…” I replied “…not a problem.”
Then life happens, throws you a few curve balls. I cringe when I see my last post was in the summer. Yep. It happens. Lots of things happen. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her beautiful book, The Faithful Gardener: “Though we think we are following the rightful map…God suddenly decides to lift up the road and places it and us elsewhere.”
(I must digress: this is a fabulous little book, a story within a story, about a young tree in the forest who dreams of being chosen for a Christmas tree, and the wonderful life it imagines it will have. It’s a heartwarming, elegantly told tale about loss, survival and rebirth… I highly recommend it.)
This last year I have lost both my parents: my mother last Christmas, after six years in dementia care; a long, slow goodbye that ended with a brief illness and a few profound, beautiful days by her side at the end. My father, quickly and unexpectedly this summer; here one day, gone the next. Two services, two lives to wrap up, two dealings with “the family”.
One of the more positive things that has taken me away is an abundance of great work. Lots of fabulous projects…too many almost…and I have found myself working 7 long days a week for the last six months. It does start to take its toll and it required me to drop pretty well everything else: social events, work on my book project, blogging, and taking care of myself.
I had a few days off at Thanksgiving and decided to set a beautiful table for a small dinner I was hosting. I launched into my old tried and true favorite past time of foraging for the dinner table. I decided on a colour, dug around in the pantry for dishes and linens – gold – and decided that the beautiful autumn leaves that were gracing the street would be the perfect finishing touch. I went for a walk through the neighbourhood looking for the most vibrant golden trees and found plenty.
I came home, turned on some music and finished setting the table. I was overcome with a feeling of peace and total bliss…of “coming home”….I love doing this… I hadn’t done this for quite a while… I missed this! How I missed playing and staging and entertaining and preparing. It reminded me of how much I love this artful part of life.
The holiday passed, the workload continued. The cherished past times were abandoned once again.
Finally the deadlines, the deliverables, the bulk of the work is settling down. It had better…my health is suffering. Too much…I need a break, I need a change, I need a rest. I need to reconnect to those artful pursuits again. As rewarding as my work is, as interesting, as challenging, and satisfying…I need to grab hold of those activities that most feed my soul and put joy in my heart.
Writing, creating art, entertaining, completing the labour of love that is my upcoming book; I am on a mission to bring these back into my life. I hope to be here again, on a regular basis, to chronicle those joys, and write about the art part of my heart.