I have been beating the threat of winter blues by making love art. I was asked to make some new cards for a local craft shop to sell, but you can buy them too!
Cards, and prints are available over here, why not just tell your dearest you love ‘em for Valentines day? Buy a framed print and make sure they know it all year round!
I have filled a journal in the last five weeks full of dreams, photos, poems and ponderings, all concerned with this time of year. It has been a profound and sometimes painful process, but I’m very grateful for the peace and being comfortable in my own silence and solitude.
Here are a patchwork collection of some of my pages.
Today is the last day of the year.
It’s been an amazing one for me with many joys and challenges. It was hard to choose but I have chosen one photo for each month of the year. I hope you enjoy them and have a wonderful 2013.
January in Mexico. Beautiful bright days and chilly nights.
February. Year of the Dragon (my sign!) in Auckland New Zealand.
March. Holding up the hanging rock in Australia.
April. Meeting up with my old friend and sweet boy, Perth Australia.
May. Worrying about my Sister, Singapore.
June. Discovering the wonders of Ankhor Wat. Cambodia
July. The wonderful joy of washing with elephants. Thailand
August. Happy birthday. Thailand
September. One of my favourite places with some of my favourite people. Tintern Abbey with my hubby, nephew and niece.
October. Being a celebrant for a wonderful naming ceremony. London.
November. Getting reacquainted with the lovely lakes. Coniston, Lake District.
December. Home for Christmas with my parents (and dog!). Ulverston Cumbria
This is a season I struggle with, and I know I am not alone.
It is a time when the cold brings an inclination to look inward, and nature strips down all that is excess leaving the raw bare bones. It is a time of death before re-birth, a silent waiting in solitude and stillness.
There is such beauty at this time of year too, and I have made a conscious intention to be patient enough to enjoy and learn from it this year. I’ve found a wonderful guide in Joanna Powell Colbert and her midwinter Gaian soul practice online course. It has given me the courage to be still in the quiet and cold, where my natural tendency would be to gallop manically towards the sun
As we move towards Solstice, let’s remember to keep our little lights shining, to gather together for warmth , to sing, tell stories and to remind each other that we are part of this turning cycle which will bring us warmth, light and new life after the darkness.
December is hug month.
Last year we were in San Cristobal in southern Mexico. We were quite startled by the rapid drop in temperature and rather alarmed by the apartment we had booked for two months. It had holes in the roof, holes in the doors and walls and the only heating was a damp log fire and a gas fire we couldn’t use because it leaked.
Our vision of a cosy Christmas was dwindling rapidly until I asked our neighbour, a journalist from Columbia, if it is possible to get the place warm. She looked at me sternly and said with great authority ‘You are two, you can hug.’
We thought we would take her advice and I made a hug chart which we ticked five times a day. It really did the trick, warming us outside and in.
I already have my present this year, my sweet hubby came clambering down from his loft office clutching a paper plate he had decorated with HM, and the dates for ticking off the hugs…16 down 135 to go!
Give yourself and your beloved a present that costs nothing and means everything this year, join us for hug month.
Three new creative ventures in one.
First, making a journal from scratch using leftover card and paper.
Second, being brave with the combination of journal writing and image making.
Third, discovering Pixlr, where I have had a lot of fun adding layers and effects. It’s a fantastic photo editing application which is easy to use, creative, fun and free.
Here are some of the photos of what I’ve been working on this week, they are pages from my journal, the first one I have proudly made from scratch. I’ve been a bit shy about combining words and images before, but I have found it really liberating when I just jumped in and did it.
I urge you to get over to Pixlr land, what’s to lose?
I have been reading the beautiful book, ‘This I Know’ by Susannah Conway. She has such an honest and soulful way of writing, I feel I know her and want to ask her round for a cup of tea. There are suggestions at the end of each chapter and this is one of them, revealing ten things about yourself. She says this may feel a little vulnerable, (which it does) and recommends this as a way of taking a risk and connecting with others, especially if you are feeling somewhat disconnected, (which I do).
So here we are…
I was a very shy child and related better to horses than people.
I was diagnosed with otosclerosis and have had my stapes, (smallest bone in the ear) replaced by a piece of metal when I was 13 and a piece of plastic when I was 28. My hearing is still difficult and I wear hearing aids.
I have a first class degree in art and psychology and a masters in integrative arts therapy.
I like singing power ballads in big open spaces.
I have had three VW Beetles and 2 VW camper vans.
We had a fire which wiped out nearly everything we owned.
I love pyjamas and rubbish cop re-runs.
Eating in public often makes me nervous.
I have travelled for three years out of the last four.
I’ve known my hubby since I was 19 but we didn’t get it together until much later as I shacked up with his (ex) friend for 9 years. Me and my honey have been friends for 29 years, married 14 and I still really love him!
After one long year and sixty nine beds we arrived home.
We felt a thrill of excitement as we rounded the bend in the train and saw the lighthouse on top of the hill guiding us back.
We spent a weekend hugging friends, singing in our local pub and huffing up the hill to see the wonderful view over the hills to the Lakes.
There’s no place like home.
I’m grateful my big Sis is safely through her operation.
I’m grateful for my explorations and discoveries in photography.
I’m grateful for the honour of being celebrant for my dear friend’s baby’s naming ceremony.
I am grateful to my dear husband for organising a fantastic birthday suprise. He e-mailed all my friends and asked for a contribution towards a Celebrant course.
I’m grateful to have found Lisa Sarick.
I’m grateful and excited about my programme of creative workshops and launching myself as a celebrant.
I’m grateful for collecting some gorgeous shells and gifts from the sea.
I’m grateful for my many travel adventures and I’m glad to be going home.
I’m grateful for chatting with my funny gorgeous niece on Facebook and I’m ecstatic about seeing her very soon.
“Please let me never forget how rich my life is right at this moment. Please let me never forget that all I have is all I need. Please let me never forget to give thanks.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach