Farewell 2014 (or Let's move on, shall we?)

Dear 2014,

You were rough, I will not lie.

You were a year of surrender and self-care. You had me dealing with health issues like vertigo, panic attacks and anxiety. You saw me let go of striving and of long-held identities without quite knowing what’s on the other side. You brought forth fears and questions that still remain to be explored.

These things are big, they’re hard and they’re tiring. I was - and still am - exhausted.

Along with the trials you brought me gifts. 

You brought increased self-awareness, an imperfect meditation practice and a return to journalling. You led me to financial goals, a new car and clearer, more nurturing physical spaces both at home and at the office. I learned new creative skills, humbly received the support of loved ones, rediscovered my fondness of back yard birdwatching and experienced sheer joy at the sight of my feathered friends. You offered me a renewed connection with Nature, stillness, and my Higher Power.

You were at once a year of prolific creativity and one of extreme rest. Your pace was slow yet you flew by, creating a time-related conundrum that still baffles me.

I challenged myself to write a list of accomplishments to remind myself of how abundant and rich you were, and acknowledge all that was happening under the surface while I thought all was lost (it's below, if you're interested). Among other things, this showed me that:

a) Puttering and following an organic unfolding of things can be quite productive.

b) Not all productivity or achievements are visible to the eye.

I thank you for all that you have given me, 2014, and I am ready to move on. So let's, shall we?

Best wishes to you,

Stephanie

xo

~~~

A recap of things that happened in 2014 while I thought nothing was happening (sort of). Big, small, and everything in between, in spirit of gratitude...

  • Resumed a 4-day/week painting practice after the holidays and immersed myself in art, resulting in several paintings completed during the 1st half of 2014.
  • Took an iPhoneography course and created multiple pieces of digital art throughout the year.
  • Submitted an application to a local art show. I didn’t get in, but I submitted an application!
  • Tried new recipes, several of them keepers.
  • Posted on my blog and FB page. Not very often during the 2nd half of the year, but I still did it!
  • Celebrated 8 years of blogging.
  • Posted a list of 41 good things on the blog during my 41st Birthweek Bonanza.
  • Spent one week relaxing by a lake with my Love. Bliss.
  • Paid off a loan and built up a small emergency fund.
  • Set up financial planning and budgeting spreadsheets for joint finances and my own. Worked through parts of Luna Jaffe’s book, Wild Money.
  • Decluttered: clothing, guest room closet, laundry room, some stuff from the storage room, front closet. Donated many bags & boxes of stuff to the Salvation Army.
  • Started writing my morning pages again and meditating. Switched my morning painting practice for this during the 2nd half of the year because it felt like what I needed.
  • Read many books, fiction and non-fiction.
  • Spent a lot of time hanging out at home with D. and our beloved Cassie. Deep comfort and love.
  • Applied for a selection process at work to qualify for a promotion and got in. Passed the two first hurdles, am waiting for the results on the third.
  • Took two road trips to New Brunswick.
  • Hosted the Guimond-Woods Christmas gathering.
  • Shopped for and bought a new car!
  • Made difficult and true financial decisions to help us meet our goals.
  • Started a morning face cleansing routine (yeah!).
  • Continued setting up our home with D. Got curtains and an area rug for the lounge, hung up some prints.
  • Got my original pastel and charcoal sketch of Frida professionally framed.
  • Enjoyed a luxurious weekend getaway in Toronto.
  • Worked through anxiety, panic and dizzy spells.
  • Worked through being OK receiving help due to anxiety, panic and dizzy spells.
  • Worked through burnout and letting go of “I want to be my own boss” identity, started healing my relationship with my 9-5 job.
  • Marked 20 years at my 9-5 job.
  • Met our new nephew.
  • Said goodbye to D.'s grandfather.
  • Took thousands of photos.
  • Hung up bird feeders. Saw two “lifers” in our front yard: a Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet.
  • Practiced stillness, a lot.
  • Contributed monthly Scoutie Girl articles from January to October. Let go of my two-year commitment as a contributor because it had served its time.
  • Celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Love, partnership, co-adventurers in life.

Hello You, Hello 2015

Well hello there and Happy New Year!

I hope the holidays treated you well, dearest.

I am easing into 2015 at a gentle pace.

I've been reflecting on the year past with curiosity, compassion and gratitude, gently entertaining which things I want to bring forth into the new year and which ones I'm ready to leave behind. It's a slow process.

Today I completed my yearly ritual of choosing new calendars. The pickings at the store were slim, but I found an eclectic mix featuring birds, Darth Vader, and female rulers of the world (like Marie Antoinette, below).

I love this ritual, and this year's variety of calendars makes me grin and chuckle.

I hope 2015 brings something to make you grin and chuckle too.

May your new year be fabulous, may it be peace-filled, may it be joy-full.

May it be true.

Happy 2015.

Stephanie

xo

Unhurried Spaciousness

PREAMBLE

For months, words have been escaping me.

Life has been full and engaging in a deeply transformative way and I have so much to process, so much I want to write about and share. The concepts and ideas are forming in my head and in the pages of my journal, but the words just aren't making their way to the page - or here - quite yet. I am choosing to trust this process and its timeline.

But today... today for the first time in months I felt compelled to write because of the two words that title this blog post. They spoke to me that strongly. So I chose to trust that inkling too and show up at the keyboard tonight. It simply feels right.

Don't you love it when that happens?

~~~

“Unhurried spaciousness.” The words on the page stopped me in my tracks.*

the birds have been an incredible healing presence for me this year, watching them is a favourite activity

Unhurried spaciousness is what I’ve been seeking, creating and living these past several months. It’s what I seek, create and live today.

After a few intense years bursting at the seams with action, new experiences and leaps out of my comfort zone it shouldn't surprise me that unhurried spaciousness is exactly what this year called for.

Though my head and ego clamour for plans, goals and visible accomplishments, my body and soul deeply crave open schedules, stillness and an organic unfolding of things. I humbly bow to the latter.

This year has unfolded slowly and close to home, sometimes frustratingly so, but when I look at it through the lens of unhurried spaciousness, labels like “lame” or “lazy” or “complacent” melt away and acceptance settles in.

Unhurried spaciousness. I’m more than OK with that.

Thank you Ms Kondo for passing along these words that so eloquently capture my experience. I am grateful.

~~~

*  I encountered these words in a fabulous little book called the life-changing magic of tidying up - the Japanese are of decluttering and organizing, by Marie Kondo.