Friday, January 3, 2014

It Isn't All Sunshine . . .

I wonder if there's a song by that name? It seems to fit where I'm at right now. I felt so positive on January 1st, but I've come down with a wicked head and chest cold and cough, and have spent the last two days climbing in and out of bed, unable to do much besides blowing my nose and heating up my Kitambaa Cosie (my version of a "magic bag") along with drinking lots of fluids and using up lots of kleenex. I know, I know. This is a "first world problem", and yes, I'm the same person who has written to you very recently about widows in Uganda needing the money to rent land so that they're able to eat, and about Recheal starting her own shelter and clinic for those affected by HIV. But this is also part of my life. My best laid plans get swept aside by illness, family commitments, or just plain practical errands that can't be put off any longer. It occurs to me that sometimes we need to hear that other people share these woes and are similarly thwarted in their efforts to "live the creative life". Today I read the post from Robert Genn, author of the Painter's Keys who posts a newsletter on the web twice weekly. He's a man who is full of a world of wisdom, but today he was writing from the bed in his bedroom, as he learns to live with pancreatic cancer, and to realize that his life as an artist is going to end sooner than he might have hoped. But it's what he wrote about that really touched me. He described the view from his window in loving detail, and reflected on his life lived making art. So I have something to learn here. Instead of moaning and groaning, it might have been smarter for me to head to the local coffee shop, and then armed with a wonderful latte (and my kleenex), and then to have driven down to the beach to enjoy the sunrise. It came up in glorious colour at 8:30 a.m. today, but I was so busy feeling crummy that I missed the opportunity to see a part of that world described so eloquently by Robert Genn. But as I wrote on New Year's, the important thing is to pick myself up when I fall or when I miss these golden moments, and to carry on trying to do better tomorrow. So there are no photos today - just mumblings and ramblings as I share the shadow side of my creative life. I will talk to you all again soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy, Happy New Year!

January 1st of the New Year - a time to look forward and a time to look back. Last year - 2013 - was a wonderful year. And there is much to look forward to in the coming year, but when I tried to think of one word to focus on for 2014, "NOW" is the word that came to mind. As someone far more poetic than me once wrote (or words to this effect), yesterday is gone and tomorrow is but a dream, but today is the day we have to live in whatever manner we choose. Which doesn't mean we can't take the lessons from yesterday forward with us - things like learning the value of working in a series, or that time spent with family and friends is the richest of times, or that the important thing is not whether you succeed in your goals, but whether you have the courage and strength of character to pick yourself up when you fall down or change direction when it's shouting at you that change is needed. THIS is today and "now", and in this coming year, I want to put aside my multitude of excuses and "just do it", which means being open to whatever presents itself, whatever lies ahead. On
a more practical note, this means that I am slowly down-sizing Kitambaa Designs, so that I have more time to do my own work. And it means that my commitment to the Bitengye Designers is stronger than ever, and that I will do whatever I need to do to help their cooperative and business grow. It means that the time to become more active is "now", and the time to pay more attention to heating healthily is "now". It will see me blocking off chunks of time to work in the studio and making those times inviolate (unless, of course, there's some dire emergency). It's already meant shedding myself of so much stuff, in recognition that living in the "now" is so much more successful the simpler my life is, and the less clutter surrounds me. These are some of the things I'm pondering this New Year's Day. Thanks for listening. And thank you especially to those who have kept in touch via email of Facebook or by commenting on this blog over the past year. It has meant a great deal to me. To each of you a Happy, Happy New Year, full of adventure and quiet times, creative times and times of "moodling", full of friends and family and all there is to experience in this wonderful world in which we live!