Saturday, December 31, 2016

Highlights of 2016

I'm staring this post on January 11, 2016 - to keep better track of what happens in the year.
This is going to be a long post.

  • Went back to work after two months medical leave for a myomectomy
  • Got so tired in the first week - that it made me focus on my body and physical health more
  • Worked at sleeping 8 hours, drinking 8 cups of water, eating 5 small nutritious meals, doing yoga everyday.
  • Began to become more aware. 
  • Went to The Rex for the first time. (I know this doesn't seem like much but I don't go many places. And I am often a bit insecure about going into a "cool" place.)
  • Caught a cold in the second week of January - stayed home for another three days. Was not happy to have to feel ill so much. Not sure how I would handle a chronic/terminal illness if I had one. 
  • Read Thich Nhat Hanh's The Miracle of Mindfulness.
  • Learned to do everyday tasks with more awareness. 
  • Learned to see everyday life as more beautiful and sacred. 
  • Realized that what I really wanted to do, was be an artist. 
  • Was able to see the life force in me - and was blown away. For the first time in my life, I think I began to fall in love with me. 
  • Spent a lot of time in the year in pain - my flat feet were tired. Had to get custom orthotics. Had to hobble around in miserable pain a lot. Wondered what it would be like to have a disability and what accessibility means for those who don't have it. 
  • Visited my brother and the family in the States. Was great to hang out with my niece and nephew. 
  • Went to New York! Was a good trip. 
  • Went to the MoMa. Saw the Edgar Degas Printmaking Show. Was wonderful. 
  • Went to Central Park and loved it. 
  • Took the Staten Island Ferry and saw the Statue of Liberty. 
  • Met a friend from college and his wife in New York. We haven't seen him since their wedding - maybe 8/9 years ago. Was nice to meet an old friend. 
  • Went to Times Square and did not like it. I really don't like crowds. 
  • Took an Introduction to Drawing Class at Toronto School of Art. Absolutely LOVED it! My skills were greatly improved and I enjoyed every minute of it. 
  • Made a new friend at the class. :) 
  • Carved and made my very first lino cut prints. You can see them here: Printing
  • Made some cards with the blocks and wrote notes to friends. 
  • Read Thich Nhat Hanh's Reconcilliation: Healing the Inner Child
  • Read Danny Gregory's Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done
  • Read Maya Angelou's Letter to My Daughter
  • Read Seth Godin's What To Do When It's Your Turn - And It's Always Your Turn
  • Realized that I needed to do good work. Work that mattered to me and to others - even if it was just a small group of people. 
  • Realized that I did not want to waste more time doing things just because I had to. 
  • Realized that I needed to be around people who were also striving, also wanting to be more than they were. 
  • I hate mediocrity and I am mediocre. I need to change that. 
  • Joined the YMCA! 
  • Took swimming lessons. 
  • I met Jean Paul Riopelle's Chevreuse II. It was a spirit experience. I have since visited the AGO a few times and visit with the painting. I am learning much from these visits. 
  • I went to a movement session. It was wonderful. I realized that I need to have movement and ecstatic dance in my life. 
  • I learned that I am a physical person - my body, my mind, and my emotions are very strongly connected. I have not paid enough attention to my body because I believed my mind was more important. But I am nothing without my body and my body is wise. I want to work more on learning her wisdom. 
  • I learnt that I need to care for my spirit. This is crucial to my existence. 
  • I'm learning to meditate. 
  • I'm learning to love my body. 
  • I finished some quilts this year! You can see them here: Happy Turtle Quilts
  • Worked 4 days a week for a few months this year. Spent the day drawing. 
  • Went to the Toronto Reference Library and drew. Enjoyed that. 
  • Spent some time at the AGO. 
  • Realized that I didn't have to hang out with people who brought me down. There was no need. We might have been friends at a certain time in our lives and that is good. We all change and sometimes you have to let go. 
  • Moved to a new apartment! We spent four years in our old one. This one is nicer and has more space. I like it here. Feel more grown up! 
  • It's a lot of work to move apartments in this city - applying for apartments is like applying for a job or a visa! It takes a lot and I feel good about us making this move. 
  • Got some nice furniture for our new place. 
  • Took Intermediate Drawing with Paul Turner at Toronto School of Art.  I felt like I should have taken more introductory classes before I took this one. Still, at the end of the class I can see a lot of improvement and it seems that I have grasped more than I thought I had. So I am happy with the class. You can see my final project here: Life Drawing
  • I found that I quite enjoy Life Drawing. I never intended to work on drawing people, but there is life energy in the process and it is beautiful. 
  • Got Adobe Illustrator and learning how to use it! 
  • Designed a logo for my friend's catering company. SWAD
  • Was very affected by the results of the US Elections. Think it might have pushed me into a dark place. 
  • Realized that I needed to do creative work for my existence - that when I don't do it my soul and my body dies slowly every day. 
  • My aunt died this year - my dad's youngest sister.
  • My close friend's father passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Every time death comes close you can feel it. Even if you are not directly in its path. The big open wound that is my own father's death hurts again. 
  • There was a lot of physical pain this year - a lot! 
  • Went to Toronto Symphony Orchestra's ABBA concert. It was wonderful. This is my second time! :) 
  • Our friends from Arizona visited us again. It was nice to see them. We babysat their little boy for a few hours. It was fun. 
  • We have now been married 10 years! I think this year we were able to see each other better and love each other better. 
  • Did a 100 Day Project. Didn't get through to 100 but I think it opened me up creatively. You can see it on Instagram.
  • Went to Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Messiah.  It was excellent! Every year at Christmas I tell myself I want to do this and I never get my act together. This year I was on it! I wouldn't mind going every year. 
  • Bought tickets to the Bon Jovi show for next year! 
  • Bought tickets to the Neil Diamond show for next year! Can't believe they are both going to be here next year! 
  • Spent some time by the waterfront at Queen and Roncesvales. 
  • Read This is Water by David Foster Wallace
  • Listened to Neil Gaiman's 2012 Commencement Speech, "Make Good Art". 
  • We bought some Tintins this year - read all of them. 
  • Went to a sewing day with other quilters. We made quilts to be donated to refugees. 
  • Had my first Reiki session this year! A gift from my brother and sister-in-law. It was really wonderful. Must find a good practitioner here. 
  • Bought a lot of art supplies! :)
  • Re-watched Friends. All 10 seasons. Such a fun show! 
  • Re-watched The Big Bang Theory. 
  • Spent Christmas Day with my husband, in our new home quietly reading, talking, with jazz Christmas music softly playing in the background. It was the most beautiful time. This year has felt very busy, and very noisy. In the past few months I felt more and more disconnected with myself. I needed so desperately to get back in touch, to be quiet, to see myself again and I was able to with a day spent quietly, reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, working through the exercises and journaling. 
  • Spent Boxing Day at the AGO. It was lovely. Went to the Dim Sum place for lunch. 
  • Had a quiet week off at home between Christmas and New Year. I really needed it. 
  • Decided to do a 365 Day Project. You can see it on my Instagram
  • Spent some time at DeSerres and bought paint! 
  • Mailed a Thank You card to an old theater teacher of mine. I messaged him to get his address and he was so happy to hear from me. We had a lovely conversation and turns out he just bought The Artist's Way

Friday, December 30, 2016

From My Year of the Self

My theme for the year was The Self. And I think I 'm going to continue with that theme next year - there is so much more to be learned.
  • I am more assertive than I used to be. 
  • I am sometimes less confident than I used to be. 
  • I still despair. 
  • I know that I don't want to do work that does not matter. 
  • I know that I want to do work that is good. 
  • I know that my spirit is very important to me and I must nurture it. Though I more often than not  - don't. 
  • I am so conditioned to put the needs of others first that when I want to actually put myself first - I somehow sabotage it. 
  • I think all the physical pain that I have felt this year is me trying to stop myself from putting myself first - from going after the things I want to go after. I still can't seem to justify that. 
  • So much of who I am is who I used to be as a child. 
  • I still hear the voices - the voices of my parents, teachers, and friends - telling me I can't do it. What good is it? It's not that easy. 
  • I have to let go. I have to let go of them. 
  • I want to be an artist but I am so afraid. 
  • Afraid I am not good enough, afraid it's too late, afraid I don't have it in me. 
  • I feel lost in the world. I always have. 
  • This year I caught a glimpse of the life energy inside me and it was the most beautiful experience. 
  • The times that I was able to see this life energy I was filled with joy and hope. 
  • I am more aware of the kind of life I need to live to nurture and strengthen my life energy. 
  • I need to be creative. 
  • I need to make art.
  • I need to dance. 
  • I need to spend time in solitude. 
  • I need to feed my soul and spirit. 
  • I need to spend time being quiet. 
  • I need to be in nature. 
  • I need to live in a space that is my sanctuary. That is beautiful and that I love. 
  • I need to be with people who I love and who love and understand me. Right now - there is only one person I can do that with and thankfully I'm married to him. 
  • I know I don't want to be around people who drain my energy - and most people do. 
  • This is the time to build my Self. It will take time but I must do this fiercely. 
  • It has become clear to me that I would rather be dead than not live a creative and spirit-filled life. 
  • I struggle with the way the world is. I am unable for the most part to see the good in the world. I am deeply affected by the evil in it. This is not a bad thing. It only means that I must channel this into my creative work. 
  • Time spent working on my Self is crucial to my existence. If I don't make this time, I will wither - literally. 
  • All the lessons I have learned in my life have been learned the hard way. I have to find a way to remember them.
  • I have been very blessed and whether I am aware or not, the Spirit is with me. God is with me. Thought it doesn't always seem that way. 
  • I am beginning to love my body - just a little. I am beginning to accept her. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Visiting Chevreuse II


Spent some time visiting my favorite painting at the AGO. 

Jean Paul Riopelle - Chevreuse II 1953 - 1954, Oil on Canvas

Every time we meet I feel like I have had a spirit filled experience. I feel like I am praying or visiting a deity. I speak to the painting and the painting speaks to me. It is a wonderful communion.