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How am I choosing to Experience My Life?


2020 was a year that brought us experiences, the likes of which we never dreamed to have. It is at times like this that our mettle is tested. We are given a look at our strengths and weaknesses and how we process the experience is entirely up to us.

There were many challenges to navigate, especially as it became clear that we were not being told, "the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth", and as Shakespeare so aptly put it many centuries ago -"There is something rotten in the state of Denmark."

The figures and the science didn't seem to add up, restrictions on our lives became more and more draconian and people's lives and livelihoods were crashed and burned. So we were faced with moral and ethical dilemmas - to mask or not to mask....... and so on.

Now what does all this have to do with my life as an artist - how was I impacted?

My business - my art school was forced to close for several weeks. How did I cope? Well like many others I resorted to the internet and offered online classes. This was a whole new learning curve for myself and my students, but we muddled through.

Personally - like so many others I was unable to travel and this really impacted me in January 2021 because that is the time I usually return to New Zealand and recharge my creative batteries. So although I was able to reopen the art school in January I was left feeling creatively depleted.

One thing about being an artist is that I am outputting when I am painting and like a car needing petrol to run I also need inspiration to fuel my creative practice. To not have that Deep Well to access for the rest of the year has really affected me creatively. Therefore in order to deal with this I have had to work hard to get my head into a productive and positive space.

I have come across many people in my life who spend a lot of time lamenting and blaming others for the state of their lives. However, as I often try to tell my granddaughter, if I am blaming someone else for the fact that there is no joy in my life, or things aren't happening the way I want because of something someone else did, then I am unable to change that because I have no control over someone else and what they do. This of course includes governments and other authorities that affect our lives.

So I can either lament my inability to travel or I can look for another solution. Which is what I did.

It has been interesting to be part of many conversations that have taken place over the last year around the morning tea table and to listen to people's different perceptions of how 2020 was as a year in their experience. Most people begin by saying it was the worst year they ever lived through. However, what is interesting to note is that someone will usually volunteer the idea that it actually was a pretty good year for them. For those that didn't have to partake in a grueling four hour commute every day of their working lives covid had very positive effect. There was an extra twenty hours a week they could spend on themselves and their families and for many of them it was even longer than that because their working hours had been reduced.

I think that for many of us when we think we are having a negative experience we tend to get caught in a loop, a negative feedback loop, being unable to stand outside of that and view it dispassionately. So perhaps a little more insightful consideration is what is needed to line up those experiences and make my soul sing in order to move forward into a life of Ease and Grace.

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