Welcome to the year 2022 and a different world.
My blogs have been few and far between and 2021 was no exception. As Julie Andrews would sing ‘Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.’
This won’t be your usual upbeat blog because lets face it 2021 for the most part was pretty shit. I felt like Artex, the horse from the Neverending Story, slowly sinking in the Swamp of Sadness.
For those living in Melbourne Australia, I can only compare my experience to slowly being tortured. Each lockdown got harder and harder. The frenzied toilet paper grab of 2020 was replaced by cynicism when we watched the same thing happening in other States. Some of us even scoffed at a 3 day snap lockdown in Queensland. Watching queues of people lined up outside Coles as they prepared to bunker down for their long weekend. The mental and emotional toll it took on myself and my family was more than I could bare. Lockdown number 6 broke me, not to mention my Doctor, who would download more on me than I did on her every time I booked an appointment. Psychology waiting lists no longer existed because of the overwhelming surge in mental health issues amongst our community, including our children.
Our neighbour laughs about saving on petrol but wearing out 4 pairs of shoes doing laps of his garden, but all jokes aside it was incredibly hard watching the rest of the Country getting on with life while we were being treated like District 8 in the Hunger Games. Instagram posts of diners smiling at open restaurants, family gatherings and going on holidays, while we had security guards standing at funerals making sure the bereaved were not comforting each other and maintaining social distancing. If you think I’m exaggerating, I am not.
Then there was the division. Not just the overwhelming grief of leaving behind any sense of normality, but the personal impact this had on my friendships. There became a clear line within the Spiritual Community. In the end my friendship list and who I followed shrank as I watched many around me no longer aligning with my truth. The option to ‘unfollow for 30 days’ on Facebook became a futile attempt to not offend. As someone that works within this community with my intuitive art and women’s circles, I was somehow supposed to remain impartial to the constant barrage of posts and opinions from others. Telling me I was a ‘sheep’, I was ‘living in fear’, that I needed to ‘wake up’, that my choices were not the right choices. The kindness and generosity of the first 2020 lockdowns were torched up in flames along with a severe lack of empathy and understanding for other people.
Watching this all unfold last year had a huge impact on my spirit and my heart, withdrawing me into the safety of my own shell. My initial enthusiasm to extend myself to run online women’s circles and share my teachings via zoom in 2020 had long fizzled out. Instead, my daily outings became walks within my 5klms radius or getting my essential shopping whilst doing my best to avoid anyone that even remotely looked like they wanted to engage in conversation. Things got pretty dark, and I don’t mind admitting that in retrospect. The ultimate in shadow work, one might say.
Jumping social media platforms was my creative savior. Watching everything you have created come to a complete standstill is devastating for a small business. The lack of growth, reduction in views and interaction seems to be all driven by the push for paid advertising, and you can’t spend what you don’t have. I discovered a brilliant Art Community on Tiktok and landed on my feet. Arttok has inspired me to step out of my own way and try new things. All the while being truly authentic to who I am, not someone I thought I had to be to drive people to my business. And as with anything new it has taken up a lot of my time. Learning how to use the app, recording artwork progress, editing, learning how to engage people and to draw the right people to my account so I stay on the right side of TikTok! It has been full steam ahead.
My daily routine and coping mechanism. My creative outlet, my ‘new art tribe’, and my sanity. However, it has not come without its shadow side and finding a balance between escapism and inspiration has been non-existent. I admit I threw all caution to the wind and totally burnt myself out in the process.
It was a year of clarity and introspection. The weight of the collective grief was huge and here I was one little human not wanting to burden anyone else. I am a Reiki Master, a Lightworker Practitioner and a qualified Women’s Circle Facilitator, this was my chance to shine. I worked long and hard to attain my qualifications. Years of personal growth and self development behind me and if anyone had their shit together surely it should have been me? Well, just letting you know I didn’t, and I certainly didn’t do anything wrong. Accepting what is, is sometimes the only way to walk through it. The darkest of times is when we have an opportunity for the most growth, and if there is anything I have learned through my life’s experiences it’s that these times can create huge breakthroughs as long as we are willing to work through them instead of avoiding or dwelling to long on the negative aspects.
I’m not going to lie, my post lockdown lethargy feels like I have been to war and my energy is still quite depleted. As I unplug for a bit to recharge I feel like I have finally turned a corner. As far as goal setting for 2022 I feel I need to be more fluid, like water, so I can bend and move more easily with whatever is heading my way. I would love to hold Circle again in my beautiful big tent which has been a great refuge during these hard times and although bookings are looking up I would really like to work with more watercolor, so I will see where that takes me.
I know it’s been tough, really tough. A lot harder for some than others, and there are no guarantees that just because you’re a good person that good things will happen to you. Those story lines only play out in fairy tales. Life owes us nothing, it’s about experiences and it’s up to us to create the life we want to see. In the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”