New Years Thoughts

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Every New Year I feel the urge to re-invent myself just a little. To become better in some way. That unblemished new leaf, an opportunity to put mistakes behind, step forth into the brave new day, in a new pair of shoes.

I make lists, promises, tidy things. I buy pens, order my shelves. Clean cupboards. Wipe away cat fluff. It is all so hopeful.

And then, as the year rolls by, life happens. Pens get chewed, promises fall by with a blush, more stuff fills those perfectly arranged shelves. More fur drops, everywhere. Unexpected things always happen, good and bad, things fly at you and you have to change track. And mistakes? Well, lets not count.

But still again, like a fresh Spring breeze, January 1st will arrive and I will take my breath, climb up and reach the summit of good intentions once more, and love that view – clear, clean, new. Forget the rocks back down just for a second.

And isn’t this just how it goes? We all have our circles and lines in which we move, we all have old skins that sometimes we need to shed. I need this sense of renewal each year. But I should expect mistakes. Mistakes are human. I want to be kinder to myself and allow them. Because, maybe each time we do grow just a little wiser, maybe imperceptibly, somehow we do learn something from every mis-step. Maybe each new skin that I grow is just slightly more formed, just that little more me.

I’ve been reflecting a lot over the holidays on creativity, and my relationship to it. Sometimes I am comfortable with it, sometimes I am achingly not. I struggle hugely with maintaining a balance between a huge onslaught of ideas and creative impulses and a strictly over organised framework where I get things done but become too narrow and judgemental, and don’t allow myself time to breathe and explore. More balance is needed. I read a great quote on the fabulous blog by Elsa Mora – “Art is a Way“. She quoted Henri Matisse thus:

“There is the heart and the mind, the Puritan idea is that the mind must be master. I think that the heart should be master and the mind should be the tool and servant of the heart. As it is, we give too much attention to laws and not enough to principles. The man who wants to produce art must have the emotional side first, and this must be reinforced by the practical.” – Robert Henry.

He says of an artist:

“He must have an excellent mind which he must command and use as a tool for the expression of his emotions”

I really like this idea, of the heart and mind working in balance.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot this past few months through my photography and posting here..but..I am missing other areas of my creative life too and I’d like to reach out a little and explore some more. I feel like maybe photography might be part of what I do, not the whole, like maybe there is more to go with it..I miss my handmade work too, it would be fun to try and incorporate both.

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I am also very excited to finally have a little room of my own to work in! I have been working on it over the holidays and it is feeling like a very exciting, invigorating, and reflective space. It’s on a hill and overlooks some of the town and countryside – with a teeny view of the estuary if you lean out the window a bit…!  I have printed some of my work and put it on the wall – it’s been great to do that and take an overview of things. I must allow myself the luxury of printing more – I like to hold things in my hands, it feels like part of me more somehow.

Hope and light, and the promise of a brand new day. My resolution this year is to be brave and honest both in my work and my life. Let my heart speak.

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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30 thoughts on “New Years Thoughts

  1. Heavy thoughts, Cath, but definitely worthy ones. Oh, may we keep our hopeful promises to ourselves a little longer each time we try. All the best to you and yours for the new year! -Gary

    1. I’m very excited! Although it is giving me a look of expectation at the moment, a little nervous to go in and begin!! 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed these thoughts on the new year, and on living the life of an artist. Your sketch of the lady ready to go is just delightful. And congratulations on having a new work room. Thank you too, for introducing me to the blog, ‘Art is a Way’. It looks like a very special and inspiring blog.

    1. Thankyou Shimon, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes I love Elsa’s blog, very inspiring and thoughtful, with beautiful work.

  3. It’s funny I tell my son all the time to “be brave”, because he has a tendency to see life as a series of insurmountable obstacles rather than exciting possibilities, but I think I could do with taking my own advice a little more… it’s hard isn’t it to take chances and put yourself out there? But so worth it. I love your resolutions and I agree I think it’s important to make them even if we only stick to them for a month or so. It’s better than nothing. And it’s true being honest, just being yourself is so hard. I sometimes wish I could shed all the layers and find the real “me” under all the guises of me. But then when I resolve to do this I realise it is not so straightforward. All those mes are still a part of me (people expect them!) and I somehow need to keep them all moving like juggling balls in the air, just give each one a chance to take centre stage once in a while, maybe. You can still be you and do photography, flute, collage, writing (you’re great at writing you should definitely do more of it in your blog!). It’s all possible. And exciting. Here’s to a fabulous year of being brave, and honest xxx

    1. What a lovely comment, thanks so much Emily. I very much know what you mean about wishing you could shed the layers – sometimes I feel like about 10 different people! But I think this is part of the creative and empathetic spirit really, and I need to have more acceptance of that and let myself off the hook a bit – I like how you describe letting something become centre stage for a while. I once heard someone describe this kind of creativity as having a whole collection of hats, and they chose different ones to wear as the mood took them..you’re still you, but in a different outfit! I quite like that image too. Yes, here’s to a good year for all of us! X

  4. Life will happen, no matter what we try to plan. So it’s best to just go along with it and try to enjoy the trip. I hope your year turns out better than you wish for.

    Jim

    1. Very true Jim, all journeys lead somewhere don’t they..sometimes to places we’d never even imagined! Thankyou for the lovely wish – wishing you a good year too.

    1. Ah, that is great, I hope you cheered out loud! 🙂 I did feel rather like I was on a podium when I wrote this..hehe.. 😉 Wishing you a fabulous and creative year too Richard, excited to see what comes!

    1. Thanks C.B. – I do love words and write a lot in private, but I’m not sure it’s really a talent I have, more of an enjoyment..but enjoying it is the main thing I guess! Happy New Year!

  5. Cath, your words here are so perfect. Things we all struggle with, things to celebrate. I like how you hopefully and carefully describe starting the new year. Beautifully written. I’m looking forward to a year of discovery. For all of us!
    xx

    1. Oh yes, may we all enjoy our discoveries and adventures this year – it’s so great to be able to share them like this isn’t it – thanks Karen, and Happy New Year to you X

  6. The ‘mistakes’ are where art happens. It’s where we learn and stretch, and work toward becoming more fully ourselves, I guess. Risk is a huge thing, isn’t it? The ongoing struggle, yes. But so worth it, and so worht celebrating each new thing we try, each new thing we do – each time we do it. Hooray for the new year. Let’s begin!

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