December 9, 2022

Sitting with what was and what will be

For many years I cruised through December without a thought to the previous year or what the new year might hold. In fact, I used to make fun of my husband with his lists and retrospectives and plans. And then we started a Solstice tradition...maybe 5 years ago?...of writing our regrets for the year on slips of paper that we'd throw into a fire and watch as they burned away. Highly therapeutic if you want to give it a try! We also write down our wishes for the upcoming year and throw those into a fire on New Year's Eve, sending them into the ether on a hope and a prayer. Again, highly recommended for setting intentions with flair (and flare!)

But I digress.

Since that change, December has become an in-between month, caught between what was and what will be, a No Man's Land of  physically winding down and mentally gearing up. And sometimes it drives me crazy. I thrive on getting things done, crossing To Dos off my list, moving forward, ticking the boxes. I'm way better with the starts of things, even the middle of things but the end of things? Not so much.

As I get older, though, I find sitting in that quiet space of "done" without moving quickly to "what's next!", whilst still not a comfortable place for me, is showing me where my attention, my intentions have been focused and how, if at all, I might want to change that focus.

I love the progress I've made in my art journey this year. I finished two sketchbooks...stay tuned for a Sketchbook Tour!... the most EVER, and have a good start on two more. I feel really comfortable with collage again. As well as abstract landscapes, which kinda blows my mind cuz I never in a million years thought THAT would happen.

I'm still grappling with the marketing side of things. I'm not sure where I want to go with showing or even selling to be honest. And yes, I know I'm lucky that I don't HAVE to sell my work. (Maybe it'd help if I did!) But those are obstacles for another day.

I liked taking some courses, participating in some challenges and making a daily collage, all things I'll likely incorporate in some way next year. But I also feel the need to dig deeper, more focus or longer time frames? I don't know right now, they're still burbling in the background. 

So I'll sit in this in between space and ponder some more about what I liked, what I found satisfying and what was missing or needs some tweaking as I look back on 2022. I hope you find some quiet moments to savour what worked for you this year, too!

And next week, I'll be showing my Sketchbook Tour so don't forget to sign up!

December 2, 2022

Things to do in December (that ISN'T buying stuff!)

As November slips away, the insane month of December rears its head. Insane because everyone seems to be stressed out trying to cram as much buying and selling and making and baking, as much visiting and eating and event attending as possible before the 24th. 

 As an aside, a Black Friday advertisement crossed my socials for a really amazing price on art supplies and I thought, "I need more art supplies! I need to buy this!" Only I didn't. I'm okay for art supplies right now. At some future point, I'll need some paint but until then, I'm fine. Just fine. And it made me realize how caught up and invested we become in the hype to BUY! BUY! BUY! It took me a minute but then I thought, "Chill out, dude. The stores will remain open AFTER the 24th." There will always be more time to buy shit. 

 For the past number of years, I've bought my grandchildren Advent calendars as their gift from us. They are blessed with plenty. They don't lack for anything. The calendars, we try to get some sort of activity (think Lego, puzzles etc) last longer than the half second of ripping off the paper to be tossed with a mounting pile of "stuff" and they are a lovely slow way of counting down, building up, to Christmas Day.

I was thinking about that a few weeks ago, "*I* want a daily thing to do in December!" and sure I could've bought a calendar for myself but I wanted it to be something I could share with Tom. Something that was enjoyable, not based on food and would serve as a lovely slow way of counting down, building up, to Christmas Day. 

So we put our brains together and came up with a daily activity for each day in December, marked it on the calendar and we're going to give it a whirl.

 As I am very much an introvert hermit, we were cogniscent of not slamming things in for the sake of "Doing it". We gave ourselves easy tasks between more involved ones. Some of the activities we were going to do anyway, but we added intentionality to them. In case you'd like to create a lovely slow way of counting down, building up, to Christmas Day, here are some of our ideas:

  •  December 1: Go buy all supplies for our crafts and baking days. 
  •  December 3 & 4: Baking days ... we made a list of the things we'd like to gift people this year, an annual tradition, and decided we could put in a blitz weekend to get most of it down in one sitting. Cue Christmas music! 
  • Every Friday evening in December, we've committed to watching a Holiday movie or show. Must watches in our household: Charlie Brown's Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the OG. I voted for Elf. He voted for the new Spirited. And there is room for one super schmaltzy Hallmark one in there too! 
  •  Go out, just the two of us, for a holiday coffee/beverage. We almost never do this, so it'll be a real treat. 
  •  Make a trip to either the city or our town to walk around and look at the lights.
  • Make a craft for our Solstice Tree. (we're making homemade air clay! Here's a recipe!

  •  Take in a Christmas concert. Preferably with choral singing. 
  •  Go for a night woods walk on the December full moon (Wednesday, December 7: The Cold Moon)
  • Have a bonfire. 
  •  We pencilled in our tradition of meeting with friends for lunch. And another with other friends, for a coffee at a local shop. 
  •  Make a "bird tree" and fill it with edible treats for them. Here's a great one!
  • We decorate our Solstice Tree on the day before Solstice and have a tradition of writing down then burning our regrets for 2022, shared or not, on the night itself. After which we come in and dine by candlelight. 
  •  Christmas Eve is our turkey dinner. We take all day to prepare and again, dine by candle light (then all dinners until the Spring Equinox). Candle light is a big part of our winter world. 
  •  Christmas day we've planned a beach walk. 

 I hope this has inspired you to think about how YOU'D like to spend your time at this crazy time of the year. And I wish you a lovely slow count down, build up, to however you celebrate! 
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