Comfort at The Drawing Board
Accepting the contrast of loss and change; resigning to make space for new beginnings.
Drawing on Mind is a newsletter that explores how creativity can improve our well-being and help us live a more mindful life; one that counteracts the ping, dings and distractions of modern-day living.
Hello, fellow creative friends.
The change from welcoming a new season last month has continued since I last wrote to you. My acceptance of change as a natural state of being has very much been put to the test, including accepting the devastation that loss can bring.
Contrasting Loss & Change
The past three months have been particularly challenging in significantly different ways. Sadly our dear friend and next-door neighbour passed away on Saturday from metastatic cancer that had devoured her entire body and organs.
Her diagnosis was only made in January this year, and we watched her decline from a skateboarding, motorbike riding, and football-playing cheeky, humourous force of a woman, to being wheelchair-bound and in constant pain. We were very much on the front line, helping her, her wife and their kids with the day-to-day as well as emotional support.
At only 46, she leaves behind a wonderful wife and 2 young daughters who we will continue to support as much as possible. Their unit is very much an extension of our own family, and it’s an understatement to say none of our lives will ever be the same.
The Breaking of Maternal Apron Strings
In contrast, as I’ve mentioned before, I experienced a loss/change of another kind last month when Jake (son number 2) left home to travel. He set off to new adventures and broader horizons.
As he left, I could physically feel the pull, stretch and snap of the invisible maternal apron strings as I watched his flight leave the UK, via my flight tracker! However, on his occasional Facetime calls since his departure, I’ve never seen him look so happy, which as his Mum, is an absolutely magical feeling.
So there you see two contrasting experiences of loss /change - one of enormous sadness. One of immense joy.
Whilst sad, these life-affirming events bring a sense of cherishing every moment. Every last morsel. Flavours, tastes and smells; each blade of grass or spring flower that pops out to bloom brightly for me. Every smile or sweet sound I hear, invigorates me.
Lastly, the desire to follow my values, and my passions, meant I also resigned from my job as the Community Manager at FLOWN, to return to being simply a Facilitator with them. Freeing me up to work on my own workshops and art projects - find out more about those later in the newsletter!
Moving from the safety of a full-time paid job to freelance life once more is, whilst scary, feels right.
Comfort at the Drawing Board
As always, I found solace at my drawing board. Noting how I have experienced the ups and downs of life, I note changes in my work too.
It’s subtle though you know.
The paper and I have an ongoing conversation without words. The drawing makes suggestions, and I dutifully follow its advice. The drawings form, and I feel like I’m acting on behalf of something else. The practice is learning to listen to what it wants me to do.
With every drawing, I see something…it’s not progress. It’s the expression of experience. Every emotion, sensation and learning I have felt these past months get translated through my hand into line and shade.
It’s a curious and deeply rewarding process. And it helps me make sense of the ever-changing nature of life. The inevitable ups, downs, gains and losses.
Much love and stay creative,
💫 Inspiration to Draw On
👨🎨 Words To Inspire - ‘The Sculptors Advice for Life & Art’
These words were printed towards the end of the thought-provoking and beautiful book about “waking up, breaking free and making a more creative life” - The Cure for Sleep by Tanya Shadrick. I believe these words were told to her by her mentor and friend, the sculptor David Nash:
The Sculptors Advice for Life & Art
Always give your ideas molecules, quickly, before they fade: just a title is enough, or a sketch, or a few notes on scrap paper, sellotaped up and kept in view. In this way a thing beyond your time, resources, or abilities now, is far more likely to happen in future.
Be professional and serious in your work, however late and tentative your endeavours.
Measure success not by the number of people who respond to what you make but be motivated instead by that one necessary person you might meet, whenever you risk putting a well-intentioned work into the world.
Be moved, also, by the possibility of becoming that person to others.
Tell a true, ongoing story of your life as well as your art. Even if you receive no reward or notice for what you do, you still gain meaning from this, and purpose.
Understand how much time it takes for a work, or a path, or a life to take shape.
Be alert to the teachings of chance.
This leads nicely into this month’s book recommendation….
📚 Book Recommendation - ‘The Cure for Sleep’ by Tanya Shadrick
I read this book slowly, small chapter by small chapter because I wanted to savour what lay between its pages. It’s a book that has to be experienced slowly and pondered over.
Reading Tanya’s book a) encourages me to pursue my life as an artist b) that I want to pursue writing as a form of art practice.
Tanya also has a super Substack community around the book, encouraging aspiring artists and writers.
🎨 Get Creative
🎵 Music to Move Your Pencil To
I discovered Alice Boyd as a facilitator for the FLOWN community. She kindly agreed to provide an interview for me about her work and how she uses online virtual coworking to help get her work done.
I was so happy to hear her name and work on the Podcast ‘As The Season Turns’ presented by nature writer Lia Leendertz (who has another great Substack newsletter for you to peruse).
Alice is the sound recordist for the podcast. For April’s episode, Lia shared Alice’s single ‘Oh These Days’ a gorgeous song created to mark the spring equinox and reminds us that sunny days are returning.
🌳🏕️ Creative Event - Wellness in the Wild, Suffolk
Join me in person for a new one-day festival to celebrate and replenish the mind, body and soul called Wellness in the Wild, June 10th 2023.
Set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside, there will be 3 main tents: Movement, Meditation & Talks each with an incredible array of scheduled activities and talks throughout the day all included in the ticket price.
I’ll be teaching:
‘Creative Mindfulness’ in the Meditation Tent
Presenting a talk on ‘Creativity & Wellbeing’ in the Talks Tent
And getting creative in the Kid’s Tent with some Mindful Colouring.
I’m so excited to see some of you there!
💬 And Finally…A Quote to Live By
Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed.
- Corita Kent, Artist, Teacher
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