january first

first day of the new year, first day of the new decade. momentous.

began the year off slowly and easily…a friday morning that feels like a sunday…rainy days and padding around the house in slippers, cleaning up the piles that seem to have accrued since solstice, did my workout, and spent good time sitting in the basement thumbing through negatives, starting on the process of preparing for my first solo photo exhibition, selecting ten works i think (i hope) will create a nice visual summary of my existing portfolio, and riding over to st. johns to drop off negatives…fortunately the night drop was open, as my heart sunk to see the ‘closed’ sign up when i got there and stared into darkness in the pouring rain. but no rainy day is completely cloudy, as it gave me a good excuse to sit at one of my favorite little cafes and sip cappuccino and eat a luscious pastrami and swiss puff pastry instead…

and so it goes, on the bus home from st johns, i read the following food for thought on free will astrology, which always seems to help spin my mind in a variety of directions (for the better):

Who and what do you hold most dear, Aquarius? I encourage you to get clear about that. Once you do, I hope you’ll make a vow to bestow extra care and attention on them in 2010 — I mean literally write out a one-page oath in which you describe the inner states you will cultivate in yourself while you’re in their presence and the specific actions you’re going to take to help them thrive. Nothing else you do will be more important to your success in 2010.

So who do I hold most dear? Those friends of mine who are my truth in every sense of the word to me. Mirrors reflecting life and love and finding one’s direction. And after a year in which I learned how things can change in an instant? My gram, no matter how hard the pain is in my heart to see her and to be reminded of my own loss, is someone I need to give more time to and big love to as we share these last weeks and months together.

What do I hold most dear? It became so crystal clear that my art – be it as a photographer, as a chocolatier, or as an urban homesteader – needs to take precedence, with the 9-to-5 acting as leverage to get me closer to those goals. I’m not and never have been a federal lackey (and no dissing to those who love what they do), and I took this position eyes wide open, for survival rather than sustenance.

I allowed myself a lot of introspection last year, and this year I invite a greater sense of balance to this life I lead. One where I allow my strengths to help me through the difficult days and bring about a focus that I want to expand to assist me in achieving those bigger goals. Where I allow people in, where I am not afraid to ask for help, where I practice self-promotion in order to further my artistic pursuits, and hopefully, successes.

Looking back, I used to always think that I hadn’t done all that much in my life. Now, I realize that I have achieved amazing things … I bought my own home, I survived two job losses in that time, I overcame several tragic losses of family and friends, and I gained friends who have changed me forever. It reminds me of my divorce, when my therapist shocked me by telling me my marriage was a success. What do you mean, I asked in wide-eyed amazement. She said, it was a success because you made the most out of a rotten situation, you did everything you could and when you realized there was no more you could do, you did what was best for your own heart and exited a dangerous situation to rebuild your own life. And soon thereafter, my massage therapist gave me the best one-word response a girl could ask for – Congratulations. Instead of the whimpering ‘awww, I’m soooo sorrrrryyyy’ that most had been saying, she knew that I had made a really tough decision to pursue happiness and leave something really bad behind me, and that congratulations were definitely in order for putting my heart first.

So what five things will I do to cultivate my inner strength and encourage my artist self to emerge on a grander scale so that I can eventually spend my days (instead of my nights and weekends) doing exactly what I love?

1. I will commit to four exhibitions per year displaying my photographs. At least two of these shows will include new works of art.

2. I will commit to creating my truffles in bulk so that I may set up shop at Last Thursday beginning in March.

3. I will commit to developing a small assortment of crafts that feature my photographs (notecards, calendars, maybe a book?), to be completed by fall for holiday sales.

4. I will commit to creating a beautiful garden where I grow enough of my favorite fruits & veggies to can/freeze to sustain me until the next year’s harvest.

5. I will commit to buying a bicycle trailer so I can Zipcar less frequently, cart around my baked goods and art, and maybe (if she permits) my dog to the park!

There are reasons here to give your life And follow in your way The passion lives to keep your faith Though all are different, all are great

Climbing as we fall We dare to hold on to our fate And steal away our destiny To catch ourselves With quiet grace

~ from ‘The Stairs’ (INXS)


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