December Diary: 2021 Day 23

Christmas Eve’s eve.

Yesterday I took my mum out and met my sister for coffee. It was lovely to spend time with them both, especially as in lockdown I wasn’t able to visit.

Pohutukawa Tree: New Zealand’s native Christmas Tree

Everything is a bit Christmasy, tinsel and trees in most shops. However, not as busy as usual. I think, even though we are not in lockdown now, many people are still keeping away from places where people are.

It’s been a difficult year.

Olivia, my daughter, arrives tonight and will stay for a week. So looking forward to having her stay. Its easy to get stressed out around this time, as commercialism can take over, but if we concentrate on family, friends and relationships it can ease that pressure. That’s my take on it anyway.

Tomorrow Grant, Olivia and I are heading to Devonport, it’s a lovely spot with quant shops and cafes, so looking forward to head out and enjoy the day with them.

That’s it from me.

Catch you tomorrow xx

Being Thankful

If you don’t know what to do and you’re feeling overwhelmed saying ‘thank you’ might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it works. I recently listened to a spiritual leader called Mooji who said just saying ‘thank you’ is enough to change or shift your mood or position on the day.

If you just repeat those simple words, “thank you… thank you… thank you…” and keep repeating. After a while a peace settles in and then you will start to see all the people and things in your life that you are thankful for.

Some Tulips I quickly sketched just for you…

I’m writing this because I’ve had to do this exact exercise this week a couple of times already. I’ve let my mind become a monster. It is so easy to do and the mind seems ready to jump into that character pretty quickly. Allowing myself to over worry, overthink and imagine fictitious fear mongering scenarios, all which keep me overwhelmed and anxious. It’s hard to stop a habitual way of thinking, and it will take some work, but in the end to carry a sense of peace is worth the effort.

So , when I learn of little things, like repeating the words ‘thank you’ and find that it actually works, I’m happy, actually excited, to share with you. Because, for me, 2021 has probably been one of the hardest years I’ve ever experienced. Any form of peace I can hold for myself these days is precious.

This quote seems to fit where I’m at right now.

The center that I cannot find is known to my unconscious mind.

W. H. Auden

Well I trust the unconscious mind knows, because most days I certainly don’t. I did make a short Vlog this week that discusses value and holding on to our unique creative ability. If you want to watch that, click here.

Hope you have a peace-fueled week. Catch you next time xx

Art, come and find me.

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, I’m working my way through Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. This week is chapter 8, Recovering a Sense of Strength. So, over the week I’ve been contemplating how to gain strength as an artist, which is difficult, because I feel so weak. Trying to find a path, or something to hold onto, is so tenuous. I find something, open a door, head that way only to find I’ve suddenly lost interest, or it’s not what I thought it would be.

But I’m determined.

So, this week I started a free online course called “Follow the Breadcrumbs”, which is run by Nicholas Wilton from Art2Life. The course only takes about 30 – 40mins a day for 5 days, where participants are asked to follow clues (breadcrumbs), and learn about creativity in art, how it makes you feel, where you want to take it and so forth.

As I write this I’m only on day 2 but finding the process very emotional.

A recent abstract painting I’ve been working on.

Several years ago I finished the biggest project I’d ever worked on, it took about 10 years to complete and since then I haven’t been able to commit to anything major. I’ve done bits and pieces, and all of those smaller projects have been beautiful in their own way, but I haven’t been able to strive or push into a project like I use to. I haven’t been able to risk myself to my creativity – which I did in the past. I believed it was the only way to be creative.

Maybe, it was youth, or naivety that pushed me that far and now I’m older and wiser – but since finishing that project, honestly, I’ve just felt lost.

So I try drawing and painting, I write prose and poetry, I try experimental filmmaking, I try writing this blog.. and find some enjoyment, some motivation and purpose, but there still seems to be something missing.

I don’t think I’ve opened up in this way on the blog before, because I haven’t until this moment realised that I need art to find me –

I really need, art to just come and find me again.

Today on the “Breadcrumbs” challenge we draw/painted/wrote – expressions of what made us happy or joyful as a child, and what I painted – was joyful but also painful, which woke me up. It woke me up because art needs to reflect myself personally to make sense. The striving, and risk taking I did before – worked because that was where art was finding me, that was where I personally was, and I’ve been believing I always had to be in that place.

But I’m not there anymore – so, art can’t find me there.

Of course art can find me when I’m weak too, I just didn’t realise that till now.

Maybe this is a prayer, or a meditation, that I’m sending the universe. Art please come and find me – because I need you more than ever, in this weak vulnerable state.

Please let me know where you are at, with art or life in general.


2021 Art in Process: Having Faith

What is it to have faith? Faith is about believing in something you can’t prove. I can’t prove that when I start a creative project I’m going to see it through, that I’m going to create something I’m proud of, or that I’m going to have success.

When a writer starts a novel, when a musician starts a song, when a sculptor starts a new project there is no way of knowing what the results will be. But they start anyway.

Yep. It’s frightening even terrifying at times and without faith in the process creatives may not make a start at all.

When I started to prepare for my upcoming residency at RM Gallery I only had a vague idea of a starting point – no idea how the process would go let alone the outcome. And it is nerve racking, part of me is constantly criticising the process and sabotaging my faith in my ability. And, that’s absolutely normal.

Creativity isn’t always easy, and it’s not always fun. I love being a creative but sometimes it’s just bloody hard work, and most of that is inner-work for me, combatting fears and overcoming my own insecurities. But, with all that I have faith in the process.

Faith isn’t completely blind. This is where we need to remember the things we have done before. Even though they may not be the same, the process may differ, the creative project may be completely different, we have accomplished things before. We’ve done stuff!! When in doubt try to take your mind back and remember that thing you did… at the time you also didn’t think you could do it, or didn’t know how your were going to do it – but you did it! You did that thing! Whatever it was, you did it! So faith in the process is not completely blind.

Below is a recent Vlog I did, where I comment on my process and admit that I don’t know exactly where this project is taking me – but that’s OK, as I believe in the process.

Remember to keep going. Have faith. You can do it.

Catch you next time xx

Just a small thing…

It’s just a small thing. Compared to everything else. But there is a habit I’ve developed that is so frustrating me and wasting my time.

I feel so unmotivated and at limbo. It’s not that I don’t have projects on that I’m excited about. It’s more that I’m in this waiting state. I keep telling myself to do better, but then each day I fall harder into the habits I’m trying to break. I feel a bit of a fraud – especially writing this blog and encouraging people, even I can’t find my own footing.

One habit I’ve fallen into is scrolling. Yes, it’s been part of my daily experience for some years, but since lock-down during Covid-19, in New Zealand, this habit is more like an addiction.

My time gets sucked into the phone on different apps and social media depending on my day. If I have the slightest break or time spent waiting, or time I should be doing something else, but it isn’t urgent, I find myself on my phone.

The last month it has gotten a lot worse. Just constant, and it’s bugging the hell out of me. I keep telling myself something like, “only 10 minutes more” and 45 minutes goes past and I’m so pissed off. This is not me. I’m not this person. I’m a middle aged professional, goal orientated creative – stuck scrolling!!! I know this is a small thing, but just felt I needed to write about it.

The only person here to blame is me and I’ve got to get out of this situation. I want to identify a few things before I move on, maybe clarify, for myself, how the phone can work for me and how it works against me.

Something I do enjoy with my phone is taking images. This one is from Shelly Beach, northwest of Auckland.

The phone I have, probably like yours, is a computer attached to a network with constant changing, growing information. If I randomly want to know something, like you, I Google it. If I need to get somewhere, I use maps. I use my phone to message, email, bank, and so it goes on. In this way it is an asset, a tool to use in our society. These are functions that make sense. But then there are other functions like social media, which is touted as a place to stay connected. And yes, they do keep me connected to friends, I also use social media in business and creative opportunities. This is not new, I’m not writing about something you don’t already know, I’m just trying to work it through for myself.

It’s not that there is an amount of time that is OK, and a time that is not OK. That is up to the individual. But for me I’ve passed some kind of comfort zone. What I’m finding is that I’m unhappy about this time. When Covid-19 first started I kept checking the news, which led into scrolling, waiting for more news, and then news that gets interpreted on social media sites, friends’ comments and so this watching, waiting, reading, scrolling began. Now it’s more just a way to lose my time, a willingness to suspend a lived experience for a mind on hold, dulled by pictures and posts.

So, what to do…

To think more on this and review my thoughts and behavior patterns I’ve decided to have a social media free weekend.

Just writing that seems such a letdown – how could I get to this point.



Anyway, that’s what I did.

Saturday seemed to go fine. I did find myself needing to keep ‘busy’. Happy accident that this busy was productive but I don’t believe ‘busy’ is always the best remedy.

Sunday was more difficult. I did glance at a couple of posts a few times, but did not stay to scroll. I also used my phone apps more – probably substituting phone time.

Now it’s Monday morning.

I think there is a couple of things I need to do. First, I’m going to remove Facebook app off my phone. I don’t need it. I don’t even like Facebook. So why feel obliged to have it?

And, I’m going to limit my time on Instagram. I think it’s the only way for me. See how I go anyway.

But I don’t want to go back to how its been these last months.

I want to move on. That was that.

Not sure this was helpful, or that interesting but it is what I have for now.

Catch you next week. xx

The Sweetness of Sharing

Often glorious finds come my way because others have shared what they are reading, watching, or engaging with. So, this post is all about sharing things I have found.

Firstly, I want to share a video from KarenBritChick. Her YouTube channel is about fashion and she does this amazing series called What everyone is wearing in New York. I love the street vibe and the way she discusses personal style. I especially like the fact that the videos are quite long, so I can settle in and really enjoy the New York vibe. But the video I want to share today is something quite different. Due to what is happening globally I think this is the perfect introduction to her: My experience with racism/What is it like to be Black?

I listen to Russell Brand (occasionally), I like how he approaches very difficult subjects with curiosity. He also has a podcast, Under the Skin, but I think this is a good introduction to him, and it’s not too long: What I’ve Learned This Week

There’s a couple of other Youtubers I want to share with you.

Firstly, Yoga with Adriene, there is so much I can say about this channel, but it’s best just to go there and try something yourself. Here are a couple of favorites. Yoga for Courage: This practice is full-on, but it reminds me to have faith in myself and my body.  Moon Practice: Very gentle practice for those days when you need more peace than challenges.

This one is quite different, Kutovakika, who inspires creativity through her ingenious self-styled photography. She shares a step by step approach with both cameras and phone-cameras, so you can follow along. Mostly she uses everyday items, which means you don’t need all the equipment. She also has some knitting tutorials, which I have yet to check out. Also, I love looking at her Instagram page: @kutovakika

For something quite different, here is an interactive documentary by Mariette Sluyter titled, Bread. This documentary is so sweet, I just love the women talking about their cultures and how they have brought modes of being (and baking) into their new Canadian country.  

Because I’m into creating film and love moving image, this one is just a must. Art of the Title. This website explores the creation of title making for films. The range is so diverse, and they incorporate who made the titles and sometimes, what went into their design.

I looooovvveee Nordic Noir television shows. So, doing some of my own research around how this type of noir developed I came across this podcast, titled appropriately: Nordic Noir. This is not a series to listen to, but a historic view of the development of this genre in this particular region in the world.

This post is short and sweet, and I hope you find something in these shares.

Catch you next week xx.

To Choose, or not to Choose

Even though they sit in the same word family there are some differences about the words choose and choices –

Choices: is to have options

Choose: is to make a decision, it is an action word

Here are some synonyms of the word choose: select, pick, take, indicate, elect, cherry-pick, decide, all good words, all words of ‘action’.  (I especially like ‘cherry-pick’). So why is it, that with so many choices we often give up our privilege to choose.

This time last year I chose to visit my brother and his family in Australia. Great decision on my part.

With this new framework of staying at home due to covid-19, our choices have become more limited and within that I’ve began to realise the varied choices that ‘were’ available to me and reflect on why I didn’t choose to take up some of those opportunities.

When given a multitude of choices it is easier not to choose. In that way every choice is still possible, or that is what you are telling yourself. Yes, sometimes you do need to keep yourself open, but what if you do that too much, what if some doors you don’t go through because you’re always expecting a better choice to turn up, or you’re scared that going through one will rule out another.

Recently I was approached to be part of a creative collaboration. I jumped at the chance and for a time spent my creative energy on the project. I found time, I became excited by the work and once it was finished, I realised that I had not been choosing my own project. The one that means something to me, the one that I’ve been working on for a few years.

Was it because I was no longer excited by the work, or was it because I wasn’t choosing it?

The short burst of work I engaged in collaboration reminded me that I love the creative process. So, the following week, I choose to work on my project, and I’ve been actively involved ever since. My renewed decision sparked my energy and I now look forward to each time I spend on it.

So, what was happening. Over time opportunities, or things you think you want to do accumulate. Not only important things, but the small fun stuff too, the catchups with friends, the drive to a particular beach, the activity you’ve put off all summer. All the things you want to do become this long list, and how do you divide your time up between them. Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe having too many choices is actually the problem.

With time being spent at home over the last six weeks, I’ve been reminded that I don’t need a lot of things and choices cluttering up my day, week or month. Actually, less is better.

Love this quote from poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

We may be told that we can have it all, and do it all – but really, if you think about it, that’s not true, and why would you want that anyway? Your one wild precious life – keep that in your head and heart when you are making your decisions, or when you are full of indecision and fear. Life is so short, it is wild, precious, beautiful – don’t spend it on things you’re not that into, or feel obligated to do, don’t fill it with worry, that is not worth your time.

Greg McKeown author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less states:

When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices – or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender out power to choose.

I think we also surrender our power to choose when we have too many choices. All the choices may hold interest, may be meaningful, but because you can’t have it all or do it all – YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE.

When you are walking and you put your left leg out, then your right leg out – do you ever ask yourself if you started walking on the wrong leg? No, well I don’t? So why think about choice as wrong or right, it is a step, and you need movement to get where you want to go. If you don’t know where that is, start moving and maybe you will end up where you don’t want to be and then at least you can decide where to go from there.

But if you’re not moving?? Well you know that answer.

Make choices, make decisions, move, find out, discovery what is and what isn’t for you. Don’t let too many options stall your movement – keep discovering how you want to live your one wild precious life.

Catch you next week xx


Difficult times. 
I’m having a difficult time.
Breathe. Breathe in, then out, 
slowly through the mouth. 

I’m not going to offer advice about 
how to get through it, not even gonna try. 
Instead I’m gonna tell you how 
I’m getting through this. 
I breathe in through the nose, 
then out slowly through the mouth.

I’m trying to wake up at a similar time 
everyday, (doesn’t always work). 
I get dressed - even though I stay at home. 
I do my hair, and sometimes put on make-up. 
I try to exercise everyday, 
either through yoga or walking. 
The more strenuous stuff I've given up, for now. 
I need light exercise, just movement - that is enough. 

I don’t snack too much - 
just eat at regular times. 
As I breathe in I count slowly to 5.

I get caught up on my social media feeds. 
I try to put the phone down, sometimes I can, 
and sometimes I can’t - but I’m not 
going to be too hard on myself. It’s OK. 
I breathe in, counting to 5, 
then I hold my intake and slowly breathe out 
through the mouth.

Sometimes I lie on my bed, I make a nest, 
with pillows and blankets. I just lie there. 
I think of my family that I haven’t seen, 
I wonder what they are doing. 
I imagine they are safe, happy, 
and coping with what is happening. 
I talk to my mum everyday at 4.30pm.
Breathing, in and out. Slowly.

I sit at the window and watch 
people walking in bubbles, or jogging past. 
I think about crowds, 
and what it was like to be on a crowded train. 
I used to complain about crowded trains - 
I wonder if I will do that again?
I breathe in, counting to 5, 
then I hold my intake and slowly breathe out 
to the count of 7. 

Sometimes I snack on the news, 
on what is happening around the world. 
I look at the numbers and can’t make sense of it. 
Then I start again on my social media feed, 
just to dull my mind, 
to flatten the numbers. 
I breathe in, then as I breathe out 
I relax my shoulders down.

I’m still working. 
So fortunate that I do. 
It gives my weekdays structure, 
I’m busy during that time, 
focused and the days blur from one to the next. 
I breathe in, I breathe out, I relax my shoulders.

Lately, I haven’t been snacking on the news, 
and I’ve been feeling guilty, 
because I don’t know the numbers. This is complicated. 
But, I’m getting through. I’m lucky. 
I’m breathing.

How’s it going?
I hope you are well. 
Catch you next week xx.

Productivity Pressure

Sometimes I get a lot done, I mean I just plough through the work, I’m creative, I’ve got energy, I feel inspired. AND sometimes I don’t feel like this, and I don’t get much done. The problem is, I tend to beat myself up when I’m low in energy. Which is so stupid. I don’t do that to other people, I keep that one just for me.

Also, with the lockdown in New Zealand due to Co-vid 19, it feels like there is more pressure to be productive on creative projects because you’re spending more time at home. And if we are just talking about time, then yes, I don’t have my daily 3-hour commute – I’m still working but have more time.

So, suddenly with 15 more hours to fill up – I should be more creative!? Well, maybe. But… the world is in a terrible situation and for some of us we just aren’t feeling it. I’m not saying we should all sink into deep dark depression; I just mean, this is not an easy time. And, it is TOTALLY OK to not feel creative, to not be inspired and to not have a lot of energy.

On my social media feeds, I’m seeing posts about productivity, and getting “that project done you’ve never had time for”. I don’t think this is a bad thing, however, it can become negative if you beat yourself up, because everyone else seems to be overly productive and you can’t seem to get your act together.

Remember the only thing you may have more of is TIME. Don’t get me wrong, having extra time is great – but it’s not everything. Just because you have more time, doesn’t mean you suddenly feel more creative, have more energy or feel inspired. So why put the pressure on yourself.

Give yourself some space. Take that extra time and be good to yourself, whatever that means to you. I have found during this time that I’ve been more tired, which is probably due to the stress of this situation. Stress really takes from us, takes our energy, takes our inspiration, and our ability to creatively function. So, in this instance often you need to fill yourself with these things.

Think of yourself as a container; some things can take away what you have, and some things add. Stress is a taker…

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed you probably need to give to yourself (your container). And this really depends on you.

Last Saturday, I got up, did 20mins of yoga, had breakfast, and then wrote this massive list of all the tasks I was going to do. Didn’t happen, what did happen was me going for a walk in the sunshine, caught up on some of the YouTubers I watch, listened to some vinyl and cuddled my cat – A LOT.  I did this, because I realised it was what I needed. I’d been teaching online all week and it was just OK to enjoy my day without giving myself unneeded pressure to be creative or productive.

The thing is, is to listen to yourself and not your social media feed.

Be OK with being overwhelmed sometimes, or tired, or unmotivated. This is not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. Your body and mind are telling you that you need to give to yourself and not take more out.

If you have got yourself tied up into knots and are in a bad way, and every time you go to create it either doesn’t happen, or nothing you create seems right. Maybe it’s time to STOP.

That’s right. DO NOTHING. This has happened to me in the past, I’ve got myself into a negative mindset and have heaped on pressure to keep going no matter what.

What I do in this situation is give myself some time but decide on a day that I will start back into it – even a time. For example; maybe I’m working on a short film or some creative writing, but my creativity and energy is becoming low. Nothing is working. I’m becoming frustrated and annoyed at myself. That is when I decide, OK, for the next four days I’m not going to think about this project, but on the fifth day at 10am I’m going to open up that document and start working again. During this time-off I try to ‘give to myself’, again this will be different for you than it is for me.

I enjoy yoga and meditation, walking, reading, baking something yummy, watching Netflix, YouTube, listening to music – nothing overly special, but as I’m doing these things my container is starting to fill. AND, usually I start to get excited about the project again. But I don’t let myself start early, I keep to my date and time – that way I know I’ll have the energy I need, but more importantly I have kept my agreement with myself.

Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is almost daily on our screen during Covid-19 telling New Zealanders to be kind to each other – I’m saying, be kind to yourself.

Catch you next week xx.

This is not it. Success.

I’ve been researching the topic or idea of success for this weeks post, and got well into it until I became sick. (Not Covid-19).

So, I’m posting about not posting… not very successful eh?

However, I am going to continue on this topic for next week and I’m finding it to be a very engaging one. There are many sides to the term, especially for creatives who can struggle with the cultural understanding of success as it relates to wealth, fame or the idea of winning.

So the next post is to dig into this term, (it may even be more than just one week), and try to discover how to navigate the idea.

Sorry for a very unsuccessful blog, but I will catch you next week xx

Photo from a couple of years back when in Toronto.