Hello and a very Happy New Year to you. Goodbye 2017. You were…interesting.
Yesterday I achieved a sort-of goal I set myself back in July. The year felt rather like a game of two halves for me and once chemo was over (and although at the time I could barely climb the stairs), I set my sights on climbing up the big hills behind my village on New Year’s Eve. My friends, I did it! Up to the tippy-top, looping round and come down picking wild thyme for our homemade vegan pizza. As we stood on the summit inhaling cold, crisp mountain air, Milla and I shouted at the tops of our lungs and it felt awesome!
This time last year I chose my word to be Flow; my intention had been to let creativity, ideas and inspiration to flow throughout of every corner of my being. January I was oh so fired up but then February came round. Well, well mes amis. Well, well.
As it turned out, the true meaning of flow stayed with me through the most difficult year of my life so far. The river became both my sanctuary and my muse. A source of creativity, I kept to the routine of going there. I visited almost daily and I sketched, painted, photographed and filmed it. As treatment weakened my body I turned to things to help me – plants, good food, things that gave me joy. I felt all the feels as they frequently flooded through me. It was about not giving a hoot about the guilty bit of guilty pleasures. If it makes you happy and bolsters you, who cares, right? Going with the flow was the only way to not let stagnation set in, and survive the bouts of surgeries, tests, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, physiotherapy and the antibody treatment I’m still having.
Do you read Meet me at Mikes? Pip’s monthly Taking Stock posts are great, so I thought I do a similar year-long version. So this is a quick round-up how I spent my past year and the the things I’m looking forward to :
Making : More Prussian blue paintings
Cooking : Porridge topped with flaxseeds and almond butter, pear compôte and grated lime zest, dusted with cinnamon and cacao. I think it’s what one would call my signature dish haha
Drinking : Fresh homemade juice. Would you like to know what I put in it? Ask and I’ll tell
Reading: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
Wanting: An oboe, I would love to make music again. In the meantime, I’ve dug out my old flute…
Looking: At 40s clothes and especially land girls in floral blouses and dungarees. Swoon
Playing: Trivia 360 quiz occupied Team Chaney throughout incessant hospital visits, but now we’re back on Just Dance, especially this one
Deciding: I’m going to be just fine
Intending: Turning my Prussian blue paintings into a body of work
Wishing: No sentient creatures would ever be exploited, abused and killed
Enjoying: Watching the sunset in November over the river Duoro in Porto – I’ll blog it soon
Planning: The trip of a lifetime in early 2019
Waiting: Constantly last year, a lot less this year hopefully!
Liking: Being at home, eating porridge (see above), going for walks
Loving: Rufus Wainwright in concert last month
Starting: Life drawing classes
Failing: To shoot photographs. My darkroom has been a spider sanctuary, I must get back to it
Renewing: Some lovely friendships
Pondering: …oooh lots of things
Considering: An artist’s residency along with a friend in autumn 2018
Buying: This dress (wore it at Christmas, folks)
Hoping: For a holiday – involving riding on a rollercoaster and some snorkelling, but not at the same time
Marvelling: At western medicine and French healthcare
Cringing: That animals died for me and my cancer treatments
Needing: Therefore to rescue another dog and guinea pig to reset the karmic balance
Questioning: Do I need more guinea pigs? (Answer : Yes)
Smelling: This was the year of frankincense essential oil. In the diffuser, a body massage, on my scalp and nails. It’s beautiful and uplifting.
Wearing: Comfy jeans mostly.
Following: My intuition
Noticing: The sunlight sparkling on the river
Knowing: I have astonishing resilience and steadfastness
Thinking: I want to be more fearless
Admiring: Laika magazine
Sorting: My house in preparation for …
Getting: … a new roof in the summer! Yay!
Bookmarking: this site
Coveting: this *sigh
Disliking: Those overpromise/underdeliver types
Giggling: Stranger Things Bad lip reading
Hearing: Going To A Town
Wishing you a beautiful 2018 ❤️