Moving on up!

IMG_8900This year I am doing something really special for myself. I’m spending lots of time in beautiful Noosa in Queensland, on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. I’ve always loved it, and we’ve holidayed there quite often over the years. And of course, we spent so much time in Noosa with my sister Martha (who had lived there for ten years) in the months before she passed away. Since then, I have discovered and grown to love Sunshine Beach up there. It’s where we scattered Martha’s ashes because it is the beach that she really loved. I scattered part of Lou’s ashes there too. It comforts me to think of my two sisters being together. I’ve found that a walk on that beautiful beach, at the beginning or end of the day is really peaceful and uplifting to me.

When I was up in Sunshine Beach this past December, as I have been on each of Martha’s anniversaries, I saw that the townhouse/apartment behind the place I usually stay in was up for permanent rental. In the split second that I saw the “to let” sign, something in me said to myself “I am going to live and paint there!” I’d had no thought of anything like that before, and it took a while to make sense for me. I just knew I needed to be there and spend some quiet time on my own. I’ve listened to my heart, trusted my vibe, done what my wise self was telling me: use this time to explore my creative self in peaceful solitude and a beautiful place that I love.

With Holly and Tom on Sunshine Beach

With Holly and Tom on Sunshine Beach

So, that’s what I’ve been doing this year, shuttling back and forth between Sydney and Sunshine Beach. Mainly on my own, but my husband and the kids have been up and stayed with me too. It is lovely to spend family time together but being alone with my own thoughts and creative space has been so restorative. It’s what I need now and I am so grateful to be able to do it. I thought this year was going to be full steam ahead for me on something (anything!) now that my breast surgery is all done. I felt like I should be “over” my recovery from all the trauma of recent years. But apparently there’s still a way to go for me. I’ve struggled this past few months with ongoing sadness, and suffered with anxiety too. It has been a really humbling experience.

Anxiety is no fun at all, feeling teary and unsure and indecisive, even if only for a few days. I don’t ever want to feel like that again so I’m doing what I can to continually grow stronger. I know I am moving forward again now. I think part of me is still in shock at all of the changes and loss, and I need more time to process and accept “what just happened??!”. FullSizeRender[2]My life sometimes feels so unreal to me now. So much has changed for me – mind, body and spirit. I think when you go through big challenges it just crushes your outer protective shell. So afterwards, you are hyper sensitive to things. That’s how it feels for me. Like I have no skin on sometimes. I avoid loud, angry, hurtful, negative people and situations if I can, whilst also knowing, deep down, that I probably can deal with whatever life throws my way. And I seek out creativity, gentleness, kindness, honesty and peace. Sunshine Beach allows me to deliver all of that to myself in spades. I’ve been processing how I feel while up there … staring it down, feeling how I feel now and how I really felt through each of the challenges, learning about why it is I feel like I do. I don’t want to carry sadness for my losses around with me. I want to understand it and heal it and let it go. Soothe myself and feel better. I know if I had a proper “job” then I’d just bury myself in that instead. I am so thankful to have this time and space to process it all.

I have been frustrated at how long this whole “post trauma recovery” is taking but I know I can’t hurry it. It will just take time, and rest and doing what I love. Which is painting and drawing, so I’m taking some classes too. Giving my rational brain something to do, learning and growing, albeit at a MUCH slower pace than I am used to. I’m still running my cashmere business, which I love, but art is my priority these days. IMG_8747_2 One day I hope to be a successful working artist. Do something that combines both my business experience and creative talents. Not quite sure exactly what but I’m trusting that the right thing will emerge at some point.That’s my big dream. I just have to persevere and do the work. I do love it. It is quite hard to start from scratch in one field, when you have had long experience and success in another. Quite humbling. But possible! I will get there (wherever “there” is), one small step at a time!

6 responses to “Moving on up!

  1. Rebecca Armstrong

    Much love and support to you always lovely sister Sars.
    So nice to see you all together on beautiful healing Sunshine Beach.
    Lots of love and a big hug, Bec xx


  2. maryanne

    Sarah, I am in awe at your capacity to notice and express your journey, complete with struggles, so poignantly. It sounds to me like you are moving into post trauma growth, not just recovery. Keep shining the light ahead, as your intelligent, honest and heartfelt insights also help others. I am so happy that you have snuggled into Sunshine Beach. Martha and I had agreed in one of our long conversations, that we would have one last walk together along that inspiring coastline but when I visited her in the beautiful room you created for her, it was too late. So can you blow her a kiss for me next time you take your walk? I miss your sister but it is so lovely to watch and hear her reside and flourish in you. Love M xxx


    • You are so lovely and encouraging Maryanne. Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful words. I walked on the beach this afternoon and sent your love to Martha, as requested! Your lovely Kate sent me a gorgeous text last night too. I said to her as well that it is so bizarre that you and I met there in Martha’s final weeks. I am sure she is very pleased with herself, opening the doors for these connections. One day you and I will have to do the beach walk instead – that will make her happy too! Much love to you xxoo


  3. laurentide16

    Hi Beautiul Sarah,

    You are SO amazing… Just a quick email to say “hi”. Your post is so beautiful and heartfelt and I am so happy for you that you have decided to pour yourself into your beautiful art, especially in your oasis of Paradise Beach – perfect ! I love watching your art come through on FB. Go you !

    It must be so warm and lovely up there at the moment. Autumn is such a great season – great for the art vibes too, I hope.

    All is well here. I’m just back from a week in Hong Kong with my girls (staying at my sisters). It was a great, vibrant, exhausting week, and I’m back trying to scramble my thoughts and actions together. I’ll get there… I feel as though I’m not making much progress, which always frustrates me.

    I’m off to Morocco in just over 6 weeks…. so exciting but also so much to do before hand ! I’d love to catch up before then, if you have a chance. I really need to get my new website up and running (I think you used Wix)… you’re so good at all of that – I’d love a quick lesson if you have an hour or so to spare. No problem at all if you don’t. I’m still working on my logo (stuck, is the right word, I think haha !) but I just need to get it done. I need business cards printed before I leave. How long is the turnaround with ?

    Hope you’re having a beautiful, and productive, week,

    Look forward to catching up soon hopefully,

    Love and hugs, Sal xx


    • Well you are the happy wanderer! Figured you were in HK with your Fb pics! Yes, let’s catch up – just call or text me and we’ll get organised! And yes my website is Wix – so easy, it will take you no time to work it all out and of course I’m happy to help (if I can do it, you sure can, Ms Mac extraordinaire!) I think Moo takes a few weeks to deliver from the UK but you can pay extra for faster delivery. How divine will your cards look w an assortment of your designs on the back?!
      Thanks for all of your gorgeous thoughts – we will connect in person soon! Maybe I’ll give you a call tomorrow.
      love from me – artist in residence, Sunshine Beach – haha!


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