This 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.
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??!”. 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. 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!