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My word, it’s almost the end of January and I’m only just getting this up here! What can I say, I feel like I’ve hit 2018 running.
After a Christmas in Birmingham with the family, I returned to Cornwall for New Year’s and seemed to fall right back into work on the first of the month. Many clients who became eerily silent around the festive season now wanted to catch up quickly. And so my workload took on a new pace; although updating social media with days of emails, admin and organisation didn’t quite seem interesting enough.
Over these past few weeks, I’ve also been meeting with a business mentor, who encouraged me to stop viewing this site as scruffy and secondary and as a mildly embarrassing online journal. Instead they (and several other business contacts) strongly advised me to change my perspective both on myself and this space. And to merge my blog with my business site. Initially I was sceptical. I never thought of my work life as being of interest to you (although your survey answers said otherwise) and the idea of clients coming across this blog is also a bit cringe-worthy – but here we are!
I appreciate it’s not been long since I last updated my blog layout, so apologies! (A lack of consistency is a trait I really don’t like to see in myself.) But to allow for business pages – such as my portfolio and services – a new template was necessary. So here it is! I hope you don’t mind the change too much.
Along with these online changes, I’ve been thinking about some real-life changes I’d like to make this year. Ever cautious to nail my colours to the mast and state my intentions so publicly, I’ve decided to stuck it up and share them with you anyway. (Well honestly, share some of the safer ones) But here they are, are a few things I’d like to accomplish in 2018…
F I G U R E O U T M Y D H A R M A
Towards the end of last year, I read ‘The Great Work of Your Life‘ by Stephen Cope. And I hate myself a little for saying this, but my goodness I have not stopped thinking about it since. Anyone I meet who’s familiar with the notion I will talk to at great length. And day-to-day I regularly come across people and find myself thinking “That is their dharma. They are living their dharma so well”. I am embarrassed to admit, I have become mildly, low-key, obsessed with it as a theory.
So what is it? Dharma has no equivalent word in English. But as close as we might get, is vocation, purpose, calling and “right way of living”. In Cope’s book, he explores both what the concept is, as well as how someone would live it out. And ever since reading I’ve been trying to get a handle on what I think my dharma could be. And whilst I have a rough idea, I also feel as though I’m lacking in clarity or conviction. (Which may just be the most wishy-washy thing I’ve ever written on here) but this year I’d like to find that clarity and conviction.
M O R E C R E A T I V I T Y
If there’s one thing I think at the end of almost every year, it’s that I wish I’d posted more on this blog, on Instagram, on YouTube. I wish I’d spent more time in my best creative brain. More time making memories and getting them down in word and image. Putting them in a frame and hanging them on my online wall.
Often I think if there’s one thing I could improve upon here it’s frequent posting. But it’s something I feel I’ve given up aiming for. At least in a target-orientated-way. As almost always, life gets in the way. Other commitments come up and I don’t have a free day to do this stuff. But I want to. And I’m writing it here that I want to. And I’d like to shake up this format. Make it more personal. I’d like to walk you round my life in a way that’s less stagey and edited and “pretty”. But I’m also figuring out just what that looks like…
M O R E T I M E F O R R E A D I N G
During my time at university, I completely got out the habit of reading for fun. For every hour of lecture, we had 5 hours of recommend reading to do in the library (not that I completed most of this) but a lot of it was on computer screens. So in my downtime, reading was not something I felt inclined to do. But now, a few years down the line I need to get back in the game.
Last year I managed to read around 20 books (more on that in an upcoming post) but this year I think I’d like to get 30 under my belt. At the moment I’m reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. Which I would certainly recommend. Although I’ve also been sat in bed – bedside light on, nervously thumbing pages -alarmed by how much I felt wasn’t mentioned in school regarding voice and grammar!! So maybe more time for writing (and vastly improving my writing) should also come under this one.
M O R E Y O G A & F O R A G E D F O O D S
Don’t worry, this is going to turn into some wheatgrass-eating-yogi blog. It’s barely the end of January and I’ve already had it with all the wellness, clean eating and get-summer-body-ready adverts I’ve seen. Really if another workout-routine or nutri-bullet-demo pops up in my Stories, my eyes will roll right back into my head.
But from the perspective of someone who hates wearing a sports bra and is always going to eat all the bread she desires, I want to stay flexible and “fit enough” in the long term. I want to be able to walk the coast path without getting out of breath and still tie my laces at 80. A little bit of yoga every week, I’m hoping will get me through.
For Christmas, I was given a yoga mat, so at the moment I do 30-minute sessions with Adriene, a few days a week. And I sometimes try to find moments in the week to also go for a walk that get’s my heart rate up – although that’s been postponed lately due to all this heavy wind and rain!
Also for some time Matt and I have been talking about expanding our culinary repertoire. Over the past year we’ve fallen into an unconscious routine of around 10-15 meals. And seem to keep having conversations about “mixing things up” but doing very little. Then for Christmas, my sister bought Matt a book on foraging in Cornwall and the Isles Scilly (complete with recipes!) so this year I’d quite like to incorporate seaweed, gorse and nettles into my diet. As well as finally make the most of the elderflower when it booms!
S A Y N O M O R E
When it came to the end of last year I realised how much of my time I’d given to other people’s plans and projects. I’d said yes. A lot. Sometimes I was excited or flattered to have been asked. Sometimes I was just being a people pleaser. But when it came to reviewing my year, there were parts I couldn’t share. Or didn’t want to share. In saying yes, I’d sometimes come away empty-handed; resenting the time spent doing something I hadn’t actually been invested in. Other times I’d come away with work I wasn’t proud of; that I didn’t stand behind, as I hadn’t had enough part in its creation.
In short, too much time, energy, sleep and stress were given to others, when I should have kept those hours, nights and moments to plough into something more productive. Plus this year, if I’m making more time for creativity, reading, foraging and yoga then something has to give. So in 2018, I’m taking back those hours, nights and moments for me …and I’m doing my best to not feel thoroughly guilty about it!
One project I did (and utterly adored) in 2017 was this one at Coombeshead Farm in Launceston. Working again with Jo from Enchanted Brides and Amy Pike MUA (folks I had the pleasure of meeting through my own wedding) we found ourselves greeted by a miscellany of farm animals that followed us around and happily posed for photos! It was perhaps the most fun I’d ever had on a photoshoot! Plus I adore the images we got from it; earthy, organic and simplistic. Exactly the kind of imagery I love to create. Fingers crossed for more projects like this in future!
Do let me know below if you’ve made any resolutions or set any goals. And also please do share thoughts on the new layout – how are you finding it? Which parts of my work would you be interested in finding out more about?
Coombeshead Photos by Enchanted Brides