Hi everyone, how are you doing? After another doom and gloom announcement from the powers that be, I think we are all doing a lot of reflecting on 2020, and hoping that better times are ahead in 2021. With yesterday being the shortest, darkest day of the year in the UK, I am praying that the light will soon return, slowly but surely, from now on.
But, until we are further down the vaccination process, it’s going to be a while before full confidence is restored, so once again it’s about digging in with our new-found confidant, resilience and hanging on in there by focussing as much as possible on the positives and building in consistent gratitude practice.
And it seems there are a lot of people out there doing the same! There are many resources available to help you with this, some of which I’ve newly discovered, and I’ve found them useful when reflecting on my year too, so I’m just going to list them here, so you can dip into them, as and when you wish:
Gabrielle Treanor’s Podcast ‘Pressing Pause’ – Episode 75 – How to find the gold dust in the mud pit that was 2020 – (I mean great title right?!)
Gabrielle goes through 15 reflective questions, to help you locate the golden nuggets, and it helps to just journal your responses out, many of these are similar to the questions I asked in the last BLOG I did which you can findhere.
Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft – Happier Podcast – Find a ritual to Exorcise 2020
Exactly what it says above, ideas from Gretchen, Elizabeth and their listeners on how to bid farewell to 2020 in a symbolic way.
Black Bee Creative Business Page on Facebook – Steph Cronin’s interview with Lisa Walker of White Apple Thinking
Great interview and lots of tips on how to set intentions for the New year.
The queen of reflection, Susannah has been way ahead of the curve for years on reflection practice. This is for people who really want to put the effort in and learn the lessons, it’s a free download, but takes some energy and commitment to complete, but it is worth it, especially for those wanting to make some big changes, it helps you to get to the root of why and helps you move forward.
So now you’ve got an array of resources to help you, but what’s the benefit? What’s the point I hear you ask, especially after the incredibly hard and awful year we’ve had?
Because once again it’s all about mindset, and channelling any extra gifts to ourselves we can find right now to get us through these dark winter months and emerge into the Spring light with purpose and hope, knowing that we have proved we can all get through just about anything.
I suppose it’s about re-looking at that evidence, in all it’s entirety so that it builds the value in your own mind and your personal belief, that yes, you can do this, despite every amount of crap that can be thrown at you.
It’s very easy to forget the little wins, or even some of the bigger ones, when we are dealing with challenges we’ve never experienced before.
Our focus at that time, when we are in the thick of it, is not on how well we are doing, quite often it’s on the opposite, how scared of failure we are, or that we are no good enough or ‘coping’ well enough.
We can be in pure fear of what’s to come, that it’s out of our control or our heads are in a spin with all the changes. Quite frankly during the storm, we are in survival mode, there’s no room for inner acknowledgement or pats on the back.
It’s not our priority at that moment, to sit down and figure out how great we are, our energy is taken up just getting through it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an important element of life in general or working on our businesses.
How else can we process what we’ve learned or work out which direction we want to take next? It’s an essential part of the process, for building confidence and self-belief, because looking back on our achievements, the proof is in the pudding, right there in all its shining glory.
Plus, this year is one for the history books, yes? How amazing will it be to look back on this in years to come and remember how we got through this pandemic, the craziest year that was 2020, one for future generations to hear about, that’s for sure.
So, on that note, here is my TOP 20 achievements of 2020, some real wow moments, some tiny but important steps forward for me personally, based on my work and creative projects mainly. These are to not only record them for myself, but to give you an idea of what I mean if you’d like a little guidance.
First up, this is my 89th Blogfrom when I started in January 2019 and I’m on track to get to 90, my target by the end of the year, the number of visitors and views have both grown, so a big thank you to you the readers, for continuing to come back here, and hopefully enjoy what I do, I whole-heartedly appreciate it
In lockdown I started my none-fiction book, working title ‘Creative by Nature’ as a nod to my first creative Instagram account@soothedbynatureand also because this is what I preach to everyone – that everyone has at least one creative bone in their body!
I’ve been lucky enough to be interviewed for 3 podcasts this year, on all kinds of subjects from childhood resilience to creativity to connection to my career, all incredible interesting chats with great hosts, you can find the links to those episodes, here
I‘ve been curious in my artistic style and it’s paid off, needlefelt pictures and my new ‘grasses’ designs have started to sell, yeah!
Created partnerships with 3 new local retailers to sell my art cards, people who respect and felt a synergy with and also some framed pieces at a new local pop-up shop that may become more permanent
Technical knowledge (my nemesis) has increased thanks to me taking some time to figure it out via a WordPress Workshop and therefore improving my website, still no perfect, but big strides forward!
I’ve been an eco-panel member for Psychologies Magazine, testing eco products and feeding back via video, which in turn prepared me for the next adventure….
Where I was interviewed by a total hero of mine, Suzy Walker, Editor-in-chief at Psychologies magazine live on Facebook with only 2 days to get my head around it! Pretty terrifying but also a real wow moment, that then lead to…
Doing 10 Instagram Livesvia Psychologies Magazine platform, all about Creativity and setting challenges, which again was a completely new thing for me, but I loved having to think on my feet and adapt and that I inspired readers to have a go at creative projects and that has led to….
A larger following on Instagram and the Blog, not huge, but more inline with the target I set myself at the beginning of the year and with quality followers who have a passion for creativity too.
Had a poem I wrote featured in a local pandemic project that will go into the Council’s archive for future generations to learn about what people did at that time!
Had a letter featured in Writing Magazine’s letters page, a secret mini ambition for a while
I’ve continued to support small businesses and champion everything they do, because it’s a passion of mine and links to the work that I do with our accountability group – WOW Wednesdays (WWs)
We’ve continued WWs, throughout lockdown and it’s been a godsend for us all, to stay social and supportive over zoom calls and we even had a socially distanced walk at Yorkshire Sculpture Park! I also had a strategy session with fellow WOW member Michelle, it felt great to get all my ideas down onto one single strategy doc that will be eternally useful!
Due to Covid we’ve had to move the premises for WOW physical meetings, settled into our new home @theflexcollective and sorted out all the plans and launch to make it into a paid membership going forwards, to keep it sustainable and valuable for members
Together with my husband, we built the smallest, but best little creative cabin in town! I absolutely loved making it my own creative space and whenever I go in it just makes me so happy!
I’ve spent a lot of time learning and absorbing! From all the brilliant podcasts and coaches that give their time freely, and small courses or memberships here and there, it blows my mind the knowledge you can gain. I find wellbeing and mindset topics fascinating, as you can imagine, so all of this has really helped me, and therefore you, in getting those words of wisdom across, so that we can all benefit
I’ve started to learn to coach, with some friends of mine and I love helping people on a more one to one level. It’s taught me to trust my instincts, and listen to the whispers and signs out there, it’s made me feel much surer of myself
I’ve dealt with severe distractions, from the kids being home in full lock-down and being together in the house for 18 months now with my husband, and we haven’t killed each other yet, that in itself is a big achievement! For an amusing take on that, that I’m sure many will relate to, check out my previous blog here from the Summer
And finally I’ve survived everything life has thrown at me, and us, this year, and still managed to be productive, from my Uncles sad passing, to chemo treatment throughout Covid and all that entails, including losing my hair and feeling horrendous, recovering from Sepsis, on my birthday no less!, my sister working all hours on the frontline at our local hospital, radiotherapy, my husband being out of work, both my Mum and Step-dad having Covid and him being hospitalised, the dog getting Sepsis too, and that’s before all the other challenges family and friends have had where we’ve supported them, it has been a hell of a year, but we are here, still smiling and very, very grateful for (touch-wood) current good health.
So that’s the ‘creative business / project’ stuff that’s kept me ging throughout treatment and lockdown, but what else? Well of course it’s the simple things isn’t it. Because in the end that’s what’s important, so here’s a little selection of that too:
Walks with family and friends, especially when I was finally out of ‘prison / shielding’!
Spending time in the garden, under the new pergola eating dinner, or toasting marshmallows over a firepit in the evening and watching the stars
Finally getting to go away in the Summer for a family holiday in Cornwall and just drink in those sea views and feel the sunshine
Being ‘allowed’ to sit back in friend’s gardens, bliss!
Family ‘Come-dine with me’ competitions!
My daughter spending days on a ‘friends’ type quiz for the husbands’ birthday
Baking and consuming, so much cake, especially banana loaf!
Cuddles and walks with the dog
Warm Summer night sunset walks up the lane (the only place I was allowed by my doctors when shielding)
Clapping for the NHS on a Thursday night
My hair growing back and no longer looking like a fluffy chicken
Re-joining writing group
Sketching in those sunny spring months outside
Good TV series binging, ‘Normal People, The Fall, This is us’ to name just a few
The Meerkat Movies virtual Take That concert!
My own bed after 5 days in hospital
Painting the cabin whilst listening to podcasts
My first G&T after 6 months of treatment!
Having the picc line taken out of my arm and finishing chemo
My friend Nigel doing fabulous portrait of my sister and another artist friend Linda drawing my chemo nurse, as part of the NHS portraits project
The kids working hard, virtually throughout lockdown, whilst missing their friends
Creating lots of little surprises for my daughter’s 15th birthday last week, including a surprise zoom with her mates, she was expecting a quiz with the grandparents!
So that’s the good stuff that happened in my 2020, but the next important part are the lessons we learn from this year, the whole shebang, caboodle; good, bad, indifferent, boring, inspiring, exciting, frustrating, upsetting, amusing, heart-warming…. that will help guide us going forwards…so the next blog will be all about that!
Until then, have the best Christmas possible in the circumstances, yes, it’s not the same, but there is also always someone worse off than us, let’s count our lucky stars, and enjoy the special moments, because this Christmas will be one we remember for a long, long time, so make it memorable for good reasons, not just what we are all missing,
Take Care, stay safe,
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
P.s For those thinking about joining our local accountability group, WOW Wednesdays, the special offer of the founding membership price is still on until the 31st of December, find out more all about it here.