I hit the wall on Friday. I was working, had an appointment for an x-ray of both knees in the hope of replacements, a bunch of deadlines, a meeting with some of my staff, a puppy to wrangle etc. I found myself rushing round the house muttering “I hate every f*cking thing” as I went. After 50+ days of 6-6.30am starts and little rest, I was exhausted.
The x-rays went well, but left me very sore. I had lunch at the skatepark; sunshine & fresh air helped. The meeting with four of my staff made me feel a lot better. In the face of all this they’re innovative, determined and caring – I love them to bits.
Today I got up with Inky at 6.30 but went back to bed when Tony got up about 8 – I didn’t get up until midday and, after lunch, Inky slept in my arms for about 3 hours. I didn’t really tackled any work till after dinner, which has no doubt done me some good.
Yesterday I did my weekly diary and started a journal page which I completed tonight, along with some COVID journal backgrounds. The journal page has a story behind it, which I can’t share 😉
I’m starting to record more of my feelings about COVID-19 and the lockdown, not just the facts. I know this is good for me, because – apart from one or two people – my journals are my safe place where I can say whatever I want.
Tomorrow at 4.30pm we find out when New Zealand will move from Level 4 to Level 3. As much as I want that tiny extra bit of freedom (and it will be tiny) what I really want is to only do this once. I’d rather wait a bit longer than have to start over. The stats from countries who locked down too late, or broke lockdown too early, are truly frightening.
There are a few New Zealand commentators – privileged white males mainly – who think we should worry more about the economy than about people. Men who think our empty ICUs and low number of deaths mean we “got it wrong” whereas it signals we got it exactly right. I hope those loud opinionated voices don’t win and cost us all the gains we have made as a country. I hope we are better than that.
Most weekends I spend time doing some art and craft. This weekend is no different; except of course it is. Easter is lockdown is a whole different animal – no going away for the weekend, no church gatherings (not that I would anyway), no dinner with friends. I was so tired by the end of the week I was hanging on by a thread, so four days away from my dining-room-table-home-office is a very good thing.
What have I done so far? Made cards. Made more cards. Coloured in stamped images. Worked in my art journals. What else will I do? paper, scissors, glue…
Art is how I process the world, and how I download what’s in my head. Now my staff are settled and safe, and we have a (sort of) routine I am sleeping a few more hours a night. With sleep comes bad dreams – anarchy on the streets, scary animals, and so on. My brain really can be a bitch. My dreams are usually a muddle of things I have seen, heard and read, all jumbled together, often with my long-dead parents in the mix. My art practice is vital to my mental wellbeing.
I’ve started a small 6×6” journal where I’m going to document a mix of facts and feelings during this COVID-19 journey. There are no feelings in it yet. I need to get the framework started before the feelings can pour out.
As with much of my art this about bringing lightness to, and shining light on, a difficult subject – hence the ‘pretty’ backgrounds and colours.
I’ve been a fan of the late Dr Wayne Dyer for decades and, through him, have learned to enjoy the Tao te Ching. I have a few quotes from the Tao on the wall above my desk that I read when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. They help ground and settle me.
We’re currently in lockdown due to COVID-19 and it’s unsettling. I’m going to make an art journal about the whole experience because art is how I process the work but, in the meantime, I’m using my art journals to help me feel balanced and calm in the chaos.
This is one of my favourite lines from the Tao and one of the quotes I have at work. I think it’s important we value our own unique place in the world. As I sometimes say to my staff when customers are being a bit ‘special’ – there’s infinite variety in the human condition!
This page is a lot brighter than this scan shows – we have a new scanner and I’m struggling to get the settings right.
New Zealand is now Alert level 2 with COVID-19. No community outbreaks yet but think it’s getting close if the overseas experience is anything to go by. People who are wilfully ignoring the protocols are endangering others. It’s not cute or funny or brave – it’s dangerous and should be criminal.
Tony is in the danger category – diabetic, over 70 etc so is choosing to self-isolate. Me going to work does put him at risk but we’re doing all we can to minimise it. Things like me washing my hands in the washhouse before coming inside.
I’m limiting the news I watch to the essentials for work and trying to make social media a safe place while sharing what I need to. It’s a fine line, because I don’t want to feel overwhelmed but do need to be well informed for my work.
So I have been doing plenty of art, partly because I’m not sleeping well. Penny and I are into our second month of Dr Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge and I’m learning so much. I’m recording some of it in my Dylusions journals because the mix of thinking and art helps embed it for me.