Well….2017 didn’t go as planned… LOL… Life never does really though hey!
Plans aren’t reality!
I’ve learned that living an enriched and meaningful life isn’t about the dreams and plans which are achieved… it is about the honesty, love and genuine care and kindness which is experienced and given whilst following the path pencilled in by endeavouring to achieve those plans and dreams.
In 2017 I found a new love for snow and cold… and felt such a deep connection with the Arctic. I sustained serious injuries in a fall whilst I was doing something I loved – skiing. After I fell, in the silence of softly falling snow, I learned from the deer and trees how to deal with pain. I have used that skill a lot since that day.
I want to be honest and as always, share not just the ‘pretty’ bits of my life here. @idoamazingthings , but that isn’t the whole of my life. There is also another reality. That reality isn’t pretty… but it is real.
I was so unprepared for the serious nature of my surgery and long rehab after my knee reconstruction.. and in May not long after my surgery I supported someone I had once been close friends with, who asked for my assistance. In hindsight I should have just said no. I didn’t. I have a kind, loving and generous Spirit and in that support, just after my surgery, I gave more than I had in my reserves. At a time where it was important that I needed to heal and I, myself needed kindness and care; when I did everything humanly possible and said I could give no more and drew the line because it was imperative to care for myself – even more was asked of me. As a consequence, subsequent PTSD and an auto-immune illness flattened me; and over the next few months I gained such clarity about my misplaced love and care. I was used. Another’s needs were put far above my own – which were viewed upon as inconsequential. I learned then about the difference between those who merely speak about love and light; and those who actually demonstrate it.
It has been such a long haul since I was shaking in shock lying in the fresh powder snow at Whitefish in Montana… At times in 2017 I felt like I was just clinging on to the edge of falling into a very dark place. I was determined not to go there.
I’ve had to come to terms with a new way of being; not running, nor dancing, and not being able to feel my body express itself without limitation. I’ve had to retrain the memory centre in my brain – because my natural survival mechanism kicked in… and that was ‘to forget’. Learning Spanish and knitting difficult patterns has restored my cognitive ability, which is such a relief!
I was exhausted travelling along the Northern Sea Route, but it was an incredible journey I am so grateful I could experience. Max supported me in every way he could. The rest was up to me.
I’ve had a wonderfully productive year professionally with my photography. My Antarctica publication “The Shape of Cold” has won many International Photography Book Awards and I was nominated as ‘Discovery of the Year’ at the Lucie International Photography Awards. Several of my images have been shown in various galleries in the United States; and my moving image work “The Ice Breathes” was shown in Venice Italy, at the ANIMA MUNDI festival.
I was interviewed by the BBC for a piece on the ‘Polar Bear Party’ on Wrangel Island, aired in the UK over Christmas of 2017…. so.. hehe.. I’ve been on TV! hehe
This year has been a challenging year, but in a strange way so very rich for me. Creatively I have expanded my wings and my photographs are being recognised and valued throughout the world. I travelled to parts of the Arctic that less than 100 people have ever ventured to. I’ve learned so much about myself.
I’ve found a courage, strength and resilience I didn’t know I had in me. I’ve realised the truth in situations which brought me initially much pain, but that truth has been the foundation upon which I have refined my resolve in how to live my life…. that is to be honest and demonstrate genuine care and kindness to others. That is what love is about. I’ve experienced what it is like to be the recipient of that genuine care and kindness; and also experienced being a recipient when when that genuine care and kindness has been absent, and more and more was requested and expected of me when I’d already given everything I had to give. In times where narcissism seems to be the new black; and the epidemic destructive prevalence of the “I, I, I” syndrome; I’ve come to recognise that the human experience is richer and more meaningful – and honest; if founded in genuine care and kindness, rather than of selfish endeavours.
I am so grateful to be living such an incredibly rich and meaningful life; and in navigating my pencilled in plans and dreams, I will endeavour to live honestly with genuine care and kindness. That is what real love and living is about.