My He(ART)-Full Life



Friday, December 28, 2012

year review 2012, my word for 2013 and the beginning of all things...

I simply can't believe that yet another year has zoomed right on by...where did it all go??? Writing my year review...I am in awe at how so many things have changed in such a short time...how I have changed. Some years are like that. Last year this time...we had just moved to CO...our bed was in the dining room and our garage was chock full of boxes. Now I can thankfully say that we are (mostly) settled in. What a year!!! Looking back...we had a rough start. In Feb sometime...I came down with a mysterious virus that completely wiped me out. The doctors had no idea what it was and all they could say was...rest!!! I think it was simply my body telling me that I had to sloooow down. And there was so much work to do...unpacking a gazillion boxes...it made me dizzy.
My word for the year was open and, in retrospect, that's exactly what happened; I opened up. To the moment, to life, to all of mySELF. I allowed myself to share more and more of my art, my stories, my truth and my struggles.

This year also saw a constant juggling of family, art, blogging, photography etc. I just tried to do the best I could...constantly having to rethink things. I did a lot of art journaling, artist dates and reading; this helped me with managing the rest of it all. Every chance I got...I practised self care: pots of hot tea, inspiring magazines, sitting in the cool summer breeze and gardening. It was practicing to see the magic in the everyday stuff of life. It did me a world of good, let me just tell you:) And then...when Tara gave up her afternoon nap a few months ago...things changed! More re-thinking + re-planning required.

So much of this year was about home + family. After moving around every single year (!!!) it was so nice to put down roots and settle in. And after spending much of last year seeing Tim only on the weekends...it's so nice to have him here permanently and actually have routines and regular family life! We certainly don't take any of that for granted around here:) The best part?? Just having my whole family under one roof is a gift in itself!

Motherhood, mothering... being a mom! This opened me up even more than ever. Tara just sprouted up in every way...she's a darling little girl now and, I swear, just a minute ago she was a baby! She is so incredibly intelligent...and creative...and energetic! I can't even keep up with her anymore:) But here in this meeting place of love and nurturing...I have found the very best parts of mySELF. This is my girl and I love her so. So much so that sometimes it aches...in the very best way!! I am so incredibly proud to be her mom...to watch her growing up is an incredible privilege that I simply don't take for granted.

One of the things I did struggle with this year was...identity. Tim is African-American and I am Indo-Canadian...so how should we raise Tara??? I know how terribly important it is to instill a strong sense of identity in our children and I didn't want Tara to struggle with the identity crisis I did for most of my teens and even into half of my 20's. Should I expose her to Indian culture? This one was tricky...because I can't speak any Indian language, don't wear Indian clothing regularly or watch Bollywood movies...and I feel that the way girls and women are treated is deplorable. India is where I begin but it's not who I am. And then I struggled to identify solely Canadian culture and values.  But the one thing that stands out for me is that Canada is  a mosaic; we firmly believe that our strength as a country and people come from our diversity...so I brought that with me. In the end I decided that I was simply going to allow Tara to be herSELF...to let her excel in whatever she wanted to...to not allow her interests to be dictated by any culture...to not put her in any box. So...she loves gymnastics, taking photos, conducting science experiments, Dora and princess Belle... and she's learning how to speak Spanish!! She also wants to be an artist and a United States Marine officer when she grows up...thank you very much:) My deepest wish for her is to live her dreams...whatever they are. As her mom...I want to teach her to dream big...to let know that anything is possible.

My art took me to new places too. I felt so incredibly lucky to be published as many times as I was this year...and I was proud too, that all my hard work had paid off. For me....it is such an honor being published!Still...I struggled with insecurity, the direction of my art and so many frustrations. We all go through them, I suppose...but it's difficult when you're in the thick of it! What do I have to say, is it important, does it matter, am I good enough. It was all about letting go of the struggle and believing in my work. The more I got published...the braver I became about submitting my work! I took a month off painting during the summer to simply read and it totally inspired my work. A few of my fave books of the year? Sister Outsider, This I Know, Dare Greatly, Writing Down Your Soul and Hard Times Require Furious Dancing  (a book of poetry by Alice Walker). These books touched me , changed my art + my life !! Love that!

Through it all...I made a conscious decision to believe in my magic. We all have such unique gifts to contribute to this world...life is short and none of us will pass this way again. So...I took a deep breath decided to get out of my own way (easier said than done!) and...forged ahead. I decided to accept where I was instead of wishing I was somewhere else in my journey...and accept all the blessings that came with it. After re-reading Sister Outsider I decided to not only accept my outsider-ness but to celebrate it as well! I actually made a journal called...the Outsider Journals (more on this soon!!)

We were very fortunate to have road trips, adventures, artsy trips and weekend getaways but the memories that were the most dear to me was going to Canada! I started feeling terribly homesick all of a sudden and when I told Tim...he surprised me with a trip!! My husband is just so thoughtful and giving...I am lucky to have him. Seriously..he has a heart the size of Texas! Anyhoo...it was wonderful just being back there and showing Tim and Tara around. The biggest gift of the entire experience was this ...sure, I missed Canada but my home is right here with these 2. And...I'm raising Tara as an American, albeit a very liberal one:)...because well...she's American!!!

I did a very revealing interview with Rita Banerji this year and, because we had forged a friendship that was based on mutual respect and trust, I was able to open up as much as I did. I firmly believe that our stories matter...deeply and truly I believe this in my heart. Yet... sharing incidents from my past that were/are deeply painful and powerful took a lot of courage. But I knew that sharing my story brought me a step closer to healing and maybe, just maybe, I could inspire others to share their truth as well. This interview is one of the things I am most proud of this past year.

There were two incidents this year that deeply affected us as a nation...and me personally. They both involved guns. The first was Trayvon Martin and the second was the Newtown massacre that just happened...that is still fresh and raw in our hearts and memory. About a week ago I decided that, instead of ranting (like a completely crazy woman) on Twitter  about gun control, I am going to become more politically active to that end. I am raising my daughter here and I am shocked and saddened by the gun violence in this country. I'm also terrified for Tara...for children everywhere. I believe that everything is political and this is no exception. I believe that we can hold grief and anger at the very same time. I believe that we can channel that into change and activism. I believe that our children require and deserve us to advocate for them.  I believe that we can be patriotic and want common sense gun laws. I believe that this is not a partisan issue. I believe that most Americans want this as well.

And...my word for 2013??? It's this right here...DARE!!! I had been thinking of a word around October and...when I read Dare Greatly by Brene...it just called me. greatly:) And really...the word chose me, I am sure of it! So...I dare mySELF to
*live authentically
*be vulnerable
*love wholeheartedly
*sometimes...be silly:)
*take risks
*say No! when necessary
*forge my path (even when I can't see ahead...which is always)
*trust that things are exactly where they should be
*do my work

As I look ahead...the year hold so many promises and possibilities. Some I know...most I don't. I am excited, nervous and hopeful. Things feel fresh. Usually I get really sad around this time of year...but now ...things feel different to me somehow. With my 44th birthday a minute away (next week!) , I feel  a sense of urgency to cherish each moment, be fully present and shed layers of unnecessary baggage.
I feel as if every single day...is the beginning of everything. I am excited about what the coming year holds.

Also...I am  inspired by my art journey in 2013...I feel like it's going in a new direction. It's all about having faith in the journey. Feels good! I want to get in touch with the elemental in me...the raw and the rich. I feel very strongly about it...and a sense of urgency too.
“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”
-  Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting The Power Of The Wild Woman

This is a current work in progress...so happy with it!

Now...goodbye 2013...you have been so very good to me this past year. You have kept us in grace and given us a sense of home + heart + health. And so, dear friends, as we go forward in magic + light...let us hold each other close. Let us always keep what's truly important in our hearts. And even when  grief and sadness are visited upon us...let us still keep the beautiful + true in our souls. Wishing you all the very very best in the coming year...see you on the other side!!! xxx

6 comments:

Nikki said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post! Thank you Sorayah.

jane said...

So thoughtful...your words. DARE...good choice for you! xi

Amy Riddle The Spirit Dancer said...

I completely enjoyed reading this post. You are truly inspiring! Dare is an incredible word for 2013. I have chosen Transformation. Happy New Year to you!

Carin Cullen said...

Such a beautiful, inspiring post Soraya! I love that you have chosen dare for 2013. Such a great word!

ArtPropelled said...

I have so enjoyed reading about your year, Soraya. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Happy New Year to the three of you!
(Oh and thanks for the mention in your latest post).

singingbirdartist said...

dear soraya, you dare so much!what will you be like after a year channeling that!?! thank you for sharing so much of your journey and process over the year, your integrity alone shines as a beacon of inspiration and then there is your work! all good wishes for 2013 and your birthday :)