How true these words have been for me this year!
In 2009 I married a wonderful German guy and in 2010 I joined him in Germany. In my eyes moving to another country isn’t exactly easy. As a part of the residency requirements I was lucky enough to attend German school, where I met some wonderful new people. We continued German classes at my house afterwards. Living in a new country where you only partially speak the language is quite intimidating; everything in your life feels insecure. At the time I was studying accountancy, but somehow I lost my way and my whole body seemed to rebel against it. You know how it is when you’re supposed to be studying, but you can’t pick yourself up from the couch, you just lie there miserably with ZERO motivation. This was quite a challenge for someone like me, who prides myself on never giving up… a very important lesson! Sometimes it’s okay to put something aside and sometimes it’s even acceptable to quit! Before I studied accountancy I studied art. I then started my own business in South Africa before the move to England. During the six years I lived in England I experienced the most devastating creative block ever which in my suspicion is how I ended up working as an accountant and studying accountancy.
Strangely enough my creative block seemed to slowly fade, with the time that I had on my hands, here in Germany.
New Year’s Eve 2010. Normally my sister and I would have a little ritual, where we would write down all our resolutions for the New Year and evaluate the one’s from the year before to celebrate or mourn its fruition. This year however, with my sister being in South Africa and my new German friends not being that interested, something else came along. In Germany, on New Year’s they play a game called Bleigießen (Molybdomancy in English). It is a game, where you melt a little tin/lead figure (e.g. a horse shoe) in a spoon over a candle and then you drop it into cold water to see what shapes it make. Mine formed a dung beetle with five balls of dung! I couldn’t wait to get home to Google the significance of dung beetles. I found that they do have quite an amount of followers. With its importance in nature and its sacred status among the ancient Egyptians, I decided that this wasn’t a bad sign at all, and there and then decided that each of the 5 “dung” balls would represent a project for the year. I keep this on my desk to constantly remind me of my goals.
I asked my husband, if he would like to join me in working through Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way”, and to my surprise he agreed. This was so lucky for me, because though I am persistent, I am not always that consistent, which is what you need to be to write your morning pages for twelve weeks in a row. My husband has this super quality of just getting on with it and getting things done. (“Morning pages” consists of writing three full pages of ‘stream of consciousness writing’ first thing in the morning, every morning, for the whole 12 weeks of the program.)
I decided to ease back into my creativity slowly and made “One step at a time” my motto for the year. When I didn’t know what to write in my morning pages, I just kept writing “One step at a time, one step at a time”, until I had something to say again. By June I have completed twelve paintings and I held my first solo exhibition, my husband and I have partly completed a children’s book and I am in the process of designing a new illustration range. The books that absolutely supported me through the process so far are The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Living the Creative Life by Rice Freeman-Zachery. The first one helped me deal with my creative block and the latter kept me going. Super inspiring!
I am so excited that I am able to practice my first love as a full-time career…one step at a time…savouring the journey.