So I’ve been hibernating a bit. It was a good snowy winter to do that. Sometimes just like the earth we need to go into a fallow state to lay the ground for a future garden to grow. We need to let the soil get fertile. Sometimes we need step back, or to step down in order to actually step up to the life we’re meant to live.
I’ve written a few introspective blogs of late ( incl this one! ) but I think I’m ready to move forward again. This blog for ‘The Natural Eclectic’ began as a platform for my book, and this winter I had a great new development. I met a dynamic and accomplished art director in the editorial and book publishing world. Excited and intrigued by my concept, they want to come on board to help bring my book to fruition. I felt renewed energy seeing that they were so inspired and couldn’t wait to start storyboarding and making tangible progress.
But then something odd happened. Life went a little sideways…and I found myself feeling atypically insular. Very out of character for me. I’ve always had a strong duality that interchanges between ambitious drive and a gentler side that desires to seek out nature, explore and just create…. but I rarely go dormant.
I see now that I needed to withdraw and go inner in order to soul search about my true path and what I’m meant to do/share/say? Painful injuries compromised my process and took me further away from the joy of making tactile things. Even quiet time editing on the computer was challenging. Some components in my work life were just not adding to a feeling of quality of life anymore, and quality of life is all that should really matter, to me or anyone else. It’s a main thread in the book.
I feel blessed to have a lovely little shop that is so well received and love being able to share beauty and exchange ideas with my clients.No doubt it’s rewarding to see my images in magazines and have recognition with awards or positive feedback from my peers. Somewhere along the path though, where photography changed to digital and everyone had phones that became cameras, it seemed the whole world started doing and chronicling things that before felt rather unique to me. Even though I’d been shooting for magazines for over 15 years and had successfully run my own boutique for almost as many, I felt lost in the shuffle. I went on Pinterest and there were millions of people creating inspiration boards on how to decorate, bake, knit, collect etc. Pop up shops popped up everywhere. Online vintage shops. Tv shows about pickers. I’d done these things since my teens in my own way without ever looking over my shoulder or comparing myself to anyone else until social media came along. I started counting followers, I started feeling pressure. Doubt and external demands started creeping in and distracted me on my path to creating my book. We all leave our own personal thumbprint on the world and none of us should ever feel watered down by others, but it’s hard to find the balance in the public eye. First and foremost I’m a visual artist yet I am also a metaphorical and expressive person that wants to share ideas and connect. The best quote I ever discovered was ”Comparison is the thief of joy” Indeed! Time to stop comparing and just start being me again!
My previous blog “what is love’ was rather sad but I needed to share it. I was afraid to put it out there in case it was too vulnerable, too deep. Aren’t blogs meant to be about DIY decorating, recipes and cheerful projects? Yet I discovered that readers really responded to my message, and they in turn shared their stories. Someone who’d lost their mother recently said it was the most beautiful blog they’d ever encountered.
So as I move forward on my book I will be mindful of what my true intention is. I want to encourage and invite creativity and awareness, sensitivity and exploration of not only our interior environments and natural worlds, but also our emotional selves. The book will touch upon themes of many tactile and ‘material’ things but will not be about encouraging materialism, decorating to impress or in any way making others feel intimidated. I cannot wait till I hold my book in my hands and share it with others. Of course I will marvel over the cover, the paper, the images chosen, the layout, the words, the weight of it all. I will launch it and feel proud and delighted when others cherish it too. But most importantly I will revel in seeing a dream, a vision come to life that hopefully touches and inspires others in a meaningful way.
I took a while to post this blog. It was snowing when I started and now the cherry blossoms are out. While I write I dream of us spending time writing my book in a country house. I see animals in a pasture and meadow walks with the one I love. A painting studio, maybe even a kiln? Discovery and life anew as I ebb and flow from hibernation and fallow states into ones of full bloom. I see many stories and pictures coming to life…
All words and images copyright Heather Ross 2014