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New beginnings

New years day walk in Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire

I’ve been banging on to friends about starting a new blog for at least a year. It’s been at the top of all my to-do lists, rattling around in my mind as I consider its function. Basically, I’ve been over-thinking and avoiding doing. However I have kept a journal, albeit across scraps and weekly planners during my most unorganised moments. Writing is one of my life lines. Sometimes it’s the only way I can get things out. Emotions are evacuated with pen and paper, and thoughts progress as I type each word out on the keyboard. So the plan is to type more in 2018…

It would be pleasing at this point to be able to offer a concise purpose and set of aims, yet I’m gradually coming round to the idea that this need to pin it down has become a hindrance to progress. Sitting at my desk in the closing hour of a new year’s day, I feel a definite urge to kick start this thing. As usual, I am asking myself where to begin, and I sense the answer is in the here and now.

I’ve made some resolutions over Christmas for wholehearted living, inspired in part by Brené Brown’s book ‘The gifts of imperfection.’ In that spirit I tell myself that this beginning does not need to be perfect, it just needs to ‘be’. Over the next few posts I’m pondering sharing snippets of diary entries alongside my current preoccupations. 2017 brought with it many new opportunities and good friendships in York. I felt better than I had the previous year, better still than the previous few. I’ve lost some people too which is sad; endings which have brought a taste of sadness and inspired curiosity. And last year I learnt the Danish word ‘hyyge’. If you haven’t come across it, go on, look it up! All of this has fed into my resolutions. The latest scribble in my notebook reads ‘make, do, laugh, sing, cook, swim, write, draw, ride, shimmy, bop, hang-out, relax, relate, quit comparing, love thyself.’ And this is how I mean to go on.

The last few years have been defined by recovering from trauma, getting back in touch with my body, and a renewed creativity. I have a growing pile of books by my bed including ‘Why be happy when you can be normal,’ ‘How to survive the loss of a love,’ ‘The compassionate mind,’ ‘Hardwiring happiness,’ ‘The art of fermentation,’ ‘The body keeps the score,’ and ‘The course of love.’ This alongside books written by or about my great grandfather Bernard Leach who I am enjoying learning more about. I have great plans for using my studio over the coming months, partly in preparation for York Open Studios, but mainly because art is a way of living that I am committed to nurturing. So this is where it starts. I promise myself to act on these agendas. Wish me luck!

For the readers:

A potter in Japan by Bernard Leach

A potter’s book by Bernard Leach

Bernard Leach by Edmund de Waal

Hardwiring happiness by Rick Hanson

How to survive the loss of a love by Colgrove, Bloomfield and McWilliams

The art of fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

The art of loving by Erich Fromm

The body keeps the score by Bessel Van Der Kolk

The compassionate mind by Paul Gilbert

The course of love by Alain de Botton

Why be happy when you can be normal? by Jeanette Winterson

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