This was my most popular image on Instagram in
2019. Me with my painting Cloud Magic at
the opening of the Encounter exhibition at the
Heliconian Club. Meeting the wonderful
artists who are members in the Helconian Club,
was one of the highlights of this year.
But today let's make it 2019 things I learned in 2019.
The first 2000? Life continues to be miraculous in 2000
ways. There are 168 hours in a week. I sleep 7 hours a
night - times 7, that means for 49 hours a week I am
not observing the planet, or I'm reviewing old stuff,
or making up amazing worlds (lately this is super
true) in my dreams. That leaves 119 hours when I'm awake,
that I'm amazed every minute.
But let's just take it hour by hour. By my calculations in just under
17 weeks of the year I've been dazzled for 2,000 hours. So that takes
care of the first 2,000 lessons -- life is astoundingly riveting, and
Now moving on to the 19 to continue to try to fulfill the challenge
given to me last year by the wonderful writer and photographer,
Howard Wolinksy to write about the 2018 things
I learned last year. Some I have relearned in 2019.
I learned (again and again) -- let's make that 14 times
(metaphorically -- in reality it was probably at least
14 times a day) to:
Be Happy! Doesn't that sound simple? It is, but we
lose our way over such ridiculous things -- like
traffic. Hardship and sorrow come into every life --
and of course have been part of mine. As well as
the richness of discovery, love and an exciting life,
there are the hard times, the silly arguments, the occasional
sleepless nights, and worry about other people's health and
happiness. This year I've tried to listen to a voice in my head
that tells me to rethink my attitude (it sounds like my mother),
to notice what is great instead of what is wrong. I'm keenly
aware that our time on the planet is limited, and that
I am incredibly lucky. So in my best moments, and
fortunately they are many, I choose to enjoy life moment
by moment and in the case of enjoying you -- your support,
your beautiful art, and great thoughts -- that is a given.
I am so blessed that my family and friends are wonderful!
The 2015th thing I learned (again)
Coffee is important. Don't knock it. People like
me need three large cups to get moving, but when
we do get moving, we are usually pretty fun to be
around, and get quite a bit done! My new rule is two
coffees before I leave the house.
The 2016th thing I learned
You (I) don't know what's going to happen next.
Who would imagine having a conversation in
Loblaws (a local supermarket) tonight with a total
stranger and very funny man about kitty litter?! And through
that subject Steven and I and the fellow shared our
cats' names, and how old his kitten is, and then
laughed so hard about the discussion deciding we
were very Canadian. Friends are everywhere.
The 2017th thing I learned again.
Enjoy this moment. This is a quote from last year,
"Here I am alone late at night (early)
in the morning) writing to you, and it is wonderful.
The animals and my husband are all sleeping. There
is absolute peace, and it is fabulous." This week I've been reading
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, and it is a fun, short,
and inspiring book for creatives. It's a perfect book for
someone trying to figure out what they want to do creatively.
And I share his belief that all of us are creative, and need
to love our work, and to value our creative pursuits.
The 2018th thing I learned (again and again)
Teaching is a two way street. I teach writing once a week.
How strange from time to time to be teaching people who
are writing professionally, as a professional writing teacher!
I've loved watching my students learn to be brave
and step into their own abilities and power. The
hardest challenge is learning to talk in front of a group.
And every student this year has perfected that talent. Plus
I've learned once again about places and customs all over the
world, where I've never been, bringing new thinking,
new ideas and experiences into a windowless room from
everywhere. Young people are aware of the current dangers
to the planet, angry about it, and actively working on
changing the current policies. This has been both inspiring
and motivating for me.
The 2019th thing I relearned.
Love matters, (My thoughts on this haven't changed
since last year. They've just been reaffirmed.) " I want to
show the world that I love the planet (which is why I
paint landscapes of beautiful places), show the people who love
me that I love them back. Some people may find it corny
or insincere if I tell them I love them. But I know that love matters.
I'm a reader, and try to keep up with the news, and know
that politics, climate change disasters, and the brutality of war
have made it another very hard year. But I am once again so moved
by the kindness people show each other, even in the
hardest situations. And I'm moved by the people in
my life, who care, make me laugh, and will listen
when times are tough. After my mother died I realized
that even though I told her I loved her every time we spoke,
or saw one another, that we can really never tell each
other too often that we love one another. Love does matter.
Have a loving what you learned in 2019 day.