2011: The Worst and the Best of Years

I guess it’s traditional to contemplate the year just past as we look forward to the shiny ball falling in Times Square.  Please indulge me for a couple of minutes as I do that and get a little personal.

Remember Tale of Two Cities by Dickens and how it started?  …I will paraphrase…….it was the best of years, it was the worst of years……

This year, 2011,  lots of things came to a head for me as unresolved matters from years past piled up to the point where they had to start tumbling down. And tumble they did – with a resounding crash that woke me out of the doldrums and shook off years of accumulated denial and avoidance.  I had experienced numerous losses of loved ones including my entire birth family over the course of several years but had never allowed myself to fully grieve the way one needs to.  Well, somehow, my guardian angel recognized this and kicked me in the butt as much as to say get on with it already.

And so I did.  And here is where the Dickensian character of the year becomes apparent.  While going through the delayed grieving process was indeed painful – all those stored up feelings were allowed to surface – the result was unexpected and welcome.

I feel like the ‘real’ me emerged – the genuine Guila – probably more accurate to say the ‘rest’ of who I am.  I have always been someone who loves to be creative –to use my imagination and play with design, with color, with words, with ideas.  But this time I allowed myself to just go with it and to see where it would take me without self censoring without self criticism.  The discoveries that I made thrilled me no end – having an aptitude for art that goes beyond needle and thread is a new idea for me.

And that brings me to today and to anticipation of the year ahead.   While 2011 was a year of discovery,  I look forward to 2012 as a year to concentrate on learning, on practicing and refining these newly discovered skills.  And to focus on developing my art related business at the same time.  This isn’t Paris of the 19th century and I do not have a patron.  So the business part is vital to allow me the ability to stay planted on the creative path and to put down roots there.

This is a very exciting journey.  The support of my friends and readers and your encouragement is vital and I am so thankful for all of you.  Please stick around for the ride!  It’s going to be lots of fun.

My heartfelt wishes to all of you for a Happy and Healthy 2012.  May all your dreams come true!

10 thoughts on “2011: The Worst and the Best of Years”

  1. And so it’s May.

    If I had my way I’d go to sleep and wake up sometime in – oh – say – the next millennium. The bright note for me personally is that I’m having great success teaching art quilt classes – I’m enjoying everything about the process and the students are excited and learning a lot. And my beautiful and brilliant granddaughters are thriving in every way and doing so well.

    It goes downhill abruptly from there folks. My son was laid off from his excellent job in I.T. in April. The company ‘restructured’ after merging with another large corporation. My husband is losing his college teaching position after this semester – state education cutbacks – and all the other things previously mentioned last month. Including the loss of the friend that I had feared would happen. This has left me in a peculiar state of disorientation – feeling a profound sadness and sense of loss; when you want to turn to someone and they’re no longer there for you. And there’s no way on earth to reach them.

    So that brings me to art. As fellow artists you can appreciate the time that you spend in the “zone” and oh I long to be in the zone. It’s wonderful to get lost in the midst of creating something of beauty or something that reflects your emotional state at the time – get it out there. But it does take a certain amount of emotional energy to start the process and these days that’s hard to rev up.

    Today I saw some Facebook posts that my cousin, a Rheumatologist from Erie, PA had posted about Pierre Auguste Renoir. I adore Renoir’s work as I do most of the Impressionists and had never known about his severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. The onset was at age 40 and he developed severe symptoms in his hands and shoulders. Yet he struggled on and managed to produce numerous of his breathtakingly beautiful works despite this severe disability.

    What a role model for all of us!
    Let’s go and make some art!


  2. April 1, 2012

    A new month begins.

    The past few weeks have been a series of ups and downs. Joy and Sorrow. Hope and Despair.
    I celebrated 45 years of marriage to my wonderful husband.
    We mourned the death of my mother-in-law
    I had a very successful first outing teaching Art Quilting – even better than I had hoped.
    And it seems that I have lost a cherished friend because of misunderstanding and mistrust. This has hit me hard. I have never been a cynic about people, always giving my best and expecting the same in return. I realize that some people have more difficulty communicating their thoughts than others and sometimes people would rather lose a friend than confront them with their complaints. So sad.

    But it’s a new month, a new opportunity to get it right happens every day.

    Hope and Despair
    Joy and Sorrow

    Life goes on.

  3. February is almost over and I’m very happy to report Progress! This is a great place to track it because I can look at goals, review the last post and keep those positive affirmations going!. I’m much better able to focus on my goals and am so excited about the latest developments. I’ve been asked to teach art quilting classes locally and am busy prepping for those. There’ll be a formal announcement soon – but it looks like the first series will start late April.
    Something else that I think a lot of us have difficulty with is setting priorities – somehow we think that we can do it all. I’m getting better at that and have put some things on the back burner WITHOUT feeling guilty about it.
    And I’ve gotten much more adventurous with my art experiments and have been doing a lot of “what ifs”. Some work well, some don’t – I learn from it all. I’ll be blogging about several of these topics later.
    I would love to hear how your year is shaping up too!

  4. Well today was the first day of February and in the interest of (somewhat) full disclosure I need to briefly add an update. In January I did make progress in my art related business plus in my artwork itself. I am looking forward to doing some art quilt related teaching this year as well and am starting to plan for that.
    And I was feeling, at least a great part of the time that I was making progress toward resolving my internal struggles. But I found out that my sense of calm is ephemeral and fragile and that it’s going to take a lot more hard work to get rid myself completely of internal doubts and demons. Such is life.

  5. Guila, I am so happy for you that you have found new facets of yourself and new purpose. That is so exciting. I am looking forward to seeing your work.

  6. Guila…Happy New Year…may the ever-increasing light of the next six months open new windows and new views for your creative self to explore with abandon! Finding you in 2011 has added a colorful, happy and creatively encouraging piece to my journey on the planet….a great piece of my first six month’s of retirement.
    Thank you for you! and for all you share openly on your blog.
    Peace, joy and ever blessings…..Kristin

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