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The art of composting

I believe that it is important to acknowledge and process our challenges as well as celebrating our victories to make room for future growth.

It always amazes me when I look in my husband's compost bin. The top layer usually looks messy and unappetizing - yet time, heat and pressure transform our food scaps and other compostable material into rich compost. The bits that are smelly, slimy and difficult to handle are valuable ingredients for creating well-balanced compost.

So what has gone into my life's compost over the past 12 months?

1) Some messy endings where I had to find creative ways of dealing with the losses - 3 older friends have died and a girl I had sponsored for 10 years unexpectedly left the sponsorship programme. I had to remind myself that all we can do is plant seeds. The harvest is not up to us.

2) The messy middle when transitioning from paid employment as a counsellor to freelance work as an artist. I am still in the process of establishing a new structure and rhythm. There is so much to learn, especially when it comes to the business side of things. Nothing happens easily or automatically yet. Things often feel bitty, chaotic and out of control, and it is difficult to envisage how the different pieces might possibly fit together.

There are also many "good bits" in my compost:

1) Several paintings and prints found a new home. I often get quite attached to my work, as many pieces have a story and have accompanied me for several months if not years, so it has been really encouraging to be able to hand over some work to buyers in person and see the joy on their faces. I am particularly pleased that I have been told that the paintings and prints look richer and more interesting in real life than on a screen. (I had a small painting stolen in one exhibition, which came as a bit of a shock, but I decided to take it as a hidden compliment...)

2) Learning from others and making new friends by participating in live exhibitions, running a weekly creativity group and going for regular walks and talks with a local artist friend. I was also able to attend some in-person workshops and made use of online programmes, which have provided an international perspective and dimension. Life is so much richer with supportive friends.

By taking time to process what has happened over the last 12 months, I am hoping to create the rich "compost" in which new projects can thrive. I wonder what has gone into your compost?

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