This is the time of the year that just goes by too quickly. In looking at the calendar, there is the realization that Christmas is just a few weeks away. For me it is even sooner, as I have to mail several of my gifts out. If they are to arrive on time, they have to be ready to go in the next week or so. It is easy for me to get caught up and feel harried.
I am torn between continuing to create new things for my business and making other gifts for the people on my list. I love to make many of my Christmas gifts because I do think people enjoy them. Many times I have many new ideas that spin off of something I made for someone. I like my gifts to be something special. Something that is given with the recipient in mind and inspired by that individual.
There are so many people that have touched my life that I would love to give a gift to. Even if it were a small token. It is sometimes difficult to decide where to draw the line. When I think of all the good people in my life, it is sometimes overwhelming. For that reason, I like to do small things throughout the year that show my appreciation for others. I like surprising others with small kindnesses and tokens of appreciation. To me somehow it is more fun than on one single day when everyone is stressed.
I used to get quite stressed out myself during this time of the year. My family was larger then. My kids were with me. For several years when they were small I hosted a large holiday dinner which included my best friend and her family. Although those were great times and cherished memories, they were quite busy and my friend Cari and I worked ourselves ragged in the weeks leading up to the event only to see it pass by too quickly. It was as if we worked right through it and with the blink of an eye it was over.
Things are different for me now and much quieter. I won’t be able to be back in the States for the holidays and I will be spending it with my adoptive families here in Canada. It is much less fanfare, but I can see sometimes that even that can creep up and make me anxious. I am good at spotting it however and I have found that taking a little time off every day is a wonderful way to stay grounded and not let it get the best of me.
It did snow yesterday, although most of it is gone now. When I took my walk in the woods, many of the small streams and puddles were beginning to freeze over. The trees are all bear now too and you can almost see through the bare branches to the river from the path on the other side. I find it odd because in some ways you don’t feel as isolated but in other ways, you feel even more so because of the quiet.
As I walked past the place where I had picked blackberries only a few short months ago, I couldn’t help but notice the difference. In August, the area was overgrown and lush and the sound of birds and insects could be heard buzzing. And that silly rooster. But now it is barren and quiet. The berry bushes are mere twigs. You can hear the river rushing more now from the path – probably because there are few leaves left to buffer its voice. It is a peaceful sound though, and quite mesmerizing.
I didn’t take walks in the winter last year. But this year I am prepared. I know the area much better and have my layered ‘walking clothes’ that I wear to keep warm. I enjoy the time to think and plan. It gets me out and clears my head and in the long run is good for my creativity. There are three different places that I would consider my favorites – all within walking distance. They all have slightly different terrains and each one offers a different type of beauty.
I think that taking time out for yourself is very important to being creative. There were many years when I didn’t realize this and being busy every single moment took its toll on me both health-wise and creatively. I have found over the years that taking care of one’s self is an essential ingredient in remaining creative and not burning out. Even half an hour a day makes a huge difference. Be it taking a walk, listening to some favorite music with a nice cup of tea or even writing. Do something you love to feed your soul.
In these busy weeks to come, I hope you all don’t forget to take the time to stand back and take a breath and enjoy the day and your life in general. After all, what are we doing all this for anyway?
”Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"