Sunday, December 28, 2014

On to the next one!

Dear friends, family and colleagues,

2014, I’m glad to see you go. Twelve months of overwhelming transition and hard-learned lessons. A year filled with all sorts of highs and lows, admittedly the most difficult of my adult life. My goal for the year seemed simple enough, it was to slow down, motivated more by necessity than choice. I had been fighting knowing I needed this for a long while. Fighting so hard my body actually began to fight back until finally, inevitably my body won. This is when I was forced to admit to myself that mind over matter was not working and I had no choice but to take a step back. Many steps back, in fact. I simply could not keep up with expectations I had placed upon myself. Unfortunately I could no longer ignore the chronic pain moving through my body, a result of recently diagnosed medical conditions either. Now it’s clear I was slowly and steadily sinking deep into a hole of denial. 2014 was the year I finally acknowledged I wasn’t actually moving one direction or another; I was knocked on my ass. 

As a result I’ve made massive adjustments to my daily routine. The most challenging element was the release of my habitual fast paced workaholic lifestyle. This has been hands down the most counter intuitive thing I’ve ever done. Retraining my muscle memory for self-care, for survival by challenging myself daily to sit still, relax, and breathe. The clarity that rises within this stillness is terrifying. This process was slow moving and before I could even begin to learn this wild thing called self-care I had to hit restart. 

In order to begin this healing journey it took those first slow steps of being able to surrender to the pain and exhaustion from going non-stop for too long. Admitting to myself and [now] to others it was affecting my mental, physical and spiritual health. It feels real good. Real REAL good. I have a new perspective on what feeling “normal” can mean, what a day without pain can feel like, and how liberating it can be. 

I did a lot of my restarts quietly this year to avoid questions I couldn’t answer. I didn’t officially announce I moved away from Milwaukee, a place I called home for the last 13 years. I have temporarily relocated to Birmingham Alabama- for how long I don’t know. I am currently living with other artists and exploring the South, letting myself get inspired again. There are no plans to start production on a new film any time soon but I am slowly working on a book research project. As I move forward I plan to continue doing creative educational programing and other freelance work. I’m also humoring wild new ideas like moving to a rural southern location and enrolling in college for the first time ever.  No pressure. It’s all subject to change! 

Part of my life practice is striving to make connections between those creating beauty in our world and those who appreciate that chaos manifested in art, through outlets like painting, music, writing, building, performing, growing food, etc.  I will continue to invite this meeting of the maker and observer swirling together into my life. This is where I find myself. This is the community I want to nurture as I move forward into unknown territory with my creative practice, my career, and my personal life.

My friend Amanda sent me a text this week that perfectly articulates the message I want to convey as I let go of 2014. She sent this to me in the context of discussing taking downtime for oneself, “We are generating strength for something powerful, which might just be the act of being, as we are now.” I shed a skin this year and it feels amazing, it’s a reminder to be gentle to myself as I get up off my ass and move forward. 

If you are interested in my current adventures and unfolding projects I suggest following my Instagram feed @faythelevine

Photo: "We Are Thankful" captured the evening of 1/1/2014