Studio Diaries: Making the Most of these Odd Holidays

I’m back in the studio again and feeling rejuvenated after a quiet and gentle holiday. Though it was painful not to hug my loved ones or to spend in conversation over shared meals, I am so thankful to be healthy and home.  Justin and I spent the season fully respecting lockdown guidelines, only going out for walks and for necessities, donning masks anywhere we might encounter others.  (My sister-in-law, Sylvia, has made some beauties!) Even so, we managed to make the most of the holidays.

Some highlights of the season…

Baking cookies with my honey on a snowy winter’s afternoon was a delight. I am loving our new double oven that lets us do two batches at once (dangerous!) I have always loved making cookies and these white chocolate cranberry cookies by Trisha Yearwood for the Food Network will become a new staple. (Note: we replaced the macadamia nuts with walnuts and wow!)

Speaking of cookies, we were also treated to my sister Shannon‘s traditional favourites. She’s been making and sharing these sugar cookies since she was just a kid. In my mind’s eye I can still see her at our kitchen table, making the batter. This year we were lucky that according to the guidelines at the time, Shannon was able to come over. There was one family member who received enthusiastic hugs!

It was our first Christmas in our newly renovated home so it felt especially wonderful to have that ‘our first tree’ feeling all over again. The kittens quite liked it too. Unfortunately there was a lot of needle nibbling but the better moments saw the cats curled up underneath the tree or enjoying their new ‘hiding spot’ in the corner.

For Christmas gifts this year, we gave ourselves warm winter coats so that we could keeping going out for walks no matter the weather. Justin and I went out on the quiet of Christmas night to take in the lights of our neighbourhood. So many people put in an extra effort in the hopes that more lights and decorations would lift everyone’s spirits.  They certainly lifted mine.

After Christmas, I enjoyed time thoughtfully preparing for the transition from 2020 and 2021. It is so powerful to close one year with awareness and step into the next with clarity. There’s a whole section for crossing this threshold in the Studio Yearbook. A cup of tea, a pen and candlelight and I was all set!

This year I also made a comprehensive list of major moments and achievements of the year and again, my yearbook was an awesome resource. I could go back and witness the major social aspects of the year like the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others and the resulting powerful civil rights response, followed by an intense US election.  I could also see the achievements of the studio. This year I produced 4 Studio Yearbooks, 3 seasons of Mindful Mondays, 2 seasons of Journal Club,  50-ish newsletters, dozens of Behind the Scenes videos, two quiet videos (journaling and collage), the Journal Showdown, 5 new Creative Practice videos that became our welcoming series plus a brand new program which starts this year, Devotion. The studio also offered multiple Journal Club scholarships and contributed hundreds of dollars to the Black Solidarity Fund.

Between Christmas and New Years, I also engaged in one of my favourite activities: creating Vision Cards. A vision card is a like a mini dreamboard for priorities (what I call focus areas) that you actively choose for the year ahead. These cards serve as touchstones that keep you focused on what truly matters to you . Allowing your true priorities to guide your way is a powerful step in creating a life that is in alignment with your heart.

My Focus Areas for 2021: The Studio, Self, Home, Writing, Art, Spirit, Vitality, Prosperity, Life, Learning, Beauty and People.

I am also thrilled to say that I spent quite a lot of time filling my creative well with both dancing and collage. It was particularly magical to dance with both of my sisters on the eve of the winter solstice. On New Year’s Eve, I watched the moon rise above the clouds as I danced. It felt like an auspicious sign for the year ahead. There is magic in dancing.

Here’s a song for you to dance in some magic for the New Year too!


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