Well I've been home in Brisbane for a little over two weeks now and this photo shows one of the best things about being here. Little Mia seemed to enjoy her holiday at the "Cottages" but there's no place like home.
It's taken a while for the fact that I'm back home to really sink in and I haven't actually re-established a routine yet. This has been intentional because I can easily feel quite pressured by routines, and I really noticed the difference while I was away.
This trip was long enough and varied enough that it allowed me to see more clearly some of the things that work for me, and some that aren't so helpful. I don't just mean in regard to travelling. Of course, I had a great time while I was away, but for us, its not just about being on holiday or having a break from work/the routine. It's a bit more complex than that and in some ways, it's amazing we can manage travel at all, let alone find ways that work better for us than in our everyday.
I've been thinking that there must be some lessons I can take from these trips and apply to how my days are organised back here in Brisbane.
Some of the differences that seemed positive:
- very few commitments set for particular days: this allowed me to do what felt most inspiring on the day. Also, I was much more aware of choosing what fitted with the energy I had, rather than feeling as if I had to do something and pushing on, regardless of how I was feeling.
- getting out of the house almost every day of the week: I guess it's obvious why this is good for me, but here at home I can go days without leaving the house. I become so fixated on getting some artwork done that I always choose the option of staying in.
- more social contact: yes! even in a country where I barely speak the language or know a soul. The question of social contact is a tricky one for me, on a few levels. Firstly, I do like quite a lot of solitude, but I also really need enough social contact. When I've done those personality tests, I always sit exactly 50/50 introvert/extrovert. Since being sick I've especially found that socializing can be very tiring, but nevertheless, I really need it.
- surroundings that I found incredibly inspiring: I really noticed the difference when it came to reviewing my photographs. I always enjoy taking photographs, but the end results never feel as satisfying to me as when I've made some other sort of artwork. For the first time on this trip, I felt a number of my photographs (especially with my new camera) were quite exciting and expressive, and I'm planning on taking them further.
- limiting my activity to about 3 hours each day: This really relates to the question of pacing and is something that is really key with ME (as it's now officially known in Australia, not CFS). For some time I've known that 3 hours of "active" activity* is my limit, if I don't want to overdo things and find myself unable to do much of anything at all for a day or two after. It's not a bad length of time, but it is very easy to stay longer. While I was away, because I was very motivated to be well for as many days as possible so I could do and see as much as possible, I became pretty disciplined about sticking to this. I think it was also made easier by the fact that I wasn't trying to match the energy of healthy friends, or not to let anybody down by leaving early.
And over all I was able to be much more active, and I saw and did so much!
|My studio looking towards the window|
So now I'm back home and I am champing at the bit to get into the studio and have some creative fun with all the great inspiration I've absorbed, BUT I don't want to isolate myself too much. Somehow I want to find a balance between doing enough creative work to feel satisfied, achieving some goals, and still getting enough of all those other good things that I discovered make me happy. It's going to be tricky, but the good thing is that I do have the freedom to make adjustments as I see fit. I just need to stay aware enough to see what is needed. Wish me luck!
|Studio: looking back the other way|
*By active activity, I mean something that I have to engage with - intellectually and emotionally (not physically of course) in contrast to passive activity - like watching TV or surfing (the internet, that is!)