2021 Reflections

What a year.
How are you holding up?

A few things have helped get me through.
First, foremost and always; my cat Shadow.
Without him I would be lost.

Secondly, my 365 journal that I began January 1st 2021. My Page a Day as I call it. It has been the most solid and consistent wellbeing practice I have maintained in my life. It hasn’t been easy, especially on days when I’ve been sick, or when things have been flowing really well. But it has been my a space to call my own, a safe space to jot down thoughts, to do lists, celebrate achievements, whinge about my frustrations…

The blank pages with large numbers in the top corner of my 365 journal have been an interesting experience. It allowed absolute creative freedom, but initially was daunting and as the year progressed I found it was also hard to maintain clarity of some of the entries. So, for 2022 I am moving to a dot journal. Dotted paper has always intrigued me, and I love how they aren’t a hard feature like lined/ruled pages, but allow you to connect the dots (pun intended) to create all sorts of structure. The dotted journal I am going to be using is an A5 Francheville Notebook that has a textured soft cover and 192 dotted pages. I chose a dusky blue cover one for 2022 because blue is my favourite colour. My 365 journal is a light grey with large soft coloured circles on it in pink, blue, purple and grey. It barely held together; I just had to tape the spine up to stop it from falling apart, but that is a mark of a journal well used!

If you journal, I’d love to know when you started? Has it been a part of your practice for years? Or like me, a recent addition? Or something that you’re looking to get into?
If journalling isn’t for you, what are the other ways you check in with yourself?

For me journalling has always been a reflective activity, but one that I have only recently made a solid commitment to in 2021 with my page a day journal.

However, for organisation, I have always used a diary, and I use both a digital one for digital alert reminders, and a physical diary to keep track of things. I also always have a wall calendar that lives on a short wall edge where my kitchen/dining/living area goes to the hallway. It’s my “Life Calendar”. It has work things, household things, and other events on it. I’m the person who keeps track of all sorts of events and celebrations, because having things to look forward to is one of the main ways I am able to cope with life.

For 2021, the Life Calendar has featured adorable cats each month and I have absolutely loved it! I’ve shared a few of them on IG. I am a cat person, there’s no denying it and I have loved each picture this year, it’s made checking the calendar a delightful experience, which I think is important.

In the main washroom/toilet room, I also have a calendar on the wall, just as a decoration really, and the theme I always choose is a calendar that features landscapes of places like from around NZ, or places I’d like to visit, or have been to in the past.

The launch of this JustHeathers website in 2021 has had a huge positive impact on my journey!
I know blog posts have been few and far between.
Worse, is that I’ve let down 3 of my first round of guests for the Not Just Heather’s Podcast as I have still got their episodes that I need to get through editing to get them published… I won’t be starting another round of calls with future guests until I have finished what I started and set a more stable foundation.

I had also wanted to get the 10th anniversary episode of Sunshine & PowerCuts posted… but that’s still on my long to-do list.

But despite the challenges of completing creative projects, having this space to share things, that’s not any of the social media apps, and allows me to present the things I share in which ever way I want to, has been a haven to return to.

Thank you so much to my podcast guests for their time! I loved our conversations, thank you for sharing your experiences! And thank you for your forgiveness.
Thank you to those who have read the posts, or listened to the podcast episodes or recordings, or checked out what films I’ve watched and the haphazard updates to the books page!
Thank you to each of the women who have shared their audio samples for the new Women on Mic project, and those who have subscribed to the YouTube channel and shared the samples.
Thank you to those who have reached out and shared your feedback.
And the biggest, deepest heartfelt thanks goes to my patrons! 💖

I have no expectations for this website, it is just the visible part of my creative island.
Phil Rood and I have been discussing this idea of “Creative Islands” throughout 2021 and it has been so refreshing to share thoughts around how we experience creativity but also other interests we have. Phil, you’ve been a lifeline for me this year, and it has meant the world to me!

Having this website has helped me actually see the good things the year has held.

It’s one thing to experience and achieve good things, and quite another to see them, to reflect on them and appreciate them.

And I realise how much of a privilege it is to be able to have and host your own website.
I am extremely grateful I have this opportunity.
There are less expensive and less public resources available, like a notebook and a pen to help record and reflect on your journey.

Discord has been the other major lifeline throughout the past 4 years.
Without the ability to keep in touch with amazing people from around the world, to hear their voices and send messages to and receive them I would have lost the plot.

It’s been a weird experience creating online content. Extremely energising and rewarding! I’ve created some amazing things, made some incredible connections. The ripple effect of how those things have impacted others is still something that blows my mind.
It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much about myself and others.
Then it has amplified the imposter syndrome, and been something that I haven’t been able to commit to when the rest of life takes precedence.

It’s hard work navigating life.

Some of life’s challenges in the past four years have been rough. And I mean prior to the worldwide havoc Covid 19 has brought.
My depression has worsened over the past four years, and I’ve hit some lows that I hadn’t experienced before. Circumstances including the pandemic have exacerbated things, such as crises at work and now supply shortages…

2021 forced me to really find something to hold on to, to keep me from slipping into a deep dark spiral.
I’ve been using any scrap of spare time to work on me – to keep my head above water.
My intention is to create a more solid foundation so that I can shine bright and light up the world.

So here’s to 2022 and living each day with intention.
Heather x