This year has been unusual for me. It's the first year I've ever had to revolve around stability. Where I remained dedicated and consistent.
Consistent in my art.
Consistent in my work.
Consistent in where I live (which may sound weird...but I have I hard time staying put).
Consistent in the way I show up for life.
This has never been a strong suite of mine, which is why this year felt so powerful and personally transformative.
Prior to 2018 my life typically looked like trying a million different things and heading off in a million different directions. Exploratory, expansive and fun, yes, but lacking in patience, dedication and building anything that felt real.
This year, that changed.
While I did do some fun exploring (Canada! Joshua Tree! Big Sur! And, as always, Yosemite!) 2018 was really about finding solid ground after so many years of flailing.
While maybe less "exciting" on the surface this was actually quite healing.
Staying committed to a single direction forced me find freedom by going deeper, rather than pull away or look for the next shiny object. To make peace with the day to day and find myself there. To learn about what it means to commit. And to stay present THROUGH the challenges.
That's not to say I flail this year. Oh, flail I did.
But, I didn't flee. Even when it meant facing down some pretty big fears.
There's a deep satisfaction in that. And I can feel a newfound confidence in myself knowing that I can see things through.
Rewarding as it is to be sitting here now at the end of the year, feeling how much I've grown through it all, I can say for sure that that growth came by way of some big challenges. The main ones were...
Failure. I ran a lot of programs and workshops this year. I also released a solid amount of new work.
All new to me. All risky and scary and vulnerable.
Business-wise, a lot of that did wonderfully! Also business-wise, some of it did not.
I was technically in full biz swing in October of 2017, but I consider 2018 my first real year in business. I'm not going to sugar coat it for you, it was scary as heck at times. I did a lot of flying by the seat of my pants, overworking, stressing out and throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what might stick.
Most of it was incredibly rewarding. I did SO many things I loved and had some amazing successes (the connections made with many of you make the top of my list). But the things that felt like "failures" in the moment hurt. And when they happened, I was called to face some DEEP aches and pains.
But those moments are also what led me to find the things I know I'll need for the rest of the ride:
Real-deal strength. Resilience. Belief in my path. Self-kindness. And trust in the universe.
Also, the importance of planning. And financially strategizing. And back-up planning :)
Facing loneliness. All at once, my two best friends (separately) moved away. One of whom I hadn't lived apart from since childhood (meaning-- ever). I found myself, for the first time, feeling very alone.
It's not so art and biz related so it may be a bit tangental here, but truly, this was a big. Being without close friends nearby and looking for new connections as an adult is...hard and weird? It's a strange thing to even write about. Isolation and loneliness feel a bit taboo in a way. So for those who have experienced/are experiencing this--I want you to know that you're not alone. I more people are going through this than we all might think.
Like all hard things, this ended up being a portal for healing. To go into my own feelings of separateness. To learn about the ways in which I've isolated myself over the years (hey, shadow side of working alone behind your canvas or laptop!). To integrate openness and vulnerability and say yes to doing new things that I may have said no to in the past.
Along with being consistent and committed this year, this experience was right up there in terms of helping me find footing in the world and a true home within myself.
Having gone through it, my heart feels much more open somehow.
I also consider the year's challenges its greatest gifts. Truly, if you asked me what the best things of 2018 were I would say the takeaways from the things above.
But my ultimate highlight of 2018?
The shift I made within in my art.
Consistently showing up to create in the face of the dull, uncomfortable, inspiring, tired, joyful and everything in between led me to some serious breakthroughs in my work.
Also big contributing factors: honestly evaluating my work and checking in with myself every so often to ask, "Am I painting who I really am? Am I digging as deep as possible? Am I bringing all of myself to the table? How can I do it more?"
I've had many growth spurts in my practice over the years, but this year felt...significant. I feel like I've worked my way into something deep and vast that I'm really proud of. That feels 100% me. That has opened up and whole new world and years of exploration to come.
After so many countless days in the studio with a commitment to bring truest self to the canvas, being here now feels so...rewarding.
Making art is a fluid journey and I know I have many shifts and cycles to come (blocks and frustrations included), but I'm in deep appreciation for this moment.
And I feel so excited for where I might go from here.
Between the growth and solidity in myself, and the pride and alignment that I feel in my practice-- I feel like a completely different person than who I was at the start of the year.
So much can change in a year. So much can shift by simply being there for yourself, day in and day out. Even when it doesn't feel like it in the moment. Even when it's really hard. Those small steps you're taking, the day to day work you're doing-- it's adding up to something big.
That's the knowing that I bring to you having come out the other side of this wild, challenging, beautiful, steady journey of a year.
I hope you can know it, too.
I am so looking forward what 2019 might bring and I'm wishing you a beautiful closing to this year. If you want to reflect and process all that's gone on for you this year, I invite you to check out Integrating 2018 here. It's a free guide :)
All my love, Devon
P.S. I love bulleted lists. So here are some other quick highlights from 2018 (in no particular order):
Going to Canada for Soul Art Day and meeting one of my role models, Laura Hollick (and spending time with three other magical women!)
Getting serious about my health. I've gone through many cycles on my health journey, but really renewed my commitment in August. This changed everything. Hello, hot yoga, confidence, embodiment, weights, Bulletproof eating and feeling really good. Summer 2019, I'm coming for ya.
Going to ecstatic dance for the first time. Holy invigorating. And dancing my butt off at a couple other shows, too. I love dancing. It's a health requirement.
Doing my first solo trip to Big Sur and Carmel. The most healing, heart-opening and straight beautiful four days I've ever spent.
Participating in the Made in California group exhibition at Brea Gallery. There was so much inspiring work there and it was such a feel-good experience.
Moving into my new art studio!! This changed EVERYTHING for my work and I think is highly responsible for the shift I made. The light and bright and white...it's so swoon-worthy. And I REALLY appreciate it after working out of a low-ceiling apartment and a dingy garage for years.
My time spent in the mountains and Yosemite with my best friend. Pure medicine-- every time.