Taking A Breather

It’s the end of December 2022 and I’m taking a pit-stop on the marathon I’ve been running since March 2019, when a pandemic hit and turned the world on its head.

Since that time, I have built up an online teaching business, (using my years of studio teaching as a springboard), sold my home and moved myself, lock, stock and barrel to Kwazulu-Natal, a province that does not feel like a natural fit for me, but one that is closer to my family. It was a pragmatic move, based on my age, the fading light of Grahamstown and the feeling that my work there was done. It was a sensible move, one that would hopefully make my son less anxious about me living so far out of the way. It was also a move inspired by my desire to see more of my children, grand-children and siblings before I am carried away in the wind. The decision was also largely prompted by my desire for a new challenge, to bring my years of creative experience together in the form of healing art retreats in the beautiful Kwazulu-Natal Midlands.

So, I made the big step, I stuffed my life’s possessions into a warehouse in Howick and myself into a small cottage in Curry’s Post. I invaded my brother’s space and have had to re-learn how to co-habit, something that I gave up on 23 years ago. Many of my things are still in boxes, which are stacked up around my bed, under cupboards and any other corner that will have them. It has been chaotic, difficult, challenging to say the least, but it has also been invigorating and exciting living on the edge of this crazy, scary precipice that I have forced myself onto.

There is no turning back and only one way out of this unsustainable situation, so I have taken the plunge, have bought a piece of land in one of the most beautiful parts of the Midlands and am doing what I never thought I could do…building myself a home and a new studio, on a limited budget at a time when building costs are soaring and the world in general and the country in particular, are feeling more politically, psychologically and economically unstable than they ever have before. But I am doing it, regardless of the madness. I am reaching for my dream on the other side of the canyon and though I might be feeling like I am dangling over dizzy heights, and the darkness of the chasm below me is terrifying, I am keeping my eyes upward and forward towards the light and the view on the other side. There is no other way but to focus on the dream, believe in myself and the life I know I can create. 

The site for my new home and art studio at Old Halliwell Park

As I look towards 2023, I know that it’s going to be another busy year and that the going could get rocky, but I am bracing myself and taking things one step at a time. I am enjoying the process, as stressful as it might be and am visualizing the day when I can sit on the veranda of my new home and watch the horses grazing in the fields beyond. I am just so grateful to all those who have reached out to steady me as I traverse the divide between what was and what is to come.

Before I get up to continue my journey, I remind myself to be kind to myself, not to judge myself too harshly, for it’s not surprising that I am feeling a little all over the place. As I pause in this moment of reflection, I remind myself to breathe in, exhale and remember to breathe again. It will all work out. I can feel it.

Categories: Background, Drawing, Fibre Art, Inspiration, Landscapes, My Studio, Uncategorized, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Taking A Breather

  1. Heather Rader

    Sounds exciting, the midlands is lovely, we miss you in the Eastern Cape, I am sure you will build a fantastic house and studio to create more brilliant work.

    • Thanks so much Heather. I really miss you all too, but have such happy memories to sustain me. I’ll keep you updated in future posts on the progress of the build.

  2. Hilary

    Sal – I have followed your path virtually and congratulations on your new venture! I empathise with you completely. We moved fulltime to the USA in 2018, started selling cars in 2019, escaped from a return visit there on the last flight out of CT in 2020, listed our family home of 50 years in Knysna for sale, sold in 2022 and spent an exhausting ( physically and emotionally), emptying it early 2022. All of this was done for “sensible” reasons – no regrets – however our 12 years in Grahamstown, it remains my heart place, faded now due to collapse and many friends having moved away. Many friends remain too❤️

    I have just completed a year of home renovations here and am drained but starting to look forwards. That’s what we do – with lots of self-care! A good friend here said that my “new” home is my cultural integration moment. It makes sense as I have incorporated my treasures from my SA cultural inheritance, into a home alive with colour and a sense of “me”. May your project be creative at every level and bring your soul peace🦏🫶🏻

    • It’s so good to hear from you again Hilary. Having read your story, I’m not surprised that neither of us has had much time to communicate, but well done on making the big step to the USA. I can imagine how hard it was for you to leave your beautiful Knysna home, with all its treasures and memories. I know that you will have made your new home beautiful and comfortable, as only you can. I wish you were here to guide me in my architectural endeavours! A little Hilary touch would make the world of difference. Anyway, I am delighted to hear that you have been following me from afar and if you stay tuned, I will keep you updated on my progress through this somewhat overwhelming process. Any tips on how to survive it would be most appreciated. Take care and best wishes for a relaxed and peaceful 2023. xx

  3. You continue to be a real inspiration, Sal. I have not the slightest doubt that you will make a monumental success not just of 2023 but of the whole of the rest of your hugely creative life. Go for it!

  4. Sue Hobbs

    You are amazing my friend from long ago. The intrepid traveller. Go well and peacefully into 2023. Xxxx

  5. Bonnie Chalmers

    Sally, I know you have what it takes to make a success of this new adventure! I look forward to your posts every time and am forever grateful that Valerie introduced you into my life. I feel so enriched by your presence.

    • Thank you Bonnie. Words like yours are the treasures I will take with me on this journey. Stay tuned for lots more updates and I will see you on the other side

  6. Joanna Griffin

    You amaze and challenge my vision, always. A whole new world awaits and how brave and authentically you embrace the vision. Best to you and can’t wait to see your new digs! 💕xo Joanna

    • Thanks so much Joanna. It’s great to have you along for the ride, even if from afar. Thanks for your constant enthusiasm and support. It means a lot to me. xx

  7. Annette

    Focusing on the light like only you can Sally . It is going to be great .

    • Thank you, Annette! It’s so good to be living closer to you and Sue and I look forward to many fun light-filled days spent in your creative company xx

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