June- July 2023

I am so appreciative of the kind feedback received on my daily travel sketches during our European adventure. I have had many people ask me how I decided on this expression and if you also wondered, here is a condensed (I’ll try!) explanation of how this came about. 

Beginning of 2022, wanting to be more present and less anxious, I did a mindfulness course. The teachings and techniques were incredibly helpful to force me to deliberately “slow down” and as our coach explained (in laymen’s terms): “through these practices we are rewiring our brains to respond and not react – literally creating a pause”. At the same time I pursued a self exploration journey with a coach and completed my Enneagram & Strengthfinder assessments. These findings and wisdoms helped me so much to understand myself and my (good & not so good!) actions and reactions better. As part of this journey, I started journaling which soon lead to doodling and before I knew it, (very basic!) water painting. This was totally unexpected. I never sketched or painted in my life. But, somehow, this was what was so great about it – there were no expectations and I really managed to, in these moments, to totally get “out of my head”. 

When 2022 started, I did not know how much I will need what I have learnt and it became a saving grace when our son was diagnosed with Aspergers, a close friend ánd my dad passed away less than 2 months apart, and I had to have a hysterectomy a month later. Although these things were taking its toll emotionally, it was “chin up and carry on” to get through our busy season. But, I was seeing and feeling the signs in my body, life and key relationships and I knew “something’s gotta give”.

Fast forward to 2023 and the huge decision we made in February to pause our Cooking experiences until further notice. At the time we presented 4 classes a week and about 120 a year (and caterings almost every weekend). We LOVED every moment of it and built wonderful relationships over the years. Although all those mindful practises helped me cope with the pace we were keeping up, I needed to “do more than cope”, I needed to be 100% available and present to our son and our family. When chatting to a friend about my worries surrounding the situation, he said that it seemed to him that “the fear of stopping was more than the fear of carrying on”. This realisation was a key turning point for me. Although it was a tough and sad decision, it was the only one we could make in the moment. The catering side of the business would continue as normal and I would be able to help a little more with that, explore other creative projects and most importantly, have more time (and presence of mind!) for Ben-Daniël. Looking back, this was the best decision I could have ever made, for all the right reasons. But, let’s stick to the painting story…

Six months later and 6 art classes under the belt, my “painting meditations” have become such a wonderful part of my life. So when the travels came up, I thought it would be a great way to challenge myself to do a daily sketch and “keep my cool and lean into the relaxation” during the holidays when we tend to neglect our daily practices. And what a joy it was. The commitment was to paint a daily photograph of  a moment, a place, a memory, a meal – something I wanted to remember. I loved every minute, and sharing it with our online community was really me “keeping the promise to myself” and getting out of comfort zone. So, thank you again for following along!

Going into the second half of the year I hope to carry the peaceful PAUSE within me, no matter what storms or adventures may approach. It seems my motto have become: “a brushstroke a day will keep the anxiousness at bay!” and I am rolling with that! 😉

Reinée x