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Openness and Connection: A life update post 2018

Openness and Connection: A life update post 2018

Openness and Connection: A life update post 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on my personal website. Over 6 months kind of a while. It’s been much longer since I’ve sat down to write about my own life rather than things work related. At the butt end of 2018, felt a little disconnected from many people around me; I lost touch with some friends and seem to have closed the year in somewhat of an introvert / antisocial kind of mood which I’m trying to convince myself is ok. It’s been a full-on year life-wise and I have not really made time to pursue connections further than my closest, which I have mixed feelings about.

Starting this new year, I’d like to invite in a little more connection and openness, especially because I feel this creates space for understanding, empathy and a sense of shared experience about what is real and important. I often feel that the short bursts of social media do not create adequate space for some calm reflection and so I’m choosing to pick up my virtual pen here again for a little sharing in what seems more like my own space that is also open for others to join into.

This past year feels like one full of important life markers that I will hopefully look back on as beautiful and important points in my life, ones that somehow bring together many things that have been building in me over the last few years. I’ve been through a good few years of deep metamorphosis, so much so that I can hardly recognise myself when I see pictures of me dating back 10 or so years ago. Yet I know I am very much the same person, just a much lighter, freer and more confident version. I am very grateful to be here and hope that I might think similar things of myself in another 10 years or so. Growing older has so far brought a sense of distillation and finding my essence that I hope to continue to build on. Here’s a little update on what has been going on over the past year.

Work

It’s now been my first full year of working as The Amber Spark rather than as Greta the freelancer as I did for quite some years. I had been feeling a wish to create some kind of work-related structure for at least a year before I serendipitously found Niels and Flo and together with Jo decided we had the right combination of chemistry, complimentary skills and shared values in place to join forces. As four very different individuals, our journey together has been very much centred around learning how to communicate clearly, trust fully, commit to sharing time and resources, appreciate and understand the strengths of differing points of view.

I am very, very proud of the work that we did over 2018 and feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to so many beautiful and worthwhile projects. Beyond the work itself though, I am extremely proud and grateful for the opportunity for sincere and supported self development that we have created for each other. We are consistently checking in with ourselves about what feels important, necessary and honest, making work an integral part of who we are as human beings and what we want to create and contribute to. This has caused a few tacks in our direction and means we might plan ahead but understand that things often change and equip ourselves to move with that. I really hope we can continue to explore and build on these foundations.

In related news, Jo and I have set up a Malta based studio as part of the FoAM  network. Foam Filfla, as we chose to name it, is a holding space for collaborations with the rest of the network as well as our own projects and experiments around circularity which cross boundaries of art, science and life. More about what the network has been up to lately here.

Love and new life

Milestone-wise, one can say that it’s been quite the year on the love front. The summary I guess is that I got divorced, pregnant and engaged (sounds a little like a dial phone), which sounds rather eventful when you look at it together. If I had to tell 25-year old me that in 10 years’ time I’d be here, I would have laughed it off as some kind of derailed fiction.

How could the married, house-owning, settled, corporate career-driven version of myself have gone through so much change? And yet I have and am eternally grateful for every moment of it. I am so grateful for all the love, the harsh experiences, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the connections, the heartbreaks, the thrills, the quiet moments. All of it has shown me parts of myself that have led to a current sense of connection, partnership and freedom that I have not experienced before. I recognise that I have caused pain along the way through my lack of knowledge of myself and my inability to show up with all parts of me. I hope that in this relationship I hold the tools to embrace (what I know of) my full self as I continue to learn about and to piece together who I am.

My partner Jo has held space for me to do this from the first moment we met each other, holding a sense of intrigue and curiosity above all fear and insecurity, encouraging me to explore myself and life. I feel very privileged to have this and hope I will never take it for granted. Having this makes me want to commit to this connection and relationship, to make space and time for it whatever is going on with my life, to allow my failures to be seen and acknowledged as steps towards more understanding and depth.

Making friends with the unknown

Which of course brings me to approaching motherhood. I am now over 7 months pregnant and as I feel this little being move around inside my belly (which I still marvel at every time it happens), I am very much aware of how much unknown this experience brings. I’ve not even popped the child out yet but just the thought of what the next 20-odd years might be like is just mind-blowing. Will I be a good mother? Will I manage to keep the beautiful connection I have with Jo over the years? Will I be able to work and be a parent? Where and how will we live? What models of behaviour will I practice? What will our child look like, sound like, feel like? What will birth be like? Will everything turn out ok? The questions are endless and come with a new sense of urgency these past few weeks.

Yet I can do little but breathe and try my best to take care of myself.

Thankfully, these past few years have been a great training ground for making friends with the unknown. Travel, moving houses, separation, freelancing and more have given me tools for sitting with my own fear of change and having conversations with it rather than letting it take over. Having also seen the rewards of embracing the unknown, I also approach it with curiosity and intrigue, wondering what’s in store and looking forward to the experience.

May this new year bring gentle and joyful gifts to all of us.

Photo by the very lovely Jo.

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