Alison Boyd Artist

a life creative


I was going to title this with “Greetings From The Bones Of The Year”, but given the year it’s been, collectively, it sounds ominous, morbid, melancholic.

The year that is drawing towards the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (Jesus, that tune has been stuck in my head for months!), is also the decidedly Mayan calendar meme major typo year, and the year of the biological, political and conspiracy theoretical advent calendar of Pandoric proportions.

I’m making this year my ikigai year.

Pandemic aside, this was the year (pre and mid-lull pandemic) that I travelled to more countries than I’d ever been before, I’ve created more art consistently than ever before, I’ve written thousands of words, and it has whittled out some people from my life, brought other people brilliantly to the fore (this can happen in any year, of course, but this time round being solo kind of backlights it), and it has underscored, with a thick permanent marker of gold glitter, my need for independence and freedom, and that I come first in all things.

Understanding my own needs means building up my boundaries. That means letting go of the fluff and gossip of what others think and do and say when gathered in their high school bully packs. It means giving up on trying and trying until sick and exhausted in situations that just won’t change.

In the stepping off of, the letting go of, the giving up on, the surrender to: that’s when things slide into place with a click, and start functioning. Many people have said to me in the past, “If you’re not in alignment with yourself, things won’t work,” but until you go through something big yourself, until you rebel against yourself and wake up to what it is you’re doing, and view it with curiosity rather than with regret or grief or anger or shame, then being told won’t make sense. Sometimes you’ve got to be pressed into something that just won’t fit – repeatedly – before the lesson sets.
Learning the hard way is just learning, and we’re going to be doing that till we kick the bucket.

The last quarter of the year my ikigai kicked in. I began seriously thinking: what do I want for me, just me, to become the whole healing human being experience, so that I can pour back into the world from a place of overflow, rather than depletion.
The image below outlines the concept of Ikigai, and this article and this video explain it in further detail.

While I’ve been creating and working on my inner wholeness, I’ve been actually working, as in, employment, earning money. Who would have thought this year? Prior to that, for too long I’d been facing with angst the fact that I don’t have my jewellery tools to hand, that I’ve been out of the studio for so long that it’d take a monumental effort to get back in the saddle now, worried about designs being sneakily pilfered, the capitalist fuckery of social media algorithms…
That’s because all that stuff is not meant to be. That inner voice just made me tired. I gave up. Went and had a glass of red wine, meditated, watched a movie, and revelled in my solitude. Rinse and repeat.
And just like having a good poop 🙂 the minute I dropped it all, breathed out, turned away, let it go…wouldn’t you know it? Doors to good things opened.
As well as recommencing my ESL teaching, I’ve made (and sold – hurrah!) a ton of artist books and journals, greeting cards and earrings, and now I have a big translation website content job with a local tourism company, which will tide me through the dark winter and perhaps beyond.

Dare i say I? My light in the world has come back on.

I hope you have all found some inspiration, reflection and light in this year, too.

2 comments on “Ikigai

  1. Angela Highstead
    December 28, 2020

    Dear Ali, Always very happy to have the catchup. It would seem whatever life has to teach us we need to be in the position to learn and sometimes we’re not quite ready. But in learning self love, self compassion, self empathy, self kindness that is when we have the “overflow.”
    Folk here keep saying, “When we get back to normal.” I have a feeling there is going to be a ‘New normal’. Covid threat for some has made them see how much junk their lives are filled up with on a physical, mental and emotional level. As the proverb says, “Life is short and time passes so quickly.”
    Lots of love and another big hug. OR air hug whichever is applicable in Italy at the moment. John’s sisters are in London – harsh stage 4 lockdown over Christmas….tough. Angela xxxx


    • AlisonBoydArtist
      December 31, 2020

      It’s been such an interesting year for cleaning out the soul-cupboards and sorting the wheat from the chaff. Air hugs are applicable still here, thanks to the intermittent red, orange and yellow zone!!!
      Hope you guys are staying well and that you’re having a peaceful and relaxing time.
      Big hugs xxx


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This entry was posted on December 28, 2020 by in creativity and tagged , , , , , .


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