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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht


This week I decided to let go of the Edinburgh studio. It was a tough decision in many ways, as it is the link to the city and wider group of friends and places, possibilities.  There were cost implications and constraints to the amount of time I was able to use it in the present circumstances. Once I made the decision I was at peace and it felt right, but initially it was hard to let go and I kept weighing the reasons for or against.  However, in having decided to give it up, I feel lighter and life has been that bit more simplified.

Closing one door can lead to the opening of another.  

It seems life has been about this lately — learning new boundaries, working within new limitations and moving beyond anything that is closing down.

When doors close, the mind begins to open.

How do we keep our world opening up?  To expand, even in the face of limitation?

There is no doubt that the winter feels a bit daunting just now, with the idea of another potential lockdown and not being able to see family or friends so easily. The things I took for granted suddenly have limits placed on them, and I have to think in new ways.  We all do.  

That’s certainly not a bad thing. And we humans are pretty resilient beings.

In the last months I have had plantar fasciitis.  Oh my.  While a common thing (an issue in the foot and calf muscle), it doesn’t make it any less painful, and it has felt very debilitating at times. My usual walks were not happening, I had to sit and rest a lot of the time, I couldn’t do many of the things I would normally do at the speed in which I would normally do them, simply because I would pay for it afterwards.  Each morning and evening involves stretching exercises with the hope that tomorrow it will have eased up a little bit more. All of this because I was living in my wellies in the first lockdown! Argh…

So now?   No more wellies, and I must take care of my feet a bit better and give them the support they need.  

In this time, I’ve had to choose what I’m able to do and decide to let other things go for a while. Even that can open up other possibilities that I did not realise -- reading more, writing more….

So I’ve closed one door to a studio - not necessarily because I had to, but because I felt it was time to. In doing so, I’m throwing my energy into one less thing, and saving it for something else.  

Expanding, not shrinking.

Rather than seeing limitations or closed doors as our world appears to be shrinking, perhaps it is the way to expansion.

Artist, Jeff Koons, said ‘I always like to believe that my work is about the expansion of the possibilities of the viewer. So if you have a sense of a heightened situation where there's an excitement, a physical excitement and an intellectual stimulation, there's just this sense of expansion.  Because that's where the art happens. Inside the viewer.’

Outer limitations don’t have to cause one to shrink inside. They can lead to greater expansion in many other ways.

“Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.”

G.K. Chesterton

I’m always amazed at how scientists can focus so much on one thing…. one small aspect of the universe like a plant cell…!  While seemingly limited, when explored further, it opens up a wider view into the complexities of nature and all that surrounds us.  It creates an awareness of the bigness of things.

The View

by Kathleen Jamie

For too long I haven’t

glanced at the sea

fully ten minutes!

— horizon shining like a magic key,

a whinny of spume at the cliff foot,

and all the sky’s silences, its dialects…

Now here comes a squall

all dressed in drab

bustling toward the mainland —

a smudge of rainbow

clutched like a shopping bag

in her right hand.

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