Day #3650.

art class in perth

As I write this, we are hurtling toward the 5.2 millionth minute of the last decade.

It’s been a decade indeed. Have you looked back? What happened at the beginning, way back in 2010? What were you doing? What was it like for you?

For me – 2010 was the year that changed my life forever.

Let’s see… 2010 was the year birds entered my paintings, in honour of my lovely late mother-in-law, Kathleen. When she was alive, Kathleen used to refer to those strange “squiggly things” in my (very abstract) paintings 🙂 Kathleen was a bird-lover. So, after she died, I dedicated an exhibition to her, and placed recognisable bird shapes in my paintings in remembrance of her – and there they’ve stayed ever since!

2010 was also the year I held not one, but three art exhibitions.

And the year my husband Greg was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

Birds, Shows, Cancer. 2010 was a Big Year.

The nine years that followed have probably shaped my life more than any other period.  Greg’s cancer journey took up the first half. Then I lost him about halfway through the decade, and with him went a Great Big chunk of me.

So I spent the second half of the decade finding my way back to myself.

The last three thousand six hundred and fifty days (ten years) have been about family love and deep friendships. I have been the recipient of more kindness than I ever imagined possible.

I also made some awful, misguided choices, forming relationships that just weren’t good for anyone, including, just this year, a business partnership that ultimately went terribly wrong … But over the decade, I built a business and an identity not just an artist, but also a writer and teacher, and surprised myself by managing to ride the stormy economic times without going under.

And scanning those 3650 days (in completely mixed up order), a bunch of other things stand out …

I cried rivers of tears over Greg’s death. I learned how to live on my own, learned I’m never EVER alone, and experienced mysterious and sometimes downright bizarre evidence of this.

I sold the family home, moved house four times, bought a house, built a studio, and lost a beloved pet.

I rescued a dog, who rescued me right back. My lovely mummy died. I witnessed my beautiful daughter, Mary, turn into a grown up wonderful human, sprout wings and fly away.

I kept singing. To explain – Greg and I met through music, and for a long time, we sang together on stage as a duo, and then staged large productions dedicated to the upliftment of the human condition through music. It was Greg’s passion and his art, and together with Greg’s oldest daughter Rachel, we’ve kept his beautiful New Era Baha’i Choir strong and alive.

And Rachel has very cleverly made several children (we’re up to four at last count) so I have Greg’s legacy alive and laughing all around me, not just in his music, but in his wonderful grandchildren.

I’ve travelled a great deal this decade. Across Australia to teach workshops, across the world to pursue awe and wonder. The Grand Canyon, The Bahamas, the snowy mountains of Australia, New York, London, Bali, Israel, Lake Como, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Hawai’i, Switzerland… the world is so, so magnificent, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to use its beauty to soothe and heal the broken, pointy shards of my soul.

(But also – thank you Netflix and chocolate. You, and my sofa, are amongst my most treasured friends).

The second half of this decade was enriched by the guidance of skilled coaches and mentors … the most notable of which is Your Year of Miracles, led my Marci Schimoff (author of Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul) and her team. They equipped me tools and strategies that profoundly helped me change the way I look at things. For the last four years, I have re-enrolled in this amazing year-long programme. (I’ve never been that consistent about ANYTHING before since I left Uni!) I’ve learned more and more about deepening and amplifying the everyday miracles around me. (They are opening now for enrolment in 2020, and their free e-book, The 4 Biggest Mistakes that keep you from Living Your Miraculous Life is definitely worth a read.)

It’s also been a decade of seven solo exhibitions, and hundreds (actually approaching two thousand) students in my live workshops, who have filled my life with friendships, joy and hope, and shown me, over and over again, the transformative, sacred, mysterious, life-saving power of the Creative Force within us.

The world is beautiful.

And I’m very aware that I’m one of the incredibly lucky humans to have been gifted, with little effort on my part, with flushing toilets, fresh air, good friends, the ability to walk unaided, to read and to write. I own my own house, which sits perched over a magnificent forest of fragrant eucalypts. I make art for a living. I have the rare and precious bounty to have built my own studio next to my house – a beautiful space of peace and possibility for all who enter.

But at this very moment, there are countless global crises vying for our attention. Six hundred and sixty three million people live without clean water. Fires rage across huge swathes of Australia. A dear friend is struggling to care for an ailing father, whose mind and body are ravaged by a cruel disease.

The world is also painful and ugly and difficult. For all of us, some of the time.

We can get swept away by the struggle, and lose our fortitude, our patience, our faith. We have to find ways to acquire and hang on to equanimity and peace. I know this is not easy. I am deeply grateful to have found, in all the forms of my creative practice, a beacon of light to help me find that equanimity … to help me connect to the Sacred within.

Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, things you look at change.”  I often suggest to my students that turning a painting upside down is a great way to break through a creative impasse. Sometimes, we have to look at things upside down to break through life’s impasses. To find the colour, texture, joy, delight and miracles in our journey, no matter what is actually happening in our lives.

As the decade enters its final minutes, I sit with a full heart, surrounded by the sounds of the forest. Australian forests are noisy, and my backyard is alive with chirping, cooing, whistling and other unidentifiable animal sounds. Kookaburras erupt into laughter regularly, inviting me to join them.

And suddenly, it all becomes very simple. Let’s invite as much laughter, good coffee and good friends into our lives in this new decade. Let’s deepen our sacred practices and share as much love and kindness as we can.

Thank you for sharing this space with me – whether it’s been for ten years or ten minutes, it’s an honour to be allowed into your world. Happy New Decade, my friends!

“You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
-Martin Luther King

www.maliniparker.com

 

 

 

Comments 43

    1. Post
      Author

      Awww, what a beautiful thing to say, Shanths. Thank you for reading it, and being such a vital part of my decade (and life).

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      Happy New Decade to you, Suzanne! I’m grateful to you for your kind words and your support all these years, even though we live separated by continents and oceans and we’ve never actually met! Much love and joy to you xxx

  1. Laughter, love and coffee. What more does one need. Ok perhaps a canvas or two. Wishing you all things wonderful in 2020 and in life’s journey ahead.

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      Author

      Indeed! The “coffee” bit was inspired, I reckon :)!! Thank you so much Vicki, and all the wonderful wishes to you too, always. xxx

  2. How can one not be blown away by your uplifting story! Yes tears come, but fo rme they are tears of joy for you to continue to be just who you are, a saving grace in many lives. Now I’m not as creative artistically as you, but I do love the creations (mostly baby blankets) I make and pass, willingly, on to anyone who wants/needs/can do with them. Your friendship and ‘stories’ make me breathe lighter and fuller for the person I wish to become even though much older than you. You make light for those in darkness. Thank you for being there, dear Malini.

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      oh my, Robin, my heart is alight with these undeserved words of love. Thank you so much. YOU are an inspiration to ME. (and so far, all I’ve ever managed to knit is one scarf, exactly 33 years ago!!) I’m so grateful for your support and kindness. Much love and happy new decade! xxx

  3. I’m so honoured to be counted as one of your friends (I think?!)
    Oh to be given the status on the same level as a couch
    I’m truly flattened… I mean flattered

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      HAHAHAHA!!! Simon, I love you MORE than both my leather sofas AND my wooden carved Javanese bench – and that’s saying A LOT! 38 years is a long friendship… and much time to be flattened 🙂 Thank you buddy! You’re a bit of a light in my life!

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      Thank you my friend! Can you imagine, it’s been 8 years since we met (without actually ever meeting!!) Your posts still continue to teach and inspire me, and I too am glad to have met a fellow traveller on this strange journey … x

  4. Don’t know how you do it Mal, this blog about your reactions & insights to this decade as it closes .. Speak volumes to my experience of it & somehow gives me strength & wise counsel moving forward. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to your cotton socks

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      Thank you BonBon!! My socks are now bamboo, not cotton, but I’m touched and humbled by your words. I appreciate your support and friendship.

  5. I only met you over one weekend workshop, which I thoroughly enjoyed, many years ago, but I have continued to read your emails over the years. To say you are a remarkable woman is an understatement. Wishing you much joy and light for the next decade and beyond xx.

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      Oh my, Francine, how kind of you. I’m very grateful to have stayed in your inbox, that in precious space, and your generous words are precious to me. I wish you a fulfilling and beautiful decade too, with love x

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  6. As always your words are uplifting, thought provoking, humorous and honest with a tinge of sadness. Thanks for sharing and being such a special friend.

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      Author

      Hello dear friend, thank you for being here and for uplifting so many of my classes with your special light as well as my life with your friendship! xxx

  7. Thank you for sharing your decade journey Malini. A dear friend forwarded this to me and I really related to your warmth, sincerity and the creative inspiration of your journey.
    Alla’h-u’- Abha’ dear friend, wishing you much love, peace and joy for the coming decade.

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  8. Wow, what a great read on this first day of the decade.
    Inspired to get out there and get on with it. Meet soon at a beginner class!!
    Its early – coffee or chocolate? Hmmm, why not both!

    Thank you for sharing

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  9. Malini I read your story ; such an inspiring decade history of your life. God bless your creativity, bless all your works.

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  10. All the best for the NEW YEAR, your art and what you write is always Inspiring and I always seem to find peace, thank you, one day I might get the chance to come for one of your art classes.

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      I would love to have you! Thank you so much for reading my words and for your kind response. Happy 2020 and beyond!

  11. Such a beautiful, heart-touching sharing of this last decade in your life! Thank you for sharing your heart and soul in such a profound way, Malini! You are both an artist and explorer of life. So much deep appreciation and love coming your way!

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      I am honoured by your words, Suzanne. Thank you for helping to keep me sane and grounded over the rocky bits of recent years!

  12. Thank you for sharing your decade’s worth of experiences with such warmth and candour. Inspires me to be more introspective for God knows I’m a lazy thinker. Cheers to coffee and chocolate. Best wishes for 2020 and beyond.

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      Haha!! I’m just lazy all round (remember – my bffs are my sofa and chocolate!!) I appreciate you stopping by, Vimla, and I hope that this little recollection of mine will inspire you to remember all the touchpoints of your last decade. All the best x

  13. Dear Malini, you are so so beautiful and your words melt my heart. We met before the beginning of that last decade and 2010 was the year my precious Princess Ladybird flew away and since then four more of my loved ones have joined her., including my beautiful Mum and Dad. Your experiences resonate with mine and I thank you for sharing your uplifting joy of life and moving forward. This new decade is going to be an inspirational journey for all who grab it with all their strength and gusto, my art is my saviour and I am thankful to you for reminding me to see our beautiful world and be greatfull. ❤️

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      Julia dear, you honour me deeply by your words and presence. I am so very sorry for all the losses you’ve suffered. And I can barely believe you’ve stayed on my list for ten years, since that first art class in my backyard, when your heart was so raw with the loss of your little ladybird. Thank you so much. May we all “grab the next decade with strength and gusto”!x

  14. Dear Malani, I have just read your compassionate and inspiring words. You have achieved so much over the last decade. Congratulations on your growth and the understanding of life. All the best for the future

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      Oh my, Heather. That’s rather overwhelmingly kind of you. Thank you for reading my stories and your support all these years. Much love to you always.

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