Mary Daniel has lived her life as an educator, artist, and traveller.
I say “yes” when opportunities interest me. Learning to say “no” was more difficult, and it took time to be skillful at this!
I was beginning my eighth year as Principal of a diverse large high school- my favourite position of many I had had. I was fulfilled here, part of the vibrant hustle and bustle of the school. At the end of each day, “I felt truly alive!”. Was now the time to forge a new path? I believed it was time to shift, but to where? To what? I had an artist’s studio that was sadly being used as a recycling area, and as I headed off to work each day, I would see this beautiful space I thought of as my sanctuary and ask, when?
“Beginning is the most important part of the work”Plato
Where to start? I said to myself, “take some time – there is no rush.” I wanted to re-imagine myself as a full-time working artist. I would become a learner again and knew this would take focus, dedication, and just plain hard work. I was renewed by challenges, but it was not easy for me to begin. Plato’s advice can also intimidate – what if I failed?
I just had to begin.
I knew, as in many ventures, suspending judgement while exploring the beginning of work was critical. I needed to develop my practice of opening my mind. I said “yes” to the opportunities to apply for international residencies to work alongside artists from around the world, explore cultures and their inspirations, failing and learning, discovering and renewing myself and my practice. At times, I have found this to be close to a state of grace and in a meditative flow and, at times just pure frustrating. I give myself time, let my art rest, contemplate, and know things will shift – I just give it space.
After ten years, I am finding my voice as an artist and know there will be more missteps as well as many joyful occasions in my studio sanctuary.
I like it here.