Is work your labor of love?
Sometimes the work you do is in fact your labor of love. At other times it is not. Think about how many of us balance important core work and side projects. Some people believe their side hustle is their labor of love. And, there are some like me, that start working on a truly meaningful and satisfying side project that is personal and allows for the development of new or hidden skills that were never imagined before. It serves an emotional need and became a labor of love.
It was all about doing something that supported my personal healing journey after the loss of our family dog, a sweet and gentle Labradoodle named Nona. She was my soulmate puppy and we got her as a ball of fluff at 12 weeks old. When she passed away last year, it was crushing. I know those who have had relationships like this with their dogs too. I now understand how deeply difficult this is.
As part of my own healing from her loss, I started writing a journal about my time with Nona. She was my best friend and office mate and we did everything together. She bonded with everyone in our family, especially our son, my husband and even our neighbors and the folks at the coffee shop. I started the journal a few months after her passing and also created a ritual of a weekly candle lighting to honor her memory and celebrate the time we had together.
For those of you that know me, this journal writing might surprise you. Although as it relates to writing, I am a journal fan from way back.
This writing transformed into an illustrated book that I wanted to share with others who might be going through the same thing. It has to be the right time for you to feel like writing in a journal or sharing your thoughts about a pet you have lost. I know this is personal and different for everyone.
This project took on a life of its own and my son, who is a writer, photographer and artist encouraged me to do the illustrations for this book. I have to admit, this was an entirely new adventure. I was quite intimidated at first but he said, "just start mom." I love the simplicity of that. I always loved paper, and collected unique kinds of paper that had fascinating designs like chocolate wrappers, labels from wine, wrapping paper or vintage postcards. So, it seemed logical to start with collage.
Each composition emerged by referencing the written prompts, and just as they inspired me, I hope that they give each journal owner a chance to respond by writing, drawing an image or attaching a photo. For example, prompts included were "my favorite things we did together", or "this reminds me of you", or "foods we shared."
I would say this was definitely a labor of love and it's my sincerest wish that others out there can find meaning in difficult times by journaling and other simple acts of creativity.
Self-published at Blurb you can learn more, preview and purchase the book here.