Photo taken by: Amy Ossola featured in Volume IV of Lola Ziggy
Reflecting back on the tumultuous year that was twenty twenty, I succinctly sum it up in three words; pressed, not crushed. For the majority of us, the global pandemic has sought to back us into a corner and coming into this new year, the end doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. Whilst the world is still fraudulent with impending doom and gloom, to choose to stand upon an unshakeable hope becomes a weapon of war against that which seeks to set fear in our hearts.
Personally, the past few months have been quite a whirlwind of goodness and glory, sidled along many moments of feeling overcome with anxious thoughts and sleepless nights. I finally released the most momentous project I have every yet undertaken- the release of volume IV of Lola Ziggy (you can purchase your copy in the shop part of this website: https://www.lolaziggy.com/shop) and organising the accompanying launches over two weekends to celebrate and feast with beloved friends. In the midst of it all, I was commissioned to design and take photos for a poetry book about women learning to bear life, written by a dear friend Anna McGahan and Illustrated by Lauren Horton. (Shameless plug here: https://www.annamcgahan.com/product/skin) I felt continuously poured out. How imperative it is to seek solitary time, to be still and find respite. It is not in my nature to do things half-hearted, be it in my relationships or creativity, the capacity to give I pray will only ever increase. Those who know me can attest that I am one to be ALL in or nothing. I was of course so thrilled (and equally terrified) when Anna approached me to visually bring her book to life. The heartbeat of Lola is all about collaboration, so it truly was a dream come true. I welcomed the challenge of aiming to complete the books and launch before the end of the year- and by the absolute and undeniable Grace of God, I did. I am also forever indebted to the support of the community around me who helped to bring the vision of Lola to life. Every kind word laced in encouragement, every book that has thus far been sold, is more than I could ever dreamed or hoped for. Now that Lola is far flung into the world, into precious hearts and hands who will find home within her pages, I am joyously expectant for what is next. I also hold with that expectancy a fear of the unknown, as not anyone of us can ascertain what is next, but one thing I do know is that I will defiantly hold onto hope in spite of what circumstances may bring. Hope; as sure as the sun that rises at dawn and the moon that shines forth light into every night. I summed up this year in three words; pressed, not crushed as the imagery the words invoked for me is that of a flower being pressed. To behold a flower in all her magnificence is something that I am yet to ever tire of, and the sweet fragrance that a flower gifts us by being pressed is one of the greatest delights of my life. I have been dubbed ‘The Oil Lady’ as I am known for leaving an aroma of flowers everywhere I go by the scent of essential oils I religiously wear. I thought more so about the process of how these precious oils are extracted, especially that of particular flowers such as the rose that have to be meticulously pressed and handled (if it is crushed, the scent dies quickly) and go through a strenuous process to extract it’s essence to be preserved for years to come. The language of flowers as it pertains to life, is that every year has its tremendous blows and glorious mountain peaks and everything else un between. We can allow the fearsome worries of this life to crush us, or we can allow the pressing and pulling— to the point where we think we aren’t able to handle anymore, to continue and keep on (pressing on). It is at the highest point of pressure that we find the refining fire has wrought in us the sweetest aroma of kindness and compassion towards others and ourselves, a discovery of strength within our inner-being that overcomes and defies all the evils of hell, and a surrender of our self-sufficiency that if we so allow it, gently leads us into the arms of our Creator where we find we are always lovingly embraced.
I penned this little poem below off the back of arriving to my hometown of Sydney for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, only having to forcibly leave a mere twelve hours later (due to borders closing because of another outbreak) Words don't always come to me well formed, they arrive blistering and blazing in the midst of heartache and joyful glee, always helping to foster my heart towards hope in moments of pressing (and what can feel like crushing) and I pray, yours too.
throughout every shifting season,
that will inevitably arise,
may we, above all else
continue to sow—
for I may not see,
but I know—
this is the place where the seed of faith grows.
and in love,
a slideshow of life as of late in picture form below;