Health and Happiness

After spending a month traveling overseas, I’ve come home with fresh perspectives. It feels like a new year, like I should toast champagne and make resolutions — except the Summer sun is shining and I feel like I could actually make those resolutions last. Upon returning from any sized trip, I immediately have an urge to purge my belongings. Likely triggered by spending time in among people who are not as affluent as North Americans, I reevaluate what I need and don’t need. What I’ve missed, what I’ve been comfortable living without. What is important in my life? It’s an interesting conversation. 

This conversation sparks a desire to nest. As much as I loved being on the road, there is a comfort in being home that cannot be paralleled. I take pride in the home I’ve built for myself. The things I surround myself with have been carefully selected as cherished items. They represent me and add to my life on different levels. 

What else brings me happiness? I am prompted to reflect on my personal health. Since I’ve been back, I have taken steps towards a happier, healthier life. One area of health that I’ve struggled with for years had been my energy levels.  I have been notorious for taking (cat) naps mid afternoon. I have developed a lot of guilt surrounding the subject of the afternoon nap. As a full-time artist, I have the freedom to schedule my time and take a nap whenever I please. However, time away from work conflicts with my productivity and this idea creates anxiety in me. 

I have decided not to fight this, but instead I am taking initiatives for this not to have to happen. I am living with conscious intention. I’ve chosen to take proactive steps that are helping me life a fuller life. 

Sarah Delaney

 

Firstly, I believe that getting a restful sleep sets me up for my most productive day. Days before I left for the Philippines I got a new mattress. It was truly a game changer. The Olive mattress is incredibly comfortable, delicately balancing a heaven-like softness that makes dreams happen, and a firmness that supports your muscles for a restful sleep.

While I was away sleeping from hotel to hotel, I had my share of sleeps on different type mattresses and I definitely noticed a difference in sleep quality depending on the type of bed I was in. I developed a sore back and neck towards the end of the trip which affected the activities I could do throughout the day. On my first night back in my home, I climbed into bed and honestly said out loud to my husband “Oh my god, our bed is comfortable”. It was an interesting and unexpected experience to be able to test out so many other beds, and it made me really respect the mattress I get to sleep in every night. 

Sarah Delaney

I’ve also changed my diet to include more vegetables and B12 rich foods. I’ve made a pact with myself to eat at least one salad per day. Instead of loading up on heavy carbs I am eating more vitamin rich greens. Getting enough B12 has always been a struggle for me, as I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years. I have never taken any nutritional classes, so I do not want to present myself as any type of expert in this field. What I do know is that I have been tested for it in the past and my levels have been below normal — low enough that I’ve been required to take injections. The most common symptoms of B12 deficiency are weakness, tiredness, and headaches. B12 is naturally found in animal products. As a vegetarian, I am continuously eating more yogurt, cheese, and milk. I am also taking a daily B complex pill to supplement my diet. 

Last but not least, I am making myself get physical. This step is the hardest for me. My studio is in my home and I can easily not leave for days at a time. I’ve always been a bit of an extremist. I’m either working hard, or not at all (and away traveling). I’ve had to give myself permission to take breaks. Not only to take breaks, but to have them outside. To move around. It’s amazing how you can get energy from using energy. Again, not a professional on this subject, but I know that it works. 

 

This is a sponsored post, however all words and thoughts are 100% my own. Check out the Olive website (fr), Instagram (fr), and Twitter (fr) to learn more about the mattress product. 

Abstract Art

I grew up idolizing the combines of Rauschenberg, the drawings of Twombly, and the sculptures of Hesse. I think I've taken for granted that abstract art has always been a part of my life. I've never had to struggle to understand it and I assumed everyone had the same emotional draw to these works. 

Well, it recently dawned on me that not everyone does. There is one lovely person in my family who is always trying to see an animal or make out a figure in my work. As though there are monkeys hidden on a 45 degree angle. She tells me that my work would do better if you could see things it in, like a landscape perhaps. This baffles me because most of my works are about landscapes. 


My work is about the wind and the rain and the change of seasons. It's about the colours I see and the tracks I've found. It's a story, a map, and a feeling of place. 
Picasso painted objects from multiple angles to create his abstracted work. I'm painting multiple sensations and perspectives to create mine.

Traveling as Women

Traveling alone as a female in a foreign country has given me a new perspective. In some regions it was rare to see other backpackers at all. There was a tension that developed from this -- a feeling of being on your guard. The relief I felt when spotting another solo female was surprising. I would immediately feel a kinship to her, bonded by our sex regardless of nationality. The vulnerability I felt as a single woman united me with my peers and made me feel stronger. 


I know that many of my social media friends are women and I'm betting that many of you are also artists (aspiring or seasoned). It makes me very happy to have you in my life. Thank you for supporting me sisters. We are all in this together xo.

 

The Philippines

 

I spent the last three weeks with my good friend touring around some Filipino islands. I went with some pretty big hopes of inspiration. A change of scenery and a withdrawal from painting usually gets me fired up with a burning desire to create new work. In addition, I was hoping to see some things that would rock my world and gives me some new feels powerful enough to launch a new series.

Well, I've been back for a few days now and I haven't picked up a brush. I've been taking the last couple of days to relax and settle in. The honest truth is that it wasn't quite as inspirational and not at all as relaxing as I had hoped. It turns out that short stays (3 nights max), coupled with my "can't-sit-still personality", is not a recipe for relaxation.

And wait, there's more. If you follow along with the news, you will know that current state of civil unrest happening in the Philippines. I've been to 7 other countries in Southeast Asia and considered myself a savvy traveler. As so we researched affected areas ahead of time and made deliberate plans to avoid any island that that been mentioned in the headlines.

The day we landed, the Canadian embassy (as well as the USA, UK, and other countries) issued a traveler advisory to avoid the exact region that we had planned to travel to. There had been kidnapping treats made to the island of Palawan, specifically the Subterranean River. After receiving assurance from the hotel that it was safe and they were taking all possible precautions, we did end up going to the exact area the travel advisory had named.

Luckily we were absolutely fine in this areaIt was actually the area we felt most safe in while in the country (in the morning, after arriving late at night down a long, dark road). But the advisory set the tone for the entire trip. Rightfully so, we were on guard and uneasy everywhere we went. This was an uncomfortable place for me to find myself in. I usually stay away from drama, but I had to quickly adjust to this unfamiliar feeling. 

 Over the three week period we were constantly given problems, and then had to develop solutions. Some minor, others more serious. 

 

"We don't have anywhere to stay tonight"

"We were robbed in the night while sleeping"

"The ATM didn't dispense our money but charged us"

"Five men are banging on our doors and windows for hours in the middle of the night"

"The motorbike owner is threatening to call the police if we don't pay for the scratches"

"There is only one ATM and we are running out of money"

"Our bags are heavy, our necks hurt, we are sweaty, there are cockroaches"

"The power is out, again"

"The flight is delayed, I hope we make our connecting flight"

 

In the midst of all of these frustrating questions, we opened our eyes and were greeted by the most beautiful vistas. The water. was. amazing. It was unlike any other water I had seen. In every region it was a slightly different hue, but all just as clear. We were in continuous awe of just how lovely so many beaches could be. 

We stayed at El Nino Resort on Miniloc Island for a night. This gave us the rare opportunity to kayak to the lagoons at sunrise, before any other tourists were around. It was a breathtaking experience that I will never forget. 

We were lucky to have have been invited to stay at some really wonderful resorts. I'll mention some of them because I believe they deserve a shoutout: Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa, Daluyon Beach & Mountain Resort, and Club Paradise Palawan. Each of the these resorts showed us so much hospitality and kindness. It was a joy to be able to stay with them. They provide us a calm shelter outside of the chaotic hustle and bustle of the backpacker life. 

Sarah Delaney

Two days before I returned to Canada the advisory was lifted. I was surprised to also feel lighter upon reading this update. It's amazing how much stress it actually gave me. It's not until now, when I'm reflecting back on the experience, that I'm realizing how much I've grown from this trip. I'm going to continue to reflect on this and see where it takes my practice in the coming weeks. 

 

Helicopter Ride, Kauai

SarahDelaney
SarahDelaney
SarahDelaney

Na'Pali Coast Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

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SarahDelaney
SarahDelaney
SarahDelaney

Kauai, Hawaii

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SarahDelaney
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SarahDelaney

Around Kauai, Hawaii

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SarahDelaney
SarahDelaney

Pillbox Hike, Oahu, Hawaii

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SarahDelaney
SarahDelaney

Oahu Sunrises, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii

 
SarahDelaney

Lighthouse Park, BC

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sarahdelaney
Photo by Galit Roden

Photo by Galit Roden

Photo by Galit Roden

Photo by Galit Roden

Big White Resort, BC

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sarahdelaney

Brandywine Falls, BC

Photos of me taken by my friend and adventure partner Jasmine Lorimer. 

Dude Chilling Park, BC

The snow arrived in Vancouver and everything started to glow. 

Kitsilano, BC

Sarah Delaney
Sarah Delaney

This is a list of some of my favourite.

Iinvisible patterns that I'm always collecting and incorporating into my paintings. 

Bird migrations
The rolling clouds
The sounds of the tide along the sand
The natural placement of rocks along the coastline

Sarah Delaney

Images taken by my friend and photographer Alexa Mazzarello

Sarah Delaney