Post-hiatus Digest / by Dhiyanah H

I think when someone says "hiatus" we tend to equate it to taking a break or going on a holiday - yes, please, I'd love me some of that too! I've taken a few hiatuses with strictly limited to no digital screen usage this year and what I've found was that my hiatus time gets fully occupied easily. Not because I have a million tasks I think need my urgent attention or anything. But by removing the distractions of refreshing screens, obsessing about social media content or trying to block its less-than-healthy effects on my brain, my days became filled with all I've been neglecting.

My body, parts of my health I didn't know needed attention, my relationships and the way they are changing or breaking or evolving, energies that I've been waiting to process or release, and the books - oh, the books! It's so nice to just sit down and read for days again. That's something I want to try to do more of, setting aside some days just to roll around in books - and read some.

CAT OVERHAUL

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One of the major changes I experienced in July's hiatus had to do with my cats. I consider them more animal companions than pets, though I often have to remind them how this living arrangement works (we feed, play with, and care for them in exchange for cuddles, emotional support and/or them not destroying the house). I've always wanted to live with animals - I've written about this poignantly at one point, somewhere. And last year I met Kahlo, a calico rescue who became my favorite, my furkid, my studio assistant. Last month, we had to rehome Kahlo and that broke my heart.

What happened is hard to explain but in the last few weeks Kahlo was with us she reverted to a feral mode. I was scared, freaking out until my housemate calmed me down enough to tell me we did our best but maybe our home and our not-at-all-routine lifestyle wasn't a good fit for her. Throughout the year she's been showing symptoms of stress - vomiting, random acts of aggression to the kittens and fosters we tried to match her up with so she'd be less lonely - but I never thought it to mean she needed a different home until those weeks happened and there was nothing left within our current capacity or resources to do anything for her. The night it got real bad, we called a dear friend to ask if she could board Kahlo at her place while we figure things out. A few days later, our friend decided to adopt Kahlo and that's where she lives now - a bigger and fuller house. She moved in with them without any fuss. She no longer has appetite issues and there's a bunch of animal and human companions for her to interact with.

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I spent the week after her moving out coming up with creative ways to blame myself and my limitations for what happened, until I reminded myself - and was gracefully reminded by loved ones - that what mattered most was that we did our best, we gave her a home for a year, and we continued to do our best for her by letting her go to a home she could be happier in.

It was difficult but it was a useful opportunity to review my relationship with animals and to learn that, perhaps because of my energetic sensitivities, I should work on creating healthier boundaries with them as I do with human relationships. I've never been sure how to explain these sudden ruptures that happen - they always feel uncanny, inevitable, and weighted with important lessons. Our household isn't cat-less though. We've got the two kittens, Moon and San, who already moved in while Kahlo was around. They bonded with each other instantly. Happy, healthy and ridiculous, they seem to like our company and our weird home - so they're here with us for however long they'll have us.

DOING THE ENERGY WORK THING

Since I was a child I've had people randomly tell me I am or could be a healer one day, and this has been happening up until months ago when a shaman friend said, "Yes, you are a healer," then a series of people I've met since have affirmed and reaffirmed this for me.

I realize the Universe has been sitting around, in its all-encompassing way, tsk-tsking at me, waiting for me to stop stubbornly resisting this calling (what else can you call it) by diving deep into denial and skepticism for years. And then gradually realizing that I fall sick a lot because of neglecting my energetic sensitivities, that despite my resistance I'm doing the healing work through my art anyway (!!!), and that when I did accept the call I have never felt more at home on this planet than I do when I call myself an energy worker. Which of course, took months of intense study and growth before I could even say the words to myself.

That's happening. So much is happening!

YES, I'M STILL AN ARTIST

My biggest challenge at the moment is finding ways to merge what I'm learning and want to offer as an energy worker with my art. Browsing through the works I make and share, it's easy to tell that I'm intrigued by autobiography - and this has informed how I use art as a method to heal through trauma and abuse, a way to reconcile my history with my personal growth, and a way to find expression and joy in life.

Apart from noticing certain connections, I haven't yet come to a place where I know what the works will look like now. And other than working on an unannounced project (TBA next year I think), I've been doodling in my sketchbook or scrap papers without any theme, topic, or expectation in mind. This has been very calming and liberating, and is perhaps enough for now because I know better than to rush the process.

Returning from hiatus, I'm focused on reworking my relationship to technology, to use devices to create more of what's good and limiting screen times so I can give more attention to what matters. I can see myself slipping back to old habits but my intention is set and clear. I had hoped to open for commissions by this time but integrating energy work into what was my schedule before isn't working. Which makes sense. In the span of July, things changed so much and so fast that I know it might take some patience for me to find my footing with it all. And I'm okay with that.