Looking back at 2020: Reflections on Radiate

Looking back at 2020: reflections on Radiate

Radiate. That was my word for the year. And though I lost sight of it as soon as lockdowns hit, it didn’t quite lose sight of me.

Radiate led to my first curated group art show, and then immediately showed me all the ways in which I still don’t trust my abilities enough to take pride in my achievements.

An offhand comment by a so-called friend led to a shame spiral that lasted most of the year. It’s only around November that I realized I was viewing myself through the lens of someone else’s jealousy and opinions, and took steps to rectify my error.

Radiate shone the light on my woundedness and helped me to find my inner light and truth again.

Going into the year, this was one of the reasons why I chose the word. It felt like a very clear statement of purpose, one that would require me to actively work on certain aspects of my psyche. And Radiate did just that.

It’s been a year of excavating why I am doing what I am doing. How I am showing up in the world – and why. Radiate helped me to recognize that my art practice is central to everything I do – regardless of recognition, awards, sales, shows – you know, all the external markers of success. Yes, all of those things would be very nice, but none of it matters to how integral my practice is to me and how I show up for it.

Radiate also helped me to trust my knowledge…

…slightly different from knowing – and to declare it: I started my own podcast, The Art with Soul podcast, which is all about art and the creative life. This is also the year that I finally taught myself abstracts – something I had been trying and failing at since years – and released my first small collection of abstract paintings.

Also read: Finding my unique abstract language

Radiate also led to the creation of a few oracle decks this year – one of which is my studio oracle deck, mainly for personal use at this time, while The Daily Pause oracle deck is available to purchase. I’ve been hearing some beautiful feedback from the folks who have purchased a copy, which makes my heart sing!

The Daily Pause Oracle Deck

I designed this beautiful, 40-card oracle deck to bring in some stillness, to give us a word or an idea to reflect on as we go about our day.

Supported by the four elements – earth, air, fire, water – and a carefully thought-out structure that connects the cards, The Daily Pause oracle will help you to listen to and trust your own inner knowing.

There’s no learning curve involved with using this deck. Just get quiet, shuffle the cards, pull one out, and reflect on the word you’re presented with.

In a clusterfuck of a year, Radiate helped me to find many small blessings along the way…

…showing me all the ways in which I show up in the world, in my life, in my relationships, and for myself.

Also see: The Sands of Time collection

Of course, a 2020 wrap-up will be incomplete without speaking about the small little virus that has held the world hostage.

While there have been stories of immense suffering on a global, collective level, I’ve been blessed on numerous fronts. I took to working from home like a duck takes to water. I started 2020 feeling burnt out, a hair’s breath away from just quitting and moving to the beach. But working from home was a gamechanger for me. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that my company will offer a long-term work from home option!

I also embraced my homebody, hermit self. Although I missed meeting my friends for our monthly lunch and coffee dates, I realized that I’m perfectly happy to putter around at home, painting, baking, reading, watching the sunset, enjoying my morning coffee while watching the lives of the squirrels and birds on the huge tree outside my balcony.

Also read: Lockdown diaries: Dreaming of a new world

It was also an excellent reading year, though as usual, Muarakami threw a spanner in my reading towards the end of 2020. I’m giving up on his novels – I know people swear by his work, but I will just have to admit that Murakami and I don’t get along!

I enjoyed the Book Bingo challenge that I hosted this year more than I expected, so I went ahead and set one up for next year, too. This time, though, I really wanted more of a community feeling around the Book Bingo challenge, which I set up via SubStack so its a bit private, just for the folks who join in. I’ve seen it in action and it looks like a cross between a Facebook thread and old fashioned blog comments, which feels like a great way to get some interesting conversations going.

Overall, this was a wonderful year for me, with many big and small blessings, and numerous gifts and aha moments along the way. As my journey with Radiate comes to a close, I’m embracing the pause so that I can discern my word for next year.

For me, that means nestling in with my tarot and oracle cards and my Visioning workbook, to dream and plan for the year to come. {Psst…click below to download the updated workbook – my little gift to you!}

Before you go, tell me what was the one thing you were grateful for this year?

Posted in Year-end wrap-up.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. Just downloaded the Visioning Workbook. I am going to take some time off from the world this week to focus on this, and set my intentions for next year. I am yet to understand how to choose a word and set it for the next year, but I’m hoping that it’ll come to me during the entire process. I’ve never done this before. It sucks to have so-called friends bring in doubts into your own head. Recently a friend/ acquaintance somehow made me feel inadequate for my genre of blogging. Made me feel useless and it’s affecting the way I see myself. I am finding it difficult to blog too. Anyway. I am glad you’ve had a great reading year, and yes, I too feel a huge disconnect with H. Murakami. Haven’t read anything by him after Kafka on the Shore, which was probably years ago. Can’t wait to read more about your word for the next year. 🙂 Hope everyone has a wonderful 2021.

    • I hope you find the workbook helpful! As for the word of the year, there’s no right or wrong way to choose one – you can change it mid-year if you think it isn’t working. Basically have a think about what you want to achieve/do in 2021 and find a word that encompasses some of that. On the so-called friends – it can get difficult to disentangle your own thoughts from what other people say/think. For what it’s worth, I love your blog. I know you’re not tied down to a niche, and I prefer that, actually. If I may offer a suggestion, just think back to why you started your blog – that may help you to come back to your center. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who just can’t read Murakami! Wish you a wonderful 2021, and I hope you feel better about yourself and your blog soonest! xx

      • Thank you Shinjini! I’m enjoying the workbook a lot. It’s making me think a ton of things, some difficult. But that’s the process and I need to trust it. I think I’ve found my word for 2021, although I should work on it a little more. I want it to be a solid and a meaningful one. Have a great 2021, and I hope we get to meet next year 🙂

        • Good to hear you’re enjoying the workbook! Take your time with the word, there’s no rush or deadline to get it just right! And I hope we can meet this year, too! Wish you a wonderful 2021!

  2. The substack CAN be private, but unless it’s paid subscription based, private is NOT the default and anyone with the link can read. That said, and I haven’t played with them, I think a free substack can also be private – I’m just saying that’s not how it’s set up by default.

    • That’s right, Holly, though it’s a lot more private and closed down compared to the blog. And there is a workaround for free substacck publications – though I still have to figure out how that works with the commenting.

  3. It’s surprising, isn’t it, how we choose a word to guide us, forget about it when life drops a bomb, but unconsciously follow that very word as we live our life, trying to face all the difficult moments and make our way through the jungle? I think life knows us better and that’s why helps us choose the perfect word or idea that will help us through the dark and the light!
    Shinjini, I have to say this, I am SO inspired by you, lady!
    Let me share something with you–a fellow artist, who will definitely understand what I say.
    A couple of days ago, someone approached me to create an artwork for them. And, I couldn’t do it coz it was not from my preferred styles. I told them I couldn’t do it. But, instead of feeling crushed by this feeling of having failed, I urged myself to learn the technique as a challenge. As you said in your post, I too have been viewing myself through other people’s lens. And, I am tired of feeling miserable as a result. So, showing my ego its place, I have made up my mind to embrace who I am, and focus on my art and revel in the happiness it gives me. Yes, sales and awards matter, but when it comes to true happiness, nothing can give it to me except enjoying the creation. Am I making sense? Apologies for blabbering like this ;P

    Wish you a lovely 2020, dear friend! I look to you for inspiration! <3
    God bless!

    • It truly is surprising how a simple, single word can end up guiding our life in ways we would never have imagined!

      Good on you for taking up the learning of an art style as a challenge! I’ve realized over the last year that while sales and awards are great, nothing beats the act of creation for me. Instead of measuring my self-worth based on externals such as these, over which I frankly have little control, I’m focusing on doing it for the love and letting that be enough – anything else is just cherry on the cake!

      Wish you a lovely 2021 too, dear Shilpa. I hope you have a truly wonderful, artful year! <3

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