Looking back at 2022: Reflections on devotion

Devotion. That was my word for 2022. And what an interesting experience it has been!

I started the year by listing down the areas that I was devoted to, all of the places where I wanted to bring my love + attention + care. That included my health and my relationship with my body; my art and creative practices; my relationships and friendships; and my connection with my soul + the divine.

And then Devotion took me by the hand, and very firmly shook everything up.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that 2022 has been one of the most challenging years for me in recent times. I suffered from one of my worst — and longest — creative blocks; I dropped a number of things from my plate this year, including some things that I really enjoyed; I experienced an intense period of grief and breakdown.

On the face of it, none of it felt very devotional.

But Devotion was working its magic through it all.

As I stand here, at the tail end of this year and look back at the trial and tribulations that 2022 brought, I realize that Devotion was asking me the same questions, over and over again: What is it that really, truly, deeply matters to you? Will you allow yourself to devote your time and attention and love to those things? Or are you running away from them because deep down, they scare you?


These are questions that I am still answering. Just as I am still sifting through all that I let go of in 2022, to see if there are any treasures that I want to pick up and dust off as we head into 2023.

And just so I remember that this year wasn’t all doom-and-gloom, I’m going to round off this year-end wrap-up with a mention of some of my goals and projects.

My year in books

I read 65 books this year {plus 4 re-reads, making it 69 books}! I think by the time 31 December rolls around, that may well become 70 or 71 books. I read a mix of fiction and non-fiction, with some beautiful series — the Found Things series by Paula Brackston, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the Conspiracy of Magic series by Luanne G. Smith, and my absolute favorite of them all, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

I really enjoyed the Book Bingo too, though I dropped the monthly emails mid-way through the year. But I am bringing the challenge back, of course, along with the monthly emails — beautifully re-imagined and much more interesting, I hope! Take a look at the new set of Book Bingo prompts, and some tweaks to how the challenge is run. And I do hope that you will join in on the fun!

My year in paintings

I know I said that I experienced a brutal artist/creative block this year, but I still did get a lot of art done. I also managed to upload at least one YouTube video a month {my plan was 2 a month, so I’m pretty happy with how that went}.

I made three absolutely gorgeous handmade journals this year. My I AM journal {flip through here}, where I tried a no-sew binding that is super quick to put together. I also experimented with stitched pages, burning, and explored a neutral color palette in that journal.

The second was this gorgeous paper + fabric journal. This one was a true labor of love, with all the hand painted and embellished fabrics, collaged papers, and slow stitching.

And the third was my very first junk journal. I combined the techniques from the first two journals to bind this journal, and filled it with all kinds of junk papers — from Amazon envelopes to book pages, bills from art purchases, scraps of unloved collage papers and under-papers. And as I fill it up with my art, it’s turning into treasure!

I also found a new creative hobby — carving spoons! It’s such a relaxing, mindful yet sometimes challenging craft. I’ve carved 3 spoons already, and I see many more gloriously wonky carved spoons in my future!

Not too shabby, despite that almost three-month long creative drought!

My year as an art educator

I taught in two collaborative art workshops this year.

First up was The Creative Retreat live hosted by The Pigeon Letters. The sheer energy and enthusiasm of the participants blew me away! I must have taken a hundred screenshots of all the excited comments and love that came my way during my session. And yes, looking at all those comments during my moments of self-doubt was just the balm that my artist soul needed.

Second, I taught on Book of Days, hosted by my mentor Effy Wild. This one was super special for me, because Effy is one of the teachers who has been instrumental in helping me on my art journey. To have your mentor invite you to teach on their signature offering — that’s huge, any which way you look at it!


I also took part in the Art Bundles for Good again this year, after a gap of a few years. It’s always a pleasure to promote this particular bundle because of the sheer value that it offers, and the good that it does in the world.

I had hoped to release another ecourse this year, but that didn’t happen. I have almost everything ready, though, so perhaps next year!

My ‘handmade’ art studio

I think my most fun project this year was my art studio makeover. I’ve been using the guest room as my art studio since forever. But it was cluttered, inefficient in terms of storage, and just plain bleh!

So when the husband moved his workshop from our balcony, I took over that space for storage and re-did my art studio, which I’ve nicknamed my handmade art studio. Out with all the stuffy, inefficient furniture; in with a custom-built storage solution that the husband built for me.

Almost everything in the studio is either handmade, or has our touch on it — from my colonial-style study table, which the husband and I stripped down and repainted; to my main painty table, which I designed and painted; to my new storage solution, which the husband built and I painted. even the Ikea Raskogg cart, which the husband assembled for me 😉

I also brought in a lot of elements from individual makers or small businesses — wooden boxes made by the husband; funky storage boxes from Desi Pop {now discontinued} and Chumbak; cute little owls {that you can see in the video below, which also shows off the storage solution that the husband built for me} from Mora Taara; and some adorable decorative elements from individual makers on Instagram. And of course, some of my own paintings, sculptures, and paper clay bowls, too!

There are a lot more lessons, big and small, that Devotion brought my way. And for all of them, I am grateful. But now, our journey is coming to a close. It is time for me to embrace the pause as I discern the word that will guide me through 2023.

Need some help choosing a word of the year, or with making some delicious plans and goals and dreams for 2023? I’ve got you covered! Just click here to download the Visioning workbook for 2023!

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

pain palette

Sign up for Studio Diaries

Weekly notes from an artist’s studio, including pages from my mixed media art journal, works in progress, notes on the creative process, and other ideas that capture my interest, along with regular discussion threads to chat about art.

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. everything about this post is artistic. The journal is to die for. I am so happy to see that you managed to read almost 71 books in 2022. Stay blissful like this forever. Lots of good wishes to you. Inspired and awed by your creativity.

  2. I’m sorry that this was a difficult year for you, Shinjini. That you channeled your pain in a such a creative way is a testament to your strength! Hugs!

    The studio looks fabulous. Wishing you many happy hours in it! ♥

Leave a Reply