Thoughts for A New Year from Artist Jill Matthews

As the holidays come to a close and January hits us with its full force of resolutions, early sunsets, and cold weather, we thought it was a good time to share what artist Jill Matthews is doing to keep her flow going this winter, and year-round.

Many of us know Matthews as an artist and a mom with a passion for where she lives. What many do not know, she is a runner, marathoner, RCCA certified running coach, soon to be USATF certified coach and creator of SISU MAINE.

“I created SISU MAINE to share my love of running and the power which it hold,” shares Matthews. “It is more than just a website, it was created as a place to become inspired, supported, and ultimately evolved.”

By definition…

SISU (n.) Extraordinary determination, courage, and resoluteness in the face of adversity.  An action mindset that enables individuals to see beyond their present limitations and into what might be.  Reaching beyond observed capacities, Sisu is an integral element of Finnish culture and a universal capacity for which the potential exists within all.

“I love running.  Like a loyal friend, it has drifted in and out of my life at varying intensities but has always been there.  No matter where life takes me it’s something I can count on. It lifts me and makes me the best version of myself,” says Matthews. “Running for me is so much a part of my day.  Everyone has something that holds them together.  A daily walk, a quiet cup of coffee, a moment of meditation…we all have something that grounds us, for me, it’s running.”

As a child, Matthews was given a stopwatch for her birthday.  She has a very clear memory of hitting the button and sprinting off.  

“I felt so fast, I probably wasn’t, but that isn’t the memory that stands out.  My memory is one of freedom, strength, endless possibilities,” explains Matthews.  “If I can be this good today, I can be better tomorrow.  It’s a beautiful thing when we can test our limits, at any age and in lots of ways.”

Someone recently asked Matthews how she can run distance, and wondered how she didn’t find it boring. Here response…it’s anything but. 

“So much happens when I’m out, and it’s different every day.  Some days I’m reflecting and working out conflict, other days my mind is open, and I’m actually working on my art,” explains Matthews. “I notice the way a structure looks against an interesting sky or the change in color and texture of the landscape as the seasons shift.”

Her favorite days, however, are when the run is a challenge and she is 100% focused on the task at hand.

“That’s the amazing thing about distance running or racing, it takes such focus and control.  Knowing when to steady yourself,  and when to push.  Even then, there are the moments when things get hard no matter how much you have prepared for them,” shares Matthews. “That’s when the idea of Sisu comes in.  Pushing past discomfort and doubt and going to a place you didn’t think you had. It is strength and power despite the odds.  Ideally, I will always be a runner even long after my body has decided differently.”

Click here to visit Jill Matthews passion page SISU MAINE

Click here to see our entire collection of Matthew’s artwork. JILL MATTHEWS – ARTIST PAGE

Click here to read more about Matthews, her art and her inspiration. JILL MATTHEWS – STORIES AND INSIGHTS