Today, I want to tell you about someone and something that has been making a big difference in my life recently.
Although I am not expressly religious, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, that there is a higher order behind what happens in our lives and it produces extraordinary results. So I guess that is spiritual at least.
Somehow I have ended up at this point in my life where I am on this journey, I cannot regret or hate everything that went before in my life that made me unhappy because it led me to this place that I am in now. But the last 4 years have seen an incredible change in my outlook on life.
It was a slow burning start, seeing a counsellor who has been incredibly kind and that listening ear that I so desperately needed. Then nearly 2 years ago a close friend, who has since become even closer, started a blogging journey that opened my eyes and gave me encouragement in the possibilities of writing.
But now there is a new kid on the block!
I met Kate (coincidentally, or rather not!) on the day that I published my first blog post – how is that for things that are meant to happen? At the time she was a teaching assistant at my daughters’ school, they had talked about her and were attending an art club run by her. I knew a little about her but when we actually got talking I felt buzzing with the possibilities of our connection.
I didn’t know at the time how she would influence me (and even now I know her influence is not complete) but I did know that she would be important. Kate herself has been through a lot, although this is not the place for her story and I wouldn’t presume to know the half of it, there is definitely shared ground.
As always the people that I have found on this journey seem to me to be more enlightened and further down their path than me, allowing them to be able to light my way for me, so I’m not sure what I bring to the party for her, although I hope that I can also be useful in her life.
Kate is a graphic designer/artist by background and this year she started using an artistic technique/tool (I’m not sure what would be the appropriate term) that she has used to produce an amazing exhibition and workshop series that brings mindfulness and art together – Storyspheres.
The premise is that all art tells a story, these are a way of mindfully incorporating the story in the artwork. The idea is to focus on how you are feeling at that time and then to translate those feelings into a pen drawing that exists within a circle.
I stumbled across pictures of mandalas on Instagram – which bear an interesting resemblance to the Storyspheres. These circular images are of Indian origin, but there are many cultural and natural world occurrences of similar things. Interestingly I have found numerous references to their representation of wholeness and their use during period of personal growth.
Now I did art at school and as typical for me, the lesson I came away with was that I wasn’t as good as everyone else, that I didn’t have the right skills and talent, and this extended to other subjects too. And yet in this short time and the space of only five storyspheres, I believe there is a different ending to that story.
In the last two weeks I have drawn two spheres that amaze me (although that is obviously my own impression), and have really demonstrated to me how far I have travelled on my journey and allow me to consider my next step forward. It seems auspicious, that they are my mandalas.
The first was a 4am creation titled ‘Anticipation’, which I have already shared on my Instagram and in my Gratitude Journal. The emotions behind this were the excitement about my husband coming home from a trip abroad for work, and everything being mixed up in head stopping me from sleeping. But most importantly this one showed me that without my fears holding me back, I was able to create something I was proud of and that felt more than the sum of the parts.
The second was created at one of Kate’s workshops called ‘Mindful Creativity’. This session started with a guided meditation and then we focused on our emotions and feelings at that moment. I was feeling all the possibilities in my life, my journey, bubbling away under the surface of me, looking to escape and forge their ways – at the moment these are not clear to me or even necessarily leading in the same directions, but nonetheless they are there. It is called ‘Potential’.
Finally it has been revealed to me that I can do what I want in my life, that I can follow where I am led by my creativity. That the only thing that holds me back is my (lack of) self-belief and so I must fight that. The doubts and insecurities remain but I can challenge them. I look forward to seeing Kate grow her potential too.
Kate has set up SketchBetter through which she is looking to improve emotional literacy, through mindfulness and creativity both for adults and children, in the form of workshops, art clubs, and mentoring. If you are interested please have a look at her website www.sketchbetter.org, and she is on Facebook and Twitter.