What qualifies me to work with you?
Several book-prizes during my high school years carry a small certificate announcing "Achievement Award". Certificates, awards, prizes and a University Medal followed - but joy did not come with them. The desire to achieve persisted for many years. It was, I realise, a need to feel so competent I could relax... but I forgot about the 'relax' part.
Eleven years as co-principal and educator in an accredited private Physiotherapy practice and many PD courses so as to be up with the latest, I was slowly burning out in the 90's. Frowning and tired most of the time, feeling unwell with frequent colds & flu, I thought this was normal adult life. And... a dream about dying was a major catalyst for change.
The shift seemed weird to others, however, perception, observation skills and lateral thinking are as vital in visual art as in physiotherapy. A gift from my mother - an art-meets-science book on Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of the body - had a profound impact on me as a teenager, to the point of doing dissections and making anatomical drawings during physio school.
Those early years of studying art felt like I was on fire. My daughter was an inspiration - a pure and innocent creative soul - and while she slept, I painted, read every book on creativity I could find and dismantled a lot of ideas that were holding me back. I also had a wonderful artist-mentor.
I graduated from art school with several prizes even though I was not happy with my painting, and so, a couple of years on, began doctoral studies.
There was lecturing, tutoring, professional solo exhibitions, group shows, international scholarships and artists' residencies... I enjoyed it all, however often felt a sense of 'can't relax, not there yet'...
On my way to being a coach/educator, I mentored and lectured art students during my doctorate. I loved it! And there were new competencies to gain: Graduate Teacher Training, The Journey Method (coaching combining mindfulness, imagination and guided introspection), Visionary Leadership & Coaching Certification, The Enneagram, Master classes... then a serious illness took precedence. Not surprising.
While undergoing treatment, simple questions led me to respond creatively in ways I had not done since I was a child and, to my surprise, calmed my anxiety and made me feel 'at home' in my life. Looking back, I can see this is where my current work began.
Asked to present at a university workshop on "Creativity in Teaching & Research" for 20 academics, I drew many ideas together that came to form my current system. That session grew into my 2 day course. After ten Level 1 courses, the survey results were way beyond expectations, for example, 94% of participants responded that their creativity was re-ignited.
The feedback told me that the experiences I was facilitating helped people shift their ideas around what they were capable of. Participants emailed me with news of progress and substantial life changes. (find some on the 'course' page and 'praise' page.)
I've needed to change my life too. I don't know about you, but I didn't know how to work in a way that was not striving and undermining my health. There comes a time when you simply can't do things the old way. And so, here we are!
Receive 'Painting Light, Touching Space' - Suzanne's free e-book about her meditative art practice