Many of my readers knew Jan Henderson. Considering how Jan lived – big-hearted, creative, involved, friend and rock for many – the question arises: Am I doing what I came here to do? Am I listening to my heart? Am I being courageous and true like Jan was?
I met Jan in 2007 during Journey Practitioner training. Like all of us there, she was in the process of transforming her life and helping others do the same – spiritual trouble-shooting she called it!
Several years later, Jan came to my first meditative art weekend ‘Reclaim your Creativity.’ As head of The Journey for Australasia, I asked her to come along free of charge as I really valued her feedback. However, she affirmed that how I’d integrated The Journey was fine, insisted on paying, recommended the course and gave ‘very Jan’ feedback too! Her steadfast support persists through how she helped me.
My heart aches, and it’s not about understanding ‘why this pain?’ rather, taking time out to be still and in the stillness, let the big fat tears flow and listen. The pain eases. What does my heart want me to know?
Remember how kindly and truthfully she helped you… remember what she taught: keep seeking the truth and tell it how it is. What matters to you, not what anyone else thinks? What would make your life better? What calls you? Do it! I’ve found the death of a loved one brings answers into focus.
Over the years, the hardest and best lesson for me has been to listen and take notice of my heart. The zeitgeist of Western culture is to not do so. I remember a respected teacher saying to me when I was in trouble as a teenager – follow your head, not your heart. Believing her, I was in for far more trouble. While it’s been a circuitous passage to now, more ‘on purpose’ than ever, I understand the pitfalls of not pursuing as well as saying yes to a creative life.
‘Paint from the Heart’ is about painting from the truth of who you are. Most teachers will teach you to paint like them. I guide you to paint from your Self. To do that, The Journey is a powerful tool to clear the inner decks of limitations imposed by labels, creative blocks and self-sabotage.
I’ve been amazed at how The Journey accelerates both the learning of technical skills and authentic creative expression, as well as the imperative to continue with one’s creative expression.
The retreat-course builds real skills and confidence; foundations for experiencing mindful abstract expression as a grounding, replenishing spiritual practice.
Abstraction has been labelled ‘intellectual,’ however, Bob Nickas, author of Painting Abstraction : New Elements in Abstract Painting, writes about abstract painting as ‘the antidote to the daily flood of images’ and offers us examples of how the world feels rather than how it looks (paraphrased).
Some folks are uncomfortable with feelings and the phrase from the heart. I believe there’s a need to reclaim the words that pertain to the unseen aspects of being human that also give the most meaning to life. Since we’ve been faced with so much death during this Covid era, perhaps referring to the heart is less radical and difficult now. What do you think?
When a person sincerely bows to you with hand on heart and blesses you – someone who you’ve never met and may never meet again, from the heart cuts through fluff to bone-deep knowing of what’s true. And for that, everyday language can let us down.
Enter music, poetry and visual art that affirms the best in humanity rather than the horrors we’re frequently exposed to. Painting is one way to intentionally transcend the busy mind. The brilliance of your creative mind and openness of heart can meet and merge into creative flow. You too can create and help make the world better.
Ten years ago, while going through cancer treatment, I wanted my world to feel better and sought a beautiful contemplative space. I was a long way from home, my mind was a crazy place and I could not sit still to meditate. I could draw, however, and that was the key to calm, clarity and the beginning of the meditative art methods I also teach.
Making ceramics has opened up fresh possibilities for the gentle spaces I create. I’ll write more about this in my next letter, and in the meantime you can see photos on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suza…
I shared the idea of creating contemplative spaces with the artists I was mentoring 6 months ago, which resulted in our group exhibition ‘Try this at Home’ at b: Atelier Studio Gallery in Batlow. A small town in the Snowy Valley Region of NSW; Batlow was profoundly affected by the Dunn’s Rd fires.
As part of the post-fire regeneration work with people there, I presented a meditative art workshop ‘Art from the Heart’ recently. Being with the participants as they dived into making was a beautiful thing to do on Valentine’s Day!
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I’m glad that you’re here, and that I’m here too!
Wishing you peace and fulfilment,