Before The R.E.S.T. Practice, there was a woman who always sensed there something was more to life...
From the age of four, I sought solace and companionship in the intimacy of creativity.
My earliest memory of creative endeavours was painting flowers and sewing little purses. Some of my most vivid memories are of painting those flowers, either copied from pictures or by observing the real thing. To this day Mum's house is full of these little paintings.
I was always drawing or sewing. Creativity was my solace from the real world, which was not a great place to be for much of my childhood.
It was a childhood that knew what it was to be homeless, and for the most part fatherless. My brother, my mother and I moved from place to place in search of a roof, often being turned away by those who called themselves family. It was a childhood that would often hear the sounds of my mother crying herself to sleep with the sheer desperation of it all, and it was a childhood in which I was bullied by those who thought it was OK to bully someone clearly scared of life.
Through it all, I had my crayons, my scraps of material and my books. They were always there, always reliable, steadfastly helping me get through these difficult times when actually feeling what was going on was not an option for the underdeveloped nervous system of a child.
Throughout my childhood, I always sensed there was more to life than I was experiencing. As I think back to those times I wonder if this sense was a ‘knowing’ or a ‘hoping’. Whichever it was, I became a spiritual seeker early in my life and never lost the drive to discover this elusive ‘more’ that I sensed was there if I could just find it.
My pencils, my scraps of material were always there - reliably, steadfastly helping me to get through times when actually feeling what was going on was not an option
I suppose it was relatively late in my life that my head was turned by the lure of psychology and spirituality. I can't even remember when it happened, but it felt natural. I became utterly fascinated by the promise these two subjects offered to help me in my search for 'more'.
What I couldn't see at the time was that I had turned my back on creativity. I became obsessed. I learnt from very best I could afford. Over the next few years, I became a slave to learning. I attended so many workshops, read hundreds of books and booked myself onto as many retreats as I could find.
I spent time with people like the amazing Nic Askew learning to make soul biographies.
I worked with all manner of experts in the fields of coaching, psychology and personal development from all corners of the globe.
I learned about transpersonal coaching with Sir John Whitmore in the UK, NLP with Robert Dilts, The Enneagram with the best in the US, and even how to ‘Unleash the Power within’ in Italy.
I learned mindfulness, meditation and the art of inquiry from international schools that specialised in this work.
What I couldn’t see at the time was that I had turned my back on my creativity
Over the years I dedicated my time, energy and money to learning, to practicing, to searching and I thought I was doing really well. I thought I was getting there, that I was on the right track. I became confident that I found what I was looking for and that nothing would change that. I felt I had arrived.
But Covid 19 changed it all.
It was during the Covid crisis that I began to realise that the practices and learning I had invested in for the last fifteen years were a sham.
This revelation was so earth-shattering, so shocking that it has taken me a year to even begin to write it down. I felt deeply betrayed and angry and quite frankly lost. All the years I had invested in my own development, wasted, or that’s how it felt.
But as the shock began to wear off, I asked myself, ‘Why, at a time when I most deeply need to draw on what have learnt, is none of it helping me cope?’
The answer revealed itself. My learning, my meditation was not working for me because at a deep unconscious level I was asking my practices to help me avoid facing the confusion, fear and downright vulnerability the pandemic had created. And honestly, the fear vulnerability and confusion were too big to be 'meditated away.'
Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying meditation is a sham, not at all, but MY way of practicing was. The truth was I had a subtle agenda for my learning and my practices…to stop me feeling, to take away anything unpleasant, and help me stay in control. The pandemic and my 'meditation melt down' made me confront the fact that I was scared of my experience and that I didn’t trust it not to overwhelm me.
The truth was I was using my meditation mat as a way of replacing uncomfortable feelings with ‘peace’ and in so doing I was abandoning my direct experience, abandoning myself.
Now, at this point you may be saying, ‘Jane, what is wrong with that?!’ and of course there is nothing inherently wrong with it., after all, we are taught to do what it takes to get us through right? Better than hitting the bottle, right? (Just so we are clear I am not saying I didn’t have a little more gin than usual as well!)
But the problem was that in abandoning myself I was feeding the very fear that I was trying to avoid. In choosing to swap the temporary relief of staying comfortable for staying connected I was making things worse.
In the midst of all this confusion and clarity, I took myself back to the familiar place that I knew would help. Over the following days and weeks in my little garden studio (read shed!) I took myself to my creative journaling and through my paints and inks, I was led to the truth, namely that
'Creativity is our spiritual nature, and when you create you are direct connection with the deepest aspect of who you are.'
The 'more' I had been looking for was right under my nose
As I tentatively explored what I thought and hoped was emerging I discovered so much more. I discovered what many have discovered before me, that creativity creates a space in which you can explore complex feelings and emotions in safety and that in this very intimate space creativity can lead you by the hand into meeting your direct experience with compassion and love.
It turned out that this global and personal crisis was the catalyst that brought together the two aspects of my life that have always been there. The sensing of a spiritual component to life and my beloved creativity.
Now, today, you will see me as a woman who feels a quiet revolution brewing inside her, a revolution that puts creativity at the heart of spiritual and personal growth, that makes creativity a practice of choice.
This quiet revolution is being brought into being through my new work 'Creative Journaling to Unleash the Soul' which blends the very best of everything I have learnt through my studies and my innate creativity.
This is a quiet revolution that is fit for a new world, a new way of practicing, and a new way of being.
Join me, won’t you?