In my life I have often been challenged by my own creativity. Both what it is and how to achieve it. There has been some confusion between ‘artistic’ and ‘creative’ and during my four years at art school, I began to lose joy in creating the work I was producing. At the time, I couldn’t put words to this disconnection but felt heart wrenchingly sad when a tutor would criticise a piece I was working on, or told me it was no good. It felt direct and piercing. After I left I never picked up my camera again or looked at something the way I did over those four years. I felt trampled on. How could my own process be judged in this way? It seemed unlikely that I would be told my written diary was no good so why was it any different in pictures? These images and installations I was creating to further understand parts of my own emotional self were being judged and to me that was unbearable, so I stopped. I closed the door to expressing myself that way.

A few years later, feeling a stranger to my own desires, I started looking at new study paths. I decided I wanted to use the arts in a new way and focus my time in training as a facilitator or counsellor to assist others in expressing themselves using the arts. After two years of training as an Integrative child counsellor with the arts, I became fully aware that this insatiable need to work in this way was in fact for my own healing. To allow myself access to the creative arts once more and reconnect to my own creativity away from judgement. These two years changed my life. They opened up space for discovery, love, loss, heartbreak, self confidence and growth. All in all it allowed for reconnection to feeling. I had immersed myself in the safest space I could find to support me while I began to heal my wounds. Of course these did not begin at art school but there they brutally highlighted themselves.

While training as a counsellor I began thinking of what the work meant to me. What was I so inspired by and what was it that I wanted to share? This is when “creativity” threw itself in front of me for deep examination. I am still learning the many different ways that creativity presents itself but to me creativity means connection. It isn’t about painting, or photographs or being talented or artistic, it is a state of being, a place of unquestioning. I have a memory of being in a friend’s jewellery workshop where she was supporting me in creating some pieces I had envisioned. I had become completely enraptured by the idea of gold smithing. At one point I looked up from the bench and realised a day had passed without me barely noticing it. I had been in my own creative flow, following my own intuition, that I had barely imagined life outside of the studio for quite a few hours. This for me felt unusual. I had been completely connected to my own creativity. It wasn’t to do with the product I was working on or my technical abilities, it was about this mediation I had connected with in the shape of jewellery making that made me feel how creativity is process, a deep connected process where we let our bodies take the lead. I had been given this time to experiment and question and try again which was invaluable in re-establishing myself with a creative practice and my own creativity. I felt empowered. I was  inspired to be that grounding and safe place for an other, to allow them their own exploration in to creativity. It didn’t take long for new ideas to develop and Circle Retreats be created alongside my good friend, Krysia. It was born with the idea of reintroducing people to the creative arts in a way which is completely nonjudgemental, to enable them to connect to their own creativity. The arts are such a gift in enabling a creative process but I completely believe that creativity can be found in an abundance of ways. It may be through writing, nature, cooking, exercise, eating, singing, dancing, meditating or whichever practice enables you to be in the moment, something that feeds your soul and only relies on your intuition. When our bodies and minds connect in this way I believe it leaves space for wonderful healing.