My personal journey
Over the years I have had a number of experiences that sent me on a healing and soul searching journey. This is a lifelong journey of course, as we grow and develop throughout our lives. Sometimes this happens naturally, almost effortless. Other times there may be external reasons which unexpectedly launch us into a period of self discovery.
I have become an expert on the topic of dealing with cancer through personal experience as a parent of a child with cancer. In the five years my son was treated in hospital I undertook countless creative activities with him and my daugther and saw first hand the positive impact this had on them. It also made me feel less powerless and it felt therapeutic to focus on something positive. Not only was it a distraction from the illness that was insistently present every day, but it provided space to express their anger, frustration and sadness and sometimes it also brought a sense of accomplishment, fun and new energy. And I guess this is where my journey as an artist really started, although I had no idea at the time.
During the recovery period of my son, my daughter became chronically ill, which was another life altering experience and introduced us to something that is called chronic grief. Not long after that my father became ill and tragically died after his lungsurgery. My divorce followed shortly after that, followed by a long-term period of care for my mother, who sadly passed away in May this year (2021). I introduced her to painting and colouring in her last few years, which provided a daily source of relaxation and stress relief for her. She often mentioned it to other people and inspired those around her with her creations.
Needless to say that all these events had a lot of impact on my family. Thankfully it did not change my general positive outlook on life but it definately influenced my way of being and inspired and motivated me to educate myself in various areas, such as life coaching, grief counselling and therapeutic art.
New energy & creative developments
During and after these events I kept asking myself 'what do I need to get through this?'. I got introduced to meditation, which helped me to quiet and soothe my mind and has since become an integrated part of my life.
Seeking professional support because of a burn-out has helped me to grow even more as a person. I also discovered that the creation process, especially by working with color and painting on canvas, not only brought me peace, but also new insights and energy.
It is not surprising that art therapy and visual guidance are increasingly being offered in the regular care system, in mental health care as well as in hospitals, care homes and hospices and I am thankful I can apply my skills and experience in this field.
From 2007 to 2017 I ran a self employed coaching practice in combination with my family life. In addition to personal coaching sessions I organised various meditation courses and creative workshops. However, I missed working in a team setting and I got a job as a part time managment assistent in a hospice, which for me personally has turned out to be a great combination with my work as an artist and coach.
In 2021 I attended a Masterclass on Visual Art Support for people in the final stage of life (palliative care). I am honoured to be able to also offer support to people in the final stage of life, not only as a professional but also from personal experience.