All throughout this journey I’ve been reminded of this quote by French artist Henri Matisse:
“Creativity Takes Courage”
In fact, I love this quote so much that I dedicated an entire blog post to its potency you can read at The Painting Music and Art Blog right here.
As many of you know from my last blog post, ‘courage’ is my word of 2021. So far, it’s a word that has had the ability to hold me when I need it to, whilst also gently encouraging me to break free from my self-made cocoon!
In this post, I wanted to personally document why this project means so much to me with you all, my cherished readers of 12 years (my goodness!), and what it means for balancing my enchanted mission here. It ends with an exclusive gift for you, so make sure you claim it!
The Journey of Painting Music and Art
Firstly, why art and music history?
Well, as clichéd as it may sound, ever since I can remember, I have been making things out of anything that I could get my crafty hands-on! From painting copious treasures for my friends and family to taking broken violins and turning them into art in my college days!
But I wasn’t just besotted with making things, I was also madly in love with the arts and the history of creativity from as young as I can remember.
At the age of 4, I started to play the piano, and later the violin. My school years were full of performances in musicals where I fell in love with being part of a stage spectacle where art, music and visuals all came together.
It was because of my passion for the arts that I later went to University to study these subjects in more depth. However, this is where I found myself in very disenchanted territory, as I soon realised that University wasn’t the right environment for the way I loved the arts. In addition, it was not the best environment for me as a person (I’ve never spoken about this here but if you do want to understand why I am happy to delve deeper!).
In addition to the dissatisfaction with my time at University in general, it was also during these times that I developed a benign Pituitary Tumour (a Prolactinoma) coupled with PCOs and Endometriosis.
With spiralling health, both physically and emotionally, coupled with feeling deeply lost and extremely unhappy at University, I channelled my creativity into a side project and embarked on one of my greatest adventures: a handmade hair accessory business called Beauxoxo. I’m very sure just the mere mention of that will be familiar to most of you, who have so kindly been there with me since those days!
Beyond my wildest dreams, Beauxoxo grew exponentially, and therefore became the focus of all my time. It also became the very thing to sustain me throughout those extremely challenging years. For that, I will always cradle the business and mission in all my heart.
However, with a further diagnosis of Scleroderma and Gastroparesis in 2018, with a very, very heavy heart, I said Au Revoir to Beauxoxo (the full post with my reasons to leave this beloved business is here) as I lost the dexterity in my hands that I used to have. I couldn’t bear the fact that I wouldn’t be able to create for myself anymore and so I had to put my creative soul first.
My Beauxoxo adventures came to an end in June 2019 although I had made the personal decision in the summer of 2018 to end the business.
Then came an emptiness. What am I able to do now? What can I adapt my conditions to? What is to become of me and this swirling sea of creativity I want to gift to the world?
During the latter part of 2018, I was invited to publish some of my academic work on the relationship between music and art history. This then led to an opportunity to have this work published. I was astounded and also incredibly grateful. And here the seed was planted: is this something I could devote my whole heart to beyond this published piece?
The Universe then started to whisper to me with synchronicities and the importance of this work was highlighted to me time and time and time again.
For example, I learned that the number of students choosing to study the arts at GCSE in England has fallen every year since 2010 and now shows a 34% drop in arts entries in the last 8 years. In addition, between 2010-2017 the number of arts teachers fell by 20% and the number of hours the arts were taught in secondary schools fell by 21%.
After digging deeper into it all, I discovered that there has never been a more pressing need to learn about the wonders of our artistic and musical heritage than today.
Slowly but surely, I started to connect my thoughts and findings and the bountiful creativity that emerged from it all led me to imagine the possibility of combining my passion for the history of art and music to reach as many people as possible.
The only problem was, whilst I was swirling in my sea of creative ideas for Painting Music and Art, I became becalmed with the amount of skills and knowledge I needed to acquire in order to launch an online business.
On top of that, in the very same month that I was saying goodbye to Beauxoxo, I had been delivered a horrendously painful health decision, and my Dad was seriously ill in hospital with life-altering health complications. All in the same week. Yes……All. In. The. Same. Week.
In the heat of the lingering summer of 2019, life eventually settled and my Dad came home from hospital and we even still managed to still make our long-awaited trip on the Orient. After this trip, I had planned in my mind to then start the big work on Painting Music and Art after packing my Beauxoxo life away.
However, when I arrived back in the UK I was completely unprepared for how everything just seemed to stop.
My once busy phone of orders and messages stopped. Everything stopped. I had allowed for Beauxoxo to be a numbing mechanism in the grief of my failing health. Moreover, I had been hiding behind something as ‘grand’ and glamorous as Beauxoxo as a way to disguise what was happening internally.
I had been so used to always creating my next move, the next collection, the next custom order, the next social media post, the next big event, that my whole being had got used to being so mentally lost in the frenzy of it all.
And so, rather than launch Painting Music and Art, the grief I had suppressed, not only in 2019 but truly in all the years of unexplored pain from University spread like a wilderness within me that consumed me with its intensity.
For most of 2019, the air around me felt like a smog of grief, pain and sadness and I spent my days feeling tormented, bewildered, lost and deeply, deeply alone.
With a new life infused with silence and solitude, the tears would not stop flowing. With it, it was starting to bring out the mystery of all of the pain stored deep in the crevices of my inner landscape. With each day that passed, I was slowly but surely learning that this was my work ahead.
As you can imagine, this was no way to serve anyone whilst I was feeling this way. The aching pieces of my heart just desperately needed to be felt, held and healed.
So, without telling anyone, I tucked the Painting Music and Art dream safely away and spent a lot more time reconnecting with my blog after its tender start from my University library all those years ago.
I truly nurtured and dived deeper into sharing my message of enchantment and also found the courage to open up about my health journey here. This has since led to incredible opportunities such as an interview for BBC radio!
However, in that 2019 year, self-care still eluded me and I still fell into the trap of being a diligent caretaker to avoid the intensity of the pain that I was purging, and spent time fulfilling social and work obligations as much as possible as I had lost so very many people, and so many opportunities in the past few years due to my declining health.
Through it all, I learnt that feeling is alchemy and also that these feelings that we expel can be the medicine that flows into our veins as the divine truth within your spirit. If only we have the courage and patience to be with it all.
Life was gently illuminating to me that me hour after hour, and day after day, that my work was to just be a vessel of receptivity that could let this period of time, and these lessons nourish, restore, recalibrate and awaken my whole being.
Just as I was awakening from this healing process, I set out to launch Painting Music and Art in the autumn of 2020. But…. ! …..a broken toe at the same time (oh, I know, haha) lead to a penicillin reaction and I had no choice but to surrender once more.
Now I sit here writing this to you in the Spring of 2021 and my life is oh-so-different. Dramatically so. Even from last Autumn. Layers upon layers of conditioning have been lifted. Pain has become illuminated and transformed into light, and cultivating self-love is at the heart of all I do. All pieces that I had been searching for my entire life.
So, the time has been right now in the Spring of this 2021 year. The timing has never felt more divinely meant to be. For I now have the opportunity to not only rebirth both myself and my dreams, but I am also able to mirror the season within and outside of me.
Once again: I’m SO deeply thankful you found your way to be with me to witness this journey.
The Online Landscape in 2021, Courses I have Taken and Recovering from Burnout
Before I tell you more about my plans, I thought I’d share some of the courses and programs that have truly been a joy and great inspiration to me. However, I can’t always say the implementation has been easy!!
You know, I was just thinking today how fond I am of the innocence I had when starting Beauxoxo.
I was just 19 years old, very bored at University and opened up my Etsy and that was it. That was how it all started! Within a few days, I had some of my first sales to the USA. I couldn’t believe it: people I didn’t know buying my handmade hair accessories! How could this be so?! It was just SO magical!
But my goodness online spaces are very different today. Very, very different!
I must admit, I was noticing this ‘hustle’ mentality during the later years of Beauxoxo and I would be lying if I said it was heavy to navigate as a highly sensitive being that has never been interested in playing the ‘tech, tools and tactics’ game.
However, I deeply believe that by bringing our dreams into the world we can gift not only ourselves but also the whole entire world. It’s a ripple that has magnificent possibilities.
But how did I water those seeds of ideas of inspiration in loving environments? Here are some of my most recommended resources if there is something you wish to bring to the world.
Leonie Dawson courses
If I could recommend just ONE business course to take, Leonie Dawson would be my first pick. Her work is so fun, juicy and easily digestable. I really did create an e-course in 40 days and I also did conjure up multiple streams of income from her money course. Her material is just such magic and she has such a loving way of being a cheerleader from afar but also in such a fierce, funny, charismatic way!
Also, if you’re reading this in early April 2021, Leonie’s courses double in price from 30th April so I 1000% recommnd you dive into it all asap! As for me, I’m going to enrol in 40 Days To A Finished Book this month because let’s just say, I have some ideas that are simmering right now ;).
(this is an affiliate link but I 1000% stand by my love and support of Leonie!)
Marie Forleo’s B School
Like so many, I have spent many an hour watching Marie Forleo’s ‘Marie TV’ business Youtube series. Her book ‘Everything is Figureoutable’ is also just incredible.
Being a such a big fan of Marie, and consuming SO much of her work over the years it was always a dream to sign up to her famous ‘B School’ business program.
I thoroughly enjoyed B School and I actually truly enjoyed learning in this program. It was such a joy, thanks to Marie of course! It truly is a wonderful platform so that you can create a fulfilling career where you can change the lives of people all over the world.
The only problem I found was that the program was very big in its scale and as an introvert, that felt a little frantic at times! I also realised towards the end I needed mentoring as online marketing was such a force of nature to me coming from a product based business!
Esther De Charon’s Brave Business Academy
Finding Esther on my online marketing learning journey was the icing on the cake and JUST the magic and hand-holding I needed. I actually found Esther through her review of B School here. In it you’ll see she felt just the same way as me: a little lost as a highly-sensitive, introvert!
I couldn’t imagine Painting Music and Art as it is now having not gone through this experience with Esther and I wish for everyone to have this same sacred opportunity!
Not only will you find online marketing in Brave, but also branding advice, mentoring, accountability circles, and also self-love and mindset space holding. The latter is so incredibly unique to anything I have found thus far.
As I had been going on such a personal healing journey outside of building Painting Music and Art, my time in Brave (and I’m still there as it’s a membership!) has been the epicentre of my growth business wise and in my heart. I truly carry and cultivate the wisdom into every moment of my life.
I also love that Esther is from the Netherlands as it just all feels so warm, inviting and down to earth in this potent but cosy container.
The Academy of Painting Music and Art & Your Invitation To The Free Workshop (Plus a special gift for you)
Have you wondered where to start digging into the richness of our history and surroundings? Do you wish to embody your creative spirit and experience the world and all that is in that is vibrantly alive? This sense of rapture and awe in relation to the arts is how I paint the wonders of the history of art and music to my students so that you’ll be able to marvel at the magic and miracles all around you.
Painting Music and Art is the first resource of its kind that brings together art and music history (in a way that I always dreamed of) for older children from the curriculum age of 12 years old and above.
What you learn at Painting Music and Art will nurture your mind and soul, open your heart and imagination, and inspire you to give yourself the trust to lead with curiousity, playfulness and creativity in everything you do.
I believe that there has never been a more pressing time to introduce our children, teenagers and curious adults to the world’s musical and artistic heritages than today.
In celebration of this new launch, I invite you to a workshop introducing the life and work of Lois Mailou Jones.
In this FREE workshop, we are going to dive into the work of American artist and educator Lois Mailou Jones who created works in a variety of styles, including Impressionism, Expressionism, and African-influenced styles during her seven-decade career.
Workshop details: 19th April 2021. You will be sent a link to the course platform and you can watch it at your own pace! This is a pre-recorded course for you to enjoy when you are able to. Each Monday from the 19th, you will meet two more artists. I also have an extra gift for you at the end of our time together!
Thank you so deeply for your time and heart in reading this whole post. I’m holding you all so very close. I hope there is something in my story that can be with you as a source of comfort and contemplation as you emerge into all the dreams and wishes you desire this month and beyond.
As for this space, now juggling this beloved platform and also Painting Music and Art will demand more me so I can’t promise my regular schedule here as I settle in my new mission. But, I’m dedicated to showing up here for you and also, the Whimsy World email will remain on the first Wednesday of every single month!
Thank you so deeply fot your understanding always ❤️
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