Having spent the last eighteen months establishing Green Heart Collective, founder Helen Redfern is reflecting on what really matters in life for her...and maybe her reflections may inspire you too to explore life with gratitude and curiosity.
What Matters? Creativity Matters...
I thrive on creativity. Always have. My Art teacher at school would disagree, as would my ballet teacher, but I read voraciously, dabbled in creative writing and poetry and played the violin in many orchestras. I studied French and European Literature at Uni, then did a teaching qualification in French and Drama.
Then I grew up. I got married, had kids, was far too busy for all that. In my 40s, I rediscovered my joy of creativity. I started writing again, playing my violin again and learning to dance. What a joy I found there! I was obsessed, couldn't get enough of that rush, that pure escapism, that losing myself in something and losing track of time.
Founding Green Heart Collective has been a joy too. Creating something out of nothing has a buzz of its own. It's been amazing to see this dream become a reality, albeit in ways I never really expected! But working full time and putting all my energy into the business has robbed me of the opportunity to do all these creative things that I have enjoyed so much in recent years. I thought it didn't matter. But it does.
The yearning inside me to create something has been growing over the last few months. The sadness I feel at using the studio we built at home as a space for creativity for storing boxes of stock now makes me so sad. I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't do something soon!
Which reminds me of this excerpt from a poem by Charles Bukowski. It's about writing but works for any form of expression I think.
don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.
The sun inside me is burning my gut.
So I've started sewing. I've entered the Transformation Challenge here at Green Heart Collective. I'm working on a textile art piece called 'Heart of an Activist'. I'm reclaiming my studio space. I live for those minutes each day when I can lose myself in creating something again, where minutes turn to hours and I feel like I could stay there for the rest of eternity. I'd forgotten how it makes me feel to express myself outwardly through creativity.
Do you get what I'm talking about? Do you feel it too?
My parents put me off pursuing a career in the Arts - said it was too risky and not a proper job. People can be dismissive of the Arts still. But for me, this is the most fulfilling of occupations (although clearly not the most lucrative). For me, creativity links us to the creative force in the universe, as we partner that creative energy in making something beautiful that expresses the essence of who we are. We were born to create. When we cease creating, we become less than human. I feel the truth of that on the inside.
It doesn't matter to me if what I create is appreciated by others. It's all about the process for me. I'm no expert at anything, but I like to dabble! Those moments where I lose track of time are for me a glimpse of eternity - being a part of the ongoing creation of the universe is how I hope to spend eternity!
When everyone came on Saturday to rummage through damaged clothes with a view to making something beautiful out of them, I felt that spark then. I think they did too. This Transformation Challenge has reignited something within me and I'm loving it!
To be honest, I'm a little worried that now that I've realised what's been missing, I will have opened the floodgates of creativity and will struggle to keep it contained in the time I have available! However, I'm working on creating more time each day for this. It's the best medicine, super important for my mental health.
Can you recognise that yearning inside yourself to do something creative? Don't ignore it. Explore it, make time for it, experiment with it. Do it for yourself.