Creativity, play and a whole lot of kindness

So, it is time for our ‘Feel Better Together’ calls to come to an end. Things are changing. The lockdown is easing, and people are settling into this new way of life. But I am so grateful that we are very much ending it on a high.

This week was another highlight for me and really symbolises the power of our little community. I had never met Sharon Brooks before this call was created and I am so privileged to have got to know her over these past few months. Her kindness has been astonishing as she has shared endless creative ideas for me to do with my 8-year-old son as I struggled with home schooling. I have also witnessed the wonderful compassion and kindness that oozes from her on our weekly Mental Health Together calls. I felt quite emotional when I was able to finally meet her when lockdown eased a little and I was able to go on some truly uplifting walks with her, dropping our little painted stones for MHT.

I was therefore absolutely delighted when she agreed to share her story with the group.

The talk was titled ‘The importance of Creativity and Play in wellbeing’. She is a passionate writer and we were therefore very lucky to listen to her beautifully composed biographical account.

I was amazed when she started at age 4, at school and was able to name two children in her class! However, I soon realised that it was because this early childhood experience had such an impact on her life. She described vividly the teacher who looked like the Wicked Witch of the West (but with an orange face) who had cruelly criticised her work, and how from that day on she tried to do everything perfectly to feel safe in the world. She also now realises that this early experience made her timid in expressing her creativity.

She then described her career journey that mirrored many of the group’s experiences, one of searching for the job that ‘made her heart sing’ and the disappointments along the way.

However, she also described her joy of parenthood and the creative pursuits she enjoyed with her son and her wonder at watching her daughter play independently. I personally felt in awe of her clearly wonderful mothering skills.

However, thankfully there came a point in her life when she realised it was also important to look after Sharon. She again described her pursuit of meaning as she entered a mid-life crisis. She tackled it with a huge dose of curiosity as she attended various retreats, talks and experiences. Again, she described it beautifully.

As she began to engage with all sort of different experiences, she also met some people who have been pivotal in her life today. Firstly, her husband Andy and then her wonderful friend Sally Tissington. When she described Andy, it was just so heart- warming that I feel compelled to share it word for word, so here it is….

‘He challenges me to look at the world differently and see things I had never even noticed like reflections in puddles. He couldn’t believe I’d never seen them. For me, he opened a new door to life.

I have started to pay attention to what is around me. I skip through life most days like an excited child looking at water droplets on cobwebs and collecting magic money. I delight at foraging elderflowers and making cordial. I love picking blackberries in the Autumn and freezing them in batches for making vegan blackberry muffins throughout the Winter. I love going for walks in the woods wearing my pink wellies and hearing all the birds and insects buzzing around me. I love walking on an empty beach in the Winter with my waterproof coat and walking boots feeling the wind in my hair and tasting the salt on my lips.’

How wonderful is that…

‘I skip through life like an excited child’ will stay with me forever and is a huge inspiration.

She talks of the importance of finding something that makes her heart sing and to make a difference in the world, and it was so inspiring to hear her journey to finding this through the world of creativity and play that both Andy and Sally opened up for her. She has achieved amazing successes with several creative projects over the past few years and is clearly a really accomplished writer and film maker.

I am so thrilled that she has found her place in the world. and am so grateful to know her. She shared with us this wonderful quote at the end and I hope it will inspire us all to find that excited little child inside!

Thank you, Sharon. Thank you very much.






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