Soul Crafting and me

This is my story from a different perspective.

My Soul Crafting Journey

My soul crafting journey began in earnest over thirty years ago, when I first read ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by Scott Peck and first recognised that beneath everything we say and do or think there is another layer just outside of our awareness.

I have devoted and continue to devote my life to uncovering and understanding what is going on in that underneath layer as, in my experience, this is the way to a truthful and authentic relationship with ourselves and others. Strangely life has a way of encouraging us to ‘get to the heart of the matter’, to uncover our true selves or in other words, to search out our souls.

How it all began

From an early age I loved being outdoors in the garden as there was a lot of tension in the house and my sister and I were also encouraged to occupy ourselves and keep quiet which we did by making all kinds of things.

I carried on making without consciously recognising what it was giving me right until I went back to teaching after having my two children. I was working as a Home Tutor with teenagers who were unable to attend school because of anxiety or depression and automatically I introduced crafting as a way to connect with them and build a trusting relationship with me – while studying for GCSEs. Not an easy task!

Ten years later I set up Oak Trees Home Learning Centre at Rectory Cottages which brought together these young people in a small group to help them build up trust with each other as well as with me; it was at this point, that the true power of both crafting and nature became clear to me.

Using Creativity to uncover hidden emotions

During this time I had begun working on my own childhood trauma with an amazing mentor and creative therapist and it was she who really showed me how my own artworks, spinning, weaving and felting, were allowing me to express feelings and emotions that I had been unaware of. They were a safe container, if you like, for things that had felt too uncomfortable to feel. I also began journaling in words and drawings at this time to document all that I was discovering.

As I experienced all this for myself, I was able to use art and craft together with journaling more consciously with my students, helping them to use these in an expressive way and understand more clearly what was going on for them. I also saw how being outside, especially with the alpacas, helped bring them to a place of calm  – some of them hadn’t been able to go outside for 18 months or more – where they felt safe enough to explore what lay in that underneath layer in their own lives.

Ecotherapy and the importance of nature connection

I closed Oak Trees in 2016 to move into teaching craft workshops using the alpaca fleece as well as to concentrate on my own personal development; it was at this time that my mentor introduced me to ecotherapy and I began to truly recognise the importance of our connection with nature and indeed, our total dependence on it for life. As a result, three years ago I began a programme of experiential study and research with her.

I have come across so many inspiring teachers and writers during this time, but I am particularly indebted to the work of Bill Plotkin and Dr. Gabor Mate who have really helped me grow and understand so much more about nature and healing.

The effect of the pandemic

During the pandemic, with the loss of all my workshops and craft fairs in 2020,  followed by my husband breaking his elbow and pelvis in a fall in 2021 in the midst of Covid, I have personally experienced, yet again, how journaling, crafting and connection with nature help deal with any kind of trauma. I have been able to rebalance my life, find my path again and, yes, cherish my soul.