Shabby Miss Jenn

Monday, April 23, 2012

How Jeanne Oliver Changed My Life

I have talked about my addiction to online workshops before. I live in a very rural part of Nova Scotia so finding courses and workshops covering what I'm interested in learning; happens 99% of the time, someplace online.

One of the courses I am taking part in at the moment asked us to write a special letter.
A "paradigm shift letter of thanks".

For those that may not know; a paradigm shift is a change from one way of thinking to another. A transformation, almost a metamorphosis of thoughts. It doesn't just happen, but rather this shift occurs because it is driven by agents of change.

The objective behind this letter was to reflect upon people who had a significant influence on our lives and had caused us to shift our values and beliefs in some form . Contact that someone who had caused such a shift, to thank them for it. Some of the other members were posting how they were going to take a few days and figure out their moments and to fathom which person they were meant to write about.

I on the other hand, finished reading the assignment and knew at that exact moment, my letter would be written to Jeanne Oliver.

It started simple enough for me. I was taking a workshop and another was mentioned that was coming up.(It really is how I stumble across almost all I've taken part in). I opened up another tab on my computer and typed in her information. 

                                             (photo source)

I started reading her blog. I was enchanted by the way she took photographs of her items. The way she wrote flowed so easily and went so well with my morning ritual of blog hopping while drinking my daily two coffees before 6am. Before I knew it, I had read every post in the blog. She created and sold different items then I was usually attracted to but they still somehow spoke to me. I looked at how she had captured their essence with her camera. How each photo told a whole story to you in one glance.

I signed up for the workshop she would be hosting. Not sure if her style would be something I would be able to convey in my own work but also knowing I couldn't let that hold me back. The course was Creatively Made........and it changed my life. It was the beginnings of my many shifts.

The course was 4 weeks long and had videos each week to watch. A discussion board and Facebook page. Supplies were bought and techniques were shown. Pretty much exactly like any of the other workshops I had taken in the past.

Somehow.....I sensed something different in this one. Something was changing for me.Within moments of finishing the first video, I started to shift inside. I found myself watching Jeanne in the videos and REALLY taking in her words. She was not just talking into a camera and giving a step by step on how to modpodge onto something. She was sharing. She was telling things from a personal outlook. She was giving of her heart and what she truly believed in.
Jeanne was showing each of us how to accept the gifts given to us and to help us grow them. She was showing each of us that our art and creativity was really an extension of ourselves and how we were supposed to be within our lives.

I am not a religious person in my own life. Jeanne's faith comes across strongly but not in a "this is how you should be" way. She awoke something in me that I didn't even know I was missing. The way she spoke of our creativity being a "gift" for us to nurture and then share with others. My faith and understanding of why I have always been drawn to being creative became unobstructed from the invisible ropes that had tied it down. She took away the knots of self-doubt and fear that had been holding me back from my true self. She expanded my perception and helped me turn fear into empowerment.

Many times during the length of that course, I caught myself thinking along the lines of "what would Jeanne say she'd do" or "how would Jeanne look thru her lens" or "Jeanne would probably say this about how to paint this concept". I was writing in my journals more. Ideas were flooding my mind at all hours of the night and day. 

I felt like I had been awoke after a slumber of a thousand years.

I was creatively inspired in so many ways. My sewing altered. My painting shifted. The way I wrote in my journals was different. I was beginning to feel ALIVE about my life and creative journey again. I hadn't seen how much I was missing it. I hadn't seen how deep I had fallen into a creative rut and had no color to my life anymore. She showed me that I had to have the courage to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is the birthplace of real creativity. That if you look deep within yourself, you will find truth. She showed us how to own our beauty and honor our gifts.

Those shifts then began showing up in little every day happens of my life. I was making changes in many different aspects of my life. I took some deep breathes and eliminated some negative aspects that had been holding me back. Anytime that I felt self-doubt in a choice I was about to make, I would close my eyes and see Jeanne. She was telling me that I WAS A GIFT. That the real me had to be shared. People around me saw change. They made comments about how wonderful it was to hear me laugh or see me smile again.

I thought to myself how incredible it would be to shift this new way of thinking into making my business be what I had really always dreamed it could grow and be.

I swear it is like Jeanne hears you whisper when you wish such dreams onto the first star of the night.

I am now taking her 2nd online workshop Building a Creatively Made BusinessE-Course
She has once again given more of her heart and soul into this course. She is sharing information that is just striking so many cords within me. I open my eyes each morning and smile. (I know....who does that?!) As I am bustling around the kitchen making coffee and gathering my lunch stuff, my mind is racing with the steps that I am going to put forth that day for my business and for myself.

I was, I'm sure, really supposed to write this letter then mail it off for her to read in the quiet of her own home. She caused such a profound shift in my way of thinking of myself, my creativity and now my business......that I wanted to write this letter for all to see.

Jeanne.....I am well aware that I have rambled away here but truth be known.....words can't fully express how you have come into my life and changed it for the better. I thank you from the depth of my soul for opening my eyes to everything around me again.
You are the real gift I have in my life now.

 Tracy(Cedara)Dunn of Thru the Attic Door and Thru the Attic Door 2


Jennifer Hunter said...

Beautiful!!! I too took her Creatively Made class and loved it!!

Annie Hamman said...

Love this story, beautifully written and from the heart. Excellent testimonial, will try Jeanne's workshop, you have convinced me! :)