I’ve been incredibly busy with some serious issues, family life, and new business opportunities, so this is really a roundup of where I am right now with my work.
I launched my Crystal Grid prints in my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy and had a great response. Many people have asked if I will be stocking cards in the future, so that’s something I’m looking into. I’m very touched by the amount of people showing interest and supporting my new work, I’ve even had commissions and that’s been a lot of fun!
You can find the available prints in Amaranth Alchemy right now, 8×8 inch prints on beautiful high-grade, smooth matte paper. They look amazing!
Amaranth Alchemy also stocks bookpage gifts. I rescue broken, worn and torn, and damaged books and turn them into unique bookmarks, picture frames, and gifts. #BreathingNewLifeIntoOldPages
And my books are all available to buy too. Signed paperback copies which will enchant you.
My first three books the Surviving Hope series are made up of Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak,andBeneath the Distant Star.
Three girls, three lives, three stories composed with the melody of hope. Freya’s death sends ripples through many lives. Meg loses her best friend, and Jasmine, her sister. Lost dreams need to be found, hidden family secrets need to be unearthed, and grief must be embraced before ghosts can be laid to rest. These beautifully composed tales of coming of age, mental health, and the struggles of finding yourself, begin with grief and culminate with hope.
Beneath the Rainbow is currently available for FREE as a Nook eBook with Barnes and Noble, and it’s sequels are available for $0.99 each ‘til the end of April.
Beneath the Rainbow has also been chosen as one of the titles for BHCPress’s curated list celebrating National School Library Month in the US. Find it here and check out the other recommended books here.
You can find A Symphony Of Dragons and Human 76 in my Etsyshop, and at lisashambrook.com. If you love dragons then Symphony is for you, and if you crave post-apocalyptic fiction then Human 76 is something quite unique which will blow you away! All books are available at online bookshops and Amazon in both eBook and Paperback.
I’m busy working through everything I learned while in counselling, creating new things, crystal grids, learning about Chakras, editing The Seren Stone Chronicles, and supporting my daughter’s new art business, please read about her work here. She’s struggling greatly with autism and tourettes right now, and art is one of the things that’s keeping her going, so please support her if you possibly can. Check out her website Bekah Rain Art and her page on Facebook. Look her up on Instagram and Tik Tok too.
Thank you for all your support! You are all amazing!
Three weeks ago I asked you which of my Crystal Grids you liked the most, this was to work out which grids to order prints to stock in my Etsy shop. I had a lot of lovely responses and votes, and some of the choices matched mine and some surprised me, but the results are in and I’ve made my choices.
Two were runaway successes, drawing in the most votes respectively, Numbers 3 and 13 – Samhain, Fire and Light, and Black Moon. Coming in close behind were 6, 8, and 12 – Intuition, Imbolc, Winter Healing, and Wolf Moon Snowflake. 18 and 19 – Holly and Berry, and Valentine Love brought up the rear in votes. Many more were as popular but instead of fighting between them, the eighth grid I chose was my newest, Amethyst Spiral, created for February, as it got a huge amount of love across my social media pages when I posted it.
So, I will be ordering a number of prints of each of these grids to place in Amaranth Alchemy. Once I see how these sell, I will consider expanding the range.
Thank you all so much for voting and sharing your favourites with me, it was lovely to read some of your reasons too.
I also held a draw for one voter to receive a free print from these once they become available. I drew Eilís Phillips’ name and she will be able to choose a print to enjoy. Congratulations Eilís and thank you!
Whilst you were voting I send off for sampleprints using four different papers so I could choose my favourite to show off the crystals. I tried two photographic pearl papers, and two matte rag papers. The prints of Samhain, Fire and Light came out beautifully and I immediately fell in love with the Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310gsm. This matte 100% cotton paper creates a smooth, sensual backing to my crystals which makes them feel more like an art print than a photograph, and I love it!
I’ll be getting 8×8 inch prints to begin with, and seeing where we go from there.
I can’t wait to see these Crystal Grid prints in my shop and ready to be shipped to homes where the stones and intentions can enhance your life!
Art is important, adding to society in many ways. It provides decoration, talking points, culture, expression, creativity, inspiration and so much more. My daughter’s art at Bekah Rain Art embraces all of this.
Yesterday, Bekah opened her first online shop to offer her art to the world – Bekah Rain Art. Please pop over and take a look and see what inspires you. Their initial pieces work with Body Positivity, Diversity, People, and Nature. Working with watercolour as her main medium, she has also used acrylics, pen, and is currently working on a large oil painting.
Their ultimate goal with their art is to inspire others to see the beauty in everything around us.
I asked them a few questions to celebrate their launch:
Have you always loved to draw and paint?
I have, it’s been one of the few things in my life that has been a constant love of mine. I’ve been drawing since I can remember and in school if you asked me my favourite subject it was always Art. To the point that when I studied art for my A Levels I lost focus on any other subject I was studying and put everything into my art.
What made you want to focus on body positivity?
I see a lot of nude art that focuses on one body type: skinny, abled, primarily white. I wanted to bring something new to people, every body is beautiful and they deserve to see that in art. I have painted people with different body types, perceived flaws, disabilities. I only have five pieces in my Strength Within collection available right now but I have many more in the works. This collection is about empowering people to love their bodies.
Do you have a favourite medium to work in?
Watercolour, if I had to pick one medium to use for the rest of my life, it would be watercolour. I love how unpredictable it can be depending on the surface I paint on. I love the loose flow it offers me, I find watercolour inspires me while I am in the process of painting.
I love to experiment with other mediums though, I’m currently working on an Oil on Canvas piece which is slow but it’s turning out beautifully. I’ve learned a lot working on that piece.
What does art mean to you?
That’s a huge question! It’s expression in its purest form, it’s inspiration and beauty. I think people don’t always value it, they consider it to be frivolous, but everything involves art. Look at architecture, television, books, cars and so on, art surrounds us all everyday and I think that is a beautiful thing. Look what we as humans can create! A world without art would be such a flat existence.
Bekah is currently offering a discount of 15%off on all sales until midnight 14th March, use code: LAUNCH15 at the checkout on her website.
I have been enchanted by crystals for many years. I’ve been studying and learning about them, writing and painting them, and for the last year I’ve been making crystal grids.
I make crystal grids for several reasons: to manifest intentions, to make art, and to practise meditation and mindfulness. I’ve had some lovely responses and comments when I’ve posted them online, and also been asked if they are available to purchase. I’m really happy to announce that I’m planning to get prints made so they can be available in my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy.
I want to choose the ones that you love the most! I hope you will relate to their meanings so they will mean something to you too. Each print will be on premium paper, hand signed, and on the reverse will be the original meaning and an explanation of each stone used and why.
To help me know which crystal grids to stock, please comment below with the numbers of your Five Favourite grids. Feel free to either just leave their numbers, or to add any explanation as to why you love them.
WIN A FREE PRINT – If you comment here on my blog or on the original Facebook, or Instagram, post I will make a note of your name and include you in a draw when the prints become available and one person will win a free print of their choice of the available range.
If you win I will contact you via your FB, Insta, or Blog profile. This draw will remain open for comment until the 10th of March 2021, when I will be then preparing my range of prints. Prints should be available before Summer at Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy, price still to be decided.
I can’t wait to see which grids are your favourites!
Life is not easy, and even with all the support and love in the world sometimes you need extra help. Counselling can be a great place to start, and this is my journey.
I was a shy child, but the word shy was a misnomer for severe anxiety, panic, trauma, and low self-confidence. By fourteen, I also had an eating disorder and was self-harming. At eighteen, undergoing a breakdown, I finally asked for help, approaching the first female GP I’d had and sharing historic information which my mother hadn’t been able to cope with. My doctor was compassionate and sent me to a psychiatrist. He failed to ask or listen to anything, prescribed the antidepressant, Fluvoxamine, and sent me to a group counselling program.
Group counselling for an eighteen-year-old with huge social anxiety was a bad move. I sat among drug addicts and people with serious mental illnesses and made myself as small as I could. I did not say a word and didn’t return after two sessions. Nine months of antidepressants numbed me through the breakdown. I limped through my twenties, married and raised children, had a bout of post-natal depression, and pushed through with little recognition and without any attempt to ask for help.
I was thirty-three (2004) when I was sexually assaulted and the earlier undealtwithassault resurfaced. During this breakdown my husband, desperate to help, intervened and I saw another psychiatrist, but this one was a family friend and he listened. I took Escitalopram, and was referred to a private sexual health and abuse counsellor. She was amazing and took me back through my childhood and relationships. Through talking we worked through the assaults and I began to see myself differently, and to take back control of my life and who I was. She showed me that I was more than the sum of what had happened to me, that I deserved more, and that I was safe. I began to learn my own worth and how to overcome my demons. She helped me to conquer them by turning the perpetrators into sad pathetic creatures. After six months of counselling I felt much more in control and much happier. I wish I’d been able to find counselling on the NHS but it had taken private counselling and financial aid through my church to help.
Life moved easily with the heaviness lifted for several years then overwhelm and anxiety kicked in again, and in 2010 and 2011 I took six month courses of antidepressants, Cipralex and Citalopram, and in 2014, Amitriptyline, which was to combat anxiety and panic rather than depression, and I was sent on an Anxiety/Depression CBT course by my GP, who told me I’d need to do that before any one-to-one counselling could be offered on the NHS.
It turned out to be a group course, six or eight sessions, watching two hours of slides teaching about depression and anxiety. The two mental health nurses lecturing were lovely, and I can’t fault the information, but for me, someone who’d intensively researched both subjects, it was information I was already fully aware of. I used it as a reminder and tried to put it into action, but without one-to-one mentoring let’s say, I found it difficult. I knew all about anxiety and depression but was unable to put basics into action on my own. It was over ten years since my successful counselling and I now struggled to be able to put ideas and theories into action without dealing again with core issues and triggers.
In 2016, after a lovely day but a brutal year, I found myself at 2am standing on a local bridge wanting to finish everything. I’d been battling suicidal ideation for years and years, along with self-harm, panic, and anxiety. I was prescribed Sertraline, yet another antidepressant, by my GP and put on a counselling waiting list.
I was full of tears, panic, and overwhelm, unable to vocalise or help myself. I paid and saw a private counsellor (through my church) who listened to what I’d been going through over many years. She showed a desire to help and validated the pain and overwhelm that I felt. I’d tried asking my church for financial aid to get counselling, but been turned down, however the attempt on my life changed that, and we got financial aid to see another private counsellor closer to home through church social services.
Seeing a counsellor whilst on antidepressants is always weird for me. It feels difficult to be authentic because medication balances and numbs, so I was worried she wouldn’t see the real me through the deception of meds. I felt I would look too normal, undeserving of counselling, and she wouldn’t see my inner turmoil. However, I felt really comfortable with her, she made me feel understood and validated, and it felt like spending time with a friend. I looked forward to my weekly sessions.
We talked about my trauma, family, the difficulties life threw at us, and I learned ways to ground myself, to cope with my sensory issues, and ways to try and deal with my self-harm. I talked a lot about my family and how deeply my emotions were interwoven with their needs, more so than my own. We looked at anxiety and how to deal with it, we used mindfulness, meditation, ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and she helped me talk about my fears, concerns, and anxieties. After six months I felt much more secure within myself and we stopped counselling, but have become friends.
This period had been positive and taught me a lot. I used grounding and sensorytools to help cope with anxiety and had an ACT textbook which I could work through. This began a much happier time in my life.
I was offered counselling through the NHS whilst receiving private counselling, but I had to turn it down due to a conflict of interest, it would be unethical to see two therapists at the same time, and I felt I was doing well with my counsellor.
Two years later, and due to a resurfacing of trauma, I was struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, self-harm, and intrusive thoughts again. My doctor prescribed Duloxetine, trying a SNRI antidepressant rather than the usual SRRI, as I wanted to avoid feeling like a zombie. Duloxetine wasn’t for me after I’d spent two days vomiting. I tried Propranolol, a beta-blocker, to deal with anxiety attacks, which worked in the moment. I turned down antidepressants, this time I didn’t want to stop feeling, I didn’t want to be numb anymore, I wanted counselling, something concrete, something to continue to teach me how to deal with my anxiety and issues. I wanted to learn rather than just cope or mask. I was offered another self-referral to my local NHS counselling service.
As I tried to cope with huge anxieties and panic, overwhelm and sensory issues, my daughter who was on the ASD waiting list (She was later diagnosed with ASD) asked whether I thought I might have Autism too. Another visit to my GP and he placed me on the assessment waiting list after agreeing that it was a likely possibility.
Whilst waiting for referrals I began going to a local pottery class for carers and those with mental and emotional health problems. Art therapy offered relief that inspired, calmed me, and spoke to my inner creative. It was a huge release each week, somewhere I could go and not be disturbed, and lose myself in creativity.
Finally, after nine months of numerous panic attacks and anxiety, at the end of 2018, I got six weeks of counselling through the NHS. My counsellor was nice, quiet, calm, relaxed, and friendly, but the weekly sessions held in a hospital room were clinical and one way. I talked and shared, but the counsellor didn’t respond much. It was ambiguous. She asked about me, what I’d done in the week, and how I felt, but didn’t offer much in the way of advice – or counsel. I felt very frustrated that again the answers were things I already knew, but didn’t know how to initiate in my life. I left feeling more frustrated than before counselling.
I got more help from friends online who shared their experiences with me, and I learned that I was catastrophising, and their encouragement pushed me to ask for further help. I knew from my counsellor that I needed to reprogram my brain, to create new neural pathways, but I had no idea how to do it, and she wasn’t forthcoming.
I asked my GP to refer me for CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, because I had no idea how to change my problems with sensory issues, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and catastrophising. Three months later I saw a Primary Mental Health Care Worker/Assessor who listened intently and agreed that CBT might be a good fit for me. She referred me on.
October, four months later, I had an assessment at Psychological Integrated Therapies Services and saw a Mental Health Provider. He listened but kept correcting me, telling me I wasn’t having realpanic attacks, I was only having anxiety attacks, and downplayed my intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation saying it was perfectly normal… a part of life for the average person. He told me I had Generalised Anxiety Disorder, something I’d been painfully aware of for about thirty years. I felt embarrassed and small after the assessment, but none of that measured how bad I felt when one week later I got a letter informing me Psychological Therapies couldn’t offer me anything because I did not have a diagnosed mental health illness. It felt like a kick in the teeth from somewhere that I’d felt was my last port of call. I actually phoned the department and they apologised, but told me I’d be fine, and that they had no funding to treat anyone without a mental health diagnosis. I wondered if depression, generalised anxiety disorder, self-harm, etc were just not counted as mental health disorders? I felt invalidated and despairing.
At the tail end of 2019 I wept with my doctor and she agreed to refer me again for counselling after seeing if there were options beyond the NHS six week sessions. I waited. Then in 2020Covid19 hit us and we all went into lockdown. It was October, almost a year after referral, that I got an assessment for New Pathways, a charity run counselling service, via the NHS, and they offered me three options: one-to-one counselling, a support worker, or group therapy. I chose one-to-one counselling and asked for it to include help dealing with sexual assault, anxiety, and methods to cope. Two weeks later I began counselling via Zoom.
I began this new course with trepidation caused mainly by having to use Zoom, but my new counsellor was proactive and friendly, beginning by getting to know me and finding out what my worries were. I was agitated, tearful, nervous, shaky, and scared to be myself, but I was also keen to make the most of whatever I was offered. You don’t wait for years and years and then sit back and expect counselling to work without putting in the effort.
It was emotionally overwhelming to talk about my feelings of trauma, responsibility, feeling neglected and consequently overcompensating with my own family. We discussed my avoidance tactic, something I’d never recognised before, and I realised that when she asked me pointed questions I always deflected. I suddenly started to see myself differently as my counsellor gently coaxed me into talking about myself and not everyone but myself. It was uncomfortable to talk about me, and slowly I opened up. It was a symptom of putting myself last for almost my entire life while I checked that everyone else was okay.
This was emotional and frightening. Pushing myself forward was something I wasn’t used to and talking about what I felt was overwhelming. Instead of talking about how I thought everyone else felt, I talked about how I felt. Then we dug into my past. I’d dealt with these issues way back when I was thirty-three and I thought I’d put them in a box and sealed it up, now at forty-nine these demons had risen again. We worked with art and word association, talked about grounding and techniques for my anxiety toolbox.
We concentrated more on my overcompensating with my children, and how feeling that my needs hadn’t been met as a child meant I felt an urge to fulfil every need and whim to an unhealthy extent. We also talked about how mine and my children’s emotional and mental health needs had been let down by the health service and schools, and how that had framed my anxiety and panic responses. I realised that the trauma and neglect had become an anchor to me, a metaphor I understood and was able to work with. I felt constantly burdened with responsibility to take care of everyone’s emotional state and an inability to let go, care for myself, and do my own thing. My counsellor asked me to go away and make a piece of art representing the anchor, to be as free as I wanted with the idea and see what happened.
Art is my thing and I don’t go into it lightly… It had been a difficult week and I shut myself away with my watercolours. I sketched and used masking fluid (experimenting for the first time) and allowed myself to disappear into the ocean, creating a wash of sea blue, and pooling and flicking blues, indigo, green, pink, and purple across the wet paper. The next day after it dried, I rubbed off the masking fluid and painted the anchor and its chain. I coated it with peridot algae and flicked white bubbles.
Using art is a way to break through barriers and walls, and it showed me much about myself. I’ve been anchored in trauma and anxiety and the weight is heavy, and that weight has held me back. I have a tendency toward the aesthetic and beauty, even if it’s painful to bear, maybe that’s a martyr response? I’ve tried to lift the anchor in the painting to give a sense of movement, which could be a positive step, but the chains are still heavy and oversized for the anchor they carry. I called it Let It Go, and I hope I can.
I emailed the painting to my counsellor and I think she was surprised at the piece, the work that had gone into it, the new technique I’d used when I hate change, and the free flow and movement, and the colours that echoed hope and positivity. I shared it online with my friends and got a mass of interpretations, all of which were insightful and emotional to me. Art is very therapeutic and can translate what you feel so well, allowing you not only a catharsis but a way to try and analyse your feelings.
I concentrated hard on trying to channel what I’d learned in therapy, I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting the very resources I’d waited so long to use. New Pathways relies on charity and government grants. I’d waited a year for my twelve sessions and I was going to do damn near everything I could to appreciate and respect the time and words shared with me by my counsellor, and to transfer what I learned to my life.
My counsellor noticed the change in me as we met each week, and my family have too. My confidence and happiness have grown. My understanding of myself, my trauma, and my life became clearer to me, and my desire to change and embrace it got stronger every week. After a two week break at Christmas I worried I felt reliant on my sessions, but I quickly realised that changes I hadn’t noticed in myself, had actually happened. I knew that I could finally give myself permission to be myself. The blog posts I’ve written in the past show the importance I place on being yourself, being authentically you, but giving myself permission to practise what I preached had never been easy. It will still be a work in progress, but it’s one I’m now actively living.
I have a healthier outlook, more coping strategies and tools, I am overcoming my insecurities and learned behaviours to be able to see my own worth. I am leaving the unconscious behind and moving forward with conscious decisions for the future.
My message is this. Keep on. Don’t give up. Sometimes you won’t be offered what you need, and you’ll plough through help that doesn’t help, but sometimes you’ll find what you need and it can change your life. I have had three amazing counsellors in my life, who have been there when I needed them and they’ve each helped me change my life for the better.
I am under no illusion, I know I will continue to suffer anxiety and many issues, but I am better equipped to deal with it now, and for that I am grateful to my family (who learn with me) and to every professional counsellor who has given me their valuable time and expertise.
I’ve blogged about my favourite jewel, neutral, and metallic colours
and I’m currently inspired by elemental themes and tones…
The elements – earth, water, air, and fire – make up the essence of nature, the core of our existence, and they feed our spirit. The colours of the elements are deeply ingrained within our lives. Greens, browns, and earthy tones clothe the forests, mountains, and valleys. All manner of blues along with cloudy white and grey, and golden sunshine tones fill our skies. Ocean blues and greens, clear rivers, and fluid crystalline colours run through our lives in water. Sizzling reds, oranges, and yellows spark passion and fuel our emotions with fire.
Which of the elements calls to you, and do their colours inspire you?
Earth – the greens of the forest have been my favourite colours since I was a child, offering peace, calm, and tranquillity in a heart that was often anxious and unsettled. As an adult I go to the forest and to the hills for peace, to renew my senses and to recharge. Listening to the wind susurrate through the trees, whispering serenity to my soul, and feeling my feet softly stepping on springymoss always relieves my heart and allows me to regain my breath. It’s like uttering a prayer in solitude and then listening to nature’s response as birds twitter, trees whisper, and soft music lightens an aching heart.
Water – the ocean with its blues and greens is the opposite for me. A calm sea is lovely, the suntwinkling like stars on its surface can also still a racing heart, but I love the sea when its waves are crashing and the pebbles tumble beneath them. I come from Brighton and pebble beaches have a rousing effect on me as the sea churns stones as it rises and falls. I have travelled the UK and come to love soft sand beaches in Wales and Scotland, and could spend hours staring at the sea as the tides change. I have seen the ocean switch in front of me from its crystal quartz white surf, to aquamarine, then changing to adventurine and amazonite green, before deepening to turquoise, then to apatite blue, and finally to a deep dark sodalite navy. The sea can change from blue, to green, to brown and to grey, and it’s changeable nature is what inspires me. Water is the element that speaks to me most, and one that guides me. Water cannot be stopped, if it encounters an obstacle, it goes around it and carries on… I need that wisdom in my life.
Air – have you ever stood on a mountainside and felt the windbillowing through your hair? It’s exhilarating and freeing. Air offers release and liberty; if I could be a creature I’d be a dragon, flying free up in the thermals… Birds fascinate me, upon their feathery wings they fly through our atmosphere, light enough to do so, and free enough to travel wherever desire takes them. Air is what drives us, filling our lungs, and moving us forward. And the colours I associate with it change from the blues of the sky, to the white of clouds, to grey storms, golden sunshine, and all the colours that merge in auroras and celestial azureskies.
Fire – the easiest of the elements to imagine. Known for passion, anger, and fierce emotions, it flickers with red, orange, and yellow. Fire is destructive and renewing, full of danger and desire, it harnesses ambition and fuels dreams, but it can also offer peace and safety. Seeing light amid darkness can guide you home to a hearth and food. Watching a flame dancing atop a candle is hypnotising and relaxing, and listening to the crackle of a fire burning within a fireplace is the symbol of home comfort and sanctuary.
The elements need each other to survive. Fire feeds on oxygen in the air, and though it can destroy trees and grass and flora, the earth contains it, and water can quell it. Once scorched, the earth can renew and life returns with the help of water. Water is a constant, the ocean rises and falls every day ruled by the moon above, it feeds and helps everything grow. Air moves the water to where it’s needed, and keeps the atmosphere exactly as we need it. And earth, the rock beneath our feet, holds everything together, keeping us safe upon this rock that is clothed in air and water and encases the fiery molten core that keeps our earth alive.
The elements are both chaos and essential,
and when I’m asked which is my favourite – I’m not really sure…
What’s your favourite elemental colour and what does it mean to you?
I can only connect deeply or not at all – Anaïs Nin
Sometimes you notice how intensely you feel everything,
you notice the small things: dust motes dancing in the light cast across your path,
a smile on the lips of a passing stranger,
or the depth of emotion that overwhelms you in the heat of a moment.
These are things the average person embraces momentarily,
but what if your brain records all of this all of the time, what if you feel too much?
I feel everything, all of the time.
I’ve always felt too much, engulfed by the emotions I experience.
My heart has loved with depth unknown, and has before shattered into pieces of glass that pierce to the centre of my being, and then been gently mended again. I have wept for the world in the midnight hour as pain, fear, and trauma has consumed me. When I see suffering and injustice I have carried the world in my hands. I have almost drowned when confronted with my own innocence and naivety. I’ve hugged so hard I could feel hearts beating.
I’ve had to galvanise my heart, armouring it against those who show indifference and ignorance, and burning hot rage has raced through my blood when people hurt each other. I have been sick to my stomach with turmoil and anxiety. I’ve discovered magic in my soul, shimmering like stars, and the power to rise when emptiness threatened to finish me. And I have felt passion and triumph and love for every atom dancing about my universe.
Imagine being immersed so deep within your emotions all the time. Whatever you feel is always heightened by the chemicals swirling within your brain and through your system, and there’s nothing you can do to quiet it.
I’ve tried meditation, but despite every trick people offer, I cannot empty my mind. Perhaps the closest I’ve ever come to being able to quiet my mind is simply to stare at clouds, and watch the shapes they make as they sail across the sky, but even then my mind will wander and trail into something new. I try to deal with overwhelm by writing or painting. Writing lets me escape into another world, one that exists solely in my own head and one that I have relative control over. I think that’s one reason why fantasy and fiction live so easily in my head. My imagination can soar and those emotions can be put to good use.
Art is another therapy, lending itself to engaging my mind in media that is malleable and flexible. Sculpting in clay, painting with brushstrokes, and pencil marks on the page soak up emotion and create an outlet. I’ve been making crystal grids lately, both to harness the energy of stones and to create something beautiful in the moment. I find mindfulness very difficult, so when I have creative moments I like to turn my creativity to things that soothe or reignite me.
I’ve written before about HSP, the Highly Sensitive Person. Those who are highly sensitive can feel moods and emotions easily, and can read people well. They’re conscious to the needs of others and this sensitivity encompasses being an Empath, a Light-worker, someone who feels so deeply they can’t escape the emotions swirling about in the ether. Being an Empath can be incredibly rewarding, but also extremely draining. Feeling everything is as problematic as it is amazing.
These last few weeks, and currently, I’m both full of emotion and utterly spent at the same time.
When I walk into a room, emotions overwhelm me from every corner. I can feel heartbreak, joy, happiness, anger, resentment, love, friendship, and insincerity simmering. It literally swamps me like suffocating hot air does when you walk into a greenhouse on a summer’s day, or like drowning in a humid creek. It can be difficult when you talk with someone who doesn’t like you, and you can feel it intrinsically, but also so beautiful when someone’s genuine love for you blazes from their very being like fire.
Emotions cut to the soul which is why many of us who feel too much are natural empaths. I remember standing behind a woman in a supermarket queue and her emotions brought me to tears. I could literally feel her sadness engulf me and the impotence of being unable to help was paralysing. Sometimes I’ve spoken to people and helped, but sometimes the empath can also feel barriers and the inability to help can be painful. Overwhelming doesn’t even cover it.
To counter the sheer depth of feeling so much, I often retreat. I walk through the forest and I feel the trees, their ancient wisdom pulsing through my pores as the breeze swishes through the canopy. I feel the electricity in the air as gales pick up on mountainsides, and on the beach I feel the breath of the sea and the sonorous pounding of the waves crashing right over my soul. Nature is my solace.
We must open up to the emotion and intuition we feel, and let them teach us. After all, Emotions are the language of the soul (Karla Mclaren) and when we can truly express our souls then we are on the right path. We don’t have to understand all our emotions, but we do need to embrace them, as someone* once said – Not every feeling has to have a label. Not every relationship has to be named. Some emotions aren’t meant to be understood, they’re just meant to be felt.
I feel too much, but that’s okay. I’d rather feel too much than not feel at all. My reactions, emotions, intuition, and instinct might hurt at times, but they also give deeper meaning to life, better perceptions and awareness, more sensitivity, and more compassionate insight. I know myself clearly and fully, and can put myself in the place of others to better understand them. Our feelings are who we are and when we embrace them, we become better people.
Emotion is more powerful than reason.
Emotion is the driving force behind thinking and reasoning.
Emotional intelligence increases the mind’s ability
to make positive, brilliant decisions – Dr T. P. Chia
*this quote has several names attributed to it, and I currently cannot find a reliable source to attribute accurately.
If you love art, jewellery, craft, and books you will appreciate the
time, energy, love, and passion that goes into creating something magical. This is how you can pay it back and forward…
Matching in with my Reviews post – support local and creative businesses this year.
The sales creatives make during November and December make all the difference.
Take a look at crafters, jewellers, artists, and authors…
Amaranth Alchemy gifts
It’s difficult to sustain a craft business all year round, so we often concentrate on Spring and Winter seasons, and make probably the lion’s share of our sales in lead up to Christmas. To be honest, it makes sense, I do most of my year’s buying in October and November too.
Think about spending your hard earned money locally, ethically, and with small independent businesses. Large conglomerates will usually keep going without your purchase, but we, small crafters, totallydepend on your trade. Our winter sales will keep us going, encourage us, and make us deliriously happy.
Amaranth Alchemy Potion Bottles
My own Etsystore, Amaranth Alchemy is restocked each September, but this year has seen many of us with the least amount of disposable cash ever and sales have been poor. Watching large stores like Mothercare, and in previous years BHS etc, go to the wall worry the little fish in the ocean like me, is there still space for us?I say, yes, because we offer something the big stores don’t – a personal touch and originality.
I’m also working to be ethically and environmentally sound, reusing packaging and envelopes, and crafting with items that would have gone to landfill if they hadn’t been rescued.
Parcels from Amaranth Alchemy
I make gifts using old, damaged, lost and ruined books, breathing new life into old pages. I make bookmarks from books that have lost pages, been torn, and ripped apart. I rescue spines and pages to make classic bookmarks and wall hanging plaques, I have peg magnets – perfect for keeping those notes and lists on your fridge or freezer, necklaces with dictionary words, and potion bottle necklaces with names from a forsaken and broken poetry book.
Amaranth Alchemy gifts
Gems caught up with faery song in a tiny glass vial, enchanting sand from Neptune’s night tide, and precious lightning crystals. Keep them safe as you wear them about your neck.
Potion Bottle necklaces
As an added bonus you’ll find all my books in my shop too, signed copies at a cheaper price than bookstores.
The postage time has passed for many overseas sales, but if you’re in the UK, see what I and many others on Etsy and their own websites have to offer. Find your one-of-a-kind gift and support buying small and local this year.
Many thanks for all the sales I’ve had over the years. I love buying from real people who put their heart and soul into their work, and most of my Christmas shopping has been via Etsy and other small businesses. It’s a pleasure to support them, and in so doing I want to support another friend with her own Etsy store… Take a look at Aureliola’s jewellery and see if she’s made something you or a loved one would adore too.
I’ve blogged about my favourite jewel colours and neutrals,
so today I’m looking metals…
Metallic colours are striking, bright, crisp, and shiny. Any colour can be metallic, but I’m sticking with traditional colours of metals – silver, gold, brass, and copper. Bronze and brass are both alloys of copper, brass is copper and zinc and has a more yellow colour, and bronze is primarily copper with stronger reddish tones. I have a love of antiqued jewellery, or silver with a patina, and I love how these colours are rich and diverse, and as accessible in the natural world as they are in sleek modernity.
Silver is my colour of choice for metals, and not just because I’m embracing going grey!
I love silver jewellery, and enjoy wearing greys, pewter, slate, and silver colours. Silver is enchanting, magical, mystical, and sophisticated…
Copper always brings images of red squirrels, butterflies, and pipes,
not the smoking ones, but plumbing ones.
Another metal that is autumnal and warm. Copper isfun, bright, friendly, and down-to-earth…
What’s your favourite metallic colour and what does it mean to you?
Review: to think again. It’s about considering, assessing, and to offer an opinion, and how many of us love offering an opinion? Social media is all about reviews… we’re posting about our lives, reviewing what we’ve done, where we’ve been, and sharing our thoughts about it. These days, reviewing is just another part of our life.
So, since we’re doing it all the time, how about taking a few minutes – the time to write a status update – to offer a review to those who need them?
It’s my birthday week this week and when I’m asked “What would you like?” – right now, I’d just love a review.
Not a review of me, I think I’m open enough for everyone to know who I am, and I don’t need a rate! I’d love a book review or an Amaranth Alchemy Etsy review.
If you love and buy books, art, and jewellery you will appreciate the time, energy,
love, and passion that goes into writing a book or creating something magical. This is how you can pay it back and forward…
Add to that list angst, frustration, low financial reward, and you’ve got what it means to be an author or an artist. There’s plenty of love and passion, days of writing and sculpting, or painting and crafting, with your muse whispering in your ear and the true wonder of watching a story, an adventure, unfold, or creating an item of beauty beneath your fingertips, but there are days and weeks when your muse goes AWOL, when your fingers bleed (figuratively), and you hate everything you write or create. Novel writing and art is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.
You will have heard how writers and artists don’t have a choice in their craft, it’s intrinsic, it’s a part of us and we have to do it. Escaping into a world of writing or of intricate design is just what we do to survive. The wonder of it is that we end up with something beautiful and we can’t wait to share it with the world. Whether it’s a novel, or a painting, or sculpted silver, glass, or a piece of jewellery to treasure, we want to share our skills and talents with you.
Time is money, it’s a necessary evil, and we can’t give our talents away for free. Most eBooks are the price of a coffee and they last… your coffee is satisfying and gone within half an hour, but a book can satisfy for years for the same price. Books are significantly cheaper than video games, and comparable with your monthly payment to Netflix or Prime – create a literary library as well as a streaming library.
Most authors and artists are introverts, we love hiding away writing and creating, but we also know that to sell our wares we need to market them. Marketing doesn’t come naturally to those of us who prefer to squirrel ourselves away and just create. Our publishers help, but many authors are independent – doing it all on their own – artists too, and we need help to promote our work. Even with a publisher, unless you are one of the very few who have huge Big Five Publisher budgets and promotion, you’ll be doing most of it yourself.
We can shout from the rooftops about our books and art, but visibility is key. If our work isn’t visible, no one knows it’s out there. Reviews on Amazon, Good Reads, Etsy, Ebay, and Blogs, or Facebook and Twitterstatuses, photos on Instagram – they all help and offer visibility. The more reviews we garner on Amazon, for instance, will change algorithms and our books will be promoted more. You don’t have to like Amazon, but we have to deal with them, so any help is appreciated – more than you could ever know. On Etsy and other craft sites it’s important to share and help others decide if our products are worth purchasing.
This is where YOU come in. If you buy our book, and read it, and you love it – or you buy our art, and display it and love it every day – or you buy and wear our jewellery, then the best way you can thank us for those days, months, or years of hard work is to write a review. Let the world know that the book or art is out there, that you loved it, and why you loved it.
You don’t have to write much, literally, just a sentence or two is worth everything to an author. Just award your stars and say what you loved. That works. Or you can write a paragraph or an essay, it’s up to you!
Over the last few years I’ve bought lots of glass beads and jewellery from Etsy and Ebay, the reviews I leave help those artisans to continue and to sell more. I tend to leave photos of pieces so other prospective customers can see them in a different setting too. I also have an Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy and I know just how important reviews are to new customers.
I have read a lovely selection of books and part of my reading process is to leave a review for the authors on the platforms used to sell. I have written blog postscelebrating wonderful books and stories and I am so glad that I can help promote wonderful people sharing their amazing talents.
So, like I said, it’s my birthday week, and all I want is a review…
I know my book sales figures, but the number of reviews I have pales in comparison to the sales. Of course, not everyone who’s bought my books will have read them – I have hundreds of books at home and it’ll take years to read them all, but if you’ve bought and read one of mine, then a sentence shared on Amazon or Good Reads is a gift for me that I will appreciate forever!