What does the human form mean to you? Is it just the body, or does it also encompass the mind?
For me, the mind and body are one and the same and you can’t have a healthy body without good mental health. I recently, just under two years ago, found out in my forties that I have ADHD. Although I generally hate labels, this was the best thing that could have happened to me; as I had been misdiagnosed, and getting the right help to manage it turned my life around. So, I am very passionate about exploring this superpower (also a double edged sword) and raising awareness as it is more widespread than people think.
I am still relatively new to making animations, so am working to improve my digital storytelling through hard work, having a great editor and putting in hours of practise.
This animation builds on the themes I have been exploring since my last exhibition. In December I attended a workshop with Imelda Almqvist, my Sacred Art/Shamanic teacher. In the five-day course we explored themes from Norse mythology, and how they relate to modern life; one of them was the theme of ‘the excluded’. Having a mental health issue/being neurodivergent and not feeling understood is one example of this. The course also explored how, in ancient times, the High Priestess used to welcome the warriors on their return from battle, to heal them – mind, body and soul through performing scared rites which included using her body to transform their pain. One of my contributions to the evening ceremonies was to dance the High Priestess and the Warrior – showing his pain and her soothing him until he was cleansed and able to reintegrate into society. We don’t take photos during ceremonial work, but I took some of myself in my costumes as I was getting ready, which are included here.
In addition, I connected with the ADHD and Autism charity in Ipswich and have been reading widely on the subject of neurodivergence to try and understand it.
I also had the privilege of being allowed to take some photos in November at the Great White Horse hotel in Ipswich, which is currently being renovated. I worked in room 88, where Charles Dickens created the Pickwick papers – and found some abandoned mannequins – with missing limbs which added to this theme.
Whilst thinking about how to approach the Human Form topic, I decided to integrate my current projects of interest and explore how they could fit together.
My intention was to take viewers on a journey to show how the human body can be objectified, and also that many people have issues with some aspect of the skin they are blessed to live in. This is often masked – but has a big effect on the person’s life. Equally, neurodivergent conditions are not diagnosed, because they are hidden or masked, and this can lead to feelings of isolation and despair.
However, through ‘journeying to the underworld’ (like the Goddess Inanna did in Norse mythology) we can reclaim our power and take off our mask – and own our shadow by exploring our darkness. In normal reality this can be translated as working through our issues whether mental or physical and exploring our hidden parts/fears/shame etc. which I refer to as ‘The Shadow’.
Every bit of our shadow that we accept makes us lighter and more vibrant and increases our self-approval. This upward spiral of self-acceptance and understanding, leads to better relationships with ourselves and others, and more compassion for people who have similar issues. It is an important practise for anyone but especially someone who works to facilitate healing in others.
The story ends on a happy note, as all good stories should, showing the human body as something we can all enjoy when we have good mental health. All bodies are beautiful in their own unique way and the main thing is to try and love every bit of ourselves, and whatever stage of life we are at.
I just wanted to tell you that the friend Kathy H whom I was uncertain about actually sent me a text 5 minutes after we had finished talking!!!! So we must have energised the link!!! And your wisdom to help me learn more also is good. I'm meeting her on Saturday, and we'll have a coffee etc.
A beautiful and moving image now graces my wall: layers of vibrant colour alternatively reveal and conceal forms of significance, depicted with emotion and artistry. The abstract quality is such that it is a timeless piece I will always value and enjoy.
PH Shotley Suffolk
Growing up in China, I have always interested in Fengshui. As we were moving to Ipswich, I googled Fengshui consultant locally and that is how I found Rachel. I am so glad that we connected through the email initially. The house move took 9 months, Rachel was so patient, and she offered me advice through the process. I was so excited to meet her the day after we moved in. It provided us with a lot of comfort and guidiance at the new home. With her consultation, we had a much better understanding of the new space. Rachel is very intuitive, she did the dowsing, cleared the geopathic stress by using 'acupuncture'. The ritual she carried out involved all family member, so it was rather special. By using Fengshui principle and combined with our personal astrology, Rachel pointed out where the 'special corners' in our house, for example the wealth, relationship, friends and helpful people etc; She also helped us choose the interior colour, elemental accessories, positive symbolism in art works etc. I am so glad that I have found Rachel. It made us settle in and connect with our new home much quicker. The declutter has given us a much healthier space to live in. Whenever I feel disconnected with our home, I try to use some of the Fengshui she taught us to refresh and cleanse. I am so grateful that I contacted Rachel at the first place.
I asked for Rachels help with a young family member. They were having mental health issues which involved refusing to attend school, withdrawing from friendship groups and showing signs of psychosis. Rachel discussed with me her findings regarding her birth date and time in relation to her specialised work. Together we put a plan in place as I was to help. I carried out her recommendations. She stated that this time would come to an end this Spring and they would be through the part of the chart that was causing the chaos. I am so excited to report that they were again attending school until the lockdown. She is fully interacting with her family and is again part of her friendship group. Due to the lockdown and her now being well she is catching up with the school work she missed and will be ready to start again when the time comes. She is now off all medication which included ADHD and antidepressant prescription drugs. I cannot thank Rachel enough. If you are on the fence regarding her work, don’t be, it will be the best thing you could do for yourself and those you care for.
"Before I got in touch with Rachel, I was at a loss to know what to do. I had bought a flat to rent out in Ipswich, but it attracted the wrong types of tenants. The previous three tenants had either not paid their rent or had left the flat in a very bad state of repair, or both. In effect, I was just chucking money into a big black hole. I wanted to keep the flat, which I would eventually pass on to my son, but I still had the mortgage to pay. After reading about feng shui and the effect it can have, I was keen to find out more. I contacted Rachel and she explained what she intended to do and why. Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical at first, but I was keen to give it a go. Much to my amazement, after a six month rent void, that same week, a potential tenant turned up at the flat. The couple liked what they saw and moved in within two weeks. Much to my relief, they also paid the rent on time. I highly recommend Rachel to anyone in a similar situation."
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