How my cancer recovery led me to boost my creativity.

My three steps to get journaling and into creativity. How I boosted cancer recovery using belief-change and NLP to make it happen.

I had brain cancer just two years ago and recovered. There were a number of things to heal and found out that the healing journey was a journey of finding my creativity. Getting over cancer and my cancer recovery was a step into a new world for me. That was 2 years ago and I am still clear and will be for many years to come.

Just like many other people, when I was young, I was under the impression that I had little creative talent and wasn’t very good at anything arty like making art, singing or writing. My English teacher covered my creative writing exercise books with fierce-looking red lines, crossing out words, correcting my style and adding critical comments that were discouraging to read, especially at that tender young age. It remains a strong negative trigger all these years later. I don’t remember the negative comments being balanced by any good things she noticed. Low marks were a regular thing in all my creative lessons. Back then I didn’t dare to dream that I would become a published writer, and yet, here I am doing what I love. 

During my early working life, I had over fifteen jobs that were all very different, and each one of these added to the skills that I use in my work today. My first summer job as a teenager was spent in the art therapy department of a rehabilitation unit at a local hospital. We used art as a tool to help people recover from severe mental and physical illnesses. 

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The power of creativity to heal

It was here that I saw for the first time the power of creativity to heal and restore the human spirit. Painting, storytelling, poetry and art brought these people together in a community and gave them a chance to reconnect with their hearts, with their souls and to one other. The healing that the patients experienced through the creative therapy sessions was evident for all to see, and for many patients, it became their favourite part of the week. 

Later, I worked in the creative industries, including producing TV shows and creating international events for MTV. I founded an entertainment PR agency in London and ran large-scale events that took me to all corners of the globe and allowed me to get creative with big budgets to produce ideas and publicity for mind-blowing music and entertainment shows, such as the MTV European Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards in New York and Madonna’s world tours. These were all culminations of high levels of creativity in design, performance, artistic rendition and fashion, and meant that I got to work with the most talented creatives in the field. 

Neuro linguistic programming (NLP)

I was asked by Paul Mckenna, one of the UK’s most successful self-help authors, to become managing director of his personal transformation company. I was in charge of running the neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) personal development seminars hosted by him and Dr Richard Bandler, the creator of NLP. I worked with both of these highly creative people for over seven years, producing workshops, events and programmes and managing the teaching of advanced mental techniques for creating fast and powerful personal transformation.  I learned a lot about mind technology by hanging out with these guys.

In these seminars, I saw how people who were self-confessed non-musicians and non-artists could get up on stage after a couple of hours of hypnosis and NLP and perform incredible musical sets, jamming with instruments they had just picked up for the first time. Others painted extraordinary artworks that sold later to members of the audience, some for substantial sums. The art produced by these previous ‘non-artists’ was very impressive indeed.  

Witnessing these experiences exploded my long-held belief that creativity is something we are born with, and we either have it or we don’t. I now know that we can be taught to develop the skills of creativity and that it can be accessed by anyone given the right mind training. I have worked as a mentor and creative coach for companies such as MTV, the Huffington Post, Google and Sony, helping people to tap into their creative stream and find success in the process. 

Now it’s your turn, so let’s get started. 

Get Journaling

Journaling helps you to break through the barrier and the blank page syndrome of not knowing where to start with your writing.  It´s the best way I know to blast out writer’s block and get going on your writing path.

With journaling, you get an easy step into the process of writing and putting down your thoughts onto paper or the electronic page.

I prefer writing on paper in the old school way. I get more closely linked with my intuition this way.  Get a book with some blank pages and a favourite pen or pencil and start.

Choose a journal that you love; it doesn’t matter if it has lined or blank pages. It’s going to hold some of your most precious thoughts, desires and dreams, so make sure it’s beautiful and worthy of this. Your journal is not meant for sharing with others – it is private, unedited and only for you to read.

Let´s start here and actually do it

Journaling is an important way to start your creative journey if you feel you need a kick start to get going. Research and science shows that is an activity that helps to heal the mind.

Here is an easy exercise to begin with. Start by completing the following sentences in your journal: 

1. In this journal, I want to write about what I am feeling and thinking about day by day. 

What happened to me today that really moved me or triggered me into feeling good or bad? Make a note of it and put in all the details you want to write about.

2. What do you want to create tomorrow that would make you feel really happy

3. Jot down your daily habits. Which ones are good for you and which ones would you like to change and how?

This will give you a good start into journaling.  Do it daily. Start with 10 minutes a day and see how you go.  Set a timer if that helps so you keep track of your time.

Good luck and let me know how you get on with it and where you get stuck or where you flow best.  Enjoy the journey.

This is an extract taken from the new book on The Art of Creativity, coming out in August 2020 by Orion Spring publishing.

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