MatchaI’ve been sitting on my front step since 6:40am—and it’s Sunday.

There are two reasons I might wake up early: 1) the anxiety over money, relationships, work is too much to bear, and I need to distract myself from the rumination my brain forces upon me by hauling my ass out of bed and doing something—anything, or 2) none of the aforementioned condition exists and I am enthusiastic about the day and all it has to offer—especially if I have a new project or idea.

On July 10th, a very sweet lady passed away who impacted my life more than she ever knew. I only met Julie once. In September 2015, she attended my very first women’s art retreat weekend. Her energy was bright and buoyant, colourful and calm, happy and healing. She and I felt a kinship right away, as I know she did with many other guests that weekend, as did I. Julie and I remained in touch, albeit with decreasing frequency as her health was ailing.

In one of our earliest communications, Julie said to me, “Joanne, you are a healer.”

That single statement has affected me daily ever since, though it didn’t come as a complete surprise. People have been drawn to me for support, advice, respite, and cheering up since I was a child. I make people feel welcome, relaxed, listened to, comfortable.

What was most profound about Julie saying it to me, was that she, in fact, was a healer. Julie was an art therapist and teacher, and helped hundreds process pain and hurt through art and creative play. In Julie telling me I am a healer, she was encouraging me to give myself permission to keep doing what I was doing, and what I have felt for years is my purpose here on Earth.

Yesterday, I was inspired by another artist—Thank you, Universe—by way of Pinterest. You know artists, always wincing in anticipation of peoples’ reactions when they answer questions of, “What do you do for a living?” with “I’m an artist.” You may not always see the wince, but oh, it’s there.

I watched a few of Belinda’s videos, and WHAMMY! She hit the nail on the head for me a bunch of times. She speaks of having jobs to secure income (I have three, at last count). She speaks of friends and family encouraging her to get a real job. She speaks of feeling a complete lack of inspiration when she needs it most—for a commission, or an event, or to sell something, already! And when inspiration fails to ignite, she speaks of beating herself up, feeling inadequate, like a failure, like a fraud, like anything but an artist.

Belinda also speaks about healing though art, and she offers clients the space, time, and freedom to do so without judgement or fear.

It can cause such inner turmoil for us artists and creative healers. We often struggle to do for ourselves what we are meant to do for others. In my experience, it is in precisely those moments when I know I am affecting someone’s life, that I too heal. Seeing women around my studio table lighting up, and being inspired by my teachings, my experience, my story—heals me. It heals the wound that works so hard to convince me I’m not good enough.

Well, that’s garbage.

I am plenty good enough. Thank you, Julie and Belinda, for reminding me of that.

In the days ahead, I will be reworking and rewording my website to focus more on the healing powers of creative play, and the ways in which I will inspire joyful living though creative play. I will be more raw, more vulnerable, more forgiving, more open, more free.

Here I sit on my front step. The mid-Summer sun is warming my skin, even at this early hour. I’m sweating in all of my nooks and crannies, and am kinda wishing I had a Mojito instead of this Matcha.

I am inspired. This is why I was awake so early today.