Helen is a Soul Circus mainstay and you may know her for one of her businesses, Chant Malas. She has since moved into a new space - podcasting, meditating, and creative writing, with her business "Prompted by Nature." She shares with us what keeps her inspired.
What is your favourite thing to create?
Nature-inspired writing prompts as they are different every time, even if the theme is the same, they will differ each time I do them in the same way that the view from my window is never the same from one day to the next. Anything with my hands like cakes or bread.
Can you share (either visually, musically, or in words) your most prized creation with us?
Other than my children, probably my writing prompts and podcast at Prompted by Nature. I’m so proud of the work I’ve done so far and am really excited about what’s to come!
What inspired you to create this particular piece?
I began creating them at a time when I felt completely exhausted and overwhelmed. I was slowly getting back outside and into nature after a long summer of festivals and a number of years sitting inside and away from other people creating mala beads for my then small business, Chant Malas. As I spent more time outside, something I’ve always done since I was young, I started to
remember myself again: my love of teaching and holding space for others to experiment with their writing and overall creativity in different ways, my love of nature and people, my love of movement and of being with my own body and my love of creating conversations and work that would support
those that needed it in unique and inspiring ways.
Where do you find your inspiration?
By getting outside! Everything I do now is governed by Nature and the seasons around me. I try to get outside by running, cycling or sea swimming at least three times a week (work/children/weather-permitting!) and giving myself this time helps me to reconnect with my creativity and keep myself grounded. I take my children to the woods or beach (I’m very grateful that I live in Brighton and close to the sea) as much as I can and this always inspires me to see things through their eyes, each object, colour, creature an opportunity to look at things differently
and create something entirely new.
When your inspo levels are low and things look pretty bleak, how do you get yourself back into your creative space?
Meditation and getting outside. I try to practise some form of meditation every day, be that seated meditation or a moving meditation like cycling, just something that reconnects me to my breath and body and reminds me that my heart is still beating, the tides are still rising and retreating, the moon still waxes and wanes, and nature is still moving in the way that she always has and always will.
Any words of wisdom or advice for those who find themselves lacking inspiration at this moment in time?
• If you can, get outside. If you can’t, open the window! Enjoy and feel gratitude for the light, the wind, the clouds…all of it!
• Remind yourself that everything passes and that this little gap, or moment of retreat, respite (however you want to reframe it) won’t last, even if it feels like it will
• Open a notebook and just start writing. Sometimes if I’m feeling a bit flat need to get inspired again, I set my timer for half an hour (or less if I’m pushed for time) and I just start writing. Even if it starts out as nonsense, the more I write the more I can sift through the words and ‘stuff’ that is clogging up my channel to my own creativity and find a little more clarity and refinement in my thoughts. You could start with the phrase (which usually works for me) ‘what to write when the words won’t come…?’
• Meditate. If we consider that meditation is something that is an opportunity to bring our mind to just one point of focus, then anything can be meditation: writing, movement, the breath. In doing this, you have to sift through all the ‘stuff’ in order to focus on that one thing, in order to start to notice the space between each thought and gain inspiration from what you might find
there. Even just musing on that is enough to get me re-inspired. If you find that your mind starts to spiral, try using something very ‘concrete’ as your point of focus: use a mantra or a set of mala beads that you roll through your fingers, maybe count the inhalation and exhalation e.g.‘in, 2, 3, 4, out, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
• Use one of my writing prompts on Instagram or on the podcast! It’s what they’re there for :-)
Where can we find you and your work?
I post my nature-inspired writing prompts on my Instagram @prompted.by.nature and have a podcast on which I interview inspiring creatives who work in and with nature in some way. Each episode is punctuated by a meditation and writing prompt to help listeners to engage with and gain inspiration from the conversations in a more profound way. You can find it by searching Prompted
by Nature wherever you get your podcasts.
My website is www.promptedbynature.co.uk where you can find free audio meditations, podcast episodes, information about my weekly online nature-inspired creative writing sessions and my nature-based outdoor meditation and creativity day events as well as my blog and personal writing.
Prompted by Nature podcast presenter and outdoor meditation and creative writing teacher Helen lives, works and creates in Hove, UK. She is usually to be found wandering the forests and seasides of the South Coast and South Downs with her two small children, as well guiding writing & meditation groups in her local woodlands and natural spaces.
Helen worked as an English teacher for ten years in South London, Sussex and Spain and is a qualified yoga and meditation teacher taking inspiration from each of these specialisms to create everything you see in her work at Prompted by Nature.
She is dedicated to making nature writing and meditation accessible to all, helping to connect you with your own creativity and voice using nature as your prompt by creating safe spaces for wandering and creating. Her Instagram feed is dedicated to nature-inspired writing prompts that help you gain confidence in your own creative voice and connect to the nature around you in a more profound way.
In her spare time, Helen runs a local community conservation group caring for and protecting a local green space.