Photo Credit: Erica Breau
Hello everyone! I'm so happy to introduce you to my friend, Janelle Hardy. Janelle teaches an incredible 4 month online class called Personal Mythmaking. It's playful, deep and transformative. And, by the end of it, you'll have the first draft of your memoirs written. I took this class last year and loved it! It helped me to get out of a nasty creative block and untangle some persnickety psychological funk. Class starts February 19th, payment plans available and when you sign up with code JessMolnar, you'll receive the special bonus that Janelle is offering to my friends: a one-on-one session with her! You can find out more here. Enjoy:
Please tell us a about your business and how you help creative women.
I help creative women by showing them ways to reconnect with their bodies, their creative life force, and how to heal and grow by examining their life-stories and personal histories. The easiest way of describing my work is to say that I help people write their memoirs, but, of course, it's more complex than that, because we as women and humans are complex, and we arise out of complex histories.
Janelle, you have a really interesting professional background in the visual arts, performing arts and healing arts. Can you please share a little bit about how your creative journey has evolved.
Oh goodness. I used to confuse myself so much with my widely varied background and interests. My creative journey arose partly out of a deep curiosity and partly out of a frustration with the limits that people were placing on me to do just-the-one-thing. My personal experience as a creative person has been that I have a creative life force, and desire for self-expression that chooses the medium based on what feels most right for what is longing to emerge. And, by following these impulses to dance - I started learning about embodiment. By following these impulses to write, I learned how to express myself through words and the written language. By following these impulses to paint, I learned how to visually convey what I was after. And by trying and failing and trying and succeeding, I've incrementally honed my technical skills, and I've slowly started to reveal to myself what what my soul and bodypsyche has been longing for all this time.
What inspired you to create Personal Mythmaking School?
I have to say that I didn't really create Personal Mythmaking School. It's a process that revealed itself to me each time I tried to offer courses and articulate what I was wanting to teach and share with others. It originally showed up as an 8 week in person course, then I moved it online and added more to it, then I discovered that the process offers up the rough draft of a memoir (amazing!) and each time I've offered it, to small small groups of truly dedicated people, the Personal Mythmaking process has revealed itself to me a little more. I really feel like I'm offering a process that is asking me to offer it. I can't say I've consciously created it, but that it's been born of me and through me. There is something so mystical and beautiful about feeling like, finally, I'm a worthy vessel and guide, through which this work can emerge, because if I hadn't spent all of those years discovering the creative process, and writing and teaching and doing bodywork and learning about embodiment and trauma and healing and cultural and inter-generational healing as well, I wouldn't be able to offer Personal Mythmaking. So, to circle back around to your question - I wasn't inspired to create Personal Mythmaking School so much as I was willing to let something show up, and keep offering and being open to what arose out of those experiences. Now though, I feel inspired to keep teaching Personal Mythmaking and I feel inspired to really master the art of marketing so I can reach more women who are keen to grow and learn and heal, and write their memoirs too!
Who do you find gets the most benefit out of Personal Mythmaking School?
I find the people who most benefit from Personal Mythmaking are the soulful curious seekers, the creative deep thinkers who are sensitive, highly attuned to themselves and their surroundings, and are not interested in living with the status quo, but are interested instead in growing and constantly becoming themselves.
A while back, I came upon the phrase "embodied creativity" on your website and it stopped me in my tracks! Can you please tell us about what that phrase means to you?
For me, embodied creativity means understanding the creative process as a circular, cyclical process that is much like a pregnancy, in that it needs to gestate, it requires patience and attunement to which state the process is at, and a willingness to make things happen when the creative process moves into the next phase. Embodied creativity also means tapping into creativity from a body-centered perspective. Because our 'western' cultures are so very much based in intellectual rational thinking processes, the body gets dismissed, left behind and left out. Yet, our bodies are our only homes, and when we learn to befriend them and listen to them, and cultivate a sensory awareness that rises out of inhabiting them, our creativity flows and inspires us in very different ways than when we get stuck in the head. As an added bonus, getting into the body and creating from that perspective is the best trick I know for dodging and shift creative block, perfectionism and the terrible inner critic/judge so many of us have.
Do you have any advice for visual artists who struggle to find their voice in writing?
Yes! Remember that you're a beginner and stop expecting perfection. Also, think of words in terms of visual experiences. Try pulling in the vibe of painting/collaging/visualizing, and just think of words as the brush, paints and so on and so forth. Mostly, be kind to yourself, keep trying, and try to be playful too.
Do you have any creative prompts, tricks or rituals to use when you're in a slump?
Yes. If I'm in a slump, getting into nature and into the body and shifting gears is the best solution. A walk in nature. A project completely opposite to the one I'm working on. Cooking. Playing music and dancing. Especially, doing the hand-touch exercise (10 minutes) that I teach everyone I work with. It's pure gold. I hope that helps.
What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
oh god (dess). It's advice I still need to hear. Stop taking everything so seriously. Stop worrying about money. Learn how to play. Everything flows better when you find ways to relax. Don't worry so much about what others think of you. You're young and beautiful, and I know you don't believe but please, just believe it, then live from that place. Drop the self-doubt, be audacious, and start believe the world is conspiring for you rather than against you. And now that I've reminded myself of these things, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my day too!
Thank you so much, Janelle! To learn more about Janelle Hardy, please visit her website and you can learn more about Personal Mythmaking here. Remember to use the code JessMolnar to receive your free coaching session with Janelle.
Full Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Personal Mythmaking and when you sign up with my code, I receive a commission. I promise that I only recommend resources that I personally use and love.