Working with Nathan on this project was an eye-opening experience that the team at Provacan identified with. Sometimes it takes one person to open up about their feelings of unease to help free many others at the same time.
Many of our team use CBD and medical cannabis on a daily basis. Here’s our stories.
I've never been much of an artist, though over the years like many I've dabbled with doodles and scribbled some stories. Some of these attempts at expression have survived clearouts and multiple home moves and some, but not may, I'm still quite proud of.
Stress and Calm are two words synonymous with the CBD industry, many of our customers tell us stress and sleep problems due to stress shaped their journey to CBD. When I first heard Nathans story I knew this was an opportunity for us to help raise awareness of the struggles we can all face through life and the first obstacle of talking about it, sharing it with people who can help.
I personally find daily balance by finding 10 minutes at least once a day in a quiet place to seek calm in silence... I also take a healthy dose of Provacan CBD.
There has always been something about the motion of a paintbrush for me. Perhaps it comes from helping my father with renovation projects as a child, helping my friends paint their homes, and restoring furniture. The peaceful meditative stroke allows the rest of the world disappear while I focus on achieving the project's end goal.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, it hit me hard. I went into surgery and when I was released a week later from the hospital, drugged on heavy painkillers and hardly able to walk from the pain. Looking for an outlet for my fears, pain and insomnia I stumbled upon some old paint, found an art class on YouTube which was of a beautiful lion, with a colourful mane, painted in watercolour. I didn’t have watercolours but I used what I had around me.
OK don't laugh, he is definitely not the most beautiful looking thing, but it did show me that I could really do anything I put my mind to, so meet my first painting ever and the start to a new path in life. I did not know it then but that was the beginning of a long battle with cancer until today and perhaps this lion represents my fierceness for life, even though he may not look so fierce.
From a young age I have always been attracted by music of all genres. When I learned to play the guitar the world of music became even bigger and with more appeal. Playing has several effects on me, the first being focus and concentration that one finds when trying to learn a new skill, secondly there is an emotional reaction to music, and this puts me more in touch with my feelings. Playing an instrument is a good way to express what you feel and has been therapeutic for me on many occasions.
I am live by the sea. Every day during the COVID restrictions I would take a short stroll to the beach and immerse myself in the Mediterranean sea beyond the breakers, absorbing the world around me in that time between sunset and nightfall. The subtleties of the different colors of the sea and the sky became increasingly apparent and important to me. I would go home refreshed, take a canvass and start painting with slow rhythmic strokes from memory. I lost count of how many sunsets I painted but each and every day was different. Day by day I began to compare what came out of my canvases against the next days twilight. For me this created a sense of calm and belonging, a feeling of cooperation rather than fighting nature. This one of my favourite paintings.
When life catches me off guard, I often react with a 'knee-jerking quick fix' that doesn't give me emotional satisfaction or closure. For this I need to analyse what happened, how I felt and how I reacted. I do this by writing in a notebook. It's a fast, angry, messy and nonsensical one-sided rant, letting flow what I wanted to say but didn't or couldn't have said at the time. It's a safe place to scream and blame or take the blame, leaving me with a clearer head to process my thoughts and look at a what happen objectively. It is satifying but also helps me engage maturely in person, clearly express my point of view and usually results in a positive outcome. I might tear out the pages to complete my closure but most often I keep them to read over at another time in my life when I need a reminder of how I've emotionally progressed and how it takes work and effort not to regress.
I express myself through keeping a strict daily routine and and getting involved in the community around me as part of this structure. For me structure helps keep my mind clear, balanced and focused. I started my community project "Everything Matters" in May 2020 during the first lockdown in London. Everyday I spend an hour cleaning up my local park, kids playground and the streets and I now do this wherever I am in the world. Going out everyday for an hour picking up rubbish and dog poop allows me to be with my self exactly as I am. No judgement or criticism just peace and quiet. Please find my project photo attached.
I used to love art. I even studied in art school for four years but I'll admit it's been 20 years since I picked up a paint brush. Somewhere between work and raising a family I lost myself a little, I forgot that I existed for myself as well as others. The 'art' has never left me and it took me until this project to see that. I realised that I became a subconscious doodler. People might think I'm taking notes during conference calls but it's more likely I'm filling up a pad with a different kind of ink. It helps me focus and while most of the time these doodles get thrown in the bin, some of them stay with me. I love colouring (mandalas especially) when I'm stressed or upset as well. I find the intricacies of the repetitive patterns soothing and it's a bit like putting myself into a creative time out that allows me to express my mood through colour while I'm alone with my thoughts. Once my thoughts are clear it's far easier for me to explain to those around me what I'm feeling and why.
Woodturning provides a creative outlet for me, I was intrigued to understand how someone could take a lump of wood and turn it into a functional form or decorative piece for display. When peeling back the layers of wood using chisels the true nature of the wood, grain, age of the tree and its health are all revealed. For me, it's similar to peeling back the layers of the human experience. We usually get know know people over time and as they layers of friendship deepen, we learn about the other person, their dreams, hopes, likes and dislikes. Same for getting to know ourselves. When woodturning, I feel like I'm peeling back the layers of my own feelings and emotions, understanding the nature of what I'm experiencing at the time and expressing it visually through the artworks. It has helped me to be comfortable in my own skin no matter what layer of life I am living in today.
Gentle 'venting' is something that keeps me calm, focused and a leader. The career of a professional Rugby sports coach is one based on the self management of internal stress. As the leader of a team it’s unproductive for your players to see a highly strung anxious coach, they look to you for guidance. In Rugby there's and interesting relationship between the sport, the team environment and stress. The sport drives these feelings but at the same time is in essence an outlet for the same time. The team becomes like a family environment and different role players within the squad allow an environment of gentle “venting” which is always helpful. It is both the light and the dark of the team - the inclusivity of open door chat as well as the darkness and loneliness of always having to appear strong. Outlets such as music - books - movies and family always help relieve tension and stress. Internalization of anxiety although not healthy is often a precursor for a professional coach.
Get ready with your artwork!
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