There was a particular moment, and a particularly simple act, which catapulted my life into the liberated creative path that it now runs on.

In this particular moment, someone touched my hands, and I didn’t even know who this person was: my eyes were closed. My sight wasn’t the only sense which I had shut, and I was soon to find out what other aspects of a great spectrum of sensitivity had had to be locked away, for me to ‘fit in’ with ‘normal’ people in my earlier years.

I’d had a great first night’s sleep and a luxurious soak in a giant iron bath. We were now in a beautiful warm room, wooden floorboards and delicious rugs, the smell of essential oils, and everyone being gentle and loving. We were settling in for the first full day of our Experience Week in a spiritual community retreat.

We were just warming up – to each other, to the style of the workshop – but then, our new familiarity was put aside, for a game where we had to communicate just with our hands, and with our eyes tightly shut.

I went ahead first, role allotted by ‘chance’ by our focalisers. I was wondering if it was a man or woman that I was touching, and this not-knowing was powerfully enticing: the intrigue of anonymity, the removal of all formalities, all presumptions or conventions of polite exchange laid aside… I patted and stroked, squeezed and pulled the hands of this mystery person, as I tried my best to share the base emotions we were being guided to express.

Then my partner’s hands began, and it was so lovely to soak up their eloquent force; this person seemed to know what they were doing with their energy – they seemed experienced and confident, whilst being so so wonderfully gentle. Their final task (as mine had been) was to share ‘Love’: a few seconds, and yet an eternity opened up between us…

Oh god: my whole body opened – a wide chasm and yet a full ocean at the same time. My body knew Love for the first time. Not sexual stimulation, not words, not thoughts, not projection or heat, nor anything I’d ever even glimpsed or tasted or imagined: Real, True, everything-less-than-this-pales-into-insignificance, LOVE – a force of utter perfection and divine overwhelm, which instantaneously righted me.

My body convulsed and broke down, I cried openly – not understanding why, and not able to stop myself in front of this large group of relative strangers. I was heart-broken-open, and saturated with an energetic cleansing, a flow of SUCH PROFOUND good feeling, which ripped away pain and tension, and flooded around every part of my insides. It was like my skin was being stroked with pure, perfect, healing light, insides and out.

I sobbed pretty hard, for what seemed like a long time. I had suddenly become aware of two things: one, that I had been terribly, terribly numb for the greater part of my life, and two, that I had a visible-with-the-waking-eye, rusted metal ring of disease sitting in my core.

The rest of the workshop was a blur of falling apart and being too open. I had to keep leaving the room, as my body and mind seemed to be reading, absorbing and digesting everybody else’s energy. It felt like my psychic senses were wide open, but that they were also in every cell of my body; I literally could feel-hear everyone’s thoughts, and I knew every word before it was spoken.

I had a great flowing river of stimulation and story flooding through me – including my own, reinterpreted past – and it was extremely difficult to be in the same room as another person, never mind actively ‘working through our stuff’ with an unusually large group in this spiritual community.

I spiralled up and down, and tried to find a new way of caring for myself, now that I was walking around without the armour of my numbness.

My full story of healing this wound and reclaiming my feeling obviously took more than that workshop. The next week I gravitated towards silence and solitude, finding a refuge cottage in the hills nearby.

I immersing myself anew in my art practise, which until then had been tight and conceptual (a tormenting hangover from art school). My pencils and paints effortlessly became tools of transformation. I drew and painted as an way of rebuilding myself. I formed bodies with affirmations on, and they seemed to resonate inside me. I scratched primal marks that were like transcribing the gut-wrenching wound I could now feel like a great gash down my midriff, then I sculpted it into a state of well-being. This all happened without any outside guidance: it was the most natural thing in the world for me. I recreated myself.

I used my newly-found sensitivity as the rich, raw base of a much-deepened creative path, and each day I crafted a new strength and stability. Each day, I remade my life anew.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, nor a short healing, but this break-down-and-through was a very necessary step, to get to the happy, liberated creative life that I now flourish in. That moment, having love poured into me – unconditionally, no-holds-barred Love – it was a new landscape which I had in front of me to explore and make my own. And it was a landscape clean of the pollution of past pain unfelt.

Most people don’t have the profound sensitivities that I have (if I’d grown up in a different time or place, I’d have been labelled with ‘autism’), but most human beings have much more sensitivity than they’re encouraged to show. Many of us are hiding our true feelings and sensations from both ourselves and the world. Our spectrums and biodiversities are kept under layers and lids, as we do as much as we can to fit into norms and conventions. Instead of seeing our worth and our power.

I’m glad my awakening unfolded how it did: it meant that I got a good, clear picture of how creative power can be diminished…. or cultivated and potentialised. After that great opening, my art became a gateway into understanding: it led me from pain-ridden chaos… to peace, to wholeness, to a highly-sentient, fulfilled and joyous human existence. I gained a real understanding of what our sentience is actually for. To start with; it is neither weakness nor defect. Creativity can actually function as a super-accessible spiritual compass.

As well as being an award-winning, super-successful artist and writer, and owning a magical arthouse in an incredible Italian medieval quarter, I now inspire others to engage with their unique creative expansion. I have significant expertise in how we can use art as an alchemical force, to change all aspects of our lives and work that are not aligned with our most ambitious version of ourselves. And my more-extreme version of human sensitivity lets me see how all folks are fulfilling less than their creative potential: I’m able to see-feel the collective consciousness, as if it were a kind of textural diagram which I can read with my big sensory capacity.

I took many years to develop my creative freedom as a way of life, and because I did it all so laboriously, I am super-passionate about making it easier for others. My high-sentience – I have enhanced, overlapping sensory perceptions, and a visionary imagination that can see the interconnectedness-of-all-things (a milder version of Temple Grandin’s autistic genius) – allows me to visualise how we create long-term positive effects through small actions. I’m able to see how we might spiral upwards, individually and collectively, rather than the alternative – destructive frictions and power games. I see-feel how the simplest small effects accumulate – and how we as creative beings can channel and direct the energy of our actions.

If that all sounds pretty esoteric or complex, let’s just say that I help folks get more fulfilled and more creative in their lives,: I teach them how to live like a happy artist. I inspire folks to follow their dreams, guiding them in easy steps to open up to their immense creative potential.

If you’d like to know more about how I do this, join me on Patreon, or sign up for my Real School of Art – and start exploring your own immense creative potential.

And read the story of how I came to manifest my dream life, right in the midst of a Dark Night Of The Soul, back in 2011.