I want to tell you about my friend Jane.
Art is an amazing communicative tool. It bridges people from all sorts of diverse lifestyles and mentalities, and gives them common ground. In the hands of my friend Jane Barefoot Rochelle, it's so much more.
First, there's what she creates. She takes things from your life - photos, words, ticket stubs and turns them, through the art of collage, into a meaningful, dynamically powerful piece of art for your home. The more you look at her collages, the more you see. Layers. Just like the layers of time, some of them onion-skin thin, over other layers of time, all balanced to create, with incredible clarity, an image. The image is simple and complex, and stands as the unifying message for all of the layers.
This is soul art. Of the highest form.
Jane grew up in a loving family. Her parents, having grown up themselves in poverty, were resourceful at repurposing everything they had, and provided her with a wonderful childhood. Her playground was the woods where she wandered and dreamed with her siblings. She always felt the call of the creative arts. Jane became a teacher of children, and was deeply effected when she saw young spirits being crushed by careless remarks and blanket dismissal of creativity. While she never had formal art education, her path led her to several mentors. Jonas Gerard, Brenda Seright Williams, Stuart Cubley, and then finally to the creative collagist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson - each experience and teacher giving Jane a new layer to the creative work she had set out to do from the day she was born.
Jane and I had often exchanged emails and thoughts. She is a certified Healing Touch practitioner. I love her energy, her spirit. But there's something more about Jane. When it comes to giving love to other people, she has a lion's heart. And when she puts her creative energy, her love and her giving nature in a chosen direction, she creates magic.
Like what she did with my Max here. This collage brings me joy every single day.
When I think of my own journey, and the people that have crossed my path, I am constantly reminded of the givers. The people who give their time, their thoughtfulness, their energy to others. The ones who serve. The kind of person that takes your breath away. Jane is one of those people. I remember my Healing Touch Session with her. It was during my season, and we communicated about it via email. I was tired, anxious and overworked. But I laid down on the sofa, as Jane had instructed me to do, and with a very short time I was in an alpha state. I received a very clear voice message, sung by a distant choir.
You and I must make each night a prayer.
Every day a beginning.
I came back into the room about a half hour later from this semi-dream state feeling clear. I didn't completely understand what happened, but then again, I decided I didn't have to. I had put myself in Jane's hands, thousands of miles away, and had felt reassured and calm.
Jane reminds me, with her gentle presence in my life, that giving is the most exciting, important thing we can do in life. Be Santa's elf. Be the one who buys a cup of coffee for the person next to you in the cafe.
Be that person.
Be the good in someone's encounter with you. Assume they can use the kindness and will pass it on in their own way. Don't be a cynic. It's just better that way.
Jane's moving on and deepening her artistic journey. Her next step is to open an art gallery, Barefoot Studios, for all the people she knows that create beautiful things and have the souls of givers. The opening is only a few weeks away. I know she'll be amazing at it. She's got that lion's heart.