Have a Seat,
Take a Closer Look...
Most kids don’t grow up with an idyllic childhood. Mine - though graced with a house full of books, music and creativity - was no different. Here's a closer look at my inner kid's journey...
My parents were from different sides of the Atlantic and raised two kids in the coastal multicultural town of Marbella in southern Spain. It was hard for all of us in our own ways, even though my parents did the best they could with what they had and what they knew (it took me several years to figure that last part out).
Communication and emotions in my family were stifled. From this I learned the importance of open communication and the ability to feel safe expressing emotions, and how not having this as kids can affect us later in life in our personal and professional relationships. To have the confidence and freedom to express your true self (and in healthy ways) is the ultimate freedom that so many crave. You can gain it later on if you really want it, though you’ll have to do the work.
I expressed myself best through written observation and creativity, and the blanket that kept me the warmest was my imagination.
My “first loves” were creative writing and drawing. They gave me safe avenues to explore my inner world and make sense of the world I was living in.
Writing for me has always been my way of processing life. To declare intentions, to purge, to make sense of what I’m seeing, feeling, experiencing. And to find a way – through those words – to offer relief and support to others. It’s one of the safest ways to transform pain, disappointment and frustration into something peaceful, wise, and – hopefully – helpful. As well as write our most cherished dreams into existence.
One of my most powerful pieces of writing I remember – which touched me to the core and helped me realise the deep power of empathy and our human connection – came through me after watching a 1995 documentary about orphaned babies in China who were left to die uncared for because of China’s one-child policy at the time. I was so impacted that I wrote a short piece about it, in which I fully embodied one of those babies sitting in a wooden chair, bound to it by hands and feet; at the desperate mercy of whomever would decide if I got to eat that day or die slowly. That was a preview of my more “adult” writing life using words to express what my soul already knew, that the key to life is to help the inner child in all of us maintain its freedom from the literal and metaphorical chains that keep us from living in pure love, joy, elegance and grace.
Shortly after this is when a very special little cartoon bird landed on a page I was drawing on one afternoon and came into my life to stay…
Drawing – especially Niki Owl – is my inner child’s way of painting the world into a better place through playfulness and illustrated wisdom. Somehow, I understood the power of cartoons to communicate simple messages. I was also inspired by the creators of Garfield and Snoopy, other comics, as well as the creations of Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl as an example of the marriage between literature and illustration. I wanted my own cartoon character, so I created Niki Owl and he became my faithful feathery friend with whom I could communicate safely.
This divine orchestration of events throughout 1995 became my most defining moment.
Between the financial stress my family was experiencing at the time, and having seen things I didn’t want to see during my early years, my ability to envision my own future was deeply affected, which literally translated into shortsightedness. This was one of my earliest signs that emotions impact the body, and it spoke to my deep interest in how we heal ourselves.
Niki Owl helped me “see” a fun and colourful world, where anything was possible; where I was the creator of my reality regardless of what was going on in my family and immediate surroundings. Owls are known for seeing through the dark, and Niki helped me see myself through those dark times so many other teenagers experience.
You see, many teenagers “lose their way” when faced with financial or emotional stress, or feeling out of place in life, but thanks to art and creativity, I found something I could hold onto and start paving my future with. Creating Niki helped me envision and develop my confidence to take inspired leaps of faith and create my own world.
Every time I experienced major life changes or questioned my place in this world, Niki was waiting faithfully for me to come back to my creative home within. And every time I did so, I discovered something else about myself that I could then share with others. It always propelled me forward with renewed strength and inspiration. It’s through this that I can safely say that Niki Owl saved my life and my dreams. Art saves lives, people.
In Spain, we gift owls as a symbol of good luck and protection. Niki for me goes beyond luck and protection, Niki is a blessing filled with divine guidance that gave my life direction, even if I wasn’t quite sure what that meant as a teenager and I figured it out later through my world travels, personal development and desire to co-create a kinder humanity.
But my life was not always filled with writing and Niki Owl. After creating Niki, I learned how to make websites (inspired to put him “on the world wide map”) and discovered the blossoming world of SEO, becoming one of the first women in Spain to venture into that industry. This career allowed me to travel and experience the world to expand my horizons and gain a deeper understanding of human connection.
In 2012, after a series of life-altering events, I began to question what I was doing with my life and what I really wanted next. It was thanks to a coaching program that I opened up the treasure chest of my heart and looked within – there was Niki Owl staring back at me again saying, “Are you ready now?” Seeing my inner kid shine back at me with those big cartoon eyes, I finally answered The Call to fully step into the colourful universe within me that I call Niki Owl, and put pen to paper to start living those creative dreams I’d always had as a kid. It wasn’t an easy path, and it still has its moments, but it’s been well worth it.
Never Park Your Art
Creativity for me goes deeper than artistic expression, it’s the ability to create anything; self, life, dreams, business, relationships, family, innovation, health, wealth, art, meaning, love. Any time I ignored my creativity or creative resourcefulness, life got really tough. It showed me that when we respect our inner creative resourcefulness, anything we set our mind and heart to really is possible. My wish for you is to never park the art of creating life, and to paint yours with plenty of Love, Joy and Imagination.
The truth is, I’ve witnessed and experienced things that have shown me both the beautiful and the gut wrenching aspects of life, things to be proud of and things that knocked me to the ground and forced me to start over from scratch. Yet still I seek to transform any pain or hardship into Love and offer this to others, so we can all live more in the space of Love than outside of it. It’s this deep sensitivity that I bring to my relationships, creations, and work.
May you fly through life with pure love, joy, elegance and grace, no matter what.
Thank you for existing,