Our guest today has found herself drawn to a variety of artisitc mediums. Meet Kansas City area artist, Heather Inez Benoit. Heather began her artistic journey early on in childhood and that journey continues today through the many diverse media she practices; dance, photography, metal crafting, painting and jewelry design. This journey includes her spiritual development as she is a licensed massage therapist, Reiki practitioner and a mindfulness coach.
With the birth of her third daughter combined with the sudden death of her younger brother in the summer of 2007 and her own personal struggles with social anxiety and chronic pain, she has come to embrace artistic expression as a very subjective saving grace, guiding her through all of life’s challenges.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
I actually have two favorite quotes. One is a song lyric by Leonard Cohen, “Ring the bells that still will ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.
The other, a quote from Eleanor Rosevelt, “Well behaved women rarely make history”.
What is one book that has inspired you?
Illusions by Richard Bach
Do you have a favorite flavor of ice-cream?
Definitely! It’s called baseball nut and it’s made by Baskin & Robins and only offered during baseball season. It’s the most perfect ice cream ever made. I like vanilla bean in the off season.
If you were a super hero what would your name and super power be?
According to my 14 year old daughter ( who was able to answer this question almost instantly) My super hero name would be “Second Sight” and my power would be extra sensory perception.
Ok, those were the easy questions. Now let’s dig into your story a bit.
What role does spirituality play in your creative work?
I believe that everything I do is lead by Spirit. I would be lost otherwise.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
That would be like choosing my favorite child, I simply could not. Everything I do creatively pleases my soul.
What inspires your creative work?
I would have to say music more than anything, a strong desire to feed my family and my dog, Stellaluna, she is my muse.
What are you passionate about?
Well, I am passionate about being a warrior for love. I am passionate about raising children of destiny and hard belly laughs. I am passionate about being fearlessly authentic and honoring that space in others. I am passionate about nature and I take my hammock time very seriously. I am passionate about never taking myself too seriously. I am passionate about great song lyrics, energetic exchange and the will to keep learning. Oh, and crab legs! I have a serious passion for crab legs.
Do you have a daily spiritual practice?
I do. Every night I pray with my daughter and we thank God and the universe for all of the blessings that we have received in that day.
How do you move through creative blocks?
I listen to music. Since I began painting, I often challenge myself to complete a painting in one album. It’s cool to watch the energy of the music come out on the canvas.
How do you inspire the Creative Spirit in others through your work?
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with homeless inner city youth through Arts Tech and the ReStart program. It is my favorite thing in the world to do. I love it when a kid walks in and insists that he or she is not creative. Often in that tiny two hour window I get to watch a whole new world unfold. It is truly a blessing. I wish I could do that all the time.
What are you currently working on?
Honestly, my life is so fluid and the one thing I have learned with absolute certainty is that my only job is to remain true to myself and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Spirit always provides for me and my journey has never been dull. Some days I’m a massage therapist and others I’m a painter. On Tuesday I could be writing poetry and by Thursday I’ll be teaching a group of women how to make jewelry.
Every single day I’m a single mom to three phenomenal daughters who will someday rule the world. I run a meetup.com group called Empowering Women, we do everything from Warrior Goddess Training to Camping and dance parties. I’m currently teaching myself to paint. That’s fun. I feel like I paint for people who listen to Leonard Cohen. You can see my paintings at Art by Inez Benoit on Facebook and at the Unity Village gallery through August.
As a massage therapist I’m working on a corporate program for Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction in which I go into businesses and talk to them about basic stress management and how they can make daily adjustments to bring a little zen into their lives.
As a jewelry designer, I have plans to teach some basic jewelry making classes through the fall Communiversity catalog. You can find my jewelry designs at Wild Willow Jewelry on Facebook.
And I really love capturing music with my camera. I just try to do all the things. Whatever makes my heart happy, that’s what I do.
What tip would you give readers to help them nurture their Creative Spirit?
I would say just go for it. No one is ever a painter until they start painting and a poet isn’t made from silence. Believe in your own freedom of expression and your heart will find its own truth.
Where can readers learn more about you and your work?
Join us next week on “Living In Creative Spirit” for an inspiring look into the creative life of Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon.
“Living In Creative Spirit,” is an online interview series featuring creative individuals who blend spirituality and creativity in their lives and work. Summer session interviews are published weekly on Monday at 12:00 CT. This series is presented by Unity Arts Ministry, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring personal growth, healing and transformation through spiritual enrichment and creative expression.
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