I first met Jen when I attended one of her seasonal gathering workshops last Autumn and was quickly won over by her kind and loving personality, her knowledge, and her gentle style of teaching (read my post about the gathering here). She has a deep passion for her aromatherapy craft, and for helping people achieve balance and wellbeing by reconnecting with the cycles of nature and the rhythm of the seasons. Jen has also just self-published her first book, Synergy of the Seasons, making her teaching accessible to everybody! So, without further ado, meet…
Alexandra Payne: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to this point in your life’s journey.
Jen Hawkins: I live in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, where I feel a strong connection to the natural world. My love of aromatherapy began as a young child mashing rowan berries into pastes, blending rose petals, and collecting various leaves, twigs and flowers. I developed my use of essential oils as a teenager, using them to help me revise for exams. But, it was an aromatherapy massage during a particularly stressful OFSTED inspection that was pivotal in my decision to leave my career as a teacher and retrain as an Aromatherapist. I’ve been a clinical Aromatherapist since 2006 – a professional rose petal blender!
AP: Your aromatherapy practice, Revive, and the various workshops you do throughout the year have a wonderful energy to them. What’s your mission?
JH: I’m not a woman on a mission although I’m aware it may appear that way. I’ve been described as driven, which simply isn’t true. I take more of a tortoise than hare approach to life but once I make my mind up to do something, I do it. I’m committed and dedicated to sharing my vision of simple steps to joy through wellbeing with as many people as possible.
AP: You have just self-published your first book, Synergy of the Seasons, which focuses on aromatherapy and seasonal, holistic living as tools to reduce dis-ease and distress, and instead boost health and happiness. Can you tell us a bit about the book, and your creative process?
JH: It was something I just had to do. I sat down in January 2014 with a large piece of flip chart paper and jotted down my Aromatherapy wheel of the year. It was like a blueprint for the book. I didn’t know how to begin it or to motivate myself to sit down and write it all so I decided to run eight seasonal workshops where I could research and write the material in chunks. That took a year. I then spent a year editing, working on it and adding my voice; as a collection of notes it didn’t have much soul. That took another year! I spent the first few months of 2016 editing, proofreading, and making sure I was as happy with it as possible, and then I put it to one side. I’d spent so much time on it I needed a break. I did send it to several people to ask them what they thought and to get their feedback. By June I’d decided that it was a viable book that it was worth publishing. I had no funds to do so and my choices were to Crowdfund or seek government funding. In August 2016 I decided to crowdfund and started to plan it. We launched the Crowdfunder in October and succeeded in November. In December, I gave the go ahead to Indie Authors World, a fantastic Glasgow-based design company specializing in helping authors to self-publish, and signed a contract with them to work with me on the book. The editing process began in February 2017. The design process began at the end of March and in May we launched Synergy of the Seasons. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions but I’m really happy that I did it and grateful to everyone that supported me along the way.
AP: What lights you up inside?
JH: Love: love of the earth, self-love, love between friends and family, the beautiful love shared in an intimate relationship and the divine love that connects every living thing.
AP: Who, or what, inspires you?
JH: I’m inspired by life. That simple joy of being alive. The natural wonders that surround us every day. The simple sound of birdsong in the morning, the sight of a flower unfurling, fish jumping, leaves on a tree rustling in the breeze. The wonder and miracle of life when you stop to feel into it is pretty amazing. The fact that we’re here at all is pretty incredible! Feeling that connection is important to me, and if I’m feeling disconnected all I have to do is be outside and connect with the earth.
AP: What are things you typically do each day or week to keep mentally, emotionally and physically balanced and healthy?
JH: It’s important for me to have that healthy balance. I soon know if I’m out of balance at all. I exercise regularly and I eat a wholefood, mainly organic diet. I drink lots of water. I make sure I have enough sleep. I make sure I have time to myself with nothing especially planned, just for being. I make sure I have time with friends and an active social life. I spend time on my allotment with no real aim other than connecting and loving the land. I have still, quiet time each day. I journal regularly. I practice self-love and kindness, and I am not hard on myself if it’s not possible to do any of these things knowing that I have a strong foundation to fall back on.
AP: What advice do you have for people who may be new to becoming more in tune with nature and/or working with essential oils?
JH: Listen. Listen to your heart. Listen to the world around you. Reach out and connect. Take those first steps or that giant leap knowing that you will be loved and supported on your path. A lovely way to connect with nature is to walk barefoot. I really enjoy a barefoot meditation which involves walking as slowly as possible, one step at a time. Lifting each foot slowly, concentrating on its movement, feel the air around the foot and then the initial contact with the ground, returning the foot to the ground as gradually as possible. Feel the increased contact and roll from toe to heel rather than just planting the foot down all at once. Notice the sensations beneath your feet, how the ground feels, how your foot feels, and be grateful for the support of the earth with every step you take.
Essential oils can be another way to begin your sensory connection to the earth. I would recommend starting with Lavender or Sandalwood, both of which gently relax us, help us to regulate our breathing, calm the nervous system and quiet busy minds, thus allowing a deeper sense of connection and presence to emerge.
AP: Describe your perfect day.
JH: That’s not easy! There are lots of perfect scenarios. I think my recipe for a perfect day would have to include good food – including cake; good company; a beautiful, quiet, outdoor location connecting with nature; being near water and a sunset.
AP: And lastly, we love some profound wisdom here on Indigo Gaia! Please share your favourite quote with us.
JH: There are so many words of wisdom that inspire me that I come back to again and again, but what I think it all boils down to is what Oscar Wilde said: “ Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
Thank you, Jen!
If you are interested in connecting further with Jen or to find out about upcoming workshops you can subscribe to her through Facebook @ReviveJenHawkins or Twitter @jenhawkins, or check out her website revivearomatherapy.com.
You can buy a copy of Synergy of the Seasons here. Happy reading!