"Hi, I’m Dr Helen Ferrara, I care passionately about the earth and all sentient beings on it.
I’m an author and a mentor, seeking to inspire you and help you thrive."
My first conscious encounter with creativity was when I was seven and my teacher asked my class to write a short story. Though I don’t remember what I wrote, I will never forget what happened – I entered another world, one that was full of light where the colours were much brighter. It was pure magic; from deep in reverie, words seemed to suddenly appear and float before me so that I could weave them together in the shapes I wanted, to create meaning.
From that moment onwards, I applied creativity to everything I did, holistically as children do.
With my parents running a publishing company until I was seven, I was surrounded by books; so I learned to read quite young. What’s more, because books were so important in my family, I was never interrupted while reading. This led me to believe that delving into a book somehow rendered me invisible, as I was in another world.
From Reverie to Revelation
Although I loved writing, I wrote sparingly as I grew up. I came to realise that the best books and stories were those that were deeply connected to real life, and that it was the learning gained from lived experiences that could imbue the written word with the strongest power. So I made a conscious decision to immerse myself in living first, and fully experience life.
This, and my love of reading and writing, led me to varied work with groups and individuals. From my early twenties, my career included mentoring, teaching, tutoring, facilitating, editing, and researching in a number of schools and universities in Australia, as well as in private practice in Italy when I lived there for some time.
To my delight, throughout my work experiences I discovered that the more authentic I was in my teaching and sharing, and the more I showed my passion for creativity, the more curiosity and love of learning was awakened in my students and colleagues.
The Importance of Nurturing Creativity
My Healing Journey
Just as I was getting ready for the book to be released, I was diagnosed with ‘cancer’.
Never in my life would I have imagined this – the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face. At first, I was hugely angry and refused to engage with the challenge, until a friend tentatively pointed out that my book was about ‘stepping into wholeness’, fully living in it and experiencing it.
When I allowed myself to look beyond my suffering and take a deeper breath, I stepped into my healing journey, and in doing this discovered that creativity had not abandoned me. As I explain in my book, creativity is much bigger than each of us. It connects us and can buoy us up in dire times, accepting us just as we are ‘warts and all’. It can also give greater meaning to our lives as it helps us discover more and more about ourselves.
Even though I experienced how vital it was to inspire creativity in my students, it was when I had children that I began to truly appreciate the importance of nurturing it. When provided with a safe space to explore their environment and express themselves, I could see their creativity blossom and give rise to remarkable growth. This also ‘rubbed off’ on me by rekindling much of the ‘joie de vivre’ I had as a child, and so allowed me to nurture my own creativity.
My curiosity about this amazingly important - yet often misunderstood - aspect of our lives grew enough for me to make it the subject of my PhD. My book Creativity: Stepping into Wholeness was a natural continuation of the journey I’d begun, sharing my insights and opening the conversation further.