Jen Smith is a mandala artist, meditation teacher, and serial entrepreneur. She is a qualified social media trainer with over 10 years blogging experience and 5 years working in the digital marketing industry. Jen lives in the heart of the South Downs National Park in England, with her tabby cat Monty and fiancé Tim.
Meet Jen Smith.
How has your own personal journey influenced your work and life choices?
I remember a friend from university told me once that I was always striving and never happy with my lot. Too ambitious.
When I thought about it, she was right that I was always striving and ambitious, but I didn’t see it as a negative thing and I actually was happy with my lot, but I was curious to discover more. Push myself further. This meant I was constantly reading, learning and growing. It started with skills in my career and when I started my business it became self development – studying techniques like EFT and NLP to more spiritual practices like meditation. This has had such a positive effect on my life, most notably reducing anxiety.
It’s led me to a passion to make meditation accessible and easy for everyone. You don’t need to be a hippy, yogi or guru to meditate, anyone can do it and reap the physical and emotional benefits.
I was compelled to start drawing mandalas after seeing a friend on Facebook share pictures of mandala pebbles. I began creating and drawing them in front of the telly in the evening for pure fun. I quickly realised it quietened my mind and inner critic and I entered a meditative state whilst doing. I started to share this amazing byproduct with friends and clients and the interest I received was outstanding – and people asked me to share the process. That’s how it started and it’s gone from there!
Why is meditation so special to you?
As a creative person and entrepreneur, my brain is always full of ideas, mulling over problems and thinking through projects. I love my thoughts, and spend a lot of time thinking but it can get frustrating at times and meditation gives me peace and quiet from that constant brain chatter. It has also massively reduced my anxiety, which after trying all sorts of treatments and therapies is a huge benefit.
Colour yourself happy.
Tell us about mandalas and how we can benefit from them?
Mandalas are cyclical designs that grow in layers as you repeat patterns around a central point. They’ve been used in eastern religions for thousands of years as a meditative tool. Not only are they beautiful and satisfying to draw from an aesthetic point of view, but the creation process is what helps you get into a meditative state. This is because you’re focusing your full attention on the action of drawing, helped by the repetition process.
It is also scientifically proven to satisfy both your left and right brain. Your right brain, the creative side, loves to see the bigger picture – the full mandala as it grows. Your left brain, the more analytical side, is nourished by the individual parts of the mandala. These two states are completely satisfied whilst drawing mandalas, heightening the meditative experience.
My other business, Jen Smith Social Media, is the business I set up when I quit my job in London. I had hit rock bottom – working long hours and commuting 2 hours each way every day and so I decided to use the skills from my career in social media and marketing to help other business owners use social media more effectively. I still offer 121 training, ecourse, workshops and copywriting services and balance my time across both Jen Smith Social Media and Mandala Meditation.
How do you balance your spirituality with your day job?
It’s funny to think, but I wouldn’t call my businesses a day job! But, to answer your question, I always start my day with a routine of meditation and gratitude journalling – listing all the things I’m grateful for, and the visions I have for my life. This gets me in the right headspace to work. In the evenings I usually am drawing mandalas – either in front of the telly or listening to music – this always makes me happy!
In three words what does cheese mean to you?
Cheese?! oooh curveball question!
For me it means looking at developing and growing in all areas of your life and aiming for balance and appreciation in all areas.
What is your message to cynics, sceptics, and the intrigued?
For the curious: explore and allow your own beliefs and ideas to come through and form. It’s ok to blend ideals, ideas and beliefs and formulate your own world view.
For the cynics and the sceptics: don’t knock it till you’ve tried it
Finally, what are your top five tips for self-love?
- Honour your intuition (you might call it your gut instinct). It is never wrong
- Act on inspiration and exciting ideas – don’t question them till you’ve implemented them
- Take time out for just you – a massage, hot bath, time reading, walking whatever. Be selfish, it’s the most unselfish thing you can do.
- Look for the activities that bring you most pleasure and find time to do them frequently (childhood passions are often a good place to start if you are stuck on ideas)
- Surround yourself with like minded friends – you’ll need them in times of doubt.
I heard an amazing quote from such a friend yesterday:
A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words
Click here for your free mandala colouring sheets.
(All images copyright Michelle Wildman.)