FAQs – the personal version!

Here are some questions I’ve been asked, in the interests of you getting to know me better!

How do you pronounce Jani?

To confuse things, there are two ways.

Either Jah-Nee or Yah-Nee 🙂

What is your accent?

I grew up in South Africa and have lived in Southern England for over 20 years, so it’s a hybrid.
Jani in 12 words?

Chatty, passionate, sometimes cranky, perfectly imperfect, growing, pioneering, creating, being, loving, dancing.

Spiritual beliefs?

I follow a natural path, celebrating the seasons and connecting with nature and archetypes of Mama Earth, ancient places and myths and stories about places.  I find ritual and symbols to be powerful tools in living a fuller life.

The label ‘Pagan’ suits, if a label is required.  I celebrate and respect all traditions –  including those who choose to stick with science.  All ways are valid ways as far as I can see.

Mine is a very down-to-earth approach, I find myself so filled with wonder at the things around me, that I nourish my inner self with these – the earth, sky, sea and wind – without worrying too much about the unseen, supernatural or an afterlife.  There is a lot of magic in the real world 🙂

Also, it means getting to hold ceremonies outside.  Win.

What are you the most proud of?

The community I’ve co-created at The Art House and the people I’ve worked with making art, music, poems and a living!

What else do you do?

I teach in person sometimes. I play in two bands – the Djembabes (all female drumming group!) and The Shimmering Bees. I co-direct The Art House and I make art.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

That my work has changed somebody’s life for the better.
What’s one thing you’re proud of — but would never put on your CV?

Forming a relationship with my parrot, Missy. When she first came to us she bonded with my partner and didn’t really like me at all. Years of patient training later, she is my super close feathery pal and we get on famously.

It was a deep learning and she’s a great teacher.

What’s the most out-of-character choice you’ve ever made?

Took a job in recruitment (yikes!!).  Actually it gave me all sorts of handy skills I use all the time now – and paid for a four month sojourn teaching in Nepal.

What’s going to be carved on your tombstone?

‘Time for a little nap’ is what it would say, although the plan is for my tombstone to be a tree.

What are you good at?

Art. Convincing people to do crazy things to make their dreams come true!  Covering things in glitter.

If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be?

Anne of Green Gables, or Owen Meaney, or both.

Do you have a morning ritual?

Not a strict one, but I like to write morning pages, do some journaling or planning for the day and then have breakfast with the parrot & my chap.

Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it?

I believe that life and the boundless capacity people have for creativity are the best kind of magic – real magic.  I’m open to the idea that there is more than we’ve discovered or can explain in the universe, too.

Is there something that people consistently ask for your advice on? What is it?

How to start their own arts cafe, how to make a living at their art.

When was the last time you astonished yourself?

This afternoon, and most days. It happens a lot when you live outside your comfort zone, I find!

What’s your definition of an ideal houseguest?

One that can amuse themselves, loves cooking, and doesn’t mind being bitten by a parrot.

If you had an extra £100 to spend on yourself every week, what would you do?

Have a massage and get somebody to help clean my house.

What are you an expert on? Is it because of training, lived experience, or both?

Creativity and what helps people connect with it, and heartfelt business. I have been trained in fine art, but it’s mostly life experience which helps with this one.

How do you reign in self-critical voices?

I name them, nod wisely at what they are saying, and then get on with what I wanted to do anyway. 
Where + when do you get your BEST IDEAS?

When I give them space to bubble up, by relaxing or writing, or drawing. Often in the shower, too – or just as I am going to sleep!

Are you living your LIFE PURPOSE — or still searching?
Yes and yes 🙂

Do you think we’re designed for monogamy? (Why or why not?)

I certainly am – can’t speak for others though. That said, I find it healthy to have regular crushes and flirtations even when in a relationship 🙂  Actual cheating, or ‘an open relationship’ does not appeal. Too energy intensive!

Do you think we should live like we’re dying?

Well, um, yes! Because we are.

Do you have any habits or quirks you wish you could ERASE?

Leaving my clothes in a huge pile instead of hanging them back up.  Letting myself get hungry and crabby when I am working on something I’m enjoying.

What brings you SHEER DELIGHT?

Many things do. Climbing trees, being by the sea, kissing Missy the parrot on the beak, giving Bik hugs, hearing a cat purr, breathing fresh air, watching the sun come up or go down, seeing the first signs of spring, hearing children do that happy scream thing, smelling a freshly opened bag of ground coffee, watching leaves move in the wind, sitting around a fire, dancing, drumming, having a nap, reading a fabulous book, learning something….. a lot of things.

Are you highly useful in a CRISIS?

Yes, but I will go into weird shock once everything is OK again and have to retreat for a while.  When all whatsit is breaking lose I am super calm, which always surprises me.

What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)?

Putting my phone somewhere stupid so I can’t find it. Leaving the house without checking I have everything. Thinking I can be in time for stuff by leaving home one minute before I’m meant to be there – or one minute after.

If you were heading out on an ADVENTURE right this minute, what would you pack?

Snacks! My camera, phone, wellies, an umbrella, my journal, lots of pens, a blanket.

Do you have any irrational fears?

Yup. Spiders sneaking up on me, and being on high wobbly places. Oh, and clowns (shudder).

Have you ever questioned your FAITH — or lack thereof?

All the time!

What’s your recipe for recuperating from extreme heartbreak?

Time, lots of time.  Feeling what you’re really feeling and not trying to shortcut the process.

That and acceptance, compassion for myself and the other person, and forgiveness – and space.  The thing to guard against is bitterness.

Have you ever had a psychic reading? Did you believe it? Was it accurate?

Yes (an unsolicited one, I might add), no I didn’t and don’t believe it, no it was vastly inaccurate and quite annoying!

If you were to die three hours from now, what would you regret most?
Not a thing. Maybe that I didn’t tidy up that clothes pile.

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    FAQs – the personal version! — 8 Comments

    1. Love it and what briliant tea party guests. I would like to be a fly on the wall at that one.

    2. You seem to be a very interesting person. I would love to have a coffee with you one day, especially if I perfectly understand that ‘big pile of clothes’ problem 🙂

    3. Thanks – perhaps you will (though I usually drink tea, of course, except for first thing in the morning!)