My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they choose to live it have really inspired me. Some are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and they are all special. I feel honoured and privileged that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!
Meet Malini Parker.
Do you know I don’t know how I came to “meet” Malini? Or at least I can’t say for sure. I think it may have been from a friendly Facebook click but my memory cannot really be relied upon. Anyways, no matter, because I think our paths were just meant to cross, you know, like internet-kismet, because once I got to know Malini (from inside my computer) I knew she had to be part of this series. I’ve read and re-read her interview many times before publishing it, and every time I do, I get goosebumps on my skin, a tear in my eye and a bit of fire in my belly. She is brave, courageous, talented, funny as, and that’s just for starters. Friends, meet Malini, she is so inspiring!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I’m an artist, writer and teacher.
Not unlike many, I suppose, my journey as been a bit weird and wonderful. For me, the professional part began in medical research, (so I started out as a scientist) wended its way through the performing arts, and settled into visual art. And now, I find myself a painter! My art is inspired by the mystery and wonder of LIFE. I’m particularly fascinated by the journey from adversity to Grace and that’s what I try to capture in textures and lace and leaves and colour!
I’m also a writer. But I don’t write about art, I think I write about the art of life. It seems to strike a chord with people, maybe because deep down, we’re really all the same, and maybe it’s because no matter how hard it gets, (and I know it gets pretty damn hard sometimes) there’s always something absurdly funny that we can choose to focus on 🙂
And then there’s ‘the teacher’. Teaching others how to open up to the art inside them – it completes my life! It all began in my backyard just a few years ago, with five young folk who were keen to learn to paint. I’m so honoured that my teaching has now helped transform the lives of so many people. Here’s the thing – it’s not me – it’s just that when that secret door inside us that opens up to our creativity – is finally unlocked, MAGIC floods in. (That’s what happened to me when I discovered art).
Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not.
I am truthful, grateful, resilient.
I am NOT someone who can add up in my head, plans my meals ahead of time, or understands how cricket works!
Complete this sentence, ____________________ changed my life. How and why?
The artist Kelly Rae Roberts once said, “when you let art out, you let love in.”
I think that when I started to make art, I let go of all the things that I was holding on tightly to, in my heart and soul. All the useless things. It’s not that I have anything against Science. I was immersed in it for many years and I learned a great deal from the discipline and rigour of the Western Scientific Method.
But fully exploring my creativity, with no agenda whatsoever, other than JUST to make art, just to create, helped me let go of many unhelpful attachments and beliefs about myself. It helped me learned to trust in life. To let go of outcomes. It’s a lifelong process, but I do firmly believe that allowing ourselves to live a creative life (and that can be ANYONE, a doctor, a gardener, a mathematician) allows magic in. It lets love in.
What has been life’s greatest lesson?
Learning detachment. And by that, I mean Iearning to let go of my attachment to outcomes and instead, trusting in life. I think that TRUST is the secret sauce to everything. Navigating relationships. Raising children. Making good art 🙂
What is your biggest achievement?
Surviving my beautiful daughter’s 8 year battle with anorexia. There were times when I didn’t think she would make it, and I had to ‘let go’… while still fighting with every bone in my body to keep her alive. And just keeping hope alive was a huge part of this process. It was a terrifying time, laden with anguish and really quite indescribable. But she made it, I made it, and we are have both come out the other end, the closest of friends and comrades, with a deep love and respect for each other.
What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?
The period following my husband’s death was a rather huge obstacle. He passed away in May 2014, after a four year journey with cancer. Greg and I were married for 28 years. I didn’t anticipate the chasm of grief that would follow his passing.
I think bereavement is an ongoing process, and the grief is always there, but it sits like a quiet friend in my soul now, rather than a huge rip in the fabric of my life. Greg was a gifted creative, a musician and composer, but mostly, an exceptional human being. I have moved through the pain of his loss by leaning into gratitude for my life with him, gratitude to have been able to care for him during his years of chemotherapy and illness, and joyfulness I feel when I am engaging in my creative practices.
It was writing and making art that really helped me move through bereavement, along with the love of family and friends.
Greg taking a bow at his last show just six weeks before he died.
Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?
Uncovering my own creativity and setting it free changed EVERYTHING in my life. My heart exploded with love. I want to share that with as many people as possible so that they too can just be in love, not matter what 🙂
What are your words to live by?
Consistent Effort can transform anything, even me 🙂 Little by little. Day by day.
If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
I consider myself fortunate to have been married to mine for nearly three decades. My late husband, Greg was my greatest teacher. We had such an adventure in our lives together. I chose him as my mentor because I witnessed the transformation in him as he lived with terminal cancer. He embodied Grace under Fire. He leaned further and further into his spiritual practice as his body grew weaker. It was as if his soul expanded as his body was breaking down. It was a gift and the greatest lesson to look after him and to learn how to live and die with such honour. What better thing can one learn from a mentor?
If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?
Eat hot spicy Asian noodles. Sit by the river. Drink coffee with a friend. Paint. Walk. Read. Get a massage … My list would be longer than my arm 🙂
You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?
I’m not sure that I give that much to others, I feel totally blessed at how much I receive! But I’m a bit obsessed with self-care now, as I feel I owe it to Greg to look after myself and live my life the best way I can.
So I take care of myself by prayer and meditation daily, journaling, either walking or jogging daily and eating super healthily to stave off the threat of diabetes that my ethnicity (Indian) and family history (3 siblings and both parents) have presented me with! And getting a full body massage at every opportunity 🙂
Thank you for sharing, Malini.
Let Malini inspire you a little bit more…
Find out more about her work here
and on the blog
and also on twitter