Your mind is a garden; your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest will bring either flowers or weeds.
The idea of a mind garden inspired this creation. Sometimes we forget to water and prune our mind gardens. There was a time when my mind garden was overrun with patches of weeds and nasty bugs. It’s a conscious effort to keep my mind garden thriving. Some days are harder than others. In the end, it’s up to us what we grow in our mind garden. I choose flowers, and not just any flowers, singing flowers!
The focus of mindgarden.me is to cultivate ideas into tangible products and resources that nurture creative wellbeing.
How is your mind garden this beautiful day?
Hello, I’m Jen Aboki, and it’s so great to virtually meet you. Currently, my biggest project is learning the ropes of motherhood. There’s a good chance you’ll find me changing nappies or making animal sounds, sometimes at the same time. At other times you may see me scrawling ink doodles of random items. I’m particularly skilled at letting my mind take my hand on interesting journeys.
My journey with art began many years ago. First, it was crayons, then pencils, then pens and paints. In high school, I began exploring the use of ink pens and adding splashes of colour with watercolour and gouache.
Later on, I was introduced to digital illustration. I was immediately smitten. I still remember the first time I realised you could create graphics with a graphics program! The first thing I drew on the computer was an easel and a button. Buttons are too cute.
I started meddling with websites and HTML back in the early 90s. I was so excited to find that you could create something that people from around the world could visit, all from your house. Garfield was the subject of my first site and it was remarkably visually displeasing, but heck I was proud of it. I have refined my web skills since and mindgarden.me is a result of all those years of trial and error.
I’ve drawn and painted many things over the years and I love creating art that is thought-provoking, fun and a little quirky. I hope that you find something at mindgarden.me that resonates with you.
The “serious” stuff… what have I done with my life up to now?
Education has always been emphasised in my family. So in terms of professional accomplishments, here’s the spiel. I am a qualified speech pathologist. I chose to become a speechie because I love children and wanted to be around them. Also because I got good marks in English. My work was about giving children a voice. Sometimes literally, when providing the “alternative” part of Augmentative and Alternative Communication and other times as an advocate.
In my experience, I learnt that successful communication is not about the number of words a child uses. Communication is more than just words and that’s why I love art. The creative arts have the power to transform who we are and how we ‘speak’ to each other. The word ‘disability’ was used to describe the population of children I used to see. It was not was I saw, I saw how they showed us how to do things differently. I saw the resilience and strength of the families that were standing for all their child could be.
One of my dreams is to guide people to discover and achieve their dreams because living out your dreams is super cool.
My next career was spurred on by my diagnosis of bipolar. During the career transition I did some volunteering. I was part of Compeer, a St Vincent de Paul Society program and represented The Black Dog Institute as an Insight Presenter within schools. To get some practice at sharing my recovery story, I was also trained as a Remind Mental Health Educator through the Schizophrenia Fellowship, now known as One Door. In my journey, I have participated in several personal development programs. I undoubtedly have a love/hate relationship with these workshops. Still, there is a part of me that enjoys being occasionally challenged and fraught with short periods of inner turmoil. I believe it’s a great way to stretch myself and grow as a person (and grow more singing flowers for my mind garden!).
Currently, I work in Mental Health. My first job in the field was working with adults who were considered the most marginalised in our community. A cohort of the downtrodden, abused and rough sleepers. Since then I have moved towards supporting and promoting mental health programs in the not for profit sector.