Your book ‘All of this is for you’ is a beautiful reminder that we have the power to be kinder to ourselves, the people in our lives, and our world. This year’s theme for MHAW is ‘Take time to kōrero’ all about the importance of connection and the power that communication has in bettering our wellbeing, what does this theme mean to you? Is there an illustration of yours in particular that you think reflects this theme?
For me this theme is all about making sure I prioritise time for the people I love no matter how busy I am. Sometimes it’s not about me needing to talk to anyone, but rather having the ability to realise when someone just needs me to listen. The gift of truly listening is invaluable, especially during these strange and difficult times.
An illustration from my book that I think reflects this theme is one of a person sitting with their arm around a dog and beside them are the words ‘find someone who will listen.’ This is meant to show the importance of talking out loud to someone or something and not necessarily wanting or needing a response, but simply wanting to feel heard. The kōrero, the verbalizing helps to bring things into focus. Sometimes that can be scary, like saying ‘I feel sad’ – but this illustration is a reminder to just ‘be’ with the words.
In these times of bubbles and levels, how do you stay connected with those special people in your life?
I call at least one person in my family every day because we’re all in different cities and countries right now so keeping up that regular contact feels so important, even if it’s just to talk about the weather. I also like to surprise friends with letters or parcels, particularly if I know they’re on their own, just as a reminder that they have someone in their corner thinking of them.