CONKER interviewed with public speaker, author and artist Zoe Summer. Having recently published her self-help book ‘You Are Enough’, we decided to have a read for ourselves and see what all the fuss was about! The book is one of the first of it’s kind, in it’s simplicity, and the very fact that instead of using ‘state of the art’ photography equipment, Zoe’s work features images taken solely on her iPhone. ‘You Are Enough’ focuses around issues of confidence, self esteem, and mental health disorders. To find out more, we chatted to the California based author via e-mail, to try and understand what it was that she was trying to achieve, and why.
Cat van Maanen: did you consciously choose to put your flowers in circles to endorse a holistic approach? Why choose flowers & is there any significance there for you? Also, please could you explain a bit about your use of flowers and the related geometry that you discuss? whats the science behind that use?
Zoe Summer: I took photos of flowers with my iPhone—“Mobile Photography”— to create the “Flower Mandalas” to accompany the “Mini Mantras” which I wrote for the book “You Are Enough.” The creation of the “Flower Mandalas” incorporates the ancient philosophy of mandala art which is extensive, as well as the deeply symbolic meaning of a circle which is “totality” among other meanings.
I refer to the “Flower Mandalas” as “Energetic Transformers.” The reasons are that not only does just looking at a flower bring people joy, certain colours of flowers were chosen based on colour therapy and which colours draw forth upbeat emotions and high vibrational energetic feelings for people. In addition, I applied the energetic science and patterns of “Sacred Geometry.” Flowers were selected with certain patterns of petals reflecting “Sacred Geometry” and intricate pathways that “unfold” to draw your gaze inward to ‘You’ and the Universe within You.
Yes, there is definitely a science behind “Sacred Geometry” and there are many fascinating books about this subject alone! Common terms within the subject are “The Flower of Life” and “The Seed of Life.”
Instead of photographing exotic flowers such as orchids, flowers such as the daisy were singled out since I wanted to share the uncommon beauty of so-called “common” flowers. Because my intention is that people get to experience through this book an awareness of the sacred in the ordinary—which is the realisation that the ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary.
CVM: Your comment that you “don’t have to learn what you already know”, really stood out to me, as it suggests that the book is trying to support as oppose to teach, however could you explain what you mean by this?
ZS: Yes my book is about supporting versus teaching; the meaning behind that statement you refer to is that in the hearts of people when they were small children they knew they were ‘enough’ there was no doubts. It is as people get older that they tend to disconnect from their authentic, true self—their essence—which is always perfect, whole, and ‘enough.’
This book supports people in this most powerful connection—the connection to [their self]—or in other words “Self-Realisation.” It is a heart-centred connection which makes people feel joyful and helps them experience great personal and professional heights, because they can then tap into their personal power at any time throughout the day and be living their ‘best self’ life. It is supportive in that you are returning back to yourself, all of you!
CVM: would you suggest a specific way of reading or working through the book, and would you say that this is a self help book?
ZS: Yes, it is a self-help book, most importantly it is what I call an “experiential book” and it brings empowerment to the readers. The book is already set-up in a specific way for readers—the Mini Mantras and Flower Mandalas and their placement as pairs in their particular order within this book inspire specific positive emotions in a certain progression— leading readers to experience and build an everlasting foundation of self-love.
CVM: The text itself hold a very spiritual style in conveying ideas to readers, would you say that there is a scientific guide behind the advice in the text, or does the book focus on the spiritual (and if so, what is the reason for this)?
ZS: The spiritual style of the text is because it was co-created by myself and Source or other interchangeable names such as Universe, for “One.” Source created this book through me. Literally I awoke one morning to the entire concept being ‘downloaded’ into my mind and I felt honoured to have that opportunity! From there, everything unfolded, the exact information of what to photograph, the words, and how. Everything. I just had to ‘allow,’ do the actions, and unwaveringly and completely trust in the entire process as I continue to do so!
CVM: I liked how you chose to reverse those most central internal thoughts of self-loathing!
ZS: Thank you! Yes, the book is about how to get on the path of positivity!
CVM: In a description of you and your work, it is noted that through your art and writing and public speaking, that you are able to “[help] people rid themselves of suffering, fear, insecurities, anxiety, neediness,and stress in order to open the door to uplifting feelings of self-love, hope, optimism, joy and increased energy” Would you be able to talk about your own experiences with such feelings, and what gave you the courage to use that to help others, as well as qualifying you to discuss such issues?
ZS: For a number of years I was a Dating/Relationship/Life Coach, in addition in my personal and professional life I walk the walk and talk the talk, I am my own success story in that I have had transformational experiences that when shared with others can help them help themselves.
I am honoured at your use of the word “courage.” For me, in every way I had to show up through the process of self-realisation to co-create this book with Universe. Now, I continue to, in effort to serve others. This means that I am constantly not just outside of my comfort zone, there is no comfort zone. What feels comforting is when I know I am safe within, despite what events look like around me. I believe this takes “courage” when one does this. I say this because I look at that word “courage” and the meaning of it to me is from “Coeur” the French word for “heart”—courage is about inner-strength from the compass of your heart—and when we allow our heart’s wisdom to guide us it opens us up to miracles because we are living as our authentic self.
CVM: Where there any personal experiences that urged you to write ‘You Are Enough’?
ZS: There most definitely was! However, I share about it in the Introduction to the book, so I don’t want to give spoilers!
CVM: You reference to angel wings in some of your other work, and in the beginning of your book, you also allude to a comment by Meister Eckhart “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough”, which I personally find very beautiful in itself. Are there religious elements to that?
ZS: I am so glad it speaks to you! It is one of the most powerful quotations from the past that I have ever come across. As far as ‘religious connotations,’ even though his quotation includes the word “prayer”— nowadays that word is also defined as an ‘earnest hope or wish.’ My intention was to share his quotation with people because it is entirely about gratitude, and to me “gratitude” is the key to a happy, joyful life—which is what I want for everyone!
CVM: Typography appears in a lot of your work other than the book, including your ‘wings’ project. Can you explain your reason for the use of patterns? is there a deeper meaning to that?
ZS: I define “Typography” as the art of arranging typefaces, letters, numbers and symbols that you would see on a computer keypad, cellphone, or typewriter, yet which also includes choices made in font style, size, and colour. I use typography as another art form to inspire people and bring them meaningful, positive messaging that will serve them in heart connection in the relationship they have with themselves, which is the springboard for everything in their life.
Typography is very important to me as a visual element, whether it’s the location of the three-word mini mantras in the interior design of my book “You Are Enough” or in one of my paintings such as “Infinite Gifts” which is a diptych (a two-panelled painting) where I painted the phrase “You Are All And All Is You” as well as “The Holy Grail Is Within You” in such a way and split between the panels to force the viewers to really “see” the words literally and figuratively.
In my fine art I have created several painterly techniques to shift a viewer from logical ‘rational’ mode of thought into their intuition and heart’s wisdom—his or her “Truth.”
Whether it’s my writing, mobile photography or painting my intention is to bring readers and viewers emotional and spiritual benefits.
To me, typography can be used to direct a viewer’s eyes and hold their thoughts onto a word or phrase, in ways that make people look at words differently and extracting even more meaning from words. For example sometimes I write in emails to people “En-Joy your day!” that tiny change of a dash separating the word “Enjoy” brings the focus of the meaning of the word to the reader of my email—onto the word “Joy.”
Another example is in a recent social media tile for my Instagram gallery feed (@ZoeSummerAuthor) I created an image with the words: “BE-YOU- tiful #YouAreEnough” arranged in a certain way to share the message that by being you authentically you are beautiful and that you are enough to reinforce my main message that you are enough just because you exist.
CVM: Could you explain HeART?
ZS: Whether it’s my mobile photography in this book, or my acrylic paintings, I call my art “HEART” (Heart+Art=HeART) because it is inspirational, healing, and helps empower viewers. Also, at the point of creative inception, whether it’s the press of the shutter release, or brushstrokes of paint, I emanate Divine Love into the art. You could say I seal each photograph or painting with a kiss!
CVM: You appear to get a lot of inspiration from nature: from trees to flowers. Do you believe that there is some natural affinity or bond that nature and humanity share?
ZS: Yes, I believe that humanity echoes nature in all its life cycles, its ‘seasons’, the bond, and the complete reliance we have with nature is undeniable. Nature is our loving and nurturing parent.
Being surrounded by nature, as well as observing nature is inspiring to me as an author and artist, nature is extremely uplifting and can be meditative for people as well, helping us feel bliss, or calm and other emotions.
The range of what nature brings us in terms of emotions alone (not to mention our water, food, and other natural resources) is extraordinary: whether it is the bliss of gazing deeply into a flower, feeling its’ petals as you place a bouquet into a vase, and inhaling its scent, the flavour of a sprig of fresh mint at a creek’s edge, or the calm of looking at a sunset, or the refreshingly invigorating feeling of looking out into the ocean and hearing the song of its waves, nature touches all our senses.
CVM: There are a lot of self help/ mental health books out there, what would you say, sets ‘You Are Enough’ apart from these?
ZS: There is a lot that sets my book “You Are Enough” apart from other self-help, inspirational books, firstly, because this book merges ancient concepts “Mantras” and “Mandalas”— into an extremely modern interpretation— creating a new art form that increases self-esteem. This book is one-of- a-kind! And here are a few more ways:
- The tool this book brings through the Mini Mantras and Flower Mandalas and how they are used by readers, creates not only a book of words and photos but what I call an “experiential book” which is radically different than other self-help books!
- Not only am I the author I am also the artist of the interior photos, to create an author/artist book is unusual.
- To my knowledge, at the time of this interview, there is no other published book which uses “Mobile Photography” (photos taken with a cellular phone).
- It is very rare for a self-help book to share an important message with few words and along with images, my book does this.
For upcoming events, media appearances, and to read and subscribe to Zoe Summer’s “Heart Connection Blog” make sure you visit Zoe’s website
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