I am frequently asked why I started 1000 Hearts and I find it a difficult question to answer, as there are lots of little things that lead me to start this project in February 2016.
I was born on Valentine’s Day, so perhaps I was always destined to connect with hearts in some way. As a child, I was always making things from scraps of fabric, felt, buttons and thread.
I’m not sure who taught me to sew, but I was encouraged to be creative and have always had a tendency to make, collect and hoard small treasures. When I was very young, my mother became severely ill and left our family so she could recover; I didn’t see her again until my mid-teens.
As a child, I was shy and prone to anxiety and would often carry a little talisman in my pocket to help me feel brave.
Despite these early challenges, I was fortunate to have many friends and family who stepped up and showed me real kindness, which I never forgot. In fact, the support I received motivated me to find ways to help others who might be struggling.
By the time I started 1000 Hearts, I had been working in the non-profit sector for several years, offering support to people who were lonely, suicidal, dying and bereaved.
My work offers a profound insight into the strength and beauty of the human heart and at that point in my career, I was starting to understand that the most powerful thing we can offer each other in times of trouble is true and meaningful connection. I was dealing with some challenges of my own and was compelled to offer healing and goodness in some way.
I decided to make fifty pocket hearts for an upcoming event at my work, and when the event didn’t go ahead, I gave away the hearts as a random act of kindness. That was when I realised how powerful it can be to offer a small gesture of solidarity and love, and the hearts provide a tangible symbol that can be carried beyond the moment of giving.
It seems so simple, but after almost three years and countless stories, I have accepted that there is magic in these hearts – the magic of hope, healing and kindness.
A follow-up to last year's posts about self-compassion, and a reminder to heartists that kindness starts with our own imperfect selves.Read more
How to safely make and share hearts during the COVID-19 pandemicRead more