Welcome to our monthly series, “My Soulful Life”. Through 13 life-affirming questions - inspired by the points on The Art of Soulful Living compass - we’ll ask one luminary we admire to reflect on and reveal their true self.
This month, we’re talking to photographer and artist, Jasper Abels who collaborated with us on our new coffee table book The Book of Rituals. He combines his love for imagery with a fascination for nature, colour and mythical stories. With his unique eye for detail and strong personal vision, he constantly pushes the boundaries of photography, installations, collage-art and films. His work has been featured in magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Vanity Fair. As well as working with our Creative Director, Dagmar Brusse on our book, Jasper has created captivating images in the past for The Ritual of Mehr and The Ritual of Sakura.
- When in the day are you at your most reflective?
“The first few hours of the morning. I wake up on my farm and am surrounded by nature. My mind is clearest then and I can reach my feelings the best. After meeting people or being in a busy environment, it’s harder to reflect on myself.”
- Which one person, place or thing is guaranteed to give you joy?
“Feeling inspired to create gives me the most joy. I love to start new projects, make mood boards, paint or sketch. This makes me very joyful!”
- Do you think it’s more important to forgive or forget?
“If you don’t forgive it is hard to forget. It goes hand in hand for me. Without forgiveness certain matters will always haunt you.”
- Which moment in your life are you most grateful for?
“There are several, but they always include friends or family. I feel gratitude when I see that my close circle of people are happy in my company. I love to make them smile and feel gratitude for the time we can share together.”
- Have you found your life’s purpose yet?
“I think so. It took me some time but I know now that my purpose has to do with my work as an artist, telling stories through my images. It can be hard with only a single image, but I manage to do that sometimes, perhaps capturing a tear or a smile. Photography means literally writing with light - I try to shine my light through my lens.”
- Do you believe you can teach compassion?
“I think you can learn a lot, but your heart needs to be open to feel love and share compassion. Some people are too closed to learn it. But they might open up after a life-changing event or even a trauma. Those experiences can be important lessons.”
- What do you wish you could do more mindfully?
“Maybe take some time to enjoy the results of my hard work. Have a moment of peace, and not always start a new project immediately. Often, I am in too much of a rush and fighting with my ego. I do try to step back, be in nature and be still. And, of course, when I find silence, new perspectives enter my mind and I have more peace in my body.”
- How would I know you love me?
“I would take you on a white horse to my secret forest.”
- What was the last random act of kindness you did or witnessed?
“At a recent exhibition of mine I left a little notebook for people to write down what they felt whilst looking at my work. The reactions and notes were so kind and generous, reading them filled my heart with joy and caused my tears run.”
- Which 3 words describe your authentic self? How often does he appear?
“Uplifting, pure and honest. More and more he shines through. When I feel loved you meet the authentic me.”
- Are you faithful or fickle with your passions?
“Faithful. From a young age I knew already that being creative was my passion.”
- What is always guaranteed to grab your awareness and keep you in the moment?
“Nature! It can be a butterfly passing by or the wind making movements in the trees. There are so many unexpected flashes of beauty surrounding us, I am always happy to be aware of them.”
- When in your life have you most needed a positive mind-set?
“Positivity became my medicine after a period of losing a lot of close loved ones in my life. Every day I told myself, ‘Jasper, stay positive, better moments are coming for you. Maybe you can’t see them yet, but they will come.’ And so, they did.”
This is an excerpt from The Book of Rituals, available to buy here. A collection of inspirational articles, unique art work and wellbeing wisdom, this beautifully designed coffee table book is the ultimate guide to soulful living - and the ideal gift for you or a friend.
To learn more about the 13 points of The Art of Soulful Living compass, and how you can use them to boost your personal wellbeing, click here.