The concept of QuietSphere came to me in 2012 after visiting David Hockney’s ‘A Bigger Picture’ exhibition at the Royal Academy. There, in a large dark room, I took in the quiet projection of Hockney’s multi-camera films as he took visitors on a journey through the seasons, in the east Yorkshire countryside. We had entered a meditative haven of calm in the heart of London and I loved it!
I’ve always appreciated humankind’s connection to nature and the inner peace that being in nature brings. And having lived in Japan from 2003 to 2008, I was grateful to have learned from their celebration of the seasons and their respect for quietude. This all came together as I experienced the films, and I realised that I wanted to help people find calm in their lives and connect more with nature.
My first thought was around creating a quiet space for people to come to, to relax and bring the mind into a calmer state. Hence, the name QuietSphere, refering to places of calm and quiet both in our minds and physical environments. I did a lot of work on this and learned a lot along the way, whilst working in the student accommodation sector.
I had struggled at university and hearing about the challenges facing today’s students in my job, I realised the knowledge I had and continued to gain could benefit them. I decided to change the focus of my attention to create an online video programme where I could to share this transformational information that would help to improve students’ self-awareness and wellbeing.
In 2014, QuietSphere Student Mentoring was born and I threw myself into learning about university life, student wellbeing and running a business. I wrote a student guide, penned several blog posts and created a video programme about building relationships and developing soft skills. Whilst I’m proud of what did and grew so much from it, looking back, I had gotten side tracked from the inspiration of 2012.
After the tragic suicide of a close friend in 2017, followed by the death of my loving grandmother three weeks later, I began to find it harder and harder to work on the business. My priority had become self-care and applying what I knew to be true to get me through this challenging time. A full time job also found me in 2018 (a story for another day!) and with this and all that was going on, QuietSphere Student Mentoring slowly became very quiet.
The past two years have been a time for personal growth and reflection for which I am truly grateful. I have been looking for inspiration for the next chapter of QuietSphere and ironically (or not!) have found it back where it all started – connecting with nature and finding calm within. I want to share my appreciation for the natural world and the lessons it teaches, not just with university students, but with students of life.
I have some ideas, but I’m not yet sure exactly how it’s going to unfold, which is exciting. What I do trust though, is that it will evolve with patience and ease, like the journey of a flower from tiny seed to colourful bloom when all the conditions are right. During the Covid-19 lockdown, many have been experiencing a re-newed appreciation for nature and the wonderful benefits it brings to our health and happiness. I hope that, as life returns to a new normal, I can help others to deepen that connection.
I hope you will join me on this journey to inner peace.
With love x
Natasha Hockney, Founder
Quiet: Free from disturbance or tumult; tranquil; peaceful
Sphere: The place or environment within which a person or thing exists; a field of activity or operation