It's about the journey...
Hello! Welcome! Aaniin! Taanishi!
Creativity Coaching Canada is an expression of gratitude for living a life of creative abundance. I want to share what I’ve learned with you. Arts and Creativity are a way to peace, joy, and healing.
Everyone is naturally creative. Sometimes people forget how to notice where it lives inside them or how to integrate creativity into a busy life. Many people who reach out are already on a creative journey, looking for ways to enrich their process, develop greater mastery, and nurture their creativity to a deeper level. Whether you are new to creativity or an old friend to creativity, I can help.
Since childhood, creativity has been a centre in my life. Painting, reading, writing, singing, dancing, and theatre gave me a sense of self and a sense of belonging. The arts saved my life more than once.
As an adult, it wasn't easy navigating responsibilities with something that had always felt like play. For many years, my time engaging in arts felt like something extra, an add-on to an already busy schedule. It often felt like an either-or choice between the real world and my expressive world.
Thanks to some incredible teachers and some life-changing experiences, my perspective shifted. I learned it isn't about one project or one art form, it is about building a life of creative connection and vitality.
Some big Shifts
Creative projects and skills as something acquired or collected like books on a shelf.
Creativity as taking.
Expectations of Outcome
Looking for ways to control and predetermine what the life of a creative looks like or feels like.
Creativity as a recipe.
Engaging in projects when the work is easy or the conditions for creativity are ideal.
Creativity as a day's work.
Energy exchange within projects and skills, a focus on giving and receiving. Creative flow in and out.
Creativity as sharing.
Openness to Surprise
Living the questions. Focusing on the journey, Making space for possibilities. Freely giving time and attention.
Creativity as a relationship
Trust in Process
Engaging in process no matter the conditions. Creating from personal necessity, wellness, lifestyle.
Creativity as a life's work.
A Creative Life
Shifting from a focus on acquiring all the knowledge and skills I could take from the arts, I moved to engaging in a deeper relationship with the arts. It wasn't about what I could collect, grab, and gain anymore. My life in the arts became about what I could share, give, and attend to with respect, truth, and love. Like relationships with people I care about in life, engaging in creative projects transformed into a life of relationship with nature, ideas, people, community, and ways of being.
My creative roots are in the theatre. A member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada since 2008, my play Once Upon a Rocking Chair has been produced to sold out audiences. It shares a story inspired by a family tradition of girls' week at the cottage. Three sisters and their daughters spend a week together on Georgian Bay. What does happily-ever-after look like in your 20s and 30s versus your 50s and 60s? Writing and sharing this play resulted in building new and significant memories for my family.
I am a proud citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario with roots in the Georgian Bay Métis Community from the Verified Métis family lines of Solomon and Berger/Beaudoin. My mom is Métis (a Lamondin raised in Britt, Ontario) and my dad has roots in the UK (an Outram raised in Britt, Ontario). They continue to live on Georgian Bay today and I spend as much time as I can with them. Georgian Bay feels like a home to me and is the source of inspiration for a lot of my creative work.
In early 2022, Piquant Press released my first poetry collection, The Thing with Feathers. This is a story of becoming whole by reassembling broken pieces of self, holding onto hope in the darkest moments, and seeing everything in a new light. I wrote this collection as part of my own healing journey, then I wanted to share it with the wish that its story may provide hope for others. I'm a member of the Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets.
Now I am working on a children's novel inspired by Georgian Bay and my family’s stories (to be published by Second Story Press in 2023). I wanted to find a way to explore our lost Métis story and life at the Gereaux Island Lighthouse in the summer of 1914.
I've studied watercolour, acrylic, mixed media, and photography. In November 2021, my love for art lit up when I was invited to be a juror for the Art Gallery of Northumberland’s 43rd Juried Exhibition. What an opportunity to notice and appreciate arts and artists in the community!
Among my favourite creative experiences is the gift of working alongside my friend Catherine Graham as co-host of Hummingbird, a weekly podcast about creativity, arts, literature, and life. Our weekly chats have become a highlight for us both. In fact, even when we are not recording we still check in and chat each week.
Creative at Work
Creativity Coaching Canada is an expression of relationship. It is one part of my story. I work full-time as a system Principal of Indigenous Education, alongside over 100 schools K-12. My work has always given me opportunities for creativity.
I began my career as a high school English and Drama teacher. For twelve years, I taught various courses from Grade 9-12, including some time as a Literacy Coach and Student Success Teacher. Over the years, I was also lucky to teach hundreds (and hundreds) of students Grade 12 Writer's Craft and contribute to the school by directing the school play, choir, or newspaper.
I've lived in Cobourg for over 10 years, working in Northumberland as Vice Principal at East Northumberland Secondary School in Brighton, then as Principal of Colborne Public School and Dr. GJ MacGillivray Public School in Courtice. For the first 15 years of my career I worked in high schools. Then I was an Elementary Principal for 7 years, before moving into a system leadership position in 2021.
This is why my Creativity Coaching work is always in the evenings or on the weekends (or in the summer).
Creativity in Community
Volunteering is also important to me, sharing up to 10 hours a week with Cobourg's culturally dynamic community.
As Cobourg's 4th Poet Laureate, I look for ways to encourage the reading and writing of poetry, to enrich our shared human experience with heartfelt contributions. From a weekly email series Poetry Present (since 2019) to a monthly feature Letter to a Poet in “Cobourg Now,” it has been a joy to connect with local writers. Other recent community poetry projects include an evolving eChapbook Cobourg Present that grew to 120 pages of poetry, and the annual Earth Day eChapbook, The Story of Water.
Cobourg is a town with an abundance of arts. In the early planning stages, I was on the steering committee for the Northumberland Festival of the Arts. Now I work with the committee organizing the theatre program for the festival. For years I volunteered with SONG to support training for the adults and then later worked with the SONGtech program as an Education Consultant. The mentor choir for SONG is called Safe Harbour. I've made lifelong friends singing with this incredibly talented group while contributing to music education for children and teens.
VOS Theatre and Northumberland Players were among my first arts connections when I moved to Northumberland. Theatre is a natural teacher of belonging, community, and energy.
After visiting the Spirit of the Hills Arts Association as a guest speaker, talking about the art of adaptation in the summer of 2010, I decided to move east from the Durham Region to Northumberland. The Cobourg Poetry Workshop has also been incredibly supportive and encouraging. Community and creativity go hand in hand.
My work as a Creativity Coach offers support, resources, and a guiding hand to help you build your creative life with meaning and purpose. I enjoy working with both individuals and groups because creativity is a collaborative and co-designed process.
To complement my creative life, I'm certified in the Japanese healing technique of Reiki. Reiki is a proven healing modality that for me has blended a relationship between creativity and the energy of the natural world that surrounds us. Learning Reiki felt like a homecoming. It changed everything. I use my understanding of the interdependence between creative and natural energies to help you reach your creative potential and live an abundant life.
Creativity has been a source of healing, a way to find a sense of belonging, and a process to better understand my identity and purpose. I want to share my learning with you to help you build a life of creative abundance too. Connecting with you in this way is part of my life's work.
In life there are choices. Everything is connected and not connected.
What is the presence of creativity in your life?
Creativity is relationship.
Education & Experience
Education and Training
Master of Arts, Adult Education and Community Development (University of Toronto)
Bachelor of Education (Queen's University)
Bachelor of Arts (Honours): English and Cultural Studies (Trent University)
Supervisory Officer's Certificate (Lakehead University)
Expedition Coaching, Coaching Skills Facilitator
Reiki, Level 2 Practitioner
20+ years as an Educator with extensive experience working with children, teens, and adults.
Principal of Indigenous Education, K-12
Arts in Community
Poet Laureate of Cobourg, Ontario
Steering Committee for the Northumberland Festival of the Arts
Learning Consultant for SONGTech, a new program for youth learning to compose music on iPads while developing resiliency
Member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada
Two of my plays have been produced by professional and community theatre groups
Co-founder of the Ontario Writers' Conference
Publisher of Sunshine in a Jar Press
Author of The Writing Spiral: Learning as a Writer
Editor of From the Cottage Porch: An Anthology About Cottage Life in Ontario
Curator of Poetry Present a Weekly Email Series Featuring Local Poets
Member of the Ontario Poetry Society
Actor and director for Professional and Community Theatre including StoneCircle Theatre and Driftwood Theatre Group
Served on the Board of Directors for Northumberland Players
Dramaturge and Mentor for new playwrights at StoneCircle Theatre
Volunteer for local arts groups and experience on various arts-related boards, including the Writers Community of Durham Region
Professional soloist and member of Safe Harbour choir
Painter and photographer
Recipient of the Gordon Johnston Award for Artistic Excellence
About Rachel Spence
Rachel is a content creator/virtual assistant based in Northumberland County.
Rachel helps entrepreneurs + wellness professionals gain back valuable time by helping them with tasks such as content creation, blog writing, social media strategies, invoice follow ups, email management, marketing and so much more!
In her spare time she’s a dog mom to Zoey and loves thrifting and creative projects. Connect with her @whirkycreative
Rachel supports Creativity Coaching Canada with communications, research and resources, marketing, and so many other important things that help us to become more efficient and continue to grow.
Creativity Coaching Canada
Creativity Coaching Canada commits to inspiring people to find creative prosperity and abundance.