Meg Welchman, a psychologist with a background in relationship counselling and positive psychology, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer just months after the birth of her second child at age 37. Surviving further reoccurrences of cancer over the next 12 years, Meg wrote and self-published her book, 'This Present Moment', as way to help others find the information they need when first facing a shocking diagnosis. This Present Moment is based on life themes, those that sustained Meg through the initial diagnosis and far beyond, to living a connected, creative and courageous life with cancer.
The book is divided into twenty themes. With each theme comes an inspirational quote, a personal memoir or musing on the theme that leads to a meditation and the opportunity to colour while focussing each hand drawn-mandala by artist Grace Cuell (Baby Cool, Nice Biscuit). Mandalas having been used in meditation for centuries as a way to focus inward. Colouring in slows down our breathing and helps relax the heart rate, reducing our immediate stress reactions. This book can also be an art journal– to read as well as to draw and write in– with blank pages left as places for you to reflect on your own observations.
"The intention behind the book was to first be a gift to those that had helped me through the most difficult years of my life, and secondly to provide some guidance for others struggling to cope with their 'new normal' to find a way to peaceful living. Every person diagnosed with secondary cancer needs a copy of This Present Moment.”
A passionate supporter of Choices who provide free ongoing support for people experiencing cancer, Meg facilitated a writing group for people with secondary cancer through Choices. A percentage of the sales of her annual project, This Present Moment Calendar, were donated to Choices each year. Her calendars, composed of Meg's original photography and quotes collated over the preceding year, capturing life's simple magical moments. See more about them here.
Alongside her book and calendar project, Meg's love of music saw her spark a band. She sang and played bass in The Double Happiness with good friends Kristin and Pete and her husband Simon. You can listen to them here.
On behalf on Meg's family, we are sad to announce Meg passed peacefully on February 23, 2022 in hospital with family holding her close. She was only 49.
She leaves us with a legacy of creative works, two amazing children, her generosity of spirit and genuine goodwill to others.
We thank you for your support. Any ongoing sales of her book go directly to her family.
Grace Cuell is an artist and musician living in Brisbane. She started drawing mandalas as a way of finding mindfulness after moving away from her close-knit community of Narrabri, NSW.
“I have always been drawn to patterns, whether they be in nature or in man-crafted things…visual repetition has always caught my eye. Noticing the finer details in real life brings about a different sense of beauty to life."
Every mandala in this book is an original hand-drawn picture; hence the drawings are not 'perfect'. There are inconsistencies in size or shape or the darkness of the lines. This is intentional. Life is not perfect. Creativity should not come in a 'one-size fits all'.
"I start with a compass, a pencil and sometimes an eraser. The process flows on from there. I don’t start with a plan of how the mandala will look, I let it happen. It is a visual stream of consciousness and provides a deep sense of inner stillness. Once the pencil drawing is completed I ink it over… What I have found is that the process of creating mandalas has a flow on effect. When I draw more mandalas it opens me up to be more creative in other areas of life such as music. “
“It takes a lot of restraint not to colour the mandalas in! That has always been the most exciting part of the process – that’s when they really come to life..."
Grace also makes music! She currently performs with her friends in Nice Biscuit and her solo project Baby Cool.