“Working with Animyst allowed me to focus on the work I love to do most, while they handled the details that I’d long been wanting someone else to! Michelle and Jen work from the heart first, nurturing their clients’ creative expression and mirroring our strengths. Not only did they help me refine my content- we partnered to create a meaningful and relevant class which was enjoyed by my students for three sessions. I love working with Animyst and am excited to partner with them again.”
“Collaborating with Jen and Michelle was a dream experience in every way. They took my kernel of an idea and helped me transform it into a soulful, inspiring offering. The Conscious Booksmith had a special quality of joy and magic that would not have been possible without them.”
“Michelle and Jen are a force of love in action. Focused, attentive, brilliant, intuitive, generous, kind . . . I could go on. They just get it. They have the perfect balance of loving what they do and knowing how to do it: inspired and grounded, compassionate and motivated — or that which reaches the sky and touches down to earth. They understand and live the wisdom of what is true. Its because of this I know they will harvest gardens of sweet nectar and rich flora, deeply pleasing to the senses and fulfilling to the soul. Working with them is a true gift, a blessing I know which for me will continue to unfold and manifest in many forms.”
(mixed media, artist, teacher, online workshop creator, healer)
Wehave worked with her many times as a guide for retreats and workshops
and co-produced her first Online Workshop: Abundant Wild Life for Squam Art Workshops.
Beautiful people do not just happen and the Serendipity hosts, Jen Gray and Michelle Madden Smith are the very soul embodiment of all that is beautiful inside and out. Their spirit works magic in helping artists intensify their ability to express themselves freely and wondrously. They know how to dig for creative gusts of treasure and how to reanimate lost dreams. They know exactly how to enter into a lustier more jubilant phase of life.
I deeply believe Jen and Michelle traveled through time and space to find one another to birth these creative gusts which will move through the world and uplift the consciousness of joy and ~ I can testify that being in the presence of their combined aura is a direct portal to love.
Jen and Michelle believe with all their heart that the discovery of the right moment, friendships, beloveds, creations will be serendipitous, somewhere most surprisingly and unexpectedly around the corner ~ and to hold out for that.
They know that once you do a couple of things that you love with kindred friends you love… well, anything is possible. Anything at all.
Everything flows, singing.
(photographer, writer, teacher, creator of Persisting Soul, lover of light and beauty)
We’ve circled with Madelyn and she teaches at our Serendipity Retreats.
Jen Gray is the most gentle but powerful of teachers. She is an extraordinary listener, and can draw you to truths about yourself that you may have missed. She will coax out the best of you, and then celebrate it with you all along the way.
(singer, song-writer, playwright)
Jonatha is our forever songbird.
Gulp, where do I find the words for this one? Michelle has been behind the scenes of Pages & Paint every minute of every day throughout these past few months. She has been my partner, my go-to gal, my tech guru, my video editor extraordinaire and my amazing sweet friend all wrapped into one. She’s the perfect balance between a salt-watered, sun-kissed yogi and a hardcore, hardworking, biz minded, no nonsense superwoman. But she’s really all that and a bag of chips as they say…
Michelle, I feel so lucky that we’ve been able to work side-by-side on this project. I cannot even begin to thank you enough or fathom all that you’ve done behind the scenes of pages & paint. Everything fell into place because you were there and had already created a place for everything to fall into, You were always two steps ahead of me, you didn’t miss a beat, an email or a panicked phone call. All you do, you do with such grace and beauty, I am forever grateful. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sarah Ahearn Bellemare
(artist, teacher, mama)
Michelle produced Sarah’s first Online Workshop: Pages & Paint for Squam Art Workshops
Jen Gray is a Spiritual Conduit and Scout. As Spiritual Conduit, she understands the importance of bringing people together for spiritual practice to achieve self-realization, and personal growth. As a Spiritual Scout, she recognizes the importance of holding space for individuals to work through their patterns and issues by means of self-reflection and love. Jen’s approach is gentle, receptive and inclusive, rather than dogmatic. She is all love.
So Michelle is the new agey-est person that I know, she’s a yogi and a hooper and an earth child and I’ve also seen her whip a pre-Christmas National Geographic warehouse full of back-ordered alpaca sweaters and dinosaur puzzles into shape using only a stack of post-it notes and the rage-fueled desire to create calm in the middle of a clusterfuck. I promise you’ll like her.
(copy-writer & co-conspirator on operation “save Christmas”)
While working at the National Geographic Catalog, we wrote together and dug deep in the trenches
of an epic distribution center fail that threatened holiday bliss. We succeeded.
Bringing Jen into the fold of my spiritual art retreat was one of the most beautiful offerings I could make to the women who came, and to myself. She has a way of honoring the journeys others are taking, of giving extraordinary feedback, and of creating and maintaining sacred space. Her nurturing energy was profound to have on hand while I worked, because it can be challenging to stay filled up when giving out to others. Jen has a way of magically being right there, every time you need her.
Working with Animyst to produce my e-course has been a wonderful, wild ride. Jen and Michelle are patient, hardworking, spirited, knowledgeable, creative engineers. I’ve felt safe and also deeply respected by them in this process.
(artist, ceremonialist, healer)
We’ve co-created retreats and the Visual Quest online workshop with Pixie
and she will be joining us this year at Serendipity.
Michelle makes stuff happen and is crafted from some kind of finer weave, you know? The difference between poly-cotton blend and linen. She’s all willowy and fluid but taut and particular in the best way. In the way that makes an experience truly great.
(writer, photographer, teacher, pirate)
We’ve invited Kate to teach all Serendipity retreats. She’s brilliant.
Jen Gray spends her days walking through woods collecting hidden treasures from the natural world so she can remember everything holy and good about your one wild precious life. One part medicine woman, one part midwife, Jen knows creates the kind of playful and loving environments where you can go deeper on your spiritual path, all the while knowing wherever you are and wherever you’re going is exactly where you need to be. A fierce advocate for everything beautiful and wise in your sacred soul, Jen believes the most important things happen when you experience the welcome of belonging and the safety of knowing you are not alone. When Jen’s not creating spaces where magic happens–either in her online classes or in-person retreats, you can find her kicking back with her husband in a sleepy little town in the midwest.
(artist, writer, doula, teacher, co-creator of Hopeful World)
Michelle is one first-class producer and overall creative talent. She helped me edit/sequence my first art book “Divided Soul”, directed our big budget Nikon ad campaign in Mexico, produced a camera for kids workshop in Jamaica with Samsung, and has organized and run several of my photo workshops in New York, North Carolina, Mississippi and Jamaica.
She is not only energetic and tasteful, but a charming and engaging personality. This is an invaluable quality in the people to people aspect of so much of what I do. She is my first choice for a producer on any super important job.”
David Alan Harvey
(National Geographic photographer, member of the prestigious Magnum Agency,
popular teacher, founder of Burn Magazine)
Michelle has worked with David on many projects over a dozen years.
He was the first to prove that collaborating with friends and family not only works, but is preferred!
Jen Gray is one of those people that you want at any gathering, large or small, but really, you just want her to always be there with you; right beside you, commenting on the day, organising the moment, or holding out her hand to any stragglers in the group. Her magnificent heart and her mighty soul are probably the first things you’ll meet, and not so far behind comes the witty reparté, complemented by the deep life wisdom that shines through in her eyes.
Jen is a creator, a dreamer, a leader, and a true magician at bringing people together in a group; providing comfort and shelter and at the same time clearing the stage to let each member of the group shine on their own. She works collaboratively with a seamless flow and she steps up and delegates with an easy authority, while behind her an endless soundtrack of musicals, 70s pop idols and quirky hits are playing on repeat.
(artist, designer, writer, knitter, jewelry maker ~ you name it, she can do it!)
When you have two people like Jen and Michelle running the show, you find that the people that have been called to be there with you are exactly the people you need. Maybe it starts with the beauty and solitude the Outer Banks of North Carolina naturally offers. But what it takes, and what they have in spades, is dedication to holding the space. I imagine holding space at a retreat like this to be akin to holding a river. The tendency may be to want to dam it, re-enforce the banks, influence the flow juuust a bit this way or that. But the secret is to let it go where it is going, trust it’s innate direction, and work with its power. And these two do it better than anyone I know. The result is every last person, student, teacher, caterer feeling like they are meant to be there, and experiencing a million little reinforcements of that fact. It is safety, miracles, connections that endure, life-changing revelations, an infusion of heart-centered self-affirmation that has us each going back into our worlds re-calibrated, vibrating at our highest, our best. And the ripples of that effect the rest of our year, our loved-ones see us shining a little brighter and we can be our best selves for them, we have energy to bring to our community, we can change the whole world.