Monday, June 30, 2008

Equanimity and Art Therapy

Equanimity comes from the Latin word aequus meaning balanced, and animus means spirit or internal state. In creating art, and or our creating life we are often looking for internal balance. In therapy, when someone falls out of balance with a though of feeling and we attempt to cope with it by stuffing it down. We call this suppression. Sometimes we do the opposite, identification, which is fixating a thought or feeling and not letting it pass. A third possibility between suppression and identification is equanimity.
When the body or mind is suppressing or identifying it is often tense. Gently reminding the body and mind to release and let go; to stop clenching, tightening or holding helps us get back into our natural rhythm or flow. Certain patterns or states cause us to react or fall into or out of equanimity. Being aware of these states is helpful.
When we are in the flow with making art we are in a state of equanimity. We are witnessing feeling, thoughts coming and going, and we may be expressing them, but we are not clinging to them in a way that we have become them. We are present and curious about how a felt sense or thought wants to be expressed. There is a understanding and a release in exploring our experience this way. Creating art helps us find our own natural flow or rhythm and creating therapeutic art helps us find our flow through states that we have a hard time being equanimious with.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. - Carl Jung

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Equanimity is one of the most sublime emotions of Buddhist practice. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as "abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will." Equanimity means the ability to see without being caught by what we see. It can also refer to the ease that comes from seeing a bigger picture. In India the word was sometimes used to mean "to see with patience." For example, when we know not to take offensive words personally, we are less likely to react to what was said. Instead, we remain at ease or equanimous.
Equanimity, "being in the middle" refers to balance, to remaining centered in the middle of whatever is happening. This balance comes from inner strength or stability. The strong presence of inner calm, well-being, confidence, vitality, or integrity can keep us upright, like a ballast keeps a ship upright in strong winds. As inner strength develops, equanimity follows.
These two forms of equanimity, the one that comes from the power of observation, and the one that comes from inner balance, come together in mindfulness practice. As mindfulness becomes stronger, so does our equanimity. We see with greater independence and freedom. And, at the same time, equanimity becomes an inner strength that keeps us balanced in middle of all that is.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Passionate Equanimity

Passionate Equanimity
“Passionate equanimity means to be fully passionate about all aspects of life, about one’s relationship with spirit, to care to the depths of one’s being but with no traces of clinging or holding. It feels full, rounded, complete, and challenging.” -Ken Wilber

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sandplay Therapy

Children and adults have always delighted in playing in the sand. By using objects and creating scenes, stories and patterns in the sand, people can bring their inner and outer worlds together through imaginative play. Sand has been used for art making, rituals, and divination. Tibetan Buddhist monks spend weeks creating sand mandalas. During a sandplay session the tray becomes a sacred space or space container for reframing, revisiting and releasing body sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Through using miniature symbolic figures, clients can work out problems, get a new perceptive and feel closure to problems and issues. Sandtray along with other kinds of expressive art therapy, can help clients express the inexpressible. My office is equipped with an extensive collection of miniature objects. The client creates a world in the tray by making patterns in the sand or by placing objects into the sandtray in any configuration that feels right. Some clients dig, build, create mountains, valleys and villages. Some create stories, recall memories or envision futures. The meaning of the play emerges as the client experiences it and shares it. Unconscious and conscious personal material become concrete in a three dimensional form. The client has a picture of what they may not have had verbal language for. Without having to depend on words, clients can increase their capacity for expression through the tray. As the therapist, I may invite the client to stay with body sensations while they work to help ground them, keep them present and in process. Self-awareness and communication are enhanced by this process. Once this part or aspect of the self has been made tangible in the sandtray, it can be accepted, experienced, shared, honored, listened to, talked to, experimented with, played with, and learned from.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Art Therapy Studio

The rooms have been redone and the new colours sing!!!!! I love the space. So warm, inviting, and calm. I wanted the colours to reflect the luminous landscape here in Saskatchewan. Since I have moved here, I have been treated to dazzling displays of light- sunsets, sundogs, northern lights, rainbows, hoarfrost, and big baby blue skies. Hope you like the rooms!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I am finishing off my acceptance series with playing with the word:

mysterious acceptance
unconditional acceptance
embracing acceptance
mystic acceptance
radial acceptance
complete acceptance
beyond acceptance
expectant acceptance
blind acceptance
self acceptance
curious acceptance
naive acceptance
tearful acceptance
eternal acceptance
impatient acceptance
imperfect acceptance
artful acceptance
full acceptance


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