Thursday, December 30, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Working With Beliefs

Clients image of working with beliefs
We all struggle with having a belief system that supports us. Why is that? Often we unconsciously adopt the belief systems of our parents, friends or peers. Or we experience disappointing or trauma life experiences and then base our beliefs on those experiences. It is difficult to go through life and not experience some self-defeating and irrational beliefs due to wanting to be loved, understood, and respected. Often we feel certain beliefs protect us from getting hurt, even when they are irrational and have the opposite effect. Albert Ellis has worked out a list of basic irrational beliefs that are widely held.
Are some of these beliefs a source of stress for you?  Start noticing in what situations these beliefs pop up. See if you can gently observe them, and give the part of you that is holding this particular belief room to be heard.
In this blog, I have talked about Focusing and the wonderful clarity and changes it brings when you practice it. When we practice Focusing we start to face these irrational beliefs and have a way to untangle or free ourselves of their hold on our reality. We begin to have more choice in what to believe and feel less bound by habitual thinking.

Irrational Beliefs (Ellis)

1.     You must have love and approval almost all the time from all the people you find significant?

2.     You must prove yourself a thoroughly competent, adequate achiever, or you must at least have real competence or talent at something important.

3.     You have to view life as awful, horrible, or catastrophic when things do not go the way you would like them to go.

4.     People who harm you, or commit misdeeds, rate as generally bad individuals and you should blame or punish them.

5.     If something seems dangerous or fearsome, you must become terribly occupied with and upset about it.

6.     People and things should turn out better than they do, and you have to view it as awful you do not quickly find good solutions to life's hassles.

7.     Emotional misery comes from external pressures, and you have little ability to control your feelings.

8.     You find it easier to avoid facing many of life's difficulties and self-responsibilities than to undertake more rewarding forms of self-discipline.

9.     Your past remains all important, and because something once strongly influenced your life, it has to keep determining your feelings and behavior today

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Can making crafts be therapeutic?

Making Christmas angels with clients in Art Therapy
Making Christmas masks with clients in Art Therapy
Why would making crafts be part of an Art Therapy session? 
Because it:
1. Stimulates the imagination. Creating in any way helps stimulate the imagination. Our brains start firing with ideas when triggered by creating something novel. Working with patterns (knitting), lines and shapes (sewing), and/or different smells and textures (cooking) helps shift us from our habitual way of thinking and wakes us of to wonder: "What would happen if I did this or that?" 

2. Calms the Nervous System. The heart rate lowers, the body becomes more relaxed and centered. Often we feel joyful, happy and/or content. 
3. Creating crafts can reduce stress. A report, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that extreme tiredness and stress could be as bad for the brain as smoking. 
4. It helps us create relationships. Craft groups have a relaxed atmosphere in which people can develop friendships and work on communication and social skills. 
5. It allows us to express ourselves. Making crafts gets us to use our senses and improve our motor skills by doing detailed work. We live in a busy overly complex world. It is satisfying and healthy for us to start and finish something beautiful and handmade, especially if we work at jobs where we don't get to see a finished product as a result of our work.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What does it mean to have a Good Relationship with Yourself?

Having a good relationship with yourself means:
- liking to spend time with yourself
- respecting yourself and the choices that you make
- honoring and listening to your emotions and knowing how to release them 
- being a good guardian to yourself
- knowing how to calm yourself
- being present with yourself
- having an inner dialogue that supports you
- holding an open, non-judging attention to your inner sensing 
- knowing how to move past old emotional pain and practicing release
- finding ways to access one's larger potential
- feeling safe and secure in one's own being
- having patience with yourself and your growth
- knowing and living your passions

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about the "RE" Factor

“The most fundamental skill of the creative person is the ability to constantly re-vision the world. Everything is subject to reconstruction and renewal. The “re” factor is the basis of resurrecting, reshaping, regenerating, reviving, and rejuvenating. Create persons live in a state of constant search and exploration.”  
- shaun mcniff Trust the Process 1998

Looking at the world through a creative len, means having the ability to make new meanings of old truths, feel new emotions about known situations or familiar people, and sense new movements where there was stagnation. Re-framing can be the key to help us move away from habitual action into fresh forward movement.
When we act in our lives, we have multiple choices of how that action will take metal, emotional and physical shape. To keep action fresh, new, creative, and free the re-factor allows us to re-vision, re-flect, and re-shape action.
When I am working to increase client’s re-siliency, part of the work is re-framing. It involves re-visiting memories that may be stuck in deficit mode or focused only on what the client didn’t do, say or feel. A re-visit or re-vision of those memories often re-veals an overlooked strength or re-source that helped my client re-sist or even survive. Part of the work of trauma re-covery is learning to be able to be with all of us, all of our life experiences and re-frame the trauma into an experience that can now enrich and add wisdom to the clients life instead of blocking or re-ducing the clients life force.
As we increase our capability to be with our whole life experience, we often need to re-invent our self concept. Trauma or past losses may have re-duced our ability to see ourselves as strong, re-sourceful and intelligent beings. We often need to re-member the parts of our life experiences where we felt successful, passionate, and strong. When we go through a healing process we can play with what the re-connection looks like. As an artist, I am aware that creative practice means the ability to see from many different perceptives, and I have the ability to change that perceptive into something new and exciting. There is no true way to view or create something just as there is no one true way to re-member or re-create yourself.
An example from my own life was my inability to read in early grades at school. I was dyslectic and it was not diagnosed nor did anyone help me with my struggles. This condition resulted in lifelong feelings of shame and failure. As a child I had very little self-esteem and often did not talk. When working in re-frame, often the problem or experience that disturbs you that most may have the most creative energy locked in it. I had to learn on my own to de-code words, learn to pronounce them and read them. This obstacle helped me develop incredible life skills. When I mentally and emotionally re-visit this time in my life, I feel overwhelming sorrow for what I experienced and also wonder at the creative, inventive, and ingenious way that I lived through this time. Since I have re-framed it as a positive time of growth in my life, I now valve the creative skills I learned from having this disability, even though the memories of being shamed are also part of the story. When I used to remember this younger me, I only felt shame and sadness. Now I also am re-ceptive to feelings of compassion, acceptance and pride for my younger self. I am amazed that I could have lived through those years and re-sisted the temptation to let everyone’s option of me defeat me.
It makes me feel excited to look at other areas in my life that I re-sist change, or feel stuck. Instead of being locked in habitual ways of seeing, acting, feeling and thinking I can at any time entertain the practice and play of re-frame. As I become more flexible, I also become more re-silent. This is re-newal.
"RE" art therapy exercise:

Let yourself look at the following picture for 1 minute and then write down what you saw.

Take a deep breath, relax and think of the last time you felt successful in your life. Replay the memory really taking in the good feelings. Now look at the following picture  for 1 minute and then write down what you see. What was the re-frame or difference?

I Spy Christmas    By: Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about Anxiety

Life can be complex and confusing. As we move through our busy lives, it is important to be aware of and conscious of what causes us to feel overwhelmed. Checking-in with ourself helps us stay connected with what, in the here and now, causes us to feel overly anxious.
Right now, what is happening in your life that you need to cope with?
~ becoming overwhelmed by feelings caused by this time of year
~ dealing with the death of a family member, friend, etc.
~ feelings of loneliness, shame, guilt, anger, and abandonment
~ Fear of change 
Clients image of fear of change
Below is a list of things that you can do to help settle the body and mind if you experience overwhelm or stress:
~ Sit down and try to figure how what the triggers were.
~ Make a plan of how you will handle the situation, feelings, emotions, etc. when it happens again, in a healthy way.
~ Call someone and talk about what happened and how you feel. (friend, therapist, family member, etc.)
~ Be gentle with yourself and do something nice for you.

Clients sandtray image of overwhelm

The following tips can be used for containing a flashback, shock or an anxiety attack.  They can be used any time you feel that you need to be grounded and centered in your body. 
~ Blink hard. Blink again.  Do it once more as hard as you can.
~ Change your body position.
~ Breathe slowly and deeply.
~ Go to a safe place.
~ Say your name out loud.
~ Drink a glass of ice water.
~ Tell someone what you need.
~ Move vigorously to release energy.
~ Name the people or objects in the room.
~ Hold something that is comforting.
~ Listen to a tape or something soothing.
~ Make tea.  Drink it.
~ Call a friend.
~ Eat a snack.
~ Find your feet and reconnect with the ground below them.
~ Jump up and down waving your arms.
~ Make eye contact with someone else or your pet.  Now hold it.
~ Clap your hands or rub them together fast.
~ Alternatively tense and relax some muscles.
~ Wash your face.
~ Repeat to yourself:  “I am safe.  This is (month, day, and year).  I am _____ years
old.   I am a big person.  I can protect myself.”

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reflecting On: Showing up to Practice

I have been reflecting a lot on the value of practice. If I want to feel physically healthy, and have energy for the day, I have to make time to run or workout. I don't always want to, but I feel so good after and I don't think it is any different in other aspects of my life.

If I want to grow spirituality, be more aware and awake, I need to make time to meditate each morning. If I want to be emotionally healthy I need to practice Focusing with my partner. If I want to grow intellectually, I need to read each day and do something stimulating, informative or interesting to do with my therapy work or talk to someone about my ideas and thoughts. If I want to stay inspired and passionate in my life, I have to feed my inner fire by by creating art, writing and exercising my imagination.

Emotionally Exercising:

Practicing Gratitude.  To shift emotions to positive feelings, each morning and evening say one thing to yourself or another about what you feel grateful for in your life.

Physically Exercising:

Practicing movement. To shift the body to feeling more fluid, each day do some form of movement (Yoga, walking, running).

Intellectually Exercising:

Practicing curiosity. To shift your mind to curiosity and interest, each day read books, articles, or blogs that cause you to reflect, think differently or question.

Imaginatively Exercising:

Practicing creativity. To shift into experiencing more imagining and creativity in your daily life, make time for creative play and exploration.

Spiritually Exercising

Practicing meditation. To shift into experiencing more awareness and consciousness in your daily life, make time to be Present and mindful.

For myself, what is important is that I show up to practice. I don't care if I am the best runner, creator, meditator, or emotionally balanced person but I am showing up and doing the practice. This practice helps me check-in mentally, emotionally, physically, intuitively and spirituality to see how I am, where I am, and who I am.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about being Present

I find it helpful to have reminders throughout the day that help me remember to come back to Presence. Being Present simply means being in the here and now, and not pulled into past memories or preoccupied by planning the future.

Here are some reminders:

1) Before taking the first bite of your food, check-in with yourself to see if you are Present.
2) Use walking through doorways as a wake-up call to be Present.
3) Use starting your car as an invitation to be Present.
4) Frame stepping into the shower or bath tub as stepping into a state of Presence.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Art Therapy Exercises: Using the Face

Collaged faces showing emotions.

The face shows joy, sorrow, shame, pain, anxiety and many more human emotions. Our facial expressions can be flexible, controlled, masked or revealing. We sometimes have an open face and sometimes not. Our face can show flashes of our fresh thinking, openness, and sometimes we need to shut down, rein in our facial expressions for safety, or because we are not ready to show all and sometimes because we aren't sure.

In Art Therapy work I do a lot of exercises using the face. Sometimes clients paint their face, collage faces, make masks, etc. Sometimes it is to play with how they think others see them or to explore their inner and outer self-expression. Sometimes clients paint or collage their many faces such as, their face of contentment, joy, shame, sorrow, fear, grief, etc. There is a unique psychological shift that takes place when you look into your own eyes and face and paint your own portrait. Your own face suddenly becomes a mirror to your soul, the real you.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about being Authentic

Client painting. 

I am not being authentic when I pretend to be indifferent when I am not, when I present myself as more or less than I am, when I laugh when I need to cry, when I fake beliefs to be accepted, when I fake modesty, and when I allow my silence to imply agreement with convictions I do not share. 

Here are some basic questions to consider:  
1) Am I honest with others about my feelings in contexts where talking about feelings is appropriate? 
2) Do I consciously strive to be truthful in communications? 
3) Do I talk openly, and straightforwardly about that which I love and enjoy?
4) If I am hurt, angry, or upset, do I talk about this with honesty and dignity?
5) Do I stick up for myself and honour my needs and interests?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Choosing Your Battles

Sometimes it just isn't worth it to confront. Sometimes it is.
clients image of having an argument
Here are five questions you may ask yourself when determining which principles to defend and when to go along with others.
1) Is this going to cause irrevocable physical or psychological damage?
2) Is this primarily a power struggle with no good reason?
3) If I agree to this request, how will I feel about it tomorrow?
4) Do I have a good reason to deny this request?
5) Am I or my (child, friend, partner, etc.) too tired at this moment to engage with this?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about Self-Care

Children making puppets in Art Therapy of themselves as grownups.

What is missing in your life? What could you use more or less of?

balance      self-esteem  tenderness   composure   love          recognition
generosity   centering    activity      confidence    caring       awareness
health       motivation     sharing      solitude     strength    knowledge
skill          music         devotion     energy       laughter        opportunities
laughter    fitness      challenges    support     serenity        contemplation
relaxation   variety      trust        comfort     insight       self-expression
structure   joy           harmony    nutrition    control        companionship
romance     touching     sex          intimacy     sleep        accomplishments
money       patience     integration beauty      surrender   commitment
flexibility   education   training     sensitivity   communion  coordination
exercise     experience receptivity faith         forgiveness   responsibility
freedom     purpose     self-control compassion acceptance  self-awareness
peace        love          passion      hope         creativity   contribution 
play         respect      loyalty      trust           belonging   validation
guidance    fun          safety       security     progress    being listened to
connection touch        attention    calmness    warmth     non-judgment

Monday, November 15, 2010

Living By Your Own Design or Playing Dress-up

This is an Art Therapy experience for those who want to experiment with their personal style. When we view the body as our own personal canvas, we are opened up to new ways of dressing and expressing our essence in our style statement. 
- making choices that inspire your spirit
- finding your creative edge
- defining your style statement

Through Focusing, art making, journaling, and play we will find new ways of defining our style and seeing our bodies.

When: Dec. 11th & 12 th from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Where: 2500 McDonald St. Regina, SK.
Cost: $275.00 for the weekend (includes all art materials)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about Sleep

I think we all agree that sleep is necessary and pleasurable. Some of the reasons that we need sleep are:
⇒ It is a way of recharging the brain and processing newly learned information and storing memories.
⇒ Sleep helps lowers your metabolic rate and energy consumption.
⇒ The cardiovascular system also gets a break during sleep. People with normal or high blood pressure experience a 20 to 30% reduction in blood pressure and 10 to 20% reduction in heart rate.
⇒ The body replaces chemicals and repair muscles, other tissues and aging or dead cells.
Regardless of the benefits, sometimes we struggle with sleep. Here are some tips to help try and get a good night’s sleep:

• Do not nap during the day. Napping throws off your body clock and makes it more difficult to sleep at night.

• Limit caffeine and alcohol. Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages for several hours before bedtime.

• Expose yourself to bright light/sunlight soon after awakening. This will help to regulate your body's natural biological clock.

• Exercise early in the day. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon.

• Check your iron level. Iron deficient women tend to have more problems sleeping.

• Make sure your bed is large enough and comfortable.

• Make your bedroom primarily a place for sleeping. It is not a good idea to use your bed for doing work, watching T.V. etc. Help your body recognize that this is a place for rest or intimacy.

• Keep your bedroom peaceful and comfortable. Make sure your room is well ventilated and the temperature is consistent, and try to keep it quiet.

• Hide your clock. An illuminated digital clock may cause you to focus on the time and make you feel stressed and anxious.

• Keep a regular schedule. Keeping a regular schedule will help your body expect sleep at the same time each day.

• Incorporate bedtime rituals. Listening to soft music, sipping a cup of herbal tea, etc., cues your body that it's time to slow down and begin to prepare for sleep.

A Focused Centered Art Therapy Exercise for Sleep:
Start by getting comfortable, feeling grounded in your chair and noticing your legs. Take a minute to notice if your legs are tired, energized or relaxed. Notice the chair under your legs and adjust yourself to get even more comfortable in your chair. Take a deep breath into your stomach. As you pause here, staying with your stomach, notice if you sense any colour, shape or image. Bring awareness to your back, chest and arms. Notice if there is any tension and gently releasing it. Take time to sense into your hands, stretching the fingers. Bring awareness to your neck, head and gently turn inward, sensing into your inner throat, chest and then resting in the belly area.

Give yourself a gentle invitation to focus on the part of you that struggles with sleep. Take some time to notice where in your body you sense this part, and what it has to tell you. You might write down or draw what it wants. By bringing a quality of gentleness and acceptance to the part of you that struggles with sleep, you can hear from its point of view, what it is needing. Give it space to be heard and expressed. Sense how it feels. You may ask it if it is protecting you from anything.

Now give yourself a gentle invitation to focus on the part of you that wants to sleep. Take some time to notice where in your body you sense this part, and listen it what it has to say. You may want to write or draw this response.

Now take a moment and see if you can be with both parts, just as they are. When you are ready, write or draw this final response.

Now imagine yourself sleeping. Take a few minutes and check in with these two parts and notice any shift or change in your physical body sensations, emotions or thinking.

Resources for information on Sleep:

This is a CD that I recommend clients buy:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Using Metaphors in Therapy

Participants Chair
Using chairs as a metaphor
Participants Chair
Participants Chair
Participants Chair

Participants Chair
Focused Centered Art Therapy and using Metaphors

I took part in an online course offered by Ann Weiser Cornell and Gene Gendlin in which Gene used a beautiful metaphor for Focusing. He said he imagined himself sitting on a bench in the subway station in New York and from this bench; he had the choice of taking many trains. He was using this metaphor to describe sitting in the place deep inside where we wait and see what wants our attention. We could focus on the part of us that is upset over something that happened with a friend who is worried about work or the part of us that feels happy and calm. He described the bench as the place where we stay Present and be with our inner experience.

This weekend I taught a Level Four Focusing to a wonderful group of people. I used Gene’s metaphor and the women all imagined a seat, a chair or a place of comfort and safety where they could take a seat in their deep inner self. These chairs presented a place to pause, and/or be anchored in their inner world. 


Why A Chair? 

The chairs develop their own narrative. You may have found associations with an old familiar reading chair, a chair used for thinking, reflecting, and or throwing clothes on. You may remember chairs that you sat on in the waiting room at the doctor, at bus stops, at friends’ houses or in restaurants. You may have favourite styles of chairs. Chairs in homes can be thought of as holding energy. A chair positioned at the doorway of the home is metaphorically sitting at the threshold of what energy is entering or leaving the home. A chair used in a nursery to snuggle and sing a child to sleep would metaphorically be holding safety, comfort and love for that child. A chair in the study may hold the joy of sinking into a good book, and the promise of insight. A chair in the dinning room may hold the discomfort or comfort of the family meal. Chairs are where we retreat, pause, take stock, reflect, think and meditate. When we settle into a chair, we can turn our attention inward.

Art Experience: Creating your Focusing Chair

In this art experience I am suggesting that we think of this chair as symbolic of a place where you sit down to Focus. The chair is a place where you can be Present and focused on your inner experience. What colours would it need to be, what designs, decorations, fabrics, and/or other symbolic objects would need to be there or around this chair for your safety and containment? What qualities would it metaphorically have to have? I am suggesting that you use your imagination to let this chair become the seat of your journey. From the comfort and safety of this chair you can explore your deep inner levels of being.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Therapeutic Thursday: Talking about Stress

 We all talk about stress, but what is it really? I remember when my daughter was five years old and so excited about having her own art show, then, when the day arrived her joy turned into a bad stomachache. That was stress. It was an outside show and she relieved her aching stomach by lying on the grass most of the day. Unfortunately, we can’t do that at work. If we could react to what our bodies tell us what they want at times of stress, our stress would not build up.  Stress comes from both the good and the bad things that happen to us. If we did not feel any stress, we would not be alive! Stress becomes a problem when we are not sure how to handle an event or a situation and we don’t have a way to relieve that worry or stress. Like my daughter, it could start with a stomachache or a headache. We will always have stress or worry about major events in our life: getting married, changing jobs, or getting divorced. We will always have daily hassles: traffic jams or rude people. We need to find a way to release stress. When you find an event stressful, your body undergoes a series of changes, called the stress response.
Stress Painting

Stage 1 - Mobilizing Energy
At first, your body releases adrenaline, your heart beats faster, and you start to breathe more quickly.
Stage 2 - Consuming Energy Stores
If, for some reason, you do not escape from the first stage, your body begins to release stored sugars and fats from its resources. At this stage, you will feel driven, pressured and tired. You may drink more coffee, smoke more, and drink more alcohol than is good for you. You may also experience anxiety, memory loss, catch colds or get the flu more often than normal.
Stage 3 - Draining Energy Stores
If you do not resolve your stress problems, the body's need for energy will become greater than its ability to produce it, and you will become chronically stressed. At this stage, you may experience insomnia, errors in judgement, personality changes and maybe a serious illness, such as ulcers.

Stress Painting
Coping with Stress                                                                                                                   

    We store and need to release stress mentally (i.e. worry), physically (i.e. constriction, pain), and emotionally (i.e. feeling sad, depressed). My daughter lay on the grass, which helps stretch out a tight stomach, and gave her a sense of grounding or safety. Physical activity can be a great stress reducer. Go for a walk, take up a sport, dig in the garden, or do simple stretching. Stretching relaxes the parts of the body that hold stress.  You may find it helpful to learn some relaxation exercises, deep breathing and meditation. For emotional release connecting with another to talk and share your story is an effective cure. When my daughter’s friends showed up and started laughing and talking with her, she let go her fear and belief that having an art show was scary. If you make a habit of taking pressure off yourself by getting rid of your tension (emotional, physical, and mental), you will find yourself less stressed and more able to solve the problems that caused your stress in the first place. Creating art after a busy day working at an office, teaching or whatever you do is a great stress releaser. It gets your body physically moving; helps you get in touch with your emotions and helps you empty your mind of the day’s clutter. Here is a distressing art therapy exercise:

Take a large piece of paper. Have lots of paint. Start by doing some deep breathing and centering. Standing and moving the whole body, make large arm movements and paint large circles. Work big until your body feels relaxed and stretched, then start coming in smaller by making smaller shapes while saying out loud or to yourself things you want to release about the day. Keep working smaller until you reach the size you want to continue working at. Then paint one thing that you enjoyed about the day. This painting usually is abstract with lots of colors and feelings. It is a good stress releaser, try it.

Stress Painting

References for Stress:

Books on stress:

Art Therapy and Stress:

Good blogs slowing down, relaxing, reflecting:

Monday, November 1, 2010

My New Art Work: Archetypal Theatres

I have been working on creating Archetypal Theatres. These theatres contain the symbols, objects, words and feelings of each archetype. They are about 2 feet by 3 feet.

Fool Archetype
 What I wanted to capture here was the adventurous, spontaneous and playful nature of the Fool. I created a gypsy caravan for the Fool's home.

Magician Archetype

 In this art piece I wanted to show the magical, passionate, and creative fire nature of the Magician. I used an old carrying case that I imagined a Magician could carry to stage shows.

High Priestess
In this piece I wanted to portray the layers of mystery, poetic intrigue and emotional depth of the High Priestess. What do you think? Share your thoughts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Refllecting on Archetypes: High Priestess

I have had all my life a series of strange, indefinable, instinctive feelings and visitations that bypass logic and make no sense.  Call it intuition... I think of these moments as something instinctive at work.
                                                -   Ralph Shapey
High Priestess Collage

     The High Priestess is the part of you that is the mystic, poet, healer and dreamer.  She was Oracle of Delphi, the muse for Shakespeare, the protector of the Temple of Solemn and the mystical seer in many royal courts.  She was Isis, Diana, Artemis, or Morgan Le Fay.  She represents your inner knowing, silence and emotions.  She lives in your unconscious realm. The High Priestess understands metaphors, symbols and images and speaks to you through memories, feelings, introspection and dreams. She takes you to your emotional depths to find the wisdom buried there.
She works by helping you develop your inner knowing or intuition.

            … a dreadful mistake occurred when our culture took the view that spirit is to be attained by the suppression of nature and instinct.  Spirit can attain its divine heights only with the power of nature to provide the strength for its fulfillment.  One can proceed with one’s spiritual journey only with the understanding that opposites are constantly close to each other.  It is never a matter of one vanquishing the other but a matter of each performing its proper function.                                              - R. A. Johnson
“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
                                                - Paul Gauguin
High Priestess journal entry

Creating a High Priestess Collage
When making a collage for your High Priestess pick images that reflect your silence, your quiet, your inner urges and your deep inner knowing. What things in your universe reflect this archetype?  How much do you let her play in your life?  Is she visible, honored, listened to or ignored?  What images can you put in your collage that talk about your history, your past or your memories?  Is there a story or myth that comes to mind when you think of your expression of this archetype?  Fairy tales are good reminders of themes that we have played out in past lives. Is there a fairy tale that sounds like it reflects the soul work you are doing? Is the High Priestess evident in your life on a surface level or is she buried deep in your psyche?  You could try to do this collage after experiencing a dream or deep meditative state.  You could use colours that remind you of darkness, images that reflect shadows, and words that talk about what is under your surface existence.  Make it become a window that you can see through into your intuitive nature.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Read my Guest Post on Gypsy Girls Guide

 If you are a gypsy at heart, a closet gypsy, or a want-to-be gypsy, you will love this blog. I was a guest blogger today. Enjoy reading.  here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Come with me to Morocco

 Focusing to Help Free the Artist in You 

Come with me to Marrakesh where I am teaching at Peacock Pavillions. Read about this amazing place owned by Maryam and her family from My Marrakesh. It will be a week of learning Focusing, doing Art Therapy, shopping, eating, henna painting, an outdoor movie on the lawn, and much more.

Come to Peacock Pavilions in Marrakesh in Morocco to learn Focusing and Expressive Art Therapy to help free the artist in you!

 Do you want to learn how to:

Be a better listener to yourself?
Make clear choices?
Be calm and compassionate to yourself?
Support yourself through change?
Feel relaxed and less stressful? 

Focusing helps you learn how to be Present and listen to yourself so that you can move ahead in your life in an empowered and safe way.  Focused Centered Art Therapy brings you closer to wholeness and allows you to access your inner wisdom. This helps you move in the direction of your potential. It can help you move beyond blocks and get in touch with your goals. Focusing is a gentle and powerful way to develop a deep interpersonal healing relationship with yourself. Art therapy helps you express your emotions, thoughts and reach a deeper level of yourself awareness.
You will learn the skills of and receive credit for Level One and Level Two Focusing by taking this workshop. You will also learn how to use art to become more present and aware. Art therapy is using art to explore and express yourself. It helps make the unconscious conscious. You will learn many fun and creative exercises to work through issues and blocks with art making. Learn more about this workshop by:

All photos by Katie O'Shaughnessy


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