Sunday, November 30, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I hope that you can join Art by 9 at our gallery this Friday for the opening of our Christmas show and sale Noël 2008. There will be great paintings, good food and fine friends.
The Art by 9 is a pan-Canadian artist collective originating in Regina, with members in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. As a group, we have been active on the visual arts scene for over 15 years, and we have had our own gallery for the last three years.
If you are unable to attend Friday, you can always pop by Saturday or Sunday afternoon (this weekend only) or 9 am- 5 pm during the business week.
You are welcome to bring a friend. We look forward to seeing you!
I hope you are enjoying a sampling of my work that will be in the show!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
In Zen they say:
If something is boring after two
it for eight,
and so on.
Eventually one discovers that it’s not
boring at all
but very interesting.
Monday, October 13, 2008
(Image by Sharon Pulermacher)
I felt a surge of nervousness cut through my solar plexus. I was awakening. The awareness of myself had started to become familiar to me but I was not fully in control of it. It had begun though, to break through the fog of the dream, it had begun as a mixture of not knowing what was going on and the foreboding sensation that the commensurable was just around the corner. - Carlos Casteneda
Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step is an act of faith. -Mickey Hart
The Magician starts the journey of creating your conscious existence. He puts into form the magic that the Fool handed him. He points to our potential skills and creative abilities. He wakes us up to our unexplored possible future. The transformation of chaos into order has begun. His wand materializes the visions and dreams of your Fool. You use the Magician to communicate to the world what you are here for, what you want to create, and what your vision is. The Fool’s gifts of imagination and inspiration can now take form through the Magician’s energy and power. Now you can now respond to the material world around you and create. Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Women Who Run With the Wolves writes the following about responding.
“To create one must be able to respond. Creativity is the ability to respond to all that goes on around us, to choose from the hundreds of possibilities of thought, feelings, action, and reaction and to put these together in a unique response, expression, or message that carries moment, passion, and meaning.”
Your belief in this archetype’s ability to communicate this vision of yours to the world, will determine how well your communication will be heard. Robin Skelton writes that, “whenever we pray or wish intensely we are verging upon spell-making; we are sending telepathic messages with great energy.” As children we all boldly proclaimed that when we grew up we were going to be this or that and do great things. That was our Magician talking and claiming our potential and our destiny. Your desire to be a painter, designer, scientist, or farmer begins with the pronunciation of the Magician. He sets the stage and grasps the amount of fire you will have to play with this lifetime. He is the power behind your creative process and your belief in your abilities. Naming your destiny unleashes the power for you to know who and what you are.
The Magician must learn how energy flows, the ways of the world, mechanics of achieving, interacting with others, transformations of the soul, lessons of love, and all the twists and turns to get through life with his fire lit. He is your creative spark that lights up all the other players in your psyche. He is the archetype who coaches, encourages the other archetypes and reminds everyone that this is just a show, an illusion, but insists that it be played out in style. He will warm your heart with his fire, amuse you with his tricks and proclaim your wonders to anyone who will listen.
He walks beyond fatigue, beyond the limits of endurance and the frontiers of self , and somewhere along this path he loses his balance, he falls off the edge of his sanity, and out here beyond his mind’s rim he sees, for the first and only time in his life, a vision. - Salmon Rushdie
Experiencing the Magician as a Doorway/Hole
All the archetypes can be doorways into your psyche that allow you to fly further, move on in your story or they can become a hole that you get stuck in. In the two lists below, put a check beside the words that best describe how you are experiencing this energy and add up both sides. Which way are you leaning? What do you need to do to balance this energy in a positive way in your life?
imagination / tunnel vision
passion / selfishness, self centered
inspiration / manipulation of others, trickery
ability to inspire others / egoism
ability to communicate / wanting center stage at all times
ability to turn visions into reality / unsure of wants and desires
belief in your self / no faith in yourself to be creative in
life or to be successful or fulfilled
Learn what the magician knows and it’s not magic anymore. - Richard Bach
We are at the heart of a labyrinth and we can find our way out while becoming labyrinths ourselves. -Salvador Dali
If you block your desires, you block your natural avenue of growth. - Deepak Chopra There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. - Martha Graham Art is enchantment and artists have the right of spells. - Jeanette Winterson
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas & splendid plans: that moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents & meetings & material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power & magic in it. Begin it now.” - Goethe
During the next two weeks play with honing your intent. For 5 minutes a day visualize your life as being precisely how you would want it to be. Focus all your emotional, psychic, intellectual and physical energy on your desires for 5 minutes. Do not dwell upon any lacks, just visualize yourself living your desire. Then forget about it. Then in one way or another make one physical gesture or act that is in line with your belief or desire. In your journal write about how you make choices; intuitively, by looking at all the options or by asking others?
How do you know when your choices are appropriate?
2. What choices have you made in your life for yourself that you have not carried through?
3. How could you explore those dreams or choices now?
4. Write about a time in your life when you felt and acted powerfully.
5. When you were growing up who in your family embodied this archetype? What did you learn as a young child about your power? Were you allowed to own it?
6. As a young child what was your relationship to magic? What is it now?
7. What was your favorite story about magic?
8. When in your life is your Magician allowed to shine?
9. What is your relationship to this archetype now in your life?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
A few weeks ago I started facilitating two new archetypes groups. In these yearlong groups we explore by using art, poetry, images, and story a different archetype very two weeks. We began the journey by engaging with the archetype of the Fool. Being with this archetype, means letting yourself be in place of 'not knowing'. It also means you are reaching for new possibilities, exploring new experiences and realizing new talents and gifts. Risking change or following the Fool archetype awakens our ability to see. Michael Fox writes; “...to see life again as a child, to see wonder, the awe, the marvel, the simplicity of the blade of grass.” This archetype can open doors that lead to our unrealized hopes and desires. We only have to risk opening the door. Sometimes we have no idea where we are going, in what direction or for how long. But that’s the risk we have to take if we want to become more, see more and understand more of our self.
Working with the Fool Archetype:
How does it feel to take a big risk?
What are some of your fears when you took a risk or started something new?
In your journal:
a) List your beliefs about yourself.
b) What could you risk changing on this list?
c) What would be the cost of taking this risk?
d) What would be the benefit of taking this risk?
Quotes that describe Fool energy:
I live in the space between chaos and shape. I walk the line that continually threatens to lose its tautness under me, dropping me into the dark pit where there is no meaning. At other times the line is so wired that it lights up the soles of my feet, gradually my whole body, until I am my own beacon, and I see then the beauty of newly created worlds, a form that is not random. A new beginning.
During every really creative act, the artist finds himself homeless. To overcome this state he has to call up his last reserves of strength. This mobilization of all his creative and formal resources, this passionate struggle with the medium, cannot be imitated. It is every man for himself. This explains the magic power of art.
Every trip we take deposits us at the same forking of the paths: it can be a shortcut to alienation-removed from our home and distanced from our immediate surroundings, we can afford to be contemptuous of both; or it can be a voyage into renewal, as, leaving our selves and pasts a home and traveling light, we recover our innocence abroad. Abroad, we are all Titans, so bedazzled by strangeness that we comically mistake asses for beauties; but away from home we can also be Mirandas, so new to the world that our blind faith can become a kind of higher sight.
My old stuff made me sick. In the living world that I’d suddenly discovered, it looked like a rotten corpse that somebody had forgotten to bury. But the new world wouldn’t come to my hand. I couldn’t catch it, that lovely vibrating light, that floating tissue of colour. Not local colour but aerial colour, a sensation of the mind; that maiden vision.
- Joyce Cary
What I most want
is to spring out of this personality,
then to sit apart from that leaping.
I’ve lived too long where I can be reached.
Every time a human being makes real progress in consciousness, the whole world for him has changed; relationships change and the outlook on the outer world for him has changed and on his own situation changes. There is complete rebirth of the world.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
To let go doesn't mean to stop caring;
It means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off...
It's the realization that I can't control another...
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
- Author Unknown
Friday, September 5, 2008
Presentism is the tendency to judge historical figures by contemporary standards. For example to judge Sigmund Freud for patronizing women is taking his behavior out of context of the time in which he lived. We all tend to view the past through the perception our present experience.
We also use presentism when looking into the future. Predictions about the future are made in the present. Our past selves and future selves were and will be different then we are at the present. But we often forget that.
I recently traveled to the Gulf Islands and Victoria B.C. where I used to live. My present self had a hard time not viewing the memories of those two past lives through my present lens. Living on Pender Island was wonderful, healthy, enchanting, frustrating and often fascinating. I was busy in my organic market garden, with raising my young children, tending my animals, running my gallery and creating my art. My older wiser self today would feel grateful, centered, serene and tranquil there. My 30 year old self [the one who lived there for nine years] was jubilant, over worked, optimistic, and very energetic. I was working on emotional, and relationship issues that I am no longer focused on. I was a very different person.
I was also a different person when I lived in Victoria. I was passionately focused on creating my art therapy practice, getting my children through adolescence, creating art, doing art workshops and teaching. My inner personal and spiritual work was somewhat the same, but also very different than it was on Pender.
Looking back into the past and looking forward to the future somehow loses meaning when we realize that we really cannot do that. I have a hard time remembering whom that person was standing in the garden on Pender Island; I know that I no longer have her fears and dreams. I can see these places for what they mean to me now, but I cannot project or guess what they were for me then. Memories are also influenced by presentism, they are not made of the pure view or feeling in the time they happened. So, I guess living in the present is our only option. When I visit the past, I am really living my present.
Or the present is the moment, the space and the place where the past and the future converge. There is nothing else.
Monday, September 1, 2008
10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace
(1) Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.
(2) Remember that all human beings have the same needs.
(3) Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.
(4) When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.
(5) Instead of saying what we DON'T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.
(6) Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we'd like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.
(7) Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone's opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.
(8) Instead of saying "No," say what need of ours prevents us from saying "Yes."
(9) If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what's wrong with others or ourselves.
(10) Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully.
2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran & CNVC. The right to freely duplicate this document is hereby granted.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Change has a pattern. We each move through this pattern in a familiar and unique way. First, there is ascent. If we want to change a pattern in our life this is the exciting period, filled with fear and excitement. At this stage, we focus on what changes we want to make, we create the intent or action plan, and we form a vision or desire of what we want. In art classes I see people making a commitment to act on becoming an artist or develop their art further. In the therapy room I see clients commit to act on moving into change and/or healing. At this stage, people need support, information, encouragement, and a plan of action.
The next stage is descent. This is the period of hard work where people face and heal fears and wounding, learn to work with and lessen their anxiety, and learn how to take action towards the desired goal, even when it feels like nothing is happening.
The final state is integration. This is a time of acceptance and manifestation of your dream and/or change. These three stages take time, different states of mind/body and need different resources and support.
I just finished teaching a weeklong art course and I watched people working in all three stages. The people in their ascent stage were discovering who they are as artists, taking the risk to explore, dream and dive into their creative realm. Those working at the descent stage were trying to push their work further into a deeper development. Those artists who were working in their integration period were enjoying the process and exploring the relationship they want to have with their artist side at this moment.
Ascent: risk, passion, acceptance, excitement, and fear of unknown
Descent: reflection, transition, sacrifices, struggle
Integration: understanding, equanimity, gratitude
Ascent: This is the stage when you build the fires. You need to feel very ready, passionate and open to embrace your dream in order to move ahead. Your vision will help sustain you when you are in the period of descent. You need to come out of this stage with a strong conviction, intent plan and image of what you want for yourself.
Therapist: helps by facilitating your process of creating an intent map or vision of where you want to go, be or manifest. She acts as a guide and provides you with resources, information and the means to move forward towards your goal. She helps you access your inner and outer resources that are already in your life [or that you may need to add to your life] that can support and nurture you through this change or growth period.
Descent: This is the stage where you work to change the pattern that you are already functioning in to allow for the newness that you want to embrace. Therapy intends to create association with the disconnected parts of the self. The autonomic nervous system can learn to self-regulate again through 'repairs' that transform the activation of the system. You learn to access your felt sense and release residual tension. This means that whatever was holding you back fear, loss, or shame can be understood and dealt with so you can move ahead in your life with more energy.
This is the time in an artist’s life when you have to work hard to develop your talent, study, work with other artists, learn patience and have faith that the hours that you spend in the studio will help develop your skill.
Therapist: helps by guiding you to work with felt sense to learn self-regulation and awareness. She helps you express freely in the moment what comes up, move into ‘not knowing’ in the murky stage and stay with loss, mourning or whatever the body/mind presents. She shows you how to hold the tension between working with the crisis and holding on to the vision that you had for yourself in the ascent stage.
Integration: This is the stage in therapy where you have made peace with your self. There has been a shift or movement from a feeling of being isolated from or repressing parts of self to a fuller appreciation, acceptance or awareness of the whole self. There is more awareness, energy and inner support and ability to move ahead in your life or relax, listen to your inner voice and feel peace and equanimity.
In the life of an artist, there may be a sense of finally believing that you are an artist, feeling that your work is good enough, and a decision to giving your work more exposure. This may mean having shows or a comment to yourself to having more time in your life for art making.
Therapist: helps by guiding the integration of the old/new self, provides ideas for the regeneration, supports the movement into deeper inner awareness, knowing, and presence. The client or artist moves into their way of ‘trusting the process”
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
August is a month for slowing down. It is time to join the slow movement. Carl Honore wrote “In Praise of Slowness” a few years ago. It explores our fast pace of living and gives compelling reasons why we should slow down. When I am ‘not doing’ somehow life gets richer, fuller and I am more present.
Our breath and heartbeat are constant reminders of life’s pulsing rhythm that moves within and around us.When we slow down, we are more aware of the natural daily rhythms and the moon, the changes in temperature from day to night and from season to season, and by our own internal rhythm. The body rhythms are called circadian rhythms. These signal and affect every aspect of our life, for example, they govern when to wake up, to sleep, to be active and they determine how much energy we have. These circadian rhythms are as predictable as clockwork – that is why we are said to have a bodyclock.
If we don’t listen to our bodies and to that little voice in our head that is telling us to slow down we may succumb to the myriad of health conditions that are a result of leading fast, stressful lives. The biological and psychological costs of ignoring stress are staggering, manifesting in cardiovascular and other systemic diseases and even, new research shows, in accelerated aging. To be simplistic, the solution is to pay attention, on purpose, in a systematic way, in the present moment. That is, we need to be mindful.
Jon Kabat-Zinn says: “Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.”
When we practice mindfulness in our everyday life we are then predisposed to greater emotional intelligence and balance and therefore to greater happiness. This is a great month is go slow.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I started learning about infrared saunas when I was doing research for my clients who suffered from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Infrared saunas have been proven to bring relief to people suffering from arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and certain skin conditions.
Infrared saunas are used to provide heat all over the body for relaxation, pain relief, to lower blood pressure and much more. It is usually a small wooden room, containing several infrared heaters. The sauna box creates the atmosphere of the sauna while the heaters provide the actual infrared therapy. The infrared heater produces radiant energy, which is the same as the heat from the sun, only without the harmful ultraviolet rays. Infrared radiant heat penetrates more than 1.5 inches (40 mm) into the body. The wavelengths of far infrared waves are typically between 5.8 and 1000 micrometers. This is supposed to correspond to the vibration of the water molecule at 9.4 micrometers. Because these vibrations are similar, say promoters, the infrared rays help knock toxins loose from fat cells into the body, and those toxins are then released through sweating. Researchers claim this heals and stimulates tissues, and that it is effective therapy for arthritis and tissue injuries. Because the skin is the largest organ of the body, regularly sweating in an infrared sauna can help decrease the toxic load and contribute to better health and vitality. Heavy Metal detoxification is something that everyone should consider.
I bought a sauna when I first moved to Saskatchewan, last September to help with the dry, cold winter. I have been really impressed with how relaxed I feel after sessions. One of my favorite ways to use it is right after a run. I do think it has enhanced my overall health. Right now I have a summer cold, and after not using it for a few weeks, [since September I have used it three to four times a week] I am impressed with how it has helped relieve my cold symptoms.
I usually use it for 30 minutes and it can be a wonderful place to meditate, with lavender oil burning in the aromatherapy dispenser and a meditative CD playing. After almost a year of use I can honestly say it has been one of my best investments for my health. Check them out for yourself if you haven’t already done so.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Judy Weiser in her book: Photo Therapy Techniques provides lots of interesting ways to work with photos for therapeutic purposes. Photos can be catalysts for communication, self reflection, understanding personal symbolism, and stimulating memories. She lists lots of practical exercises to help you look at and work with photos.
You can find her at: www.phototherapy-center.com
When photographs are used as nonverbal communicators they can tell us a lot about ourselves. This is an exercise that I did yesterday. I walked around the house and randomly took 5 photos. Then I asked myself how these photos could serve as metaphorical self-portraits of myself. What do these photos say about me; my likes, dreams, and or feelings? Why was my eye drawn to these images and not others? If I was able to put myself in these images, where would I place myself? What would I title these photos? If these images could be used as a self description, what would they say about me?
Friday, July 25, 2008
When I work with art therapy or creativity groups, I often notice that people experience a part of them that is critical of their art making. Often this is due to a past negative comment made by a friend, art teacher or parent. Sometimes it is due to comparing your work to others and feeling that yours is not good enough. When this part of you comes up, it is important to sit with it, listen to its concerns and learn not to stop exploring because of it. If this voice or part is ignored, often you will loose creative energy and feel blocked. Giving it space to be heard allows you to move ahead with the acceptance of your whole self. One way I work with this is I have a doll sitting in the corner and when people experience a part of them saying, “your art is not good enough” or “this is meaningless” or “I have no talent” I ask them to write it down and pin it to the doll so it is acknowledged. This simple action often helps create the space and distance needed so that they can come back and continue to create art. This might be something that they want to come back to later and do a focusing session on.
The Top Twelve Traits of the Inner Critic
1. It constricts your ability to be creative.
2. It stops you from taking risks because it makes you fear failure.
3. It views your life as a series of mistakes waiting to happen.
4. It undermines your courage to change.
5. It compares you unfavorably with others and makes you feel “less than”.
6. It is terrified of being shamed and so monitors all your behavior to avoid this.
7. It causes you to suffer from low self-esteem, and possibly depression, because it tells you that you are not good enough.
8. It can make looking at yourself in a mirror or shopping for clothes miserable because of its ability to create such a negative view of the body.
9. It can take all the fun out of life with its criticisms.
10. It makes self-improvement a compulsive chore because it bases the work on the premise that something is wrong with you.
11. It doesn’t allow you to take in the good feelings that other people have towards you.
12. It makes you susceptible , and often victim, to the judgments of other people.
Hal and Sidra Stone Embracing Your Inner Critic
Thursday, July 24, 2008
From a Buddhist point of view, the Pali word which we translate in English as gratitude is katannuta. The word katannuta consists of two parts: kata which means that which has been done, especially that which has been done to one, to oneself, and annuta which means knowing or recognizing. So katannuta means knowing or recognizing what has been done to one, that is to say knowing and recognising what has been done to one for one's benefit.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- bike riding with a friend around the lake, to galleries, to lunch . . . [divine movement therapy ]
- watching a thunderstorm sweep across the prairies . . . [ beautiful, brilliant nature therapy]
- having a very insightful focusing session . . . [curious, fascinating felt sense therapy]
- working on an art therapy presentation . . . [surprising, rigorous creative writing therapy]
- playing with my daughters dog . . . [marvelous pet therapy]
- eating ice cream from the Milky Way . . . [instant gratification therapy]
Sunday, July 20, 2008
1. The feel of the sun on my face as I drink my morning coffee.
2. Knowing that a wonderful friend, who I have not seen for awhile, is coming later today to visit.
3. Enjoying breakfast with my partner.
4. Knowing that at least right now, my kids are safe, happy and close to us.
5. Being present.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The creative person is one who can look at the same thing as everybody else but see something different. A creative act takes unremarkable parts to create an unforgettable whole.
- Denise Shekerjian
The common themes linking creative people is that they were all remarkly resilient at creating an environment that suited their needs, skilled at honoring their own peculiar talents instead of lusting after an illusion of self, capable of knowing when to follow their instincts, and above all, magnificent risk-takers, unafraid to run ahead of the great popular tide.
- Denise Shekerjian
The trick to creativity is to identify your own peculiar talent and then to settle down to work with it for a good long time. Everyone has a aptitude for something. The trick is to recognize it, to honor it, to work with it.
- Denise Shekerjian
Creative work doesn’t evolve simply from wishing or accident, or wholly from a mystical flash of inspiration. It also requires a sustained purpose and the discipline of trying over an extended period of time.
` Howard Gardener
What intuition provides is an inkling, an itch, a yearning, a mist of possibilities. What judgment provides is structure, assessment, form, purpose. Blend them together and you will begin to recognize the tiny, pert buds of opportunity, that, if pursued, may well lead to a dramatic flowering of the most creative work of your career.
` Robert Coles
Friday, July 18, 2008
In my Art Therapy work, I do a lot of group work. Here are the guidelines I set out for art making of group art when the intent is therapeutic.
* Trust yourself in your art making process- there is no right or wrong way.
* Your art is a reflection of what you may be feeling right now. You are always changing.
* Resist comparing your art to others. Your creative style is unique.
* Give yourself permission to experiment, play, take risks, and be curious about the process.
* Give yourself permission to reflect on and accept your real feelings before you engage the art materials.
* Don’t let preconceptions about what art is or should be interfere with the pleasure of creating.
* Allow yourself to let go of negative judgments from past experiences such as school: they don’t matter any more.
* Give yourself quiet time after to reflect on the experience of art making. This reflection may include journal writing or note taking or simply thinking about your experience.What is needed at this moment? It is important that we always respect our own boundaries of personal comfort and readiness to confront what may be difficult issues.
* Above all, have fun, invite pleasure and curiosity, and allow yourself to experience the simple joy of working with the art materials.
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