Tag: Creativity for mental heath

Upcoming Events in 2023!

Studio Spa, St Lucie Cultural alliance, Ft Pierce Art, Artmaking and Soul“Utilizing Artmaking to open deeper conversations with ourselves, so that we can access our own wisdom to guide us forward in our lives.”

So Excited!


And a little nervous… to be publicly offering both online an in person events at THE NEW STUDIO!!!

The St Lucie Cultural Alliance has graciously allowed us to have a space that can be used for live events, as well as my own art projects – I am in HEAVEN! After multiple years in very small spaces (or other peoples homes) I finally have a place that I can spend concentrated time doing my own art explorations. In addition it’s a wonderfully intimate space for either individual coaching and consulting, but small group explorations as well. I am announcing a full slate of events – most of which have a hybrid or online component for those who are either out of the area, or desiring the ease of working from home. Please check them out, and if you have any suggestions or ideas for me feel free to reach out as well.

Hope you can join me/us on our explorations! 

Coming up May 7th:  Purpose Passion and Soul, a collaboration with Suzanne Oliwa, Certified SoulCollage(R) facilitator

SoulCollage(R) and Exploration event

Another Milestone, or One Step, Then Another Step, and Another Step…

This is what has be reverberating in my psyche these past months, “Begin again, again, & again.” It seems to me that the dance I’ve been assigned to in this life is that when I get to a certain level of achievement, I am challenged to risk it all. I see this in businesses, relationships, and levels of mastery of all kinds – in order to constantly move to and towards my/our greater becoming ( which is a part of my purpose statement). One must be willing to let go of the wooden structure to gain a stone one, to let go of the lovely iron structure to gain a silver and then a gold one.

Jack Canfield, Train the Trainer, TTT Advanced, TTT Live San Diego 2022
Photo Credit Jason Leitner

As I have heard many, including my mentor Jack Canfield say, “We must let go of the good to make room for the great.”

Connecting here within my sixth decade to a new/old desire to teach the tools of practical transformation I notice my desire to do it this time smarter, with more support instead of reinventing the wheel as I have done so many times in my life as a serial entrepreneur.

I was reminded today in a LinkedIn post, just how long it has been since I was involved with TreebranchDESIGN. a ’boutique marketing company I helped build and ‘left’ in the Fall of 2018, I believe. WOW! has my life changed & had all that disruption not occurred it is unlikely I would be here. The wheels continue to turn and now a new iteration of myself is emerging. With the sale of our home in MD my mind and heart have begun to seek new roots. The long hibernation from caregiving (which is ongoing, and much more manageable), and maintaining far away connections and duties, has moved enough to both complete and begin again -again 😉

First after joining the Canfield, Train the Trainer community a year or so ago I immersed myself in the online program and was thoroughly inspired by the content and working with the materials in such an in depth way. I did realize upon completion. that though I have led multiple trainings and workshops in many of my entrepreneurial experiences,

Train the Trainer San Diego, TTT Advanced Training
Photo Credit Jason Leitner

I felt the need for additional support and guidance teaching these tools.  I signed up for the second and third levels of the training. I felt very blessed to have the COVID window open just long enough for an in person training to be announced in January, a calculated risk as the attendance was sure to be less than at past live experiences. So off to San Diego I went. I am so very glad that I did! The intimacy of 30-40 people vs 1-200 or more, was an amazing opportunity!


We each had a training that we presented and were critiqued on by Jack Canfield, Patty Aubrey, and Kathleen Seely.One in a million, certified Canfield Trainer, TTT advanced, Jack Canfield, Canfield Training There were also numerous breakout session trainings on a multiplicity of Canfield Methodology subjects directly applicable to running a live (or online) training. It was very well organized, and they made every effort to be as safe as possible. I came away inspired, encouraged, and connected to a wonderful community of all levels of experience. Each person there having the motivation to make a difference in the world.

As with every high energy, immersive experience, the reentry to the “Real” world can be a bit of a bumpy ride. The high I felt was a bit battered by my own mild case of COVID (triple vaxed likely helped out there) upon arriving home. I choose to believe that after all that incredible input I needed some integration time, which my body obliged me with. This experience is one I likely would never have had without all of the changes involved in our exit from MD and I am so very grateful that I was able to have it.

Circling around and back to the theme of beginning again, what I notice is because this is something I care deeply for, in fact have always cared deeply for and been pulled toward, the commensurate fears are of course making themselves known; “Who would listen to you,” “What do you know about teaching success and transformation,” “There are too many others that do this so much better than you,” and on and on. Sound familiar?

What I have determined. as I did when I started my Bodywork career, is that there is only one me, and there are folks out there who need to hear my stories, my voice, in order to take their own steps forward. If I had received this information earlier in my wanderings, who might I be now? What might I have accomplished and given to this world? If just one (well hopefully more than one) has this open a window into their purpose and vision it will be worth it. Even more, the old adage,” You teach what you need to learn,” reverberates.

So, here I go, palms sweaty, holding tight to the talismans of my vision and journey. One step, another step…hands reaching for support and embracing this new future, beginning again, again.

Graduation, Train the Trainer, Advanced Train the Trainer, TTT Live, TTT advanced, One in a Million, Canfield Methodology, Jack Canfield, Kathleen Seeley, Patty Aubrey
Photo Credit: Jason Leitner


What A Long Strange Trip It’s Being

Too old?, Never Too Old, Happy New Life, Jack Canfield Trainer And the winner is… ME! Yes really excited to be taking steps and moving forward. I’ve been following the tugs and directions of the various eddies of this river of life. Who knew at 16 when I began my working life just how many twists and turns and different career paths I would dance. So here I am, beginning again.

AS I approach the end of the Jack Canfield, Train The Trainer program, designed with great care to make me/us capable of teaching these amazing #SuccessPrinciples to the general public. These very simple (notice I didn’t say easy) tools to get anyone from point A (lost, confused, hopeless, discouraged) to point B (hopeful, empowered, moving forward in the direction of their dreams). I know I sound a bit like a religious convert sometimes, and, I assure everyone while there is a new light in my eyes it comes from a grounded foundation of concrete steps that anyone  (including me) can undertake.

My vision includes bringing these tools to those, who like me, were not nurtured in the realities of harnessing my own talents to lead a truly productive life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done alright. Somewhere along the way though I was convinced that my success could only be through another’s. I still strongly believe that my purpose is to utilize my creativity, curiosity and wonder to connect, nudge, guide all beings I encounter towards their highest expression of themselves to help make this existence, this world a better place to be. This is still service and, the tools of transformation for me include #Artmaking in all it’s forms.

I’m really nervous & really excited. Here’s to this next aspect of the journey!

Shoveling Out

On dispersing your art to the world,

{I like knowing that pieces of each installation are residing in different parts of the world, spreading the energies of that idea like seeds sown into the wind.} Lauren McAloon, Installation Sculptor, Artist & Facilities manager at The Studios of Key West

Shoveling Out

I really like the idea from the artist/ curator, and chief paperhanger above answered when I asked if it were difficult to let go of her art after an installation piece was finished. “I have art I made when I was 10-11 years old,” I said, “I think often that the only way to release it would be with a bonfire.” I explained that at one point when I started painting, I would do a painting every day, Ms. McAloon smiled and deadpanned that it would be have to be a really big bonfire.

I am often struck when making art, that each choice to add or subtract an element negates multiple other options or directions. On bad days that knowledge becomes paralyzing, on good days I can notice and move on, or keep track somehow of some of the other ideas to revisit them. That is one of the reasons I loved printmaking as a basis for a series of art pieces. All these ideas and creations have a life cycle of their own from idea to conception, creation, refinement, potentially display, and then…

As a semi-professional artist (i.e. thus far I haven’t sold much, or tried very hard to do so), the creating is what I enjoy. The need to store, and even display the creations stops my process sometimes in that there is no room, or more need for what I want to make. I wonder, with reference to the hoarding tendencies of my family, how much this can stifle both my and my sibling’s creativity in general.

There is a bit more to this as well. I’ve never had children. I am blessed that I have had an ongoing relationship with my husband’s children; I was able to watch them grow from a very young age, and even now I get to “play at” being a grand-mother (or Grammy) with their children. While I enjoy them all very much, there is not a sense that they will be interested in what I would “hand down.” The next generation of Benson’s and Ginn’s will likely be uninterested in any of my wisdoms (unless of course it is found to have monetary value). It is one of the challenges of deciding to become a Step, instead of a blood parent (a subject for another day).

My art, my writing, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, photos; are in the greatest sense, my children. When I have completed a piece, I want to live with it a while, and it while it would be nice to hand them off to another, have them be adopted, set them free, that doesn’t often happen without effort. So, what happens to my misfit children? They languish in my basement & studio primarily. My question to myself is, is this hoarding too?

Part of the purpose for me in this trip South was to be able to spend time both reconnecting with family and helping to prepare my disabled brother for his future. My 88-year-old mother, and all of us as a family have to consider how to best deal with an aging, stubborn, (some read fiercely independent) physically & mentally challenged individual both now, and when my mother, his primary caretaker, is unable to care for him.Disabled siblings, caring for the disabled, caring for aging siblings
Unexpectedly my brother Allan had a fall that necessitated a hospital, then rehab stay just as we were approaching the area by boat. The fall highlighted several things, that my mother was not able to assist him when he fell (he out weighs her by 100lbs.) and that the apartment was unsafe for him to return to. I/we decided that to facilitate Allan’s eventual return home that I would undertake another massive cleanout.

Hoarding, holding on too long, Too much Stuff, Marie Kondo
I’ve written about their hoarding issues before, and frankly if they were both content, I’ve been inclined to let them alone with their lifestyle. It’s another family tenant (along with Murphy’s Law) to ‘Live & Let Live,’ Perhaps we (my 2, now one brother(’s)) have been negligent in addressing this earlier.

Whenever I do this massive dig out, and this is number 5, It strikes me how cleaning out our home would be to Robert &/or my step children. What a headache this entails. How many truckloads of detritus to heap onto yet another landfill, not to mention the stagnant energy that all these past musings, both visual and written, are of interest only to me. If I outlive my siblings or mother there may be some interest, and why would any, save some future historian or archaeologist be interested?

In the case of my brother I think his are more a collection of items to stem the tide of going without. A #10 can of safety pins, 27 containers of disposable underwear, 13 spare air fresheners, 25 nail clippers, close to 500 colored pencils, old newspapers in stacks, multiple garbage bag sized snacks, 75 unopened puzzles, hundreds of never opened or viewed, CD’s, DVD’s, VHS tapes, and books & this is but a small part of the “nest” as we call it he feels he must surround himself with. He has a compulsion to wear and use the same clothing items, torn and stained though they are, and to always carry a small holographic collection of this nest with him.

It has taken me 3 weeks of 6-8-hour days with help from my brother and sister in law to clear out and organize most of Allan’s “stuff.” We filled multiple dumpster loads, had quite a few trips to Goodwill, and transferred many items to a storage unit as well. We were all proud of the accomplishment and my brother was able to come home in relative safety, unfortunately in the month since we finished, I suspect the “nest” is growing again.

With the Marie Kondo book” Spark Joy” a rapidly growing conversation in the world I find myself revisiting the need, the desire for the false sense of safety, continuity, and of history that carrying our “stuff” with us provides. I too have been having an internal conversation about what (& how) to let go of.

I love the Shinto concepts underlying much of her de-cluttering philosophy. The belief that kami, or the sacred, exists in everything, no matter how outwardly mundane it appears. (How Shinto Influenced Marie Kondo, www.bustle.com) The divine spark as a soul or spirit in all things, places, natural forces, Animism it is sometimes called, is a spiritual understanding of many older religions. Science too has begun to recognize that energy is what all matter is made of, and energy itself can form and reform into any physical (& perhaps non-physical) forms.

Ms. Kondo states that when she enters a home to be de-cluttered, she greets it as sacred space. With each item reviewed she taps it to wake, & when releasing it says Thank you for all that item has represented. Perhaps the re-cluttering is an unconscious gathering of these energies to protect, insulate, or otherwise fill an empty interior space within. Perhaps also if I were to have approached both my brother’s nest, as well as my own sacred art space, with that respect and honor the de-cluttering would hold.

It’s certainly an interesting thought.

Of Art, Soul, Self Care, & Family

We Came , We Saw, We Painted, and We Set Them Free!

Painted rocks, Family Art project, love your familyI truly love my family, even though over the years I’ve chosen to live over a thousand miles away. Since the recent death of my youngest brother who lived in their vicinity, and the realization that my beloved mom is almost 88 I have been making a more concerted effort to “drop by” to visit more often. The challenge I have is that despite my love for them, it can be difficult to maintain the positive attitude that I am learning is of fundamental importance to growing this new life I am creating.

My mother’s view is that the world operates by Murphy’s Law. For those unfamiliar, Murphy’s Law states that, ” Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment.” She has trained all her children to actively assume that dreadful things are guaranteed to happen, so why try to accomplish anything. She is however, extremely intelligent, funny, creative, caring, an excellent writer, and knows who she is & what she wants. My disabled brother Allan lives with her. At 88, she is his primary caretaker. For them it works. Allan has multiple physical challenges (he had a stroke at 2 and was paralyzed on his right side). He has difficulty walking and controlling his right hand and arm which is very frustrating to him. As such he is more than content to be waited on. He has other issues, & don’t we all… He is also wickedly funny (if you pay attention), very artistic, loves puzzles and word games, is somewhat of a cross dresser, and is so used to being ignored that he has learned to always carry some form of game or puzzle with him to entertain himself.

It is always with some trepidation I head down to visit them. They live in an apartment so packed with STUFF, there is no place for a visitor to sit. The TV is on constantly, this is as far as I can tell their only form of entertainment, besides grocery shopping, Dr’s visits, and occasional dinners out for family events. Neither is physically able walk any distance which eliminates most other outings. This truly creates a challenge for connecting as the only opportunities involve one restaurant visit after another, expensive, challenging, and fattening.

The last time I was down for a visit, I arranged to do a small art project with them so that we would have an opportunity for some actual quality time. I was staying at my older brother’s house, so I had the time and space to spread out (Thanks Ken!). It seemed to be a success, everyone one got their hands a little dirty, and was pleased to leave our ‘Gifts’ in the garden there. This trip I was determined to do something similar. #PaintedRocks seemed to fulfill all the criteria, art, positivity, creativity, and above all letting the STUFF go at the end.

To back up a moment, my introduction to the Painted Rocks craze was inspiring. I had signed up to do the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run/Walk last Fall. It is a 6.5-mile course that takes you over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Having been very out of shape my goal was to make it as far as the middle of the bridge, able to look down and take pictures of the water below. As a Bay sailor I had often been under the bridge, this time I wanted to be on top. I had been assured that if I couldn’t make it to the end, there would be transportation from the organizers to the finish line. I was delighted that I had made it up and over the bridge only to find that there remained an additional mile to be traversed. Yikes! As I rounded the corner at the end of the bridge, exhausted, and a bit worried I wouldn’t make it, I looked down and saw this…

It was a small smooth rock with this message painted on it. “You are so close to the victory, don’t you dare give up now!” I giggled and took the message to heart. Even though no one was monitoring me (I could have taken a short cut, or given up, I continued around that last mile to my own internal cheer, all from the gentle chastisement of that rock, and the person who had placed it there. I didn’t keep it, I did take this picture to remind me of the difference a little encouragement at the right time can mean.

So back to the family trip. I gathered some supplies, paint, brushes, and even bought some rocks (they sell the smooth ones at Michael’s), picked up my mom & brother & headed back to Ken’s house. I proceeded to tell them the story of my experience while spreading out newspaper & putting out the supplies. They both seemed a little dubious as I explained the criteria for the sayings, short enough to paint on the rock, and a positive message.

We brainstormed a bit coming up with some funny but not very inspiring, “The Fashion Police are Everywhere.” The more esoteric, “Life is a Bubbling Brook,” a saying favored by my late stepfather (A story for another day). And finally coming up with a list of acceptably interesting sayings. We voted for our favorites, and while doing that, unbeknownst to me Allan had already begun painting a few of his own. We ended up with 7 rocks, painted legibly. Even more important we had a conversation. We talked about might happen to Allan when my Mom passes, what his living situation might be. We talked about the school my mom had with my stepfather, and she shared the evolution of their deciding to start it, we talked about my brother David and how we missed him. All in all, we had a couple of hours of quality interaction, an anomaly of late.

As we finished up Allan started to gather up the rocks to take home. I explained that the point of the exercise was to send our messages out in the world, he relinquished his hold and let me keep them.

Two days later, I came by and picked them up, and while I drove I encouraged them to direct me to the spots we would leave the rocks. This was an important completion, the letting go.

We had a rock that said, “Are We There Yet?” and Mom determined the bus stop would be a good spot. Another said, “To Plant a Garden, is to Believe in Tomorrow,” that of course was placed in a public garden. At their condominium there was a perfect location by the community mailbox where a rock regularly was used to hold down flyers and such. Allan put his, “Thank God” rock there. You get the idea.

We had fun, spent 2 days together uncomplaining, laughing, connecting, and hopefully also spreading painting rocks, my brothers keepersome laughter and joy in the world. It was a powerful paradigm shift, at least for me. It was a concrete way for me to share time with them in a positive, uplifting, and creative way.

So often doing art together gets relegated as something only for small children. Doing art together is an activity that is a part of our tribal past. Making allows us to step outside of our regularly scheduled programs of interacting and connect in a more meaningful way. For me this art activity allowed my family and I to spend time together that was more satisfying than chatting over a pastrami sandwich surrounded by curious onlookers. Try this with friends or family next time you get together, you might be surprised.