Archive for the 'detachment' Category

Firewalk Inspired Smashbooking

September 9, 2013

This week-end I participated in something I’ve wanted to do for years…the experience of firewalking.  Every September, Common Ground Center for Renewal in Oberlin, Ohio holds an annual firewalk and this year I finally made it…and wow…it was so very worth it…

Firewalk Preparation | creativity in motion

Firewalk Fire Preparation

For me, something about taking on this challenge greatly called to me as an unique opportunity for continued transformation and growth, as well as to explore trust & faith.

Our certified firewalking instructor Dave Tuscany led us through an amazing empowerment workshop while a fire 15 feet long burned for 90 minutes. A news piece about the evening can be read here.

Firewalk Feet | creativity in motion

Firewalk Feet

As I silently approached the sacred space of hot coals and embers, this glowing pathway was something I was surprisingly eager to travel on rather than fearful. There was such a strong energy and atmosphere of positive affirmation and intention that when it was finally my turn to walk, I did so without hesitation.  I felt no pain or burning on my feet…only a warm, nurturing & determined feeling coming from within and surrounding me.  Beautiful.

Firewalk Ashes | creativity in motion

Firewalk Ashes

As I was leaving the event that evening, I took some of the firewalk’s ashes as a special keepsake of this important experience. The charred pieces of ember were still smoking and full of heat as I shovel them into the wooden box I brought with me.

Firewalk Ash Create Hand | creativity in motion

Creating with Firewalk Ash

As I reflected on my experience the next morning in my smashbook, I did so with a shifted sense of freedom, peace, renewal, and astonishment. As I worked, my fingertips smudged the images and pages with the sacred pieces of charred embers:

Firewalk Smashbooking | creativity in motion

Firewalk Smashbooking- Filtered (Click to enlarge)

To help the young soul, to add energy, inspire hope, and blow the coals into a useful flame; to redeem defeat by new thought and firm action, this, though not easy, is the work of divine man.”         ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Related Posts:

Dictionary Art Inspiration, Branch Strengthening, & Smashbooking

Adventure Visioning: A Page From My Smashbook

Through a Grateful Summer Lens: Honoring Our Light


Art of Living

August 14, 2011

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” ~Havelock Ellis~

Exposing & Altering Vulnerability

May 1, 2011

Creativity | Authenticity | Humility | Responsiblity

I created a mini-altered board book to spend time reflecting on four concepts that have been challenging for me lately. I usually think of Creativity, Authenticity, Humility, & Responsibility as strengths I can call on, but in these pages they are exposed to vulnerability, question, and weakness.

Working on each page helped me put some of the internal and external struggles I was experiencing into perspective.  The safe space of the book helped me to reflect more on my positive and negative judgments associated with each these concepts.  This process and the finished pages left me feeling better connected (and accepting) to the role of Creativity, Authenticity, Humility, & Responsibility in my life.

Simplify: Be Still Artist Trading Card

January 24, 2011

This is a new artist trading card I created as a much needed reminder to myself to stay out of the path of crazymaking, simplify my self expectations and to remember there is benefit to being still during times of creation and growth:

As opportunities (and challenges) surface throughout this week, I hope to make stronger choices related to this ATC’s intention. Simplify.  Be Still.

Pulp to Paper: Pieces of Reclamation

September 28, 2010


The film below is about how papermaking can be a transformative, mindful, and reparative process that facilitates and enhances exploration of personal meaning through paper and a handmade book I created.  The paper that was made to create the actual pages of my book were from unwanted personal material and content that was shredded, pulped, re-transformed into handmade paper, and then liberated into new life and meaning for this project.

This video was shown this past week-end at The Buckeye Art Therapy Association Symposium during a presentation by Cathy Malchiodi and me where we discussed the benefits of papermaking for self reclamation and transformation, including the work of The Combat Paper Project (CPP) and testimony about our personal experience with papermaking last March.  Thanks to CPP’s Drew Matott and Drew Cameron for all their help with the papermaking process!!!

Art Therapy Without Borders also premiered Papermaking as Self Reclamation and Transformation: Deconstruction to Reconstruction, a film by The Reel Redwing Studio and Cathy showcasing our papermaking,  inspiration from CPP, and personal story of reclamation.  For a limited time you can view this 10 minute film here through the ATWB website before it is released for purchase.

Ready for Calm, Transition, Change

September 14, 2010

The BATA Symposium is quickly approaching!  The registration for The Making of Mindfulness through Art has received a strong response, with over 140 art therapists, art therapy students, and interested professionals coming from not only across Ohio, but also several states and Canada.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Columbus next week!

As I work on my final to-dos and  tie up loose ends for this year’s event, this mixed media piece I created to donate to the Symposium’s Silent Art Auction has extra special meaning to me:


The Making of Mindfulness through Art

August 25, 2010

It’s planning and preparation time again for this year’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association’s Annual Symposium to be held September 24-25, 2010 in Dublin, Ohio.   This year’s theme, The Making of Mindfulness through Art, will include two days of workshops and presentation offerings highlighting the use of art therapy in the practice of mindfulness, meditation, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).  The Symposium Program will also be premiering  ART IS LIFE IS ART: The Life and Work of Don Jones, a documentary by Bruce L. Moon that examines of the extraordinary life and work of BATA and AATA Founder Don Jones.

BATA’s Symposium keynote will be Michael Franklin, Ph.D., ATR-BC, who directed the undergraduate art therapy program at Bowling Green State University from 1986 to 1997 and introduced the field to me as my first art therapy professor.  Dr. Franklin is currently a core faculty for Naropa University’s Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Department and Director of Naropa’s Graduate Art Therapy Program in Boulder, Colorado.

There’s still time to get your registration in if you would like to attend this year’s Symposium and enjoy a little mindfulness and art therapy!  The mail in registration deadline is September 7, 2010.

On Day 2 of the Symposium, Cathy Malchiodi and I will be teaming up again to present Papermaking as Self Reclamation and Transformation: Deconstruction to Reconstruction. This presentation will provide an overview about how papermaking can be a transformative, mindful, and reparative process that facilitates and enhances exploration of personal meaning.  The basics of papermaking as an art therapy approach through practical applications and first person experiences will be explored, as well as highlighting The Combat Paper Project and suggestions for art therapy’s role with returning military.

In connection with this presentation, I have been working on my own handmade book  that chronicles some significant experiences and crossroads in my professional life over the last few years.  The paper that was made to create the pages of this book came from unwanted personal material and content that was shredded, pulped, re-transformed into new sheets of paper, and then liberated into new life and meaning for this project.

I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my personal experience and the art created for this book!

My Book: Papermaking as Self Reclamation and Transformation

Collage Unleashed!

August 9, 2010

The power of artist trading cards (ATCs) continues on in the Art Therapy Alliance Materials & Media community, as a second ATC exchange has been organized by community member Melanie Glassey and details announced last week.  The theme for this exchange is “Collage Unleashed”, which of course easily inspired me to sign up and participate in round two.

I’ve written on Creativity in Motion before about some of my reflections on collage making in my own life and some of these benefits personally and professionally.  My collage art has ranged from using magazine photo images & words, creating in altered books, and incorporating mixed media such as painting (acrylic, watercolor) and drawing (pastels), stamping, as well as found, collected, or gifted design paper and various other art materials.

For this ATC swap, I decided to focus my series on the main themes and benefits connected to my collage making:


Revolution/Alter– I find the process of cutting, ripping, gluing, layering, and re-assembling images and words on paper an exciting creative process rooted in transformation and alteration.  When I use printed design paper, visual inspiration from my favorite copies of Cloth Paper Scissors, or magazine photo collage material, I enjoy destructing and re-constructing the message as my own with themes that experiment with change, taking action, and my personal rev o’ lution. Collage makes it easy and visible for me to create, transform, and develop my ideas over and over until all the pieces come together with new meaning.


Courage/Create- Often during times where I  have been undecided, uncertain, or need to explore my thoughts and feelings around new challenges or opportunities in my life, I turn to crafting simple mini-collages to process what’s going on.  Slowing down and taking the time to select images, think about their meaning and the symbolism in the details usually helps me visually discover the bigger picture and to face it with courage and intention.  This awareness ultimately helps decrease anxiety and feelings of doubt.  Some of my favorite collages, while sometimes very simple, have been created in this spirit and I view as most powerful.

Fly Free / Let Go

Fly Free/Let Go– Another theme that has started to surface in many of my collages  is around detachment and letting go.  The creative process I described above about going through images to use in my collages, I also find therapeutic for discarding and weeding out the things, relationships, thoughts, feelings, and memories that I don’t want anymore in my life.  The collages I create on detachment also serve as important visual reminders to myself about this virtue.

Imagine / Vision

Imagine/Vision– And finally, a lot of my collage making has been in response to visioning or imagining my hopes, wishes, and intentions through magazine photo collage. As I wrote this past May,  I started using art-making in this way several years ago to help make meaning of where I wanted to go, what I needed to do, and what change I wanted for the future.  For me, I think Visioning Collages are the most fun to do!

If you’re looking for more ideas on collage art or to learn more about the therapeutic qualities that often attract art therapists to this media, read this Psychology Today article by Cathy Malchiodi, highlighting many of its benefits and why magazine photo collage was chosen as #10 for her Top Ten of Coolest Art Therapy Interventions.

I look forward to seeing what collage art I receive back in return from this ATC exchange and will be sure to post when they arrive in a few weeks!  For more information about this new ATC swap, check out the Materials & Media in Art Therapy Group on LinkedIn. Deadline to sign up for this exchange is August 11!

Art of Living: Hold On or Let Go?

May 30, 2010

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go & holding on.
— Havelock Ellis

Let Go

Another good lesson for me to remember and to practice detachment.

There are expectations out of my control that I cannot hold onto.

Breathe.  Let go. Be. Live.

Rev o’ lution Reflections

December 17, 2009
Similar to last December and my 12 Simple Words for 2008, I have already started to reflect on what words would be on my list for this year.  Many of these words come from my 2009 rev o’ lution which really helped me focus on change and transformation concepts important to me this year.  I thought I would spend this posting reflecting on these eight words….overall, I feel like “operation rev o’ lution” was a success this year!

My 2009 rev o' lution

Trust – This year I learned a lot about what trust really means to me and the relationships I choose to invest in.  Accountability, authenticity, integrity, and responsibility are important qualities I highlighted around this concept when developing and reflecting on my 2009 rev o’ lution.  However throughout the year, this concept strongly developed into how trust in its basic form connects to my experiences of feeling safe, protected, and secure from outside crazymaking.  I have made a lot of difficult choices this year around stopping my involvement with toxic environments and relationships that at one time I believed in and valued, but now, I can no longer support and need to break free from. No more crazymaking.  I saw a D.Waitley quote come through on Twitter recently via @MindtheD that I thought really related to my thoughts around this:  “Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.

Change–  During this year I engaged in a lot of discussion and energy around the topic of change.  I believe in being part of change, living  it, and visioning it, particularly related to my love of the art therapy profession.  Most of this year I was trying to figure out where I might fit in related to this big picture.  How could my work and my efforts reflect my authentic self, values, passion, and a purpose rooted in trust, innovation, compassion,  equality, and empowering community?  After much reflection, I made the decision to invest my direction and commitment towards developing efforts that reflect a vision, understanding, and meaning that I can really believe in for art therapy.  I have really enjoyed the work I have contributed in co-developing new and refreshing opportunities during this year through the Art Therapy Alliance and supporting the mission of the International Art Therapy Organization.  I am proud of these efforts, connection, and the future possibilities that social media and technology can create to help bring art therapists together and showcase art therapy.

Leadership–  According to my rev o’ lution post last year, good leadership is something I wanted to see, be, and understand more in 2009.  Throughout this year seeing, being, and understanding this kind of leadership included figuring a lot out about what this means to me, really understanding the influence of internal and external intentions, and honoring the priorities and values in my life and what/who/where I choose to commit my energy and ideas towards to make a difference. 

Leadership Intention- Something New, May 2009

Openness– At the beginning of this year I had lots of hopefulness and a longing for more opportunities that would bring collaboration, exchanging of innovative ideas, and building community.  This concept in my rev o’ lution has surfaced many exciting things throughout the year in co-creation with International Art Therapy Organization Founder Cathy Malchiodi, such as our Art. Peace. Sustainability Interactive Art Event, launching the art therapy e-zine FUSION, and altered domino making are only a few of the highlights. More are on the horizon for 2010.

Gratitude– Focusing on this concept throughout the year has reminded me to appreciate so many people in my life and what there is to be thankful for despite day to day stresses, expectations, politics, and to-do lists.  These relationships inspire and remind me what is really important in life and what the bigger picture is all about.  In my rev o’ lution this year, I wanted to create more art connected to exploring gratitude and expressing this to others through my art making.  One of the art-based activities I participated in to focus on this theme was  an altered art gratitude book round robin that I found really rewarding.  

Hope Seek Dream Fly- Altered Book Page, June 2009

Health- Over the last seven years I have come to understand better to not take my health for granted and am very thankful for another year free of major issues related to my myelin behaving.  While I still have days where having an auto-immune disease is something I do not have time for, do not want to deal with, or try to forget about- I have actually been slightly more accepting, accomodating, and open (than I have ever been) about what I need to do to keep myself healthly and continue doing all the things I love to do in life.

Calm-  Cultivating calmness in my life always seems to be challenge because I am always up to something and for the most part, enjoy this…  I do feel that I made much progress connected to this rev o’ lution concept (see Trust and Change for starters).   I did finish my mini altered book on detachment earlier in the year, which has continued to be a great visual reminder when I need it.  I have also become better at letting go and saying good-bye to those parts and relationships that are not healthy for me or no longer fit. But still  need to remind myself of these lessons.  My discovery of and addictive art-making with Polyvore this year really helped me reflect and focus more on these concepts too.

Stuff She Didn't Need Anymore- Polyvore Art, September 2009

Voice– My 2009 rev o’ lution and all the above concepts helped make my voice stronger this year through being myself, focusing on what’s authentic to me, and meaningful.  I believe this year I figured out how to best use my voice in a way that I am finally good with.  I am dedicated to using this voice to help, support, and work with others who share the same vision and energy in the spirit of  the three C’s (connection, collaboration, and creativity) to do good and amazing things! 

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