Compassion & Creativity

I just finished participating in this year’s Compassion Games with a team I organized through the 6 Degrees of Creativity community. Our Creative Deed Team included a dozen members from all over the globe! For 11 days, we worked on a series of artful acts that I sent out each day of the games to inspire kindness & compassion.  You can view the prompts for each of the Creative Deeds here.

Compassion & Creativity | creativity in motion
12 Days of Creative Deeds

For the team’s first creative deed, I thought it would be a nice start to have each of us photograph a heart in the palm of our hand, as a symbol and offering of compassion.  Below is a pic I took of my hand holding a glittery paper heart in my creative space, with a quote connected to service, compassion, and supporting of others.

Compassion & Creativity | creativity in motion
Show Us Your Heart

For our second Creative Deed, Chalking it Up for Compassion, it was pretty dreary, damp, and cold on my end, but getting out my sidewalk chalk & pastels to work on a rock I chose to create a message of compassion on, helped brighten the environment.  My chalk art was inspired by the Dalai Lama quote, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.

Chalk It Up for Compassion
Chalk It Up for Compassion

My love for making wordles and word clouds inspired Day 3’s Creative Deed, as team members were encouraged to experiment with free, online sites like Wordle, Tagxedo, and Word It Out to create Compassion inspired word art.  My image was made using Tagxedo (love their shapes), using words from the quotes that inspired me during Day 1 and 2.

Compassion Wordclouding
Compassion Wordclouding

Operation Random Acts of Creative Kindness inspired Creative Deed Day 4 and I made this art tag that I hung on a telephone poll along one of the busiest walking streets my city.  My hope is that someone spotted it, took it, and enjoyed it!  On the back side of the tag is the A.A. Milne quote, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Compassion & Creativity | creativity in motion
Operation Random Acts of Creative Kindness

Day 5’s Creative Deed was inspired by a concept introduced in Seattle for the Compassion Games, in which individuals are nominated as Compassion All Stars. The Creative Deed Team nominated individuals in our lives and then made an award to recognize him/her.  I nominated Lani Gerity as a Compassion All Star I am grateful to have in my creative life as a friend & colleague— Just visit Lani’s blog to take in all her compassionate and artful ways.

Compassion All Star Award
Compassion All Star Award

The next day the Creative Deed Team embarked on a Compassion & Creativity Quote Hunt and we used online programs like Recite and Quozio to transform these words into graphic designed images.   I chose one of my favorite resiliency based quotes from Ben Orki that I often use as an affirmation in my work.

Compassion & Creativity Quote Hunt
Compassion & Creativity Quote Hunt

Day 7’s Creative Deed was dedicated to celebrating everything and anything awesome through making Compassion Cards of Awesomeness for ourselves & others.  I stashed this Creative Deed message inside a random book.  I think there is much power and strength in this quote.

Compassion Cards of Awesomeness
Compassion Cards of Awesomeness

Our next Creative Deed was inspired by one of the ways the Compassion Games invites participants to play:  as Secret Agents of Compassion.  The Creative Deed Team embarked on a mission dedicated to showing compassion to the earth and to capture our observations & reflections related to interrelatedness through photography. My photo was about the transitioning of summer into fall and its connection to letting go & how from this state of dying; new life & growth follows…. even if we have to get through the winter first and I am grateful for this process…

Secret Agent of Compassion: Nature Mission
Secret Agent of Compassion: Nature Mission

Day 9’s Creative Deed focused on mandala making with a compassion theme.  A recent photo I took of a candle and its flame reminded me of a light bearing mandala and how light (giving & receiving) can bring an awareness of hope & clarity  in times of distress and despair.

Compassion Mandala
Compassion Mandala

Sticky notes were transformed into Compassion Art on Day 10 as a way to publicly display positive messages of kindness.  I left my sticky note art of hope on a restroom mirror  in one of my favorite roadside travel stops on the way home from a trip.  It included a message to have, trust, believe, and embrace hope.

Compassion Sticky Note Art
Compassion Sticky Note Art

The final day of the Compassion Games ended on September 21, International Day of Peace.  The Creative Deed Team reflected on this CG post and was encouraged to create a Peace Flag to symbolize the power of peace, as well as what peace symbolizes to us and for the world.  I used small fabric swatches to create a series of flags using fabric markers, acrylic paint, sharpies and ballpoint ink with some hand sewing.

International Day of Peace Flag
International Day of Peace Flag

It was not only meaningful and lots of creative fun to work on each of these days for the Compassion Games and to share these good vibes & intentions with others, but it was also really wonderful to connect with everyone on the Creative Deed team through art, service, and reflection over these 11 days. Lots of creative goodness!!  I am appreciative of my teammates’ dedication & thoughtfulness, as well as the passion, support, and organization from the Compassion Games. Good times!

You can see the entire Creative Deed Team Collection on Facebook here.

And check out the scientific benefits & origins of compassion from the Charter for Compassion.


Related Posts:

Wow! 2014 Games Are Behind Us, Now it’s Time to Celebrate and Share!

Wrap Up: Creative Deeds in Action @ the 2014 Compassion Games over at 6 Degrees of Creativity

Compassion Games 2014: Team 6 Degrees of Creativity Creative Deeds Go Global


Twentythirteen A-Z Word Mandala o’ Thankfulness

One of the ways I’ve enjoyed making my practice of making gratitude lists a little creative is to turn them into Wordles.  I recently started experimenting with the word cloud site Tagxedo, where you can transform your words into even more shapes!

As the Thanksgiving season quickly approaches here, this is my annual A to Z gratitude inspired list…. in the form of word mandala:

Twentythirteen A-Z Word Mandala o’ Thankfulness | creativity in motion

A: Ascending & Abiding
B: Breath, Beginner’s Mind, Blessings, Balance, Boundaries
C: Creativity
D: (1) Day at a time
E: Energy (flows where intention goes)
F: Future, Firewalking, Freedom, Forgiveness
G: Grace
H: Health (ier), Healing, Hope
I: Intention, Inspiration
J: (2013’s) Journey
K: Kindness
L: Light, Love, Life
M: Mercy
N: Namaste
O: Openness, Open Heart
P: Patience
Q: Quiet time
R: revol’ution making, renewal, recovery, resolve
S: Silence, Soul, Stillness, Simplicity, Shift, Sacred, Space
T: therapy, treasure
U: understanding
V: voice, values
W: wings, wholeness, witness
X: x-tra ❤
Y: yellow (sun)
Z: zen moments

No amount of tagxedo words can fully express the love & deep appreciation that this list embodies, including so many individuals, adventures, and experiences that have inspired, nurtured, and brought clarity to my 2013 journey.  Thank you!


Related Posts:

Twentytwelve A-Z Wordle O’ Thankfulness

My Gratitude Wordle Collection

Trauma Stewardship, Gratitude, and Wordle Making


Twentytwelve A-Z Wordle O’ Thankfulness

Twentytwelve’s A-Z Wordle o’ Thankfulness

Here’s an A to Z gratitude list that I’ve made into this year’s Thanksgiving Eve’s wordle o’ thankfulness! Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this list in my twentytwelve life:

A- Art Therapy:  The community, my work, and being able to help & serve others with this profession.

B- Breaks: For art-making, resting, & getting grounded.

C- Creative Goodness: To make art for good, foster community & meaningful connection.

D- Distressed Ink: For my art journaling pages, smashbooking, artist trading cards, and more!

E- Energy: Finding & re-discovering positive energy full of good vibes and intention.

F- Friendship & Family: love, care, and support.

G- Gluebooks: And how they fill up with so much joy, adventure, and creativity!

H- Health: What helps me stay strong and appreciate what really matters in life.

I- Inspiration & Ideas: My favorite blogs, colleagues, friends, artists, organizations, and projects I admire for collective inspiration, idea sharing, and passion that fosters my practice as an art journaler, artist, art therapist, and individual seeking to contribute good and passion into this world.

J- Joy: Moments of simple happiness and good things.

K- Kindness: The receiving and giving of loving kindness.

L- Love & Light: For showing me the way.

M- Music:  Especially on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube.

N- Niceness: Comforting smiles, kind words, and welcoming spirit.

O- October: Good times.

P- Paper:  For art-making, for paper swapping, for making peace.

Q- Quiet Time: Breathing and relaxation moments during my group work with youth.

R- Random Acts of Creative Kindness: Mail art fun & unexpected notes to give and receive.

S- Strength: To be well, be true, be brave.

T- Trust: The process of letting go.

U- Unconditional Love: To be, offer, share, and grow.

V- Vision: Hindsight, foresight, insight.

W- Wings: For flying, adventure, and soaring.

X– (e)Xchanges: Paper stash swapping, sock monkey exchanging, permission card swapping, & gluebook page sharing.

Y- Yoda’s Wisdom: Always good.

Z-  zzzzz’s:  8 hours of peaceful sleep and rest.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!  Thank you for your interest and support throughout the year of Creativity in Motion!

On Practicing and Creating Gratitude

As I review my 2011, this summer’s workshop I attended with Trauma Stewardship author and trauma specialist  Laura van Dernoot Lipsky had a major impact in strengthening my practice about the role of gratitude in my personal life and professional practice.   For me, part of this awareness included Lipsky encouraging us to create scheduled time each day to stop and take time out for grateful reflection.

As previously written about here on Creativity in Motion in the above link, this suggestion first inspired me to try Lipsky’s recommendation of setting a series of “gratitude alarms” on my iPhone, which then I developed into creating gratitude wordles from these reflections. I recently upgraded my iPhone and now have Siri also assisting me with my gratitude reminders and finding quotes!

One of my many intentions with these activities was to hopefully incorporate this content into my art-making somehow. I decided to combine my interest in gratitude scrolls and my wordle making into a piece of art that would continue to remind me of the importance of creating and practicing gratitude.

This gratitude scroll was created with a piece of gessoed canvas, then painted with watercolor, distressed with ink, and then collaged with some of my favorite words, reflections, and a quote from my gratitude reminders and wordle making throughout the last 5 months.    To allow the scroll’s contents and good vibes to be available and a visible affirmation, I intend on displaying this as an open wall hanging in my creative work space for continued inspiration.

The quote at the top and “wordle words” underneath are a humble reminder for me with a powerful message of simplicity, enoughness, and that I have the choice to recognize and nurture the uncomplicated abundance that comes into my life, relationships, work, and daily practice.

Gratitude unlocks the abundance of life and turns what we have into more than enough. Gratitude makes sense of our past, delivering tranquility for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Wordle o’ Thankfulness [2011]

I decided to take my annual list o’ thankfulness and make it into some wordle fun on this Thanksgiving Eve Day:

Lots of thanks to everyone who has supported and helped me throughout this year to bring many of these gifts into my 2011 life, including all of you who check out or follow Creativity in Motion…Much gratitude!

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling and More Creative Goodness

I have  been working on Lani Gerity’s 6 Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist’s Life, one of six workshops part of 6 Degrees of Creativity and I wanted to share some of my progress so far!

I have decided to focus on each lesson through art journaling and so excited to use a handmade journal I received as a gift a few years ago that was made by Lani:

I am also incorporating my love of Pinterest and Gratitude Wordle Making as lesson companions to help me focus and reflect on all the good stuff Lani’s workshop has to offer.

I started pinning images, words, and phrases on My Good Things Board inspired by my daily good findings and at the end of the week I made this Good Things Wordle:

Good Things Wordle

In my art journal I have my first page done from Lesson One:  a spread focusing on seeing the beauty and good things around you:

Lesson One: Finding Goodness

This past week I started the next lesson focusing on resiliency and celebrating your strengths:

Lesson Two: Seligman's Signature Strengths

I have a few journal pages in the works that I am working on related to my top five signature strengths.  I enjoyed taking some time this week to sew some of these pages’ edges:

Sewing Paper Makes Me Happy!

I am looking forward to working more on this art journal and continuing with Lesson Two this week!

You can learn more about Lani’s work and inspiring offerings focused on positive psychology, resiliency, self-care, and art as transformation at Lani’s Secret Annex.  Here you will fnd a virtual treasure chest of more creative goodness, including Lani’s blogging, e-courses, e-zines, and more!

My Gratitude Wordle Collection

I recently started making gratitude wordles after attending a trauma stewardship workshop with Laura van Dernoot Lipsky this summer.   Here’s a collection of some wordles I’ve created over the last couple of months:

The process of  taking a moment to make an intentional reflection of what I’m grateful for and then creating a wordle about it has been really helpful.  This practice has been a fun way to help me put things into perspective, slow things down a bit, and creates a reminder about simplicity related to my life, relationships, and to work on not taking things for granted. There is a lot to be thankful for.

I’m hoping to take this practice as something I can incorporate into my art-making, perhaps through art journaling or perhaps some kind of 365 project.   I’ll keep you posted on what develops…

50 Fun Things Wordle and Brainstorming

This blog post from Original Impulse (by way of Dan Goodwin’s Twitter @coachcreative) inspired this Happiness Wordle and my list below of 50 Fun Things:

50 Fun Things Brainstorming:

1. Making art for myself and for others

2. Listening to loud music

3. Traveling

4. Spending time in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco

5. Hanging out with Kevin

6. Playing with our cats Simon, Herman Munster, and Lil’ Kitty

7. Cutting out and organizing magazine photo collage

8. Buying and playing with new electronics

9. Spending time and laughing with friends

10.  Technology

11. Helping out & giving back through my work, service, leadership

12. Collecting and playing with toys, trinkets

13. Buying IKEA furniture

14. The smell of grungepaper

15. Taking and sharing photos

16. Watching television

17. Going to Five Guys

18. Getting new art materials

19. Creating and sharing new ideas

20. Finding hope and inspiration in creativity

21. Relaxing

22. Collecting skulls, calaveras

23.  Troublemaking and scheming

24. Eating Kevin’s mac & cheese

25. Plan B daydreaming

26. Writing

27. Pandora listening

28. Pepsi drinking

29. Eating popcorn with lots o’ butter & salt

30. My iPhone and app fun

31. Playing with distressed ink

32. Listening to satelite radio in my car

33. Being on a real vacation

34. Kevin’s grilling

35. Birthday cupcake making

36. Watching b-movies

37. Reading about zombie culture

38.  Laughing

39. Family get togethers

40. Reading letters from my niece

41. Creating or exchanging art with others

42. blackjack playing

43. Nacho eating

44. Wordle making

45.  Flying my freak flag

46. Youtube watching

47. Video making

48. Going to Vegas

49.  Drinking iced mochas and frappucinos

50.  Maryjane shoe shopping

365 Grateful

I recently discovered Hailey Bartholomew’s 365 Grateful Project, where Hailey took one Polaroid photo a day of something she felt grateful for in an effort to fight depression.

The project is now being worked into a documentary to share Bartholomew’s inspiring personal journey and to feature the impact of practicing gratitude in people’s daily lives. Check out more here: from hailey bartholomew on Vimeo.

More than any other time of year, July always reminds me of what I am grateful for and giving thanks for the last 365 days.

I have been keeping up with my gratitude list and wordle making.  This is my latest Gratitude Wordle:

Trauma Stewardship, Gratitude, and Wordle Making

One of my gratitude wordles

Earlier this month I attended a workshop with trauma worker and author of Trauma Stewardship, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky who spent the day speaking to a group of local agencies and offering important considerations related to self-care and well being when exposed to and involved with trauma work.  This all day training based on Lipsky’s book was excellent and provided a lot of nurturing, mindful, and practical reflections and tools that will be very helpful connected to the trauma work I do with children, women, and families.

I really enjoyed Lipsky’s content that focused on gratitude as a way to create and maintain a sense of balance in our personal lives and work.  She writes, “locating something to be thankful for at all times is an essential part of trauma stewardship” and that this mindfulness practice can help reframe our experience of often overwhelming, challenging, and difficult work.  “Remind yourself that while the offering may seem endless, so is what we have to be grateful for; it just might be less obvious and take a more creative approach to find it” (pp. 223, van DerNoot Lipsky, 2009).

One of the many takeaways from that day that I have started to incorporate into my daily practice included Lipsky’s suggestion to set “gratitude alarms” on our mobile phone to go off three times a day to help provide a sensory reminder and alert to take time throughout our busy daily activities to reflect on thankfulness. I have set my iPhone for morning, afternoon, and evening gratitude alarms, which has been a rewarding experience. When the alarms go off and I am often in the middle of something, I am forced to go to my phone, recognize the alarm’s intention, and in that moment take time to simply reflect on what I am grateful for.  I must say it really has helped make my gratitude awareness stronger and create additional balance in my day to day life.

To support this process, I use the “notes” app on my phone to type in whatever thankfulness comes to mind and then save these reflections as an on-going mobile Gratitude e-List.  Throughout this week I have started to take words from my list to create Gratitude Wordles as a creative and fun way to express and visually focus on my gratitude words.  I have also been experimenting with the app Word Clouder for creating mobile gratitude word clouds on the go!

References:  Trauma stewardship: An everyday guide to caring for self while caring for others.