Posts Tagged ‘strengths’

The Art of Emotional Resilience

April 17, 2014

 Last week I had some art therapy fun while visiting Wisconsin again.  My first stop was a return to Edgewood College in Madison to spend some creative time with Janice Havlena and her students (ECATS- Edgewood College Art Therapy Students). Since my last visit to Edgewood’s campus in 2011, the art therapy department is now part of a brand new building (The Stream!), which includes an amazing papermaking and mixed media studio inside and a beautiful view of Lake Wingra outside.

edgewoodbuilding

During this visit, I facilitated an art-making workshop with the ECATS focused on making a mini book of strengths.  Janice had a great stash of abandoned art slides, which we re-purposed into an accordion style book. The plastic slide mount surface was also perfect to introduce the joy of playing with alcohol inks!  🙂

edgewood1

edgewood2

If you want to learn more about how to create your own accordion slide mount book, check out this past post.

slidebook4

Identifying a variety of strengths were explored on the altered “pages” of the slide mounts , inspired by these Signature Strengths.  Remembering and activating our strengths can be a helpful way to empower us in times of challenge and distress.

It was awesome to witness the student’s books take form with these positive reminders.  Many thanks to Janice and all the students for hanging out and making art together!

10258167_10201902056019033_6374864332366183905_n

After my visit at Edgewood College, I headed to Milwaukee to attend this year’s Spring Art Therapy Symposium, The Image Has It: Art, Practice, and the Brain at Mount Mary University, also sponsored by the Wisconsin Art Therapy Association.  The Symposium’s keynote featured Lukasz Konopka, MD & Chris Belkofer PhD, ATR-BC who spoke about their neuroscience research and its implications for art therapy.

I also attended a variety of other inspiring art therapy presentations from Noel L’Esperance, Lori Mackey, Lynn Kapitan, and Bruce Moon…

mmusymposium

I was excited to be able to offer a workshop introducing trauma-informed themes, prompts, and the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for nurturing and strengthening emotional resilience.  We made mini-art journals (also an accordion book style!) to safely contain inside a matchbox to explore the importance of social support and community:

SafePassageArtJournal

groupSafePassage

If you want to create your own mini matchbox art journal, here’s a simple how to PDF that you can download and print out:

artjournalmatchox

I really had a nice time while in Wisconsin on these art therapy adventures!  I’ve returned with new inspiration and energy, which is always a great win-win!

******

More Inspiration & Resources!

On Resilience, Strengths and Gratitude [Art Journal Pages]

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling and More Creative Goodness

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

June 9, 2013

I have been working on another spread in my art journal dedicated to self-care. This adventure launched a few weeks ago, as a safe space for me to explore some trauma informed concepts and creative resources related to the topic of self care.

My first couple of pages focused on gratitude, as well as creating a self-care proclamation, and these new pages explore affirmation as another tool for self-care.

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation | creativity in motion

My inspiration and resources for these pages came from Jocelyn Paige Kelly’s interview with author Janet Nestor (Pathways to Wholeness and Nuturing Wellness through Radical Self-Care) and her reflections about the benefits of affirmations on our well-being, as well as this Life Book art journaling prompt from Dawn DeVries Sokol about identifying positive self words. I also re-visited Lesson 2 from Lani Gerity’s Happy Artist’s Life (showing gratitude to our strengths!).

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Self Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Reflecting on positive thoughts, inspiration, and strengths is always a valuable process for me to return to. I think the expression and viewing in a visual, artsy form, (i.e. my art journal) that I can keep handy & accessible increases this benefit. This process helps re-focus and re-frame the challenges of my day to day practice with good vibes and intention important to my professional self-care.

Janet Nestor shares these thoughts in her Realizing Your Creative Life interview:

“Affirmations help us develop and maintain a positive lifestyle. We can create new brain neuropathways with our positive thoughts, and affirmations speed up the process. “Neurons that fire together wire together” illustrates what happens when similar thoughts are repeated over and over again.”

Here’s to the power of positive thought and art-making combined! And the awesome impact this can have on our neuropathways for self-care!

MRI Digital Art for My Own Beautiful, but Altered Brain

June 13, 2012

Here are the first eight digital art images I’ve created with my MRI scans for My Own Beautiful, but Altered Brain:

First I photographed some sections of my old MRI films, then used photo editing software to transform the photo into digital art.

I really enjoyed the creative process of altering these scans. The process of experimenting & transforming each image provided me with an openness and freedom to explore different themes in a way that I couldn’t before.

As I faced each image and reflected on my experiences, I started to focus on those personal strengths that I believe have helped me the most in times of need related to managing illness: hope, bravery, learning, perseverance, and gratitude.

To my surprise I started to view these images, my driving need to create them, and my overall experience as a celebration of so many important things related to support, treatment, trying to stay healthy, active, being positive, gratitude, and balancing life.

I thought about everything I’ve been able to do, enjoy, create, give back to, and appreciate since my diagnosis 10 years ago.  While it hasn’t all been easy and can surface feelings of denial, isolation, frustration, worry, and uncertainty, there’s still lots for me to be thankful for.  These images are a reflection of that.

 My experience has inspired & contributed to making choices & doing things I didn’t think I could do, but I did- and it’s all good!

A big part of helping to be able to start this process of art-making with my MRI scans has been the inspiration of Elizabeth Jameson and her art, so this is definitely worth another mention. I’ve so admired her work, story, and advocacy from a distance via the Internet for awhile, but throughout the last few months I’ve enjoyed an e-mail correspondence with Elizabeth which continues to motivate me even further, has helped with additional reflection about how one views illness & has put much into perspective for me. Very grateful for this connection and support!

I hope to continue to develop this series further through perhaps using the images to create an altered book, a video or maybe use for some digital storytelling content. Making progress… 🙂

Creative Compass of Hope: Happy Artist’s Life Navigating, Reflecting

February 4, 2012

I have been starting to take in and review everything from Lani Gerity’s 6 Easy Lesson’s for a Happy Artist’s Life adventure in 6 Degrees of Creativity and now up to working on Lesson 5.  I am already very interested in one of this lesson’s concepts of walking through all the previous lessons to make observations and insights about my journey so far.

I have been reflecting about how much growth and awareness the lessons, Lani’s inspiration, and the Happy Artist’s Life community on 6 Degrees of Creativity have offered throughout the last few months around all the content being offered in this workshop.  I am still working on my lesson review, but so far I’ve already noticed image themes connected to happiness & my exploration of this in relationship to personal growth, time, direction, and sustaining a strong message of hope.

My next art journal page: My Creative Compass of Hope is dedicated to the lessons and concepts that have navigated me throughout all of Lani’s lessons exploring themes of kindness, goodness, resilience, and strengths.

I can’t wait to share more of my art journal from this workshop, as I finish up this lesson and more of my reflections.

If you’re interested in learning more about Lani’s Lessons check out Lani’s 14 Secrets Blog and on Facebook (14 Secrets for a Happy Artist’s Life) to keep connected to her wonderful community of inspiration and creativity!

On Resilience, Strengths and Gratitude [Art Journal Pages]

November 1, 2011

I’ve been busy art journaling my way through 6 Easy Lessons for a Happy Artist’s Life and Lesson 2, which focuses on finding your strengths and exploring how strengths can be a source of resilience during difficult times.  Lani‘s second lesson highlights the work of Positive Psychologist Martin Seligman who identified 24 signature strengths and traits valuable to human culture.  Working on this lesson was a really powerful experience for me.  It challenged me to think about hard moments from a strength based perspective and what traits are core to helping me not just cope/survive, but to also thrive.

Here’s a series of spreads showing gratitude to my top 5 strengths (Belief Strengths Test):

Showing Gratitude to My Strengths

Hope

Creativity

Humor

Leadership

Courage

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling and More Creative Goodness

October 23, 2011

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!

%d bloggers like this: