As the Sufi mystical poet Rumi wonders—why don’t you open to the energy of this Sun within you
(and to the beautiful synchronicity around you)
It’s no coincidence* as my mentor/collaborator/best-selling author/friend Janet Conner and I have been working this year’s new content for our course—Express Your Soul’s Beauty—that I keep hearing the beautiful song written by Kathleen, one of last year’s participants. That song’s beauty continues to reach out sending a vibration of love for it’s creator—and for anyone else who hears with an open heart. (*coincidence is a meek word we use when we’re too afraid to say it like it is – divine synchronicity)
The song and everything else that opened for participants in last year’s course confirms what I know to be true—Your creativity has the joy-filled force of the whole universe behind it! All you need do is get out of your own way, and—open, open, open. That’s what the full expression of you means.
Janet and I continue to open, with joy-filled heARTs to our own fuller expression. We change. The course changes, grows and blossoms along with us. We know how important it is right now to open and respond to the energy of creation. This is a time of intense shifts and change for everyone. Those changes can be life-affirming if we learn work in partnership with our authentic self, and in partnership with the universe’s natural creative cycles.
If we are co-creators with the full force of the universe as our fuel. All we need to do is develop a personal creative practice to cultivate and fine tune the tools we have as our birthright. These tools will help us to access our creative power with ease. That’s what Express Your Soul’s Beauty does!
Each week Janet and I share what’s in our toolbox and in the toolbox of the voices of love around us. We co-create in our Express Your Soul’s Beauty sacred circle, and each one of us leaves our gatherings with new inspiration and new tools to consider adding to our lives. Opening to the fuller expression of you helps you to open to the bigger “song” you are here on the planet at this important time to sing!
It’s also no coincidence that this morning my husband emailed a poem I had shared with him many months ago. Its written by the Sufi mystical poet, Rumi—and, guess what, it’s really a poem about—Opening to the full expression of you! It’s about using it, burning it – to fuel the creative fire that is your joy-filled life.
You sit here for days saying,
This is strange business.
You’re the strange business, You
have the energy of the sun in you,
but you keep knotting it up
at the base of your spine.
You’re some weird kind of gold
that wants to stay melted
in the furnace, so you won’t have to
Say ONE in your lonesome house.
Loving all the rest is hiding
inside a lie.
on so many kinds of wine.
Taste this, It won’t
make you wild.
It’s fire. Give up,
if you don’t understand
by this time
that your living is firewood.
This wave of talking builds.
Better we should not speak,
but let it grow within.
This is the kind of joyful synchronicity that your life is full of once you open. Janet and I know the perfect people will be drawn to our course, you might be one of them if this idea sounds full of joy to you!
The soulful, best-selling author, Janet Conner and I are fine-tuning the content in our online course, Express Your Soul’s Beauty, Opening to the full expression of you.
The course registration is open NOW
Our 10 week journey into the creative heart begins on Wednesday, August 9th and continues until October 4th.
Because Janet and I know there is no creativity course like Express Your Soul’s Beauty, we created a mini-class so you can see what our gatherings will be like and whether this is the sacred circle that is calling your name.
You can follow the link on my Resources page to sign up to receive your video recording free.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE COURSE
by clicking on the image below to SIGN up to RECEIVE
a link to your FREE Mini-Class
Last week marked the end of the 3rd Annual BEES (& the birds) Art Show & Craftmarket. I have organized the show for the last few years, and devoted many volunteer hours to raising money and awareness for my beloved friends the bees.
I want to say BIG THANK YOU to all the artists who participated in the show, to the show volunteers and sponsors @nemophilist_journals and @brihoy, and to all the people who came through the gallery to oooh and ahhh at the beautiful work there.
Once again the show raised awareness and money to help the bees—and that fulfilled our goal!
The @davidsuzukifdn will be receiving a cheque early next week for their bee program.
As I ponder and reflect on the history of the bee show, I realize how much has changed in the three years since we began. Three years ago, many of the people that walked into the gallery were unaware of the plight of the bees and other pollinators. What’s changed this year is that most of the people coming into the gallery are educated about what is putting bees in jeopardy.
Wow! Mission accomplished? Yes and no. I’m not sure whether I will do the show for a 4th year. If I do, it won’t be the same—because I know people are opening up to the WISDOM OF THE BEES.
What I know for sure is that moving forward I will need to start sharing more about my own sacred relationship with the Bees. Though I live in the city and am not able to be a bee steward (beekeeper) I heeded a call from the Bees a few years ago and walking that path has been a huge learning about trust and love.
I continue to trust and follow the prompts—the honeyed crumbs—beginning with creating and illustrating a Love the Bees Calendar, donating proceeds of my Bee themed art to help the Bees, training in an ancient Bee-centric Shamanic practice, Path of the Pollen—and for the past 3 years—curating an art show with 30 artists who donate part of their proceeds to help the Bees. This past year I also began to share more about Bee in my live and online art classes and it’s opened up a whole bunch of sweet creativity for people in my workshops.
In the meantime, I wanted to share the work of some other bee-autiful souls who work with Bee.
The first bee-utiful soul, is Debra Roberts of Holy Bee Press and in the video below you can hear her speak about Bee keeping as a Sacred Practice. As I can affirm, Debra says that, “…being around the Bees makes your life change alchemically for the better.” She is grateful for their teaching her about the inter-connectedness of life at work. The clarity when she emerges from the bee yard helps her notice and open to what’s around her, Debra says “The greater presence I have when I am around the Bees percolates into my life in other ways.”
Watch Debra’s video message below, thanks to KarmaTube!
Video from KarmaTube
The second bee-utiful soul is Matt Willey. Matt’s site is The Good of the Hive, and you can see some of his breathtaking larger than life murals there. He has been on a 10 year journey painting Bees!
Matt is an artist who is painting change, in his own words, “I just want to paint the bees and let people align with them. Let them fall in love with them and then things change.”
I’m delighted to announce a very special event—Rise Above, with Creative Visionary Whitney Freya. Whitney Freya, my friend and creative mentor, is in Toronto for one night only on Friday, May 26th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Shecosystem Co-working + Wellness.
Shecosystem (and me) Christine Pensa of Art That Moves present this evening of inspiration and creating with Whitney to celebrate the launch of her new book, Rise Above, Free Your Mind One Brushstroke at a Time.
You’ll hear Whitney’s inspirational, creative story, and her warm advice on how you can free your mind of limitations—and wield a paintbrush like a magic wand.
After her talk, you’ll pick up your magic paintbrush and paint your own set of wings. Whitney and Christine will create a safe and joy-filled space for your to explore—in Whitney’s words—new landscapes of possibility.
More about our guest . . .
Whitney Freya has been facilitating creative learning since 1996 when she opened the Creative Fitness Center. Since then, she has traveled globally as a creativity expert, published three books on personal creativity, including her latest book launching now, Rise Above, Free Your Mind One Brushstroke at a Time, and founded her Creatively Fit Coaching Certification Program to ensure as many people as possible remember their infinite creative nature in as supportive a way as possible.
Whitney has facilitated her process at The Esalen Institute, Burning Man, The Agape Spiritual Center, and creativity conferences in South Africa, Dubai, Canada and the United States. She has appeared on summits alongside Dr. Wayne Dyer, Donna Eden & more. Humanitarian News recognized Whitney for her work with Women for Women International. She lives in the “wild west” of NE Oregon with her three teenagers, who LOVE to “think creatively!” Learn and connect at www.whitneyfreya.com
About your hosts . . .
Emily Rose Antflick is Shecosystem’s founder and Chief Community Cultivator. With an M.A. in Education, Emily spent a decade teaching and creating transformative educational journeys in Canada and internationally. After experiencing a pervasive sense of depletion in her personal and professional life, Emily turned her attention to helping women like herself get unstuck and cultivate heart-centered communities that empower them to be their best selves. Emily proves that having a singular passion is not the only way to success; in addition to being an entrepreneur, she is a Rite of Passage facilitator, Permaculture Designer and dancer. Emily was a winner of the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund and has been profiled as a Women of Influence and a local feminist to watch.
Christine Pensa of Art That Moves knows first hand how powerfully inspiring Whitney Freya can be. Christine is one of Whitney’s Certified Creatively Fit Coach graduates and considers Whitney to be a friend and creative mentor. Christine is the illustrator and co-creator of, The Soul Discovery Coloring Book, published by Conari Press. A creative explorer, like her friends the bees, Christine searches out flowering fields with the best nectar and brings back the wonder and magic she finds there to participants in her classes live and online. Drawing on her own training and experiences as a practicing visual artist and Shamanic guide, Christine creates a space for everyone to explore and experience sacred art making in joy-filled, judgement-free zones.
$33 (General admission and includes all paint materials)
Shecosystem Co-working + Wellness
703 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario
What I know for sure is that creativity is part of your arsenal of healing tools when grief hits, and make no mistake, grief comes not just with a death.
Grief can take up residence in us when any loss occurs in our life.
There are the tangible ways of using creativity to help you to heal and release grief, and there are the intangible ways.
First of all, you have the power to create a place of your own where you will begin to heal your grief. You can create a comforting place to support yourself. Think about what that would look like for you. Is this space in your home? Does this space include time in nature? Does it mean simply turning off your email and phone for a few hours? Does it mean treating yourself to a massage to soothe your physical body? Can you claim a corner in your home as a safe haven, creating a soft space with a comfy chair, your favourite book and perhaps a scented candle. We tend to create a barrier to the expression of the pain of grief. By creating a safe place and space to express our grief, we allow ourselves to feel it and release it—bit by bit. Our grief is given permission to come from the shadows into the light.
When grief comes up, we often want to fix it quickly and easily. That has not been my experience of grief. Grief is a journey. It’s a journey to restore yourself.
What I’ve found is there is the visible part of grief that’s the tip of the iceberg. Then, there’s the vastness of the iceberg that lies below the surface and runs to the ocean’s floor. That part of my grief is often triggered by other moments of loss during my everyday life. This part of grief is really helped by art and mark making. Mark making exercises can help you name, claim and release these feelings, rather than push them further down into the depths of the ocean.
Bringing feelings of loss or grief to the surface by making them visible and tangible has always helped the visual learner in me to recognize and heal. I have found mark making lets me express at a deeper level than other creative forms like writing will.
It takes courage to grieve. Be gentle with yourself.
Do it in stages. Hold it softly. Honour where you are in the moment.
Take the time you need. When my mother died, I created a painting titled, First painting after my Mother’s death. At the time, it was painful and hard for me to look at. I put this painting into storage in a back corner of my Father’s basement for over 11 years. It’s only now that I am ready to reclaim it. I brought it home a couple of weeks ago, and it’s hanging in my home. It’s a reminder of how I ran through grief and was able to reclaim my own joy, while still honouring the journey and lessons grief brought me.
You don’t have to be an artist to embrace the power of your own creative mark making to heal grief.
Find out more about two grief releasing creative exercises I shared on
I was excited to be asked by Grief Guide, Uma Girish, to be a guest on her podcast, The Grammar of Grief. Uma is one of the founders of the International Grief Council, and the author of two insight-filled books on grief, Understanding Death, and, Losing Amma, Finding Home.
Uma and I had a fantastic discussion on her podcast about the power of creativity to help heal and release grief. In the half hour episode, I walked her through two creative meditative exercises—creating a Grief Mandala, and a grief mask. Both the can easily be done with simple supplies. I invite you to listen and open your creative heART to the opportunity to release. Listen here to experience the two exercises. I know you’ll want to subscribe to her podcast to hear the depth and breadth of Uma’s expertise on a regular basis!
Reminder: If you want to know more about reclaiming your mark making delight—not only as a way to help you work through grief—but as a practice to bring the joy of creative expression into your life—you can book a Creative Clarity session with me via Skype. Together we can create a bespoke program to help you move through
More musings on the visual nature of grief
I wanted to share my first experience of the healing power of visual expression to release grief. I think you’ll agree the two paintings (below) I made in the time after my Mother’s death are remarkable in that they visually reflect the journey I was on.
The first painting below on the left was titled, First painting after my Mother’s death. Though it was available at a couple of shows I did many years ago, it never sold. I’m glad because now it hangs in my home and brings me great satisfaction. Full disclosure: it took me over 11 years to bring that painting home and love it. The woman in the painting is running from everything falling down around her. Her eyes are closed because she doesn’t want to be present. I remember that woman. I know her journey and I know she comes out of it to a life of joy!
The second painting below on the right was titled, Second painting after my Mother’s death. This painting sold immediately and I was asked over and over if it was still available. The image in the second painting is much easier to embrace for sure. The woman isn’t quite yet full of joy, but she is opening to the next part of her life and to all that it will bring. She is feeling a little battered still, but she is ready to move forward.
What strikes me so many years later is how I have circled back to send all of my love to both these women who represent my grief. They fill me with peace. I believe I’m at peace because I released my grief through art making, through movement, through mindfulness, whatever means came to me in the moment. I allowed my grief to bubble up in small pieces, in larger pieces, and then I allowed it to move through me. I expressed it. I expressed it without sending it. I invite you to feel the important distinction in the spaces between sending and expressing. I invite you to experience the releasing power of art or mark making to allow your grief to express.