Jun
1

Moving through emotions—creatively (a.k.a. no regrets)

Oh boy, today is the first day of the second half of the year, or,

how I was woken up two nights ago by a pain in my heart.

I immediately identified this pain wasn't physical, it was emotional. I was feeling a deep sorrow in my chest, and the word that leapt out at me—was regret. It's halfway through 2017 and the panic hit me—I clearly have not done enough. I have not accomplished enough. I personally am just not enough! Why haven't I done MORE!

I want to share my creative process with you because I think it may help when you get hit with a strong unresolved emotion you are ready to clear.

 

The power of this emotional pain literally propelled me from my bed. I went into my bathroom for privacy, and to spare my husband the sleep disruption. There I spent several minutes breathing the feeling in. Deeply inhaling it in. Yuck. Not tasty or life affirming at all, but it's what I was feeling. I knew in order to let it move through, I had to really feel it first. I felt the sorrow come up. The self accusations rose, "Hey you! You haven't done enough and the year is half gone! Get a move on. What are you waiting for?!"

Of course these feelings are not entirely true. They are ones that have a grain of truth, but then get blown up in my mind as they are fed by unresolved patterns from the past.

Once I breathed and I felt the old pattern in all it's ugliness and intensity, I used a technique I learned around letting go of unpleasant dreams. I breathed the feeling through my body, into my womb, and then released/grounded/breathed it into the Earth. I thanked the Earth for transmuting it's energy. I had to do this circuit many times before I even felt I had made a dent in this emotion. It felt big, but I was tired and went back to sleep.

I woke in the morning knowing I wasn't done with this regret thing. This old pattern is a persistent one. Since I have been training in Shamanic studies for the last few years, my go to for healing answers is a Shamanic Journey. I went into a Shamanic Journey to ask who might help me release this pattern. You don't have to do a journey. You could just as easily slip into a meditation, or take a walk in nature to find your healing answers. In my journey, I met with the Element of FIRE. Fire led me on a beautiful cleansing burn, and I saw visions of how the forest floor is purified by fire, so the beautiful little shoots can find their way up through what has been released. This healing journey was felt in my bones and showed me how to release the pattern of regret, so I can birth those lovely flowers that are ready to blossom around me. I am grateful for the healing and transmuting power of fire.

Taking it further . . .

 

I could have ended there, but I knew regret might come knocking again. It didn't feel finished with me. This is where sacred art and creating comes in. Having a visual to express all that I went through, and to remind me to keep releasing.

I choose to do a simple pen drawing in my journal. You can see it has all the elements of my dance with regret. The pain in my heart, the fire, the release into the Earth (when I drew this I realized the Earth received this with love - so I drew a heart), the new seeds and shoots that are fed and blossom because of the release.

   

 

Doodle, sketch or paint to recognize and release your stuck emotions.

 

Doing even a simple drawing like this helps me to integrate the process for several reasons:

  1. I know mark or art making can bring deeper insights into the emotion or problem I am facing.

  2. Creating is a physical process, so the learning has time to sink into my physical being.

  3. Having a visual expression means I will have something tangible to refer to. I can display my drawing by my desk, my bedside or anywhere else I know I will glance at it during the course of my week.

This creative drawing process can be done to work through any emotion or feeling. The drawing doesn't have to be complicated. You can colour it in or not depending on how much time you have. If it feels bigger, you can consider painting it, or writing about it.

     

May all your emotions be released with ease and may the

new seeds you have planted blossom!

         

SURVEY & GIVEAWAY

I am about to film some on demand art and soul classes for my website and would appreciate your advice and input. I have created a short survey here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YK2XNY5
The survey should take 5 minutes. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a draw to win one of two copies of The Soul Discovery Coloring Book (shipping to Canada and U.S. only) with my thanks!
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May
18

Rise Above, with Creative Visionary Whitney Freya

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.

EVENT TICKETS

Eventbrite

$33 (General admission and includes all paint materials)

Shecosystem Co-working + Wellness

703 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario

     

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May
2

Creative approaches to GRIEF with Uma Girish

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

The Grammar of Grief podcast with Uma Girish

   

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.    

             

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Apr
11

Bees (& the Birds) Art Show

The CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THE 2017 SHOW IS NOW CLOSED

STAY tuned for info on the 3RD ANNUAL

Bees (& the birds) Show 2017

Artists helping pollinators! #artistssavethebees #artistshelpingpollinators #beesandthebirdsartshow2017

   

The show will be held once again at the TEST Gallery (Graven Feather Gallery) 906 Queen St. W., Toronto from JUNE 7th to JUNE 20th, 2017.

SHOW HOURS:

Wednesday, June 7 12-5,

Thursday, June 8 12-7

Opening night reception 5-8

Friday, June 9 12-7

Saturday, June 10 12-6

Sunday, June 11 12-6

Wednesday, June 14 12-5

Thursday, June 15 12-7

Friday, June 16 12-7

Saturday, June 17 12-6

Sunday, June 18 12-6

CLOSING DAY Tuesday, June 20 12-5

   

Bees (& the Birds) Show runs June 7 to June 20, 2017

OPENING NIGHT JUNE 8th Our address is: TEST Gallery 906 Queen Street West Toronto, ON, M6J 1G9

   

SPECIAL EARTH DAY EVENT

We'll be at Patagonia Toronto (500 King Street West) to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and raise awareness about the bees. We'll be joined by the founder of the Heritage Bee Company, Debbie Gray, who will bring one of their hive boxes!

   

Scene from bee show 2016.

Scene from bee show 2015

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Mar
30

Sharing tools for your creative heART

Or, I get by with a little help from my creative friends . . .

3 NEW books you'll adore

PLUS 2 dreamy retreat ideas

 

April is an exciting month because Janet Conner & Whitney Freya have released their new books!

These two incredible women started as my mentors. Now they are my honoured friends.

I'm bursting with JOY to see them soar with the launches of their NEW books!

I know you will want to order both ASAP.

 

 

Janet Conner

I was delighted to co-create, The Soul Discovery Coloring Book, with Janet last year. That joyful collaboration led to an online course, Express Your Soul's Beauty, and that led to the cementing of our deep friendship. It's not just me though, Janet inspires everyone she meets. Janet invites her readers and participants in her class to—explore the fields of the soul—together. Janet's latest of 7 books is a call to go beyond knowing your soul's purpose—to finally live your dreams. Janet has a gift for leading readers on a step by step joyful, and sacred journey. Buy Janet's book.        

Whitney Freya

I met Whitney Freya online several years ago when I completed her Creatively Fit Coaching program, and then in person at a coaches' retreat. Whitney's zest for life and creativity matches my own, and she inspires people everyday to pick up a paintbrush and express themselves. Whitney's joy and energy are contagious. Whitney says paintbrushes are—magic wands, guiding you into new landscapes of possibility. Rise Above is a creative guide to free your mind from limitation. In this, her 3rd book, Whitney invites readers paint with energy and intention. Great bonus is you pre-order, you'll receive an immediate download of the book!     Buy Whitney's book.              

   

AND you'll also want to order this one!

Erin Klassen

        When Etsy Canada invited me to go to Nunavut in 2015, I knew it would be a life-changing experience. What I didn't know is that Erin Klassen and I, despite our age difference, would find a sister kinship that fills my heart. Erin is a master facilitator, creator, publisher—and talented writer—bringing the work of 17 co-collaborators together to create magic. This is Erin's 2nd book featuring a collection of poetry, prose and art. You Care Too Much explores the question of "self care," with universal healing truth bombs. Buy Erin's book.          

AND Speaking of Self Care . . .

. . . 2 great ideas for your own nourishing self care

LIVE and ONLINE

  Emma Kupu Mitchell and I are offering our second online course, Elemental Self Care. I am delighted to partner with Emma once again! Emma shares her expertise and experience guiding people on multi-sensory soul journeys with course participants. I bring the nectar gathered from my Shamanic experiences and ground them in creative exercises. (More INFO)

This course if about bringing HARMONY into your busy life using creative exercises, breathing and mindfulness practice, sacred community, sound healing and more.

Participants in the first course loved the journey, and they wanted more, so we've extended the course from 4 weeks to 6 weeks.

Join us on May 14, 2017 and take time to nourish yourself in a sacred circle of like-minded women.

REGISTER HERE.

 

LOOKING FOR AN IN PERSON RETREAT?

NURTURE yourself in Roches Point on Lake Simcoe, Ontario

 

Erin Klassen introduced me to the gorgeous retreats created by Sonja Seilor. Seilor's mandate at Nurture is to provide creative sanctuary & self care for entrepreneurs via retreats and curated experiences.

My words cannot begin to do just to the exquisite world Seilor has created there. Go to her website—better still—sign up for her upcoming Spring retreat April 25 to 27, 2017.

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