Color Me FRIENDS

Really looking forward to the new community group we’re calling Color Me FRIENDS!  So many folks around the world are finding adult coloring a way to lower stress while at the same time stimulate creativity!  Excitement is building for our group meetings that will take place on the first Wednesday evening of each month beginning October 7th…. I am going to be posting artwork on my blog regularly. If you are interested in joining us from a distance, just send me a photo of your coloring work and I’ll post it to our coloring facebook page & I’ll invite you to the fb group.  It’ll be a great way to stay connected and encourage a CREATIVE CULTURE in our communities. Send Photos Here

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Creativity in the transitions…

Hostess, Eileen & Facilitator, Morgan working intuitively with acrylic inks on yupo

Hostess, Eileen & Conversation Facilitator, Morgan work intuitively with acrylic inks on yupo paper… This creative session was just one of several soul nourishing  experiences we had on our weekend on Whidbey Island, WA in June.  There’s just so much value in fostering one’s creativity especially in times of transition when we are looking for insight, exploring new territory and starting new things.  Replenishing our creative resources rejuvenates us and gives us fresh “eyes to see” the possibilities that lie ahead.    I was so happy to be able to meet the 7 dynamic ladies who participated and share my creative direction.

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Eileen explored all the possibilities at her fingertips.

 

Going with the Flow ~

FullSizeRender It was great experimenting with acrylic inks on yupo paper!  I’ve never worked with it before and found I definitely was “going with the flow”!  It was fun to see the effects of spraying water and sprinkling salt.  I’ll be sharing this process with a group of ladies this weekend.  It’ll be the “ice-breaker” for getting to know each other.  I love meeting new folks – especially from different cultures.  You can imagine how excited I am about this opportunity to travel to Whidbey Island.  I’ll be flying into Seattle, WA and taking a ferry to Whidbey.  Amazing.  I’m going to get some great pics on location and of the artwork we’ll be creating.  It’s a privilege for me to contribute to this weekend that author and photographer, Morgan McKenna, will be facilitating.  I’m to bring creative reflections as a way to respond to the topics we’ll be discussing.  Can’t wait!

Your Part of the Whole

Grace was given to each one of us

according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:7

   In his excellent book, Eternal Echoes, John O’Donohue writes this, “… for as soon as you rest in the house of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world.”  Engaging with the rest of the world in a rich and positive way depends on being at home with yourself by yourself.  Your home is within yourself.

   We are created with that sense of home within ourselves.  The life within us, the full sense of who we are, is placed within us when we were “fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)”.  The grace, or gift, which is within you and describes you, was woven into your life by Jesus when you were first created.  Ironically, when we most deeply settle into that identity and gift we can feel the most alone.  It is that very gift and identity, and the way we uniquely live it out, which opens up the rest of the world to us.  Instead of connecting with others so as to not be alone, we begin connecting to others in a very real way.  It is also a connection that opens up our powerful flow of creativity.

   The more you are at home with yourself, the more you will have a sense of belonging with others.  The more you connect with others out of your own identity, the more real and life-giving those relationships will be.  The more you connect with others, the more you will find new ways to express yourself in new, creative ways expressing who you have been all along.  God created us to creatively give and receive that level of encouragement and affirmation.

John Maher

Values Over Time.001What you love to do is directly related to your core values… and core values are so very important in creating a life worth living!

In a recent art & spirituality session, attendees created an “accordion” book recording significant events over time.  Using personal photographs, magazine clippings and found objects, beautiful papers and ribbon, a timeline was created and a story told.  Telling our stories and re-telling them in creative ways gave new meaning and restoration to our lives.

I recommend this creative activity to everyone to try!  Visualize two or three happy memories and start your time line.  As pleasant memories come to mind, identify important values that run through your journey from the earliest memories and into the future.  You will find that these values are like “golden threads” woven through special occasions and relationships.  As you identify and hold on to them, they can provide hope for the future ~ they are at the very core of what you were born to love to do!

What do you love to do?

Beauty Within

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When the ladies arrived for art therapy for their very first session, I had them randomly select an image of a flower from magazine clippings. We would use this image as the center focus and create a mandala.  To get focused, I led a guided visual meditation I call “A Seed in the Desert”.  The idea is that this “seed” sprouts and grows into a beautiful flower representing our lives if we will nourish the seed.  The mandala shown here was done by an offender who was able to “see” beyond her desert environment and imagine the possibilities for her future.  Is there a seed in a desert place of your life that is ready to sprout and bloom? Why not visualize it and explore the possibilities today?

Arts & Hearts

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“”Live Life” is the work of an offender at Virginia Correction Center for Women.  This artwork is one of my favorites of the zendoodle art we’ve done together over the past 6 months since beginning the art therapy program.  I must keep the artist’ name confidential, but I can tell you she is very proud of the progress she has made in dealing with stress and anger through the use of art and art therapy.  Her artwork shows her pondering on living her life from a heart of love and life.

There are 26 women in two groups meeting with me every Wednesday.  It’s the highlight of my week and I’ve been told that these ladies don’t want to miss a session!  This past week we began a theme I call “Whole-hearted”, and asked the ladies what that meant to them.  We had lots of great responses… being totally committed, fully present, and able to embrace your whole self.  I like that. I led a visual meditation on being whole-hearted. It was powerful… imagery burst forth from each of the participants with stories that were to unfold.  This week we’ll create the images in their art journal – mixed media collages with watercolor and ink…. and of course, candy hearts!  I’ll be sure to post them for you to see, too!

What’s that sound?

 

Last week in my art therapy group at the Virginia Correction Center for Women we used the visual image and symbolism of bells –  an appropriate image for the Christmas season, I thought.  We considered the purposes of different kinds of bells, their tones and volume in communicating, and how various groups might recognize the quality of each specific sound.  The bell symbol helped us to focus on the sound of our own voices and what we want to draw attention to by our tone when we are communicating.   It was a good discussion for these ladies who often feel like they have no voice.  This topic was a springboard for working in our art journals – drawing and writing about our voices.

We’ve been able to share like this as we create art at the prison each week.  Art and music therapy are well known agents of healing and stress management.  Studies are showing the benefits help in resolving grief, trauma, loss, and even in the prevention of dementia. In the field of Corrections, it is thought to help reduce recidivism.  I am so thankful to be able to share my art and coaching skills with over 30 ladies at VCCW each week.  They tell me they love being in this program and see how it’s really making a difference for them.  Have you thought about the sound of your voice?

The First Time

My husband, John, and I often spend our early mornings talking over coffee. We talk about the things we value, such as our family, our ministries, and our future goals.  Of course, encouraging anyone we can to learn to recognize God’s voice is one of the most exciting and beneficial topics we could ever share.   There are so many ways to hear God’s voice, and so many good things come into being when we act upon what He says to us.    I think you’ll like what John has to say on this subject taken from Psalm 29:9.

The First Time  ~  by John Maher

The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth….    Psalm 29:9

John O’Donohue writes that home is the place where you see things for the first time (Eternal Echoes: Critical Reflections on Our Need to Belong, pg 31).  I would add a similar observation: Home is where you hear things for the first time. In one very real sense, following Jesus is putting yourself into the position to see and hear things for the first time.   In Psalm 29:9 cited above we can see the results of the sound of the voice of the Lord.  Hearing His voice can cause new things to be born.  New ministries, new forgiveness, new courage, new relationships, new power, etc., et. may be born at the sound of the voice of the Lord.  It is the birth of these new aspects of the kingdom of God that may be the flow of living water coming from the spirit of believers as Jesus described (John 7:39).  The sound of many waters (Revelation 14:2) may very well be the gathering of the church in a way that many new ministries and empowerments of the Spirit are born.

All of this means putting ourselves into the position to see and hear things from the Spirit of God.  Many of those things we will be hearing for the first time.

One more very transforming dynamic is at play when we put ourselves into the position to see and hear things for the first time.  We know we are where we belong.  Just as it is in our physical lives where we see and hear things for the first time as infants in our home where we belong,  so in our spiritual lives every time we see and hear things of Jesus and His great mercy we know we are home where we belong.

Take a moment and put yourself into the position to see and hear from the Spirit of God.  Consider what new things you might see and hear.  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.