Thursday, April 30, 2015

Honor today's space, continued...

Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC photo

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

I have always been an overachiever in my life. I learned from my childhood that actions speak louder than words and somehow I attached worth to these actions. This set my life bar to an extraordinary level. As I embraced adulthood, I didn’t have any time for the ordinary.

A life that is full of achievement must be balanced by some normalcy (whatever this means to the individual). For me, it meant downtime. I needed time to breathe and space to just be in the moment although I didn’t know the criticalness of this "ordinary space" to my wellbeing at the time.

A lack of this ultimately caused me to sacrifice my health and eventually since I didn’t sit still for any length of time, the universe forced a shift upon me.

If you follow my column you know I had lost my father and my job a few months later and this caused me, involuntarily/unwillingly, to find the present giftwrapped in the ordinary. It was during these times of nothing that I found so much of something; the treasures that were dormant and found deep within me. This space enabled me to see the big picture of my life more clearly.

I was able to gain clarity of my soul-work and step onto a path to recovery.

Today, I see God in all aspects of my life. I have gained an appreciation for the ordinary and, I know for sure, this balances the achievements, which I still strive for but in a more realistic way.

How does the ordinary sit with you? Leave me a comment, I’m curious.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Feelings pyramid, continued...

Photo pulled from

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:'s article instructions for a Feelings Pyramid continued,

Use a blank piece of white scrapbook paper

I turn on my instrumental or nature sounds music

In the center I draw a large pyramid I then try to identify the feelings I am experiencing that are most intense. The most intense is at the bottom and by the time I work my way up the pyramid I usually find that I am dealing with 5-6 emotions at the same time.

I then get out my bold markers and start coloring in the pyramid and allowing myself to really ‘feel’ that emotion and by the time I fill the space I can then release that emotion. I continue to work my way through each of the emotions allowing myself to feel and release each one.

After I have filled the pyramid, in the white space around the pyramid I draw Wellness Tools that I can use to start to heal. I use mostly simple drawings made with fine markers or sometimes pictures from old magazines or photos and fill my page with Wellness Tools. As I begin to take control of my life again by drawing choices I can take it is not uncommon for me to use a green or blue marker to interconnect the different Wellness Tools so that I can begin to feel their interconnection.

I will usually spend about one-one and a half to two hours allowing myself to honor and release these very intense feelings.

Wellness Tools I choose at these times vary: Whether it is having a cup of herbal tea as I write a letter to my daughter I lost (I have two boxes full of them), writing a poem or story, calling a supporter, calling the pastor who runs our grief group, leaving the house to have comfort food or soup, or just going for a walk through the Five Senses Garden with my husband I end up feeling more connected afterwards and less anxiety about the next steps towards reclaiming my wellness.”

When we’re feeling down we need to jump into this trench surrender to the feelings and work through them. We must decide enough is enough and take control by processing our feelings and then make an effort to express them as healthy as possible. Creative expression such as that offered through the Feelings Pyramid is a way to do this.

To be human is to feel. We have to face our emotions in order to process them. But, we also have to dive into them to understand the source of our feelings. This self-awareness can keep us from self-sabotaging our efforts. Remember your mind triggers your emotions; positive thinking can help you to gain control of your feelings. This doesn’t mean you will not be presented with sorrow but it does mean your outlook, during any hardship, will shine light into the darkness; positive thinking shifts the energy by honoring the space and by minimizes the negative impact!    

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC painting exercise

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

I did this exercise in my Expressive Art Therapy course and I believe it has made a difference in my life. Even the pain from a migraine lessons its hold when I practice this process.

I realize it might be a bit hokey pokey for some but if there is a chance it can help, why not give it a try?

I’ve included my photo above when I first did the work; I used the exercise to depict my migraine and it did soothe it; the drawing is prior to the meditation/release.

While I was researching my topic, I came across the below detail about stress, I found it worthwhile to share.

“Stress Spot: Your Nervous System 
When you're stressed, hormones flood your body, helping you focus your attention, sharpening your vision, and preparing your muscles to take action.

The Fix: Tap the power.
For short periods, facing adversity can energize you to handle challenges. Recently, University at Buffalo researchers monitoring 2,398 people found that those who'd experienced some adversity scored higher on measures of mental health and life satisfaction than those who'd seen either high levels of adversity or none at all.
‘In moderation, whatever doesn't kill us may indeed make us stronger,’ says study author Mark Seery, Ph.D.

Stress Spot: Your Muscles 
Neck and back tension caused by mental stress, plus long days spent hunched over a computer keyboard, can trigger pain.

The Fix: Try the corner stretch.
Stand facing the corner of a room. Raise your elbows to shoulder height, and place your forearms, elbows, and palms against each wall. Lean in to flex your chest and back muscles. Hold for 15 seconds, breathing deeply. Do this every 2 hours or whenever you feel tight.

Stress Spot: Your Gut 
Increased stomach acid from stress can churn your gut and loosen your bowels. Stress can even alter the way your body processes fat, causing you to store more of it in your abdomen.

The Fix: Twist yourself into a pretzel and laugh, laugh, laugh.
"Laughter yoga" practitioners swear that combining yogic breathing and stretching techniques with forced laughter helps them cope better with life's stresses. Studies have already demonstrated the ability of yoga to ease stress and lower blood pressure. And laughing appears to do the same. For example: Two reports presented at the 2009 American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting showed that people who watched comedies had more-pliable blood vessels and improved bloodflow for up to 24 hours after the chuckling commenced.

Stress Spot: Your DNA 
Not only can stress make you flatulent, but it can screw with your DNA too. A 24-7 bath of stress hormones can cause telomeres to shorten. Telomeres are genetic structures that protect the ends of chromosomes; if they shorten too much, cells can no longer multiply.

Fix: Meditate.
A recent Harvard study found that the physiological response from meditation, tai chi, and breathing exercises can counteract cellular damage from stress.

Just breathe: How to meditate.” [How to meditate is linked to information on meditation]

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Eco-map, continued...

Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC photo

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Example of energy flow:

If you have someone in your life that is important to you, you draw a thick line from you in the center circle to this person’s circle and if it is a give and take relationship then you have arrows pointing both ways. If you are always asking for help but you do not give much support back the arrows would only be pointed towards the inner circle (to you). It is important to include any bad relationships in your life; dotted or fenced lines to show barriers or issues depict these. People can even put a deceased loved one in a circle if he or she still talks to them through prayer or out loud in hopes this person is still around in spirit although this would be an example of using a fenced line to represent a barrier. Another example might be a parent who is absent in your life or maybe it is someone who is incarcerated.

When the map is complete a lot of information can be derived from it, and many times this detail is life altering to the client.

It can highlight the energy vampires in your life; those people whom you continue to give and give without any support ever coming back. It can surface the relationships that you wish to strengthen; those you need to make more time for that you want to nurture. It can also show how isolated you are or how much you interface within your community; outside support and even giving back to the community makes for a better world a better place for us all. talks about how an eco-map can show and open or closed boundary in a family or close circle:

"Families who have flexible open boundaries have healthy relationships with people outside the family. They allow individual family members to develop independent relationships whilst maintaining family connections.
Families with closed boundaries have little contact with the outside world and tend to view the world with suspicion. Family members become enmeshed and sometimes depressed as there is no new input to energise relationships and thinking."

If you are feeling lonely or you are struggling with the relationships in your life an eco-map may be a helpful tool to utilize while you ponder the connections and decide if each one is healthy for you or not. Give it a try, what can it hurt?