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Art Therapy for Letting Go…

151215_014Art Therapy process for Letting Go, Grief and Loss

Life creates endless opportunities for change and transition. Change can renew feelings of possibility, excitement and joy. It can also evoke fear, nervousness and anticipation. How do we navigate these transitions in a safe way while stepping confidently forward towards the new?

We may want to hang on to what is known, even when part of us knows it no longer serves us.

We may miss the comfort and safety the ‘known’ brings.

We may miss the parts of ourselves that we identify as keeping us safe and necessary for our survival.

When we experience change and transition, there are supportive processes we can choose to work with to help us access our own strength and resources.

It may be that you have lost a loved one, ended a relationship, moved house, state or country. You are finishing employment, studies, or saying goodbye to patterns or coping strategies that no longer serve you. It may feel big or small, whatever it is, know, it is worthy of being seen, witnessed and supported.

Ritual is a powerful tool for honoring the process of change and transition. Below are some ritual suggestions. Your ritual process is unique to you so please adapt the suggestions below to include what feels right. The creative process is just that, a process, and the art making is not about what the art looks like at the end. Give yourself permission for it to be imperfectly perfect.

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Setting up

Set yourself some time, at least 1.5 – 2 hours of private uninterrupted time.

Turn off your phone, email or computer.

Support

You may like to invite someone close to you to support you in this process and witness the experience. Let them know what it is and what you might need throughout. It might be that you want them to just witness and listen, or you might like to ask for reflections from them or a cuddle. Let them know that you don’t need them to interpret it or solve anything, but just to be there with you. You can also do this by yourself.

Gather symbols

This is up to you, but I suggest that you find objects that represent what you are letting go of, and comforting objects that support you and nurture you, as well as objects that represent what you want to create more of in your life. These objects may be symbolic of the experiences you have had and that you want more of.

Gather art materials

I suggest pastels, pencils, textas, paper, scissors, or materials of your choice like fabric, needle & thread, clay, scrapbooking materials.

Setting up the space

The space supports you to explore and process, so setting up a sacred space is important. You might have some special fabric to set out, you may set out your materials, candles, crystals, or any other sacred symbols that support you to feel safe. Think about colour, lighting, sound, softness, anything that supports and engages your senses.

Intention

This is a time to set your intention for the process. This may be to support your healing, to acknowledge your pain or to acknowledge a loss you are experiencing.

The Creative process

This process will depend on what materials you decide to use. Any materials you choose to use can follow these three stages. I suggest starting with your unique creative process (what materials would you like to create with?) rather than thinking/writing about it- unless this is your chosen creative method. This gives your body wisdom space to arise rather than keeping you in your mind. You can write more about the process after.

 

Step 1: Loss Expression

  1. Tune into your body. Take 3-5 deep breaths, slowly.
  2. Notice where in your body you are experiencing loss/stuckness/holding on. Place your hand on this part of you. Notice any colours or sensations.
  3. Create a representation (using the materials) of the body felt sense of this loss/stuckness/holding on. Give it form.
  4. When it feels finished, take a pause and have a look at what you have created. If it had a name what would it be called?
  5. Placing the representation/expression somewhere nearby with any of the objects/symbols you collected that relate to this loss.
  6. Sitting with your creation, what do you see? What surprises you about it? What do you notice? If it could speak what would it say to you? What does it need from you?

 

Step 2: Response Expression

  1. From the first creation, now making something in response. It might be a response to what the creation said to you, maybe it needed acknowledgement, love, or just to be seen and heard? Maybe it wanted to be free, to be let go? Maybe it wanted to tell you what you need to be focusing on in the future? What needs were not being met in this situation, that you would like to focus on going forward?
  2. This representation holds the purpose of giving you something to take with you in your next steps forward. Focus on what you need to put in your tool kit and what supports you need to put in place for the next steps. Routine creates safety and confidence. What routines do you need for yourself?

 

Step 3: Releasing:

  1. Draw or write on a piece of paper what you would like to release. There is no right or wrong, nothing you have to release at this time. Just go with what feels right for you.
  2. To honor the process of releasing, you may want to bury this paper, rip it or burn it. While you are doing this, announce out loud about what you are releasing, “I release the need to please others… I release the fear that I will not be okay going forward… I release and honour the connection I had with this person, and now I let it go…” etc. Then thank yourself for having the courage to do this.

 

Step 4: Reflection

  1. Now is time to do some writing reflections.
  2. What have you taken from this process? What do you know now that you may not have known before?

 

Step 5: Integration:

  1. What might you do with what you know now?
  2. What steps would you like to take to support yourself going forward? You may like to create a self care plan and some actions that communicate love and kindness to your inner child.

If you or someone you know is experiencing grief or loss and would like support to create a letting go ritual, please inquire about individual creative art therapy sessions with Amanda in Abbotsford, Melbourne. contact@amandascottarttherapy.com.au

I’m not perfect, but I am showing up.

It’s not about being perfect, it’s about showing up.

Whatever that means for you in each moment. Maybe you can’t show up for that event or that commitment right now, but can you still show up for yourself?

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Maybe you can’t show up for another right now, but can you still stay with yourself, not desert yourself when you most need it?

You don’t need to do it perfectly, you don’t need to have the right words, or the right moves or the right lines. Can you stay with yourself in the heat of it, and companion your heart through the ups and downs?

Lately I have had the privilege of continuing with my arts based research and am using the creative process to explore exploring ‘the edges’.

I am exploring the connection between safety and growth and how we can find what we need in order to feel safe enough to grow.

To explore the edges.

To push our comfort zones.

To dance at the edge.

Finding ways to transform and expand and redefine who we are, our story of who we are in the world.

To begin to break open who we thought we were and become more of who we are in the world.

I have witnessed a spoken word night tonight, Speak up with Fleassy Malay.

I have witnessed many incredible performances, with the aim just to be real, to be vulnerable, to show up. It was not about being perfect, but just being willing to be seen in that edge, that growing, that celebrating of the humanness within us. It was incredibly inspiring to witness. I walk away feeling blessed to be surrounded by people with such courage to take those steps to the edge and be willing to embrace the unknown, even when it feels terrifying.

I am exploring my edge too- I am doing Elemental Voices, a six week singing journey with Clare Sentience, a dear friend and an incredible singer and medicine woman.

The journey I have taken with expression and my voice has been a rocky one, much more preferring to write or draw or paint, this is my comfort zone. And because one of my highest values is growth and truth, I have been drawn to exploring this, two years ago with Fleassy’s Speak up Course, and then again now with Clare’s Elemental Voices course.

It is not a natural position for me to be up on stage expressing using words, or sound.

I know that being more comfortable in my own skin, in front of others, just letting myself be seen and witnessed, and HEARD is something that will only strengthen me as a person, as a facilitator and as a therapist.

I am committed to my growth, even when it is scary.

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So, I would like to share with you a recording of my spoken word piece that I performed for the Speak Up Course in 2013, something that I recorded while practicing and haven’t listened to since.

I found it tonight after attending the current courses performance, and I have such compassion for that Amanda that was so terrified of being witnessed and seen, that she wrote a piece about how terrified she was to be witnessed and seen, and the GIFTS that come from taking the steps to so the things that terrify us.

It is with great courage that I include the link here to this audio recording, if you too would like to witness my expression.

Keep showing up for yourself.

In whatever way is right for YOU.

There is no one way to grow, the only task is to let go of “should” and just be okay to show all of your humanness, and in doing so, connect deeply to yourself and those lucky enough to witness you in your truth.

Blessings,
Amanda

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Michelle on Presence

Michelle Gardiner is a creative an passionate woman who I have had the pleasure of working with for the past 2 years. It has been an honour to watch her grow and blossom in this time, and an honour to be the host of her first guest blog post. Watch this space, Michelle is only just beginning.

Michelle, tell us you inspiration for being a guest blogger for Amanda Scott Art Therapy?

I participated in Amanda’s five week creative journalling course in September 2013. At this time, my curiousity got the better of me and after many years of writing, I had stopped. I felt like I entered a sanctuary every week when I attended the course, where I could sort through some of the inner workings of my mind. I loved the patience and calmness not only of Amanda, but also the love and support of the group. This picture is one of my favourites that I made during my course. To me, it looks perfect- loving hands holding the gift of the colourful confetti, yet bringing together all the messy parts of self with it from the outside painting.

My own blog, Shy Girl Unleashed, has been an idea in my mind for twelve months. It took me breaking my arm and not being able to dance to commit to  my first post. My philosophy is about the importance of embracing who you are and becoming ok with using that to build resilience and connect with others, in whatever way you choose. My guest post for Amanda is a little gesture of gratitude for all that she has done for me over the last two years that I have known her- for her listening ears and never ending encouragement. Sitting in her studio and being able to play with paint without judgement has greatly expanded my journalling journey and I am humbled to write for her.

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Michelle on presence

 

It’s a new year and there’s nothing like a new year to bring up a wave of emotions as I reflect on who I am and the life I lead. At this time, I find myself thinking about what matters to me, who I want to play an important role in my life and whether the things that were important last year are still relevant for me. At the beginning of 2014 I set out with a one word “theme” for the year. My word was “abundance”, and going into 2015 I have decided on the word “presence”. With my decision to focus on the word “presence” this year, a large part of my reflection has revolved around working out what that term actually means for me, and how it relates to “abundance”.  My perception of the word “abundance” is light and free to me, while the word presence feels grounding. I have wondered if one term can truly exist without the other.

 

In 2014 I set out to do some amazing things, and I achieved most of them. My struggle came where I over thought and became overwhelmed and anxious in anticipation of what may happen if I didn’t achieve what I wanted for myself and my life. I made simple things seem much more complicated than they needed to be. I became caught up in external comparison and judgement. While I achieved my goals, I wondered if the mental stuff that I had floating in my mind was compromising the feeling of abundance that I was searching for. In effect, what I have more recently realised is that true abundance begins internally and then portrays itself in our external world. It is the realisation and ability to sit with our internal abundance, which makes this present in our external world. I have come to realise that abundance IS presence… and the two combined are a formidable force.

 

Presence for me is feeling grounded and humble in my body, mind and spirit. It is feeling confident in who I am, accepting and appreciating all parts of my being without judgement. It is being focussed and trusting that my path is individual and right for me. It is appreciating what and who is in front of me, just as they are. It is being ok without being over-stimulated and “busy” in every moment. It is truly valuing my wellbeing and intuition as a key source of my strength and worthy of my commitment. It is an acknowledgement that the quiet moments are my opportunity to consolidate the growth and learning’s that occur during the busy and noisy times.

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I love dancing. I love the connection of my whole being. I love the social connection and the amazing, beautiful and diverse community that I have found myself a part of through it. I love hearing the music. I love that my body is becoming stronger and more defined. I love the personal challenge and opportunity to express myself. Over recent months I have received some recurring feedback in my dancing. I have been told to “be present, enjoy the dance, let the guy lead and trust that your body knows what to do…. then you can focus on smiling and bringing your playful, light energy to the dance”. My feedback has been to be grounded in the present, to trust the process and remember my greater purpose. By trying to get each move just right, I have been suffocating my spirit and taking from both my partners and my own enjoyment. The way to bring out the best of the moment is to embrace who I am and use this strength in creating the dance.

 

And so I have applied this learning to my life. There are lessons in each moment and by existing anywhere other than the present, we may just miss what we are here for. Mary Anne Williamson quotes “if we miss the moment, we miss the clues. In the present when we allow ourselves to fully live there, we are restored, made wiser, made deeper and happier”. I, like many, have a tendency to want to either live in the past, the future or through other people’s expectations. I have recently found that I can remain focussed and grounded by viewing each moment as a snap shot of my personal bigger picture.

I have become clearer about my responses to some big life questions. What do I want for my life? How is this moment relevant to my life? How is what I am doing this very second contributing to who I am becoming as a person and the life I aspire to live? Am I making this moment matter? How? In asking these questions to myself I have found it easier to focus in each moment, to build greater structure and routines in my life and appreciate that each moment exists in my greater picture in some way.

 

I am happier in the here and now, knowing that I am improving each day and that this is enough. Because I am committed to myself expansion, I am creating abundance in my life. In grounding myself with focus and structure within that vision, and free of judgement, I can be present.

 

Thank you Michelle for your heart felt writing. I am eager to read more of your blog as it grows and unfolds! You can read more from Michelle here https://shygirlunleashed.wordpress.com/

 

 

My wish for you.

Dear incredible soul,

My wish for you this year you divine, courageous being is to be kind to yourself, daringly listen to the quiet voice within, and act on behalf of yourself, your values, your truth, your alignment in even the most challenging of situations.

To give yourself the space to really know what your heart wants, what fills you with joy, smiles, laughter and ecstatic abandon. To do what needs to be done to follow those things, be focussed on making these things happen in your life, really happen. Not just on a to-do list.

My wish for you this year is to be bold enough to be vulnerable with the special people in your life. Share your imperfections, your humanity, and i wish to see your heart, your compassion for yourself grow. There are so many beautiful people around you, who are just as imperfectly perfect as your are. When you open to them they open to you. We are never alone in our experiences. We are all in this together. Remember that you are reflected in those around you.

Take a look in the mirror, and see who you are beyond the physical, see the deep pools of your eyes that go beyond any limitation. You are limitless. Smile for the gift of being alive, being able to be here in this physical form to explore and learn.

My wish for you is to enjoy moving your body in a way that nurtures you, find your way of being connected with your body and feeding it with nurturing soulful food and company.

And for all years to come, please, please, Love and be loved, share, give to others, random acts of kindness, ESPECIALLY for yourself. There is a purpose just for you. Even if your mind doesn’t know what that is just yet, it’s all part of this ride called life. I am so blessed to be sharing this part of the journey with you, special one.

Love,
Amanda

xx

Above is my image for reflecting on 2014. It is a great way to really integrate before moving into 2015. I just started with some cutout words and images and paint and as I created it so many memories from the year came back to me. A year is a long time, and tends to get very full. It is pretty encouraging when you go over it all and remember how far you have come. Remember it doesn’t matter how big or small the things seem, put on everything that feels significant to you. It doesn’t need to make sense to anyone else!

The Creative Process

2014-08-12 21.45.01-1What is it about the creative process that is so incredibly helpful?

I know in my being that trusting the creative process is a sure way to move and shift my state, finding acceptance and curiosity.

I have worked with hundreds of people taking them through the creative process, often starting with resistance and judgement of what could be created, stopping them from even beginning.

It’s interesting to me how this critical voice and resistance plays a part in our ability to create. When we can use the energy of resistance, accept it and bring it along for the ride, then something new can emerge.

But how might this look?

Noticing

Well it begins with noticing what is present. You have a blank page or any other materials that you want to use to create in front of you, or just the idea in your head that you want to create. Maybe you haven’t even gotten to the point of sitting down with any art materials. If not, then you can just use a pen and paper to start with. Sit quietly and be present to your body.  Start with your breathe. Do a body scan of what you notice within you. If there is resistance, then stay with that. If there is anticipation, fear, excitement, tiredness, whatever it is, stay with that. It’s not about getting rid of it, but being with it. What do you notice about that sensation? Warm/cold/tight/loose/bright/dark/tangled/watery/floaty/solid/sounds/colours?

Representing

Represent this using whatever materials you have. It might even be putting your body into a position that represents that sensation. It is just about expanding on what you are sensing and giving it form. Spend some time in this creating phase without analysing. let yourself free fall into the creative process.

Reflecting

What do you notice about what you have created?

What colours? lines? forms? shapes? If you made sound of movement, what did you notice about these?

You could also explore the opposite of this, what would that be like?

Now, if it could speak what would it say? What does it want you to know? Often strong emotions point to values. What do you value? Is it staying safe? What does this part of you want to hear from you? I feel like there are many different selves, and they all sit at a round table. If one of them doesn’t feel loved/accepted/heard, then it acts out. If you can hear what that part of you wants, reassure it and bring it closer to you, then you remember that you are both on the same side. It means that that part doesn’t need to sabotage to be heard, and you can still make conscious choices about doing things even if they are scary, when they are in your highest good for your growth.

Post below your experience of the creative process.

What do you notice?
What is valuable about the creative process for you?

 

 

 

 

The Power of Connection

Connection: My heart medicine

Part of the reason I love running workshops and offering the space for people to connect with their creativity, is that connection gives me, and others, meaning and purpose in a world that can be full of content overload and confusion, which can lead to feeling out of place and lost.

Connection offers perspective, understanding, empathy, feeling that you are not alone in the world, and being reminded of things we may have forgotten.

Positive psychology has created 5 categories for understanding and measuring happiness and fulfilment. While I feel like there are so many different ways of looking at happiness, and that my perspective is that happiness is one of many human feelings that we experience and not necessarily on the top of the emotions hierarchy, I do find some value in the PERMA model. You can read more about this model in the link below, and is a very powerful way of looking at what will increase your wellbeing.

*Source: http://positivepsychologymelbourne.com.au/PERMA-model

Engagement and relationships to me relate to connection with others, which in term helps me find meaning in my life, drives me to follow my dreams and accomplish what I want, which increases my positive emotions.

Creative Arts Therapist Networking Group

Today I came together with 10 other arts therapists to connect and share what we are doing and share ideas, resources and encouragement.

We each made a series of ‘tags’ with inspiration or reminders and gifted them to one another at the end of the session, so we each left with a reminder that we are all in this together, and are not alone in bringing our creative visions out to the world, that we share many challenges, ideas, dreams and also have varied paths, interests and ideas.

Tag swap

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Witnessing and being witnessed.

The group that I run for journaling offers strong connections too, which is partly why the groups are so fulfilling and meaningful. To see each person share part of their vulnerability, their soul, their unique expression in the world allows me to connect with so many parts of myself that relate to everything that is shared, and also allows me to see how varied our life experiences can be. It intrigues me how we all come to be together in one place, to share and learn form one another, and be brave enough to step outside our comfort zone, dare greatly and show parts of ourselves that no one may have seen before. Witnessing is a very powerful transformative process, and the simple practice of being present to another can move metaphorical mountains.


 

Questions for today:

What is connection for you?

Who or what do you feel most connected to?

How can you create more connection in your life? (action).

  • Write about these in your journal, create art/draw/paint
  • Comment below

 

 

The 5 Keys to Increase Wellbeing

The 5 Keys to Increase Wellbeing

It’s very common to feel very internal in Winter, as it is a little darker, a little colder and it is easy to just want to stay in bed. I hand made a new journal today, which you can join me to do next Tuesday night! The first page on the journal I drew a hand and reminded myself of the 5 keys to increase my wellbeing. Things I KNOW work, and once I start, I remember how important it is!

Back to basics


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 1. Sleep

 Are you getting enough sleep? Is your sleep rhythm working for you? My friend Brigid calls it sleep hygiene, the actions/ routine you have around sleep is important. Do you wind down at a certain time to prepare for sleep? Is it something relaxing you do to prepare, like lighting a candle,  reading a book, a hot shower, some meditation, listening to music? Sleep is very important for wellbeing, and in the busy lives we have its easy to get distracted, and sometimes takes intention and discipline to make this rest and rejuvenation important to you. Your future self will thank you!

2. Movement

Have you moved today? A lovely stroll, some stretches, yoga, or a jog? It can be as simple as doing 5 minutes of stretching and breathing, or put on your favourite dance music and have a boogie. There are lots of classes you can go to if that helps with your motivation, dance, yoga, fitness classes, there is something for everyone, and it’s important to find what you enjoy and feels good for your body.

3. Nourishing food

Have you nourished your body today with nutrients and delicious food? When I am stressed or down, I know that my motivation to feed myself well is sometimes lost. It is amazing how much it can change how you feel in your body when you are getting the fuel you need, and some treats too!

4. Connect with your senses

Being present in your body can be accessed through your senses. What can you see? What colours and textures are around you? What is the ambience like where you are? What can you put up, or create to make your surroundings nurturing? I thrive when my environment is beautiful, even a few little touches can make a difference. What are your favourite smells, and can you bring those to life right now? What can you feel, do you have a fluffy blanket or do you love hot showers? I have a fluffy cover for my hot water bottle that is so lovely to touch, and my favourite fluffy soft jumper. What can you taste? Do you love the taste of fresh clean teeth after you have brushed them? Or your favourite hot drink? What sounds surround you right now? Notice how many sounds you can hear, from the furtherest sound in the distance, to the sound within your body, of your breathing that happens without you even having to think about it?

5. Create

Create something. Write, draw, imagine, dream. Rearrange your room, write a gratitude list, 3 things that you are grateful for. Play an instrument, sing along to your favourite song, give yourself a head massage, dream up new ideas, write a bucket list, do a painting, dance… the possibilities are endless. Our essence is creativity, we are naturally creative beings, everything you do is an expression of yourself, the way you speak, walk, dress, write, and think. Everything is creative when you let go of what the general notions of creativity are. How can you embrace your creativity and find your unique voice and style? When you go into the “flow” state of creating, your body is in its ideal state to heal and integrate. I have the 6 week course starting on Tuesday and Vision Boards for more dreaming on the 26th of July!

Growth isn’t meant to be comfortable

7th April 2014

I am a growth seeker.

I am forever seeking and open to learning, growth, new perspectives, new tools and new understanding.
I have this drive within me to continue learning. I have a strong curiosity for how the world works. I have always had this determination, curiosity and questioning. This often leads me to being outside my comfort zone, and finding gifts that I never thought possible, and making connections with people I would not have predicted. I discover parts of myself in a deeper way. 

I also value safety. Feeling safe and secure in the world. Feeling like there are things that are “known”. People I can count on. Predictability.

The tough thing is, that sometimes these to values are in conflict. Growth Vs Safety. The more you step into growth and the unknown, the more you are in that unsafe territory. The challenge is to grow in ways that you feel safe enough to step into something new. And sometimes it’s hard to tell. Sometimes you just need to take the leap. 

I also found this great quote. And my aim is to continue learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable in order to grow and evolve in the life.

 

I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable.

 

The weekend I did the “Tantra is Love” Relationships workshop, run by Emma Power and Sean O’Faolain. I loved the experience, and feel so open and heart felt afterwards. I connected and was seen and witnessed by a room of people that to start with were mostly strangers. I was curious about tantra, and not just about the sexuality aspects of tantra, but how it could enhance my life, my connection to myself and the way I experience energy levels in my body. 

I won’t say too much about the actual workshop- you can check it out yourself or even go to the free evening at the end of April, but what I will say is that I left feeling full of life, full of energy, gentle, open hearted, seen, loved, loving and full of trust and hope in my path. The step into the uncomfortable, into being more present in my body, through movement and breathing, was terrifying at points, but ultimately it was my choice to be there and I stayed with myself the whole time even when I wanted to take flight away from myself. 

One of the incredible things was how strong the facilitators were in giving permission to take ownership of your own boundaries, and respecting others boundaries. This made me feel safe because I knew I could listen to myself and do what was right for me without fear of judgement or that I wasn’t being gutsy enough. Being able to honour your boundaries was spoken about with respect. This safety allowed me to even more open up and feel safe to.  (This totally helped my values of growth and safety be in harmony!)

Another incredible thing about this workshop was the authenticity, genuineness and personality of the presenters, Emma and Sean, and their supporting team. I really feel like I know them as people, and this allowed for us all as a group to build a deep connection.

I feel so grateful to myself for taking a step into something that was a little uncomfortable, and I am now, in this love bubble place, reminded of the gifts and opening that can come from this courage.

Gratitude!

A Story of Transformation

26/3/2014

Written by Lynn Kontos, workshop participant, 2014

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“A few years back (2011/2012) I was involved in my first vision board creation exercise. 
I recall that I enjoyed myself and it felt therapeutic at the time, but what really hit me from that whole experience I didn’t learn until approximately 2 years later. I was cleaning house and came across the goals I wrote out prior to creating my visionboard (which to this day is still up on my wall). I had actually completely forgotten the goal writing part of the visionboard creation process, despite that my board stares me in the face every day. On the verge of scrunching up that bit of clutter I glimpsed over it and noticed some things that, throughout my entire life seemed rather unattainable and realised that, wow, I had actually achieved not only a few, but most of these goals over the last 2 years. I was flabbergasted that simply writing something down could help you bring it to life.

When my dear friend invited me to experience a visionboard workshop I was nervous and excited.
I had been rather down of late. The beginning of my summer was spent shared with an admirable individual, a relationship which was prematurely cut short.
The fact it was such a short duration provided me no comfort and I was feeling excessively lost, empty and alone – despite the fact that I was on top of the world before our paths crossed.
I carried these empty feelings with me into the workshop.

Sunday 16th Feb 2014 – Visionboarding day
I am writing this almost 3 weeks post workshop, so my memory is a tad rusty. The following is just a snippet of the activities and is mostly what I took from and how I felt throughout the day.

To begin our visionboard experience we all participated in a warm up activity.
There were a bunch of random trinkets gathered on the floor in the middle of our circular group formation, the activity was to pick one that spoke to us.
I recalled the difficulty I experienced the first time I came across this activity years ago (In a vulnerability workshop) and felt the knot of anxiousness forming in belly.

I looked over the collection and knew it as soon as I saw it. I didn’t even feel a requirement to scan the rest of the items.
I reached out to a green balloon.

My reasoning; 
1. it was green. 

[Green is the color of balance and growth. To find out more, visit: http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/personality-color-green.html]

And 

2. It was “empty”. 

I know that sounds rather depressing, but despite its emptiness, I also chose it knowing that it is a vessel that is capable of being filled/of holding something.

After collecting it I noticed something I hadn’t expected. I became overwhelmed with emotion at this point and silent tears ran down my cheeks. Which I tried to control and hide.

The next step however was to talk about why we chose our object. I knew that I would not be able to express myself without openly crying, so I accepted this fact (which I believe I can thank in part for the vulnerability workshop I have done previously) and I spoke.

In what I look back and perceive as an inarticulate explosion of sobs and words, I revealed to the group that I had no issue with which item was for me. I picked the balloon because it was green, my favourite colour and I viewed it as an empty object that has so much more potential, except, once I picked it up, I noticed that it in fact was not empty. There was something already inside the deflated and apparent “empty” balloon.
It was precisely what I needed reminding of at that point in my life.
This was how I intended to tell my story, however, if anyone from that group ever reads this, they quite possibly gathered a different impression at the time.

Despite how much I cried I actually felt completely at ease with everyone and in myself (something I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with in the past). I was frustrated that my sobs drowned out my words when all I really wanted to do was share what I had just experienced.

We proceeded throughout the day with other activities and eventually came to our goal writing and few hours of creating our vision boards.

I found this part rather difficult, not that I was short of ideas, but it was difficult for me to express my ideas through creativity and I became quite resistive and unwelcoming of my “child-like” work of art.

Due to that feeling, I found our closing group discussion were everyone was welcomed to discuss each piece so unbelievably comforting.

The group only had beautiful, heartwarming, meaningful things to say about my artwork and it reminded me of how self-effacing I tend to be, and the kindness and love you can receive from strangers.

Thanks Amanda for a wondrous experience.”

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Thank you Lynn for the courage to share this, thank you for embracing your vulnerability, allowing yourself to be seen and bringing your real and raw essence to the workshops. I feel so humbled reading your comments and am so grateful to receive this. I am so happy that you have allowed me to share this to others too, as it is a gift.
Love Amanda

Motivation – What to do when you don’t have any.

3124666What creates motivation and what diminishes it?
What do you do when you feel unmotivated?
This is an opportunity for learning.
I either constantly berate myself to get going (which usually makes me feel worse) Or see this as an opportunity to acknowledge my needs and address them, so that I can feel cared for and then the motivation will come!

Today is a really hot day. I’m feeling tired and unmotivated. I don’t want to do anything. I keep trying to do things and feel so much resistance to it. And it is kind of frustrating, like there is a child inside of me that is acting out, and an adult who is on its back to get things done. And even though I have completed quite a lot of tasks today, it just seems like not enough. Is it because there are no set goals, and the unstructured nature of this means that there is no end point?

Maybe it is because what I really need is to rest. But how much rest is enough? And will resting just fester more resistance, more resting, more lack of motivation? Where is the point where you allow what feels right vs pushing through the resistance? When is it right to push for growth rather than go easy on yourself?

I have found in the past by having a compassionate attitude towards myself allows the resistance to be there, and therefore I am not resisting the resistance… and it passes.

Compassion & Self Care
Having compassion for myself, doing loving and self caring things for myself, which means not necessarily doing “nothing” but taking actions for things that are self caring.
What do you do for self care? A good way to explore this is through the five senses.
1. Sight – What are pleasant things to look at or see? A movie? A book? Nature? Art?
2. Smell – What are you favourite scents? Perfume? Nature? Incense? Food cooking?
3. Taste – Some yummy wholesome food or treats?
4. Touch – Getting a massage? Body lotion, having a shower, a comfy couch or cushion? washing your hair?
5. Sound- your favourite music, listening to an e-book? Being out in nature?

Writing yourself a compassion letter
1. I understand that… (describing the situation you are in)
2. I know that you feel… (acknowledging the feelings you are experiencing right now and that they are valid)
3. I just want you to know that… (offering your own inner guidance and wisdom)

Acknowledging actions and values
Listing the actions you have taken recently in your life, no matter how small.
With each action you have taken, what value is this representing or showing?

For example: I took a shower and washed my hair: I value myself, i value self care, and being fresh.
I made breakfast: I value feeding and fuelling my body to give it energy to be alive.

What now?
Do you feel any different? Are you still berating yourself and saying things like “this is not important, I should be doing all these other things etc. etc.” Maybe you are… and this is worth listening to as well. Write a compassion letter to this voice. See what comes of it. Maybe that part of you might have a few things to say back also! That’s okay, have a conversation with it and be curious to see what comes out of it.

If you do feel differently, what has changed?

The great things for me about lack of motivation is that often I get other things done that I didn’t plan to because I am procrastinating a task that is daunting or scary. That’s okay, everything is okay, you don’t always need to be productive, because everything has a natural flow and if there is no rest time, there is no pleasure in production time….

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