Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mandalas for Harvesting Gratitude

How can we remain grateful in turbulent times? 

How do we keep our hearts open when we are swallowed
by fear and anger and chaos and doubt? 

During our July workshop, Mandalas for Harvesting Gratitude, we used our creative processes to dig into these difficult questions. 

Mark Nepo, one of my favorite thinkers and poets, speaks to this eloquently: 

" How can we stay awake and authentic when our wounds make us numb and hidden? How can we minimize what stands between us and our experience of life? How can we make a practice of wearing down what thickens around our mind and heart? As a cancer survivor, I have found myself like Lazarus, awake again, in the same earthly place but different. Everything has changed and nothing has changed. This wakefulness has led me to be a student of that vibrant edge where our inner life meets the world. Being a poet and philosopher, I find myself there with a particular set of tools to search with.

Art is the unexpected utterance of the soul. Much more than the manipulation of a visual language, it is a necessary art by which we live and breathe. It is the art of embodied perception; a braiding of heart and mind around experience.

Consider how a simple fish inhales water and somehow, mysteriously and miraculously, extracts the oxygen from the water. In doing this, it turns that water into the air by which it breathes. This ongoing inner transformation—the turning of water into air by extracting what is essential - is art.

For us, the heart is our gill and we must move forward into life, like simple fish. The mysterious yet vital way we turn experience into air, the way we extract what keeps us alive—this is the art of living that transcends our earthly experiences."

The Instrument of Change – Mark Nepo

Often the instruments of change
are not kind or just
and the hardest openness
of all might be
to embrace the change
while not wasting your heart
fighting the instrument.
The storm is not as important
as the path it opens.
The mistreatment in one life
never as crucial as the clearing
it makes in your heart.

This is very difficult to accept.
The hammer or cruel one
is always short-lived
compared to the jewel
in the center of the stone.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Releasing Anxieties to Gather Strength

This summer as we continue to explore the art of the mandala – creating within a circle – our practices begin to intertwine.  Our first workshop addressed how to let go of, release our anxieties through the process of “intuitive” mandala drawing which we featured in our June 28th entry.  Discussing the importance of recognizing the emotional and spiritual issues that walk side by side a cancer diagnosis, our conversation turned to the importance of expanding our views of what gives us strength and what matters most in our lives.

Through a free-flow writing practice, a waterfall of strong poignant words cascaded through our group.  We took the energy from those words and began to create intentional mandalas for Centering Strength utilizing the method of Radial Symmetry. 

Radial: adj.  arranged like rays in a circular outward reaching manner

Symmetry: n. balance among structures or parts .  Symmetrical arrangement of elements, especially of radiating parts, about a central point.

Starting by planting a seed, a dot in the center of the page, we imagine that seed as an element of who we are becoming. Symbolically we surrounded our seeds with rich fertile soil, by encircling our potential for growth.  From there we draw empowering lines and shapes that radiate outward from our planted seed.

Slowly color was added with watercolor pencils.

Everyone made different color choices that reflected the various nuances of what it means to have strength. 

There is strength that is vivid and fierce, bright and brave.

There is strength that is soft spoken and quiet, fluid and full of movement.

Sometimes we need to follow our own direction and let the creation lead us where it may.  This mandala intertwines both techniques.

The creator of this mandala took an organic approach to drawing her mandala.  After completing it, she made several unexpected associations.  The golden colored center shape seemed lion-like, a fierce protector while the figure it surrounded seemed embryonic, a newborn dancing outward from the sea. 

She titled her mandala of Centering Strength - Becoming Whole Again.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Art of Survival: Insights into Healing 2013 classes

The Art of Survival:
Insights into Healing
We Need More than Medicine to Heal
Journey through Cancer with Healing Icons
" I recommend Healing Icons to other cancer survivors as it has helped me reflect on my cancer journey...Having examined my feelings and fears, my hopes and dreams, I now stand strong in who I have become."    IS 2012
Sponsored by the generous support of the

You will be guided through creative methods, allowing you to reflect and shape your personal healing icon – a visual reminder of your own restorative process, wisdom and strength.
Stretch into your mind and body, heart and soul.
Join us for our arts and healing workshops.
Absolutely no experience is necessary
To register email us or call Libby at 803-791-2289 or
Jennifer at 803-791-2617
Summer Workshops
Exuberant summer - the jeweled balm for the battered spirit.  Reclaim the joyousness of summer by exploring the meditative art of drawing circles, sacred circles, sometimes referred to as mandalas.  We will introduce you to a variety of materials for creating your personal mandala.
You may register for one or both!
Tuesday July 16 from 1pm – 5pm
Mixed Media Mandalas for Harvesting Gratitude

Thursday August 8th from 1pm – 5pm
Mixed Media Mandalas for Restoring Balance
Autumn Workshop
Glorious autumn is full of ripe color and cool mornings, a time to begin to reconnect with our still small voice within.  We will create a 3 dimensional mixed media heart as a symbolic reminder of the time and attention it takes to sustain an open heart.

Tuesdays - September 10, 17, 24, October 1,8,15,22 from 5pm - 7pm
Speaking From the Heart:  Creating a 3-dimensional mixed media “Healing Heart”

Winter Workshops

Quiet Winter - a time of hibernation, reflection and going within - a time to digest what has happened during the year.  To process our journey, we will draw from within, exploring the art of bookmaking.

You may register for one or all three!

Drawing From Within:
Wednesday - November 6th From 1pm - 5pm
Creating a Visual Journal for Remembering

Tuesday - November 19th from 1pm - 5pm
Creating a visual journal for Letting Go

Thursday - December 5th from 1PM - 5PM
Creating a visual Journal for Discovery

About your instructors:

Heidi Darr-Hope, founder of Healing Icons, has been a visual artist for over 4o years and has ushered thousands of cancer patients through The Art of Survival.   For more information - Healing Icons

 Christy Clonts, of Wisdom Scout Coaching and Ceremonies, is a Holistic Life Coach, Life Cycle Celebrant®, writer and teacher.  Fro more information - Wisdom Scout