Entries Tagged as: move

Stories in Expressive Arts: a chat with Silky Hart

March 24th, 2010, Comments (7)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely, Silky Hart, an Expressive Arts therapist who I've come to know (and adore!) through blogging. You can listen to our chat here by clicking on the link below or right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) to save to your computer.

Click here to listen.

I was curious about some of the ways you might use Expressive Arts to explore the theme of stories and Silky had some fabulous examples of how it could be utilized, using work such as Playback Theater and the Five Rhythms. As another example of using her work to explore stories, Silky is generously offering a gorgeous, free pdf workbook, "Writing the New Story of Your Life: A story writing playbook to awaken who you really are." Wow, I've taken a look at it, and it's awesome! Definitely a fabulously creative way to play with your stories and work on creating new ones.

Click here to download Silky Hart's "Writing the New Story of Your Life" playbook.

Silky is leading an Expressive Arts and yoga retreat in Costa Rica from April 24 - May 1, 2010. And it sounds simply amazing. You can get all the details and sign up for it here.

You can find Silky online at her website and blog, Expressive Hart and on Twitter, @ExpressiveHart. Thank you again, Silky for sharing your fabulous self, your creative energy, and your gorgeous playbook!

Listening to the Body

January 20th, 2010, Comments (19)

Normally I'll interview just one, maybe two folks per month, but I hope you've enjoyed my chats with creative folks on the topic of body this month!

It's so funny, usually I'm this ultra introverted girl who gets nervous on the phone, but this topic of body has had me wanting to talk to loads of people for the blog! There were many more people I thought about talking to as well, but there's only so much time in the day. Certainly a different kind of creativity than I usually partake in, but it's been so fun!

One thing that's been coming up in my conversations with these fabulous, creative women has been the concept of listening to your body. I think this is a big key to developing a healthy, happy relationship with body and yourself.

How do you tune in to your body and hear what it has to say? And when you do hear it, do you listen?

This is something that can be a challenge for me. At times my body is easy to hear. And sometimes I'm not a good listener. But I think so much of life is about practicing, not beating yourself up when things don't go the way we plan, and continuing to grow.

Some of the ways I listen to my body is through:

  • *Movement: Yoga, dance, long walks, and such are one of my favorite ways to connect with my body. Noticing where and how my body wants to move as I move, is a great way to connect and tune in to my individual body parts and my body as a whole. Plus, when I take good care of my body by moving it regularly, it's more likely to share information with me.
  • *Fabulous body-centered self-care: Getting a massage or taking a long soak in a tub is a wonderful way to connect to my body. Sometimes when I take a bath, I bring books or magazines to read, but I rarely touch them. Once I'm in the water, I just let go and feel so peaceful.
  • *Deep breath: One of the simplest ways to connect to your body is to breathe. We do it all day without thinking about it, but if we stop and notice one breath in and one breath out, something relaxes.
  • *Body Scan: When I was little, my mom taught me a simple way of relaxing, a visualization where, starting with your toes and going up to your head, you notice each part of your body, notice it relaxing, notice it tingling. And then you imagine yourself in a peaceful place, hearing, smelling, and feeling the space around you. There are all sorts of visualizations I've learned in the meantime, much like this one, and they're all a great way to let go of the inner chatter and get re-connected.

What about you? What are your favorite ways of tuning in to your body?

p.s. The little figure above is something I did up in a program called Illustrator. A lot of my creative output lately has been on some behind the scenes projects, including a project in Illustrator, so I was inspired to create this quick drawing with it. But more on that later!

Links to Move You

August 26th, 2009, Comments (8)

ap birdcutout

So many fun links to share. Hopefully some of them will move you!

-Jamie Ridler has this great video and post about dancing in response to Gretchen Wegner's Muse Cubes. So fun and fabulous!

-If you want to see some more wonderful movement in action, head on over to Creative Every Day Challenge participant, Shamsi's blog, where she talks about her own movement practice, her work, and she's also got some wonderful videos of her belly dancing!

-Another beautiful belly dancer, Tatty Franey has some gorgeous pictures of her dancing on her site as well. The costumes and colors are so gorgeous, especially as they move! Oh my, super inspiring to me!

-Tammy Vitale has a wonderful discussion on her blog with Molly Gordon about how artist/entrepreneurs can set goals vs. expectations as you move towards your big dreams. If you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win a gold membership to the Self-Employment Summit.

-Vicki of Faint Heart Art is celebrating her 200th post with giveaway of a lovely travel art set. Great for art while you're on the move!

-Pema Chodron has a new book available for pre-order called, Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears. This looks like it would be a great book to continue playing the move theme of this month!

-For a completely different kind of movement inspiration, check out this time-lapse video of NYC that was tweeted by the lovely Kirstin Butler (she's @kirstinbutler on Twitter.)

-There's less than a week left to take advantage of early bird pricing for the Creative Play Workshop, happening in the Boston area on September 19th. Jenn and I would love to see you there. Spots are filling up, so grab yours soon!

-The art above was something I played with during the Art Picnic Workshop on Saturday. We had such a great group participating in this class! One of the participants was actually having her picnic in the backseat of her car while her husband drove. So cool! You can also check out Beckie's experience of the workshop here. The next Picnic will be in October and I'll announce the date soon.

-As I mentioned earlier, this month's theme was especially poignant to me as the hubster and I just purchased our first home. Well, the closing happened today and we are officially homeowners!! I'm super excited to share next month's theme with you, so look out for that announcement tomorrow. In the meantime, keep on movin'!

Deep Rest

August 23rd, 2009, Comments (17)


It's funny, but all the themes get me thinking about their opposites. I'm just contrary like that. :-)

So with this being the month of movement for the Creative Every Day Challenge, I've been doing a lot of thinking about rest. And I'm not talking about any old rest here...I mean deep rest. The soul-nourishing, replenishing, much needed kind. 

Do you give yourself time for this kind of rest? For more than 5 minutes? What does deep rest mean to you?

Giving yourself the time and space to rest is so important for creativity. When you're better rested, you'll have more energy to create, to make connections, to do the things you love, and to be there for the people you love. And yet, it can be hard to give ourselves permission to slow down.

When I slow down, I often feel this sense of, "Oh, there's something I should be doing!" It's even harder to do when I really do have a lot to do. But when I give myself permission to stop and relax, it's amazing how much better I feel. And all that stuff gets done much more easily.

Deep rest for me, might include a nap, or turning off the computer and reading a book purely for pleasure, or spending the day in my pajamas, or taking a bubble bath, or getting a massage, or rubbing lotion on my feet. Maybe you can just squeeze in five minutes of lying still or maybe you can schedule in an hour, a day, or a weekend. Try playing with adding some deep rest to your life and see how it impacts your creativity.

Looking for some more ideas? Check out Jennifer Louden's The Woman's Retreat Book or check out her blog, Comfort Queen.

Move with InterPlay: An Interview with Cynthia Winton-Henry

August 19th, 2009, Comments (9)


This week I had the honor of speaking with Cynthia Winton-Henry, co-founder of InterPlay. I was introduced to Cynthia and InterPlay by the lovely Gretchen Wegner, and I was immediately fascinated by the process.

InterPlay fits so well with the Creative Every Day Challenge theme of move this month because it's all about unlocking the wisdom of your body through movement, stories, and interacting with community. Plus, it involves some of my favorite things: play and permission.

I spoke with Cynthia about how movement impacts creativity, what an InterPlay class is like, and she shared a simple InterPlay exercise we can all try during this month of movement! You can listen into the conversation below or right-click and save it to listen to later.

Listen here.

You can find out more about Cynthia, InterPlay, and find an InterPlay class near you right here.

Did you try out the exercise Cynthia suggested? What did you think of it? To learn more and see someone else do it, check out this post and video over at Gretchen's blog.

How does consciously moving your body impact your creativity?

Swimming Lessons for Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

August 12th, 2009, Comments (17)

wip bodyscape
work-in-progress where i'm practicing taking some risks!

The painting above is a work-in-progress, where I'm painting over part of a very old mixed-media piece. I do not know where it's going yet and it's in the stage where every step is a bit of a risk.

As I said at the start of August's move theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge, I also interpret "move" to mean taking risks. To me, risk taking means moving out of your comfort zone into the land of the scary, the exhilarating, the dangerous, and the empowering. I immediately thought of my pal Jessie's Be Brave Challenge and our recent discussion about how sometimes every movement we make as we create can be an act of bravery.

Earlier this week, I went into town to put up some flyers for the Creative Play Workshop I'm leading with my friend Jenn in September. I'm super excited about the workshop and have been happily talking about it online, but putting up flyers in person scares the crap out of me. Don't laugh. Heh. It sounds totally ridiculous when I write it out. I mean, what's so scary about hanging up flyers anyways?

The things is, it doesn't matter how ridiculous your fears seem to you (or to anyone else for that matter), they're your fears and you don't need to be ashamed of them. But once you've noticed them and acknowledged their existance, perhaps you'll want to nudge at those boundaries a bit.

Swimming Lessons

When I was little, I took swimming lessons at a local pond. I wasn't the greatest swimmer and as much as I loved splashing around in the water, sometimes the depths of it scared me. One day, the teachers told us we were going to learn how to dive. We were instructed to tuck our head, point our hands out in front of us, curl our back, and then kind of roll and drop into the water. The pond we swam in was a muddy one with teeny fish swimming around in it. When we stood at the far end of the dock, toes over the edge, all shivering in our little swimsuits, you couldn't see the sandy bottom. All you could see was dark, dark water.

One by one, kids dove off the dock. Some rolled in with grace, natural swimmers. Others belly-flopped. I stood frozen, with my toes curled tight over the wooden edge, staring at the sun reflecting off the water, breathing fast, and not wanting to dive. I didn't want to go into that dark water head first. Time passed. The teachers waited. I just couldn't get myself to step off the edge.

One teacher coaxed me. She then tried counting down, "1,2,3,...go!" I didn't dive. Eventually she pushed me in. That wench. I can laugh about it now, but how many times have you been rudely pushed through your fears? Some people would prefer the push. If that's you, then find someone to push you! You might like that bootcamp exercise class that I tried and despised this year. Heh.

But if you don't like being pushed, there's another more gentle approach.

Stick Your Toes In: You know how when the water's cold, some people will wade in bit by bit and others will just dive in to get the cold over with? Neither way is wrong. Try out both styles and see what works best for you. If the baby step approach works best for you, go with that. Slow steps forward is more than ok. Honor your style of approaching the scary stuff. What teeny-tiny step could you take with something that you're avoiding?

Splash Playfully: Before the swimming lessons, I used to play around in a neighbor's pool. I would never go underwater without plugging my nose because of a few times when I breathed in water and it stung like crazy. But one day, I was playing games with my friends and I ran straight into the water without plugging my nose first. I breathed out and came up for air with no troubles. And just like that I could swim underwater without plugging my nose. What playful or sideways approach could you take with something that's difficult for you?

Treat Yourself: At the pond where I went to swim lessons, there was always a visit from the ice cream truck. I love picking out a treat after a hard day of swimming. When I went to put up flyers this week, I stopped to get my favorite iced tea from Peet's. Sometimes knowing there's a treat at the end of your action, helps you get started. What are some ways you reward yourself?

Spread out Your Towel and Rest: A day of swim and sun would always leave me tuckered out. But I also realized recently that any kind of risk-taking, especially when done in bunches could leave me feeling exhausted. If that's the case for you, put in a little buffer time around activities that stretch your boundaries. Give yourself some space to rest and get rejuvenated. After hanging flyers, I gave myself some time to sit in the air conditioned bedroom and watch Project Runway Canada on youtube (don't tell me who won. I haven't seen the end yet!) Do you give yourself time to relax after you've moved forward on something big?

How's the Water?: After you've completed something that moved you out of your comfort zone, notice how you feel. I often feel super empowered after conquering a fear and it often energizes me to take it one step further or conquer a fear in another area. Other times, I just feel drained. How do you feel after you've taken a risk?

Dive at Your Own Pace: I did eventually learn how to dive gracefully, but not at the pond. I learned in a more comfortable environment (back at the neighbor's pool), without any pressure or pushing. Don't worry so much if you're not moving along with your art, business, or whatever as quickly as you think others around you are. Respect your pace, keep moving forward playfully, and have fun with it. You'll enjoy the journey much more.

Play with moving out of your comfort zone with your art, your writing, your movement this month and let me know how it goes for you!

Moving with the Full Sturgeon Moon

August 6th, 2009, Comments (11)

full sturgeon moon

Last night and tonight are the evenings of the Full Sturgeon Moon. I've come to enjoy making mixed-media vision boards to celebrate along with Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboard group. For this one, I drew a sturgeon fish, with four moon-like bubbles coming off it. Within the circles, I pasted small circle cut-outs that represent elements I want to bring into my life.

I love that this moon was named for a fish. The other day, Havi posted an exercise from Barbar Sher's Wishcraft in which you choose a favorite color and then list your qualities, speaking as that color. I chose the color blue (go figure, right?) and I wrote:

I am blue.
I am fluid, flowing, calm, yet strong.
I am life. And I am full of life.
I am clear, not just transparent, but clear as in clarity.
I am intuitive. I know things. I trust what I know.
I am gentle, soft, mothering.
But I am also a powerful force. Don't forget it.
I am healing, I hold space, I hold others with love

Among the qualities I listed was fluidity. I realized that I had a strong desire to bring a deeper sense of effortless flow and ease into my life. When I saw that the full moon this month was named after a fish, I knew I had to make a dreamboard around it, something with flowing water to represent the fluid motion that fish, water, and the color blue has; the same fluidity I want to call forth.

I'm also loving how the fluid fish and water fit in with the move theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month. (I'm really vibing with this theme!) I'm having little a-ha moments all over the place. I'm noticing the way I'm moving energetically in my life and realizing where I can make adjustments. It's exciting.

How are you moving energetically in your life right now? Is your energy more anxious and frenetic? Does it move in waves like the ocean? Is it more like a still lake?

How would you like to moving through the world? Perhaps you could make a piece of art or write about what energy you'd like to embody more of. Or perhaps you could practice one small movement in the style of energy you want to live in.

Just noticing how you move through your day might be a place to start. In this moment, take a breath and check-in. What's your energy like right now?

Movin’ and Shakin’

August 5th, 2009, Comments (15)

tiptoe, mixed-media on watercolor paper

Yesterday, I made three phone calls that I was dreading. Actually, I dread making most phone calls. It's not my favorite means of communication. It feels awkward and uncomfortable to me and when you're calling places like your health insurance company, you tend to speak with people who are a little edgy (not that I can blame them!)

I thought I'd feel relieved once I'd made the calls, but I didn't. My shoulders were still up around my ears, my chest was still tight, my head hurt a little bit. I tried taking a deep breath and congratulating myself for making the calls, but still felt about the same. And then I realized what I needed to do. I needed to embrace the "move" theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month and shake!

Do you know that expression, "shake it off!"? Well, I think there's something to it. In a variety of classes, books, and products, I've been taught to shake my body to release tension. But it's also a great energy shifter. I'm imagining the tension in my body like this shell of meringue. It's light and airy, but slightly crusted over. And if I just shake, it will all dissolve into dust.

So I shook. I started with my hands and arms, then my legs, my torso and my head. I also used the tool I learned from Gretchen's MuseCubes and combined sound with my shaking. I chose a sound that was appealing to me and sighed deeply as I shook and danced around my studio for a few minutes. The movement certainly changed my energy, got my blood moving, shifted my perspective, and made me smile. My cats gave me funny looks, but that's fairly normal. Hehe.

Oh, that reminds me of a game and song I used to enjoy as a kid. You'd usually sing it with a group and silliness would ensue. You'd sing, "Father Abraham, seven sons, seven sons, seven sons had Father Abraham. And he couldn't dance. And he couldn't sing. All he did was go like this..." And then you'd stick your left arm in and out and sing the song again, this time adding your right arm. The song continues and with each verse you're adding one more move (each leg, a wiggle, and a turn) until you're all laughing and exhausted. Good stuff.

You could also try the shaking technique next time you're stuck with a piece of artwork. When you're feeling unsure of what to do next, try stepping back from your art and shaking your body for a few minutes. See if it helps shift things for you.

I think I'll be doing a lot of body-shaking this month as prepare to move. As you can see from the art above, I've got moving on the brain!

Have you tried shaking to shift your perspective before? How has it worked for you?