Art & Creativity for Healing

I just attended Art & Creativity for Healing HeARTS for Healing Women’s Guild meeting.  Art & Creativity for Healing is a non-profit organization I volunteered for as a facilitator in the early years of my being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Laurie Zagon is a working artist, art teacher and the founder of Art and Creativity for Healing.  I credit Laurie for helping me process the physical, emotional and spiritual upheaval I was experiencing and reconnect with my creativity.
However, I can’t give Laurie all the credit. She has to share it with the local throw-away Penny Saver paper.
Laurie had put an insert ad in the Penny Saver (the first and last time she ever did that) announcing community Art & Creativity Workshops.
I was tossing junk mail out and her insert fell out of the pile, catching my attention. (the first and last time I ever read a Penny Saver insert)  I was VERY skeptical that this was a legitimate organization that really provided free art workshops to help others. Who would advertise such an organization in a PENNY SAVER, on cheap grainy, low resolution paper no less?
I called mostly out of curiosity.  Laurie’s enthusiasm  convinced me to give one of her community classes a try.  The rest is history: I became enthralled, impressed and grateful for the process and program Laurie created; Much of the art work processing my relationship with fibromyalgia I created during that time was done under Laurie’s encouraging and loving  guidance.
This picture is one  I painted at Art & Creativity for Healing.  It is the only one I ever did that is a figure.  I painted it very quickly — maybe 15 minutes — and the figure emerged just as the second head is emerging from her shoulder.  

I didn’t consciously know it at the time but this painting reflected my own emergence from suffering.  The pain was still there but I no longer asked “Why me?”.  I began to focus on what I was capable of instead of what I no longer could or should do.

This painting hung in my office as a reminder for me that whatever my afflictions and limitations we are all capable of creating a better and more meaningful life for ourselves and others.

I probably should take out a “Thank You” ad in the Penny Saver.  Until then, this will have to suffice:  
“Thank you, Laurie!” 

Like all non-profit organizations it relies on contributions and community grants.  100% of  the money earned through community workshops  goes to providing  Creativity for Healing workshops for children and adults suffering from abuse, illness, grief or stress on-site, and at military bases, hospitals and non-profit agencies.

Since 2000, more than 30,000 children and adults throughout Southern California have participated in classes and workshops. The Zagon Method of Art4Healing® was originally developed by Laurie in New York City in 1987, as a workshop designed to help busy Wall Street executives deal with stress.
 
There are also community workshops and opportunities to be trained to work as a facilitator.  Check it out!

Art & Creativity for Healing

www.art4healing.org


A Mother’s Legacy

Seems as if December brings many beginnings and endings.  Here’s a lovely article I received from Cathy, a wonderful, talented writer. It made me reflect: The passing of parents, particularly the same-sex parent, often leaves us asking questions about our own lives; I suspect questions may be the most important legacy we receive.
Here’s Cathy’s questions.  Which do you share?
“Thirty-seven years ago today (Dec 19), my mother passed away. The phone rang at 7 a.m. I answered, and the doctor asked to speak to my dad. He sat on the edge of my bed and took the call. Then he put his head in his hands and cried hysterically. I don’t really know what happened after that. I do remember that I made the calls to my brother and sister, aunts and uncles, because my father could not.

We went to the hospital; the doctor wrote me a prescription for Valium. I never took it. We went to breakfast and had bacon, eggs and toast. I don’t remember tasting anything. We went to the funeral parlor. I picked out the coffin because my father could not. It was slate blue metallic with a blue satin lining.
After that, there were the usual preparations and condolences and services. Those I barely remember.

I wonder what she would think of me after all these years. I wonder what she DOES think of me. She visits me often. She would probably to this day tell me that I can be anything I want to be. Is that still true? Was it ever? What can I accomplish in the remainder of my life? Have I squandered it all? And, in truth, what DO I want now? That’s the difficult part.

All I know is that today I will acknowledge my mother. I will unwrap her fragile tea-cup salvaged from my dad’s apartment this year and put it in a place of honor. Just so she knows she is not forgotten.”

“For me, grief comes at funny times, over funny things.”



Picture my Dad carried in his wallet of my Mom in her 20's when they first met

I read a beautiful blog post on Phylor’s Blog about her Mother, Father and memories.  She ended it with “For me, grief comes at funny times, over funny things”.: http://phylor.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/funny-how-grief-is-musings-on-baseball-bracelets-and-tears/

I replied to her post and had to stop when I started to tear up.

My Mother died 10 years ago today.  I have a VERY bad memory for dates.  But I know it was December 12, 1999 because December 12th is my dear friend Joyce’s birthday and I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that Mom missed living to 2000 by only 2 weeks.

It seems Mom was always both behind and ahead her time:  She gave birth to my brother when she was 30 years old — extremely rare in those days — In 1950, 30 was OLD to have a child; She upcycled clothes when upcycling was not in the dictionary; She learned to swim and DIVE and had her first airplane ride in her 40’s.

Mom gave me my love of creativity. She knitted, sewed, tailored clothes, made jewelry, stained glass, copper enameled, painted, water-colored, tooled leather, did ceramics – she would try anything.  I am always a bit sad that she’s not here to experiment with me at all my new creative endeavors.

I do remember her at funny times, over funny things:  She loved eating anything off the bone, particularly turkey carcasses; She kept a sign up over the stove “This is Selma’s kitchen.  If you don’t believe it start something” – where that sign came from I don’t remember; and when things were difficult she always said “This too shall pass.”

She had polio as a child and one leg was shorter than the other.  You couldn’t tell until she took a photo – the pictures were always at a slight tilt.  As she aged she developed post-polio syndrome and was in excruciating, intractable pain the last years of her life.  She never complained but you could see the pain in her eyes.

It doesn’t really matter if I believe she is no longer in pain and in a better place.  I  miss her.   I also believe there never is an end to grief as long as I am in this body called human.

This year my grief came with Phylor’s blog post.