“F” Words

Those of you who know me, KNOW how pristine, proper and perfect I am.

However, I was throwing around lots of “F” words:  Fibro, Focus & Faith!  at The National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day sponsored by FANN – Fibromyalgia Awareness National Network  and

The Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Center at Cal State University, Fullerton directed by Jessie Jones, Ph.D..

After my Therapeutic Creative Expression presentation everyone had their own mask to decorate.  The front represented  a “Celebration of Me”.  On the inside of their mask words that described themselves – qualities, attributes, accomplishments – not dictated by their illness or limitations were written.

When I can figure out how to add narration to the slide-show I presented I’ll post it on-line.  In the meantime here’s a very small sample of the deeeeelicious treats,  people and masks.

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Another “F” word!  FANN!

A brand new on-line support group founded by Phyllis Talarico


Please sign up!  Talk to others who have been on this journey with a life altering medical condition for years.  Share your own experiences to help others.  WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!  CONNECT with FANN!

Tell others to help grow FANN

a  self-help, non-profit on-line support community

“Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects individuals physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and financially. For those with severe symptoms, the disorder can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities, leading to high rates of disability.

Between 2 to 4% of the population—as many 10 million people in the United States—suffer from fibromyalgia. (American College of Rheumatology). While predominately seen in women, the disorder also occurs in men and children, and is seen in all ethnic groups.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and cognitive difficulties as well as a number of overlapping conditions.”

For more information on current research and opportunities to participate and important information on fibromyalgia and pain disorders take a look:

Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Center at Cal State University, Fullerton.

Mask Painting to Express Feelings – Wendy’s Mask

After posting pictures of one of my  mask workshops mask-painting-to-express-feelings Wendy Holcombe commented that she wished she could paint a mask (my words, not hers).  So I sent her a mask form that I use in my Therapeutic Creative Expression Workshops.

Take a look at Wendy’s post on CreateToHeal!  She painted the outside and collaged the inside.  Then take a listen to what she says about her experience and her mask.

Read her last post to really understand  Wendy Holcombe’s life. She’s remarkabe.

P.S.  You can do this exercise without an actual mask form or paint.  There’s a free tutorial and a “processing exercise” on the Tutorial page.  You’ll have to scroll down . . . it’s there.

And let me know what you did.  I’ll share it (with or without your name) to inspire others to try Therapeutic Creative Expression!

Mask Painting, Making the Invisible Visible

The Face of Joy was the first mask painting workshop I facilitated.   Visions of the Invisible, In The Face of Pain was the second  It is a powerfully therapeutic experience, not to mention FUN!  Yes, painting pain can be fun as long as you don’t have expectations of how it “should” look, know there’s no right or wrong way and simply use color to express feelings and experience.

Take a look (we paint the OUTSIDE and the INSIDE of the masks and then talk about them)!  See if you can tell what each mask represents – joy, sadness, migraine, physical pain, emotional pain, hurt, hiding from others real feelings.

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An aspect of the healing – besides the actual process of creating – is internalizing, in a non-objective manner, our feelings where we can be an observer.  Observation helps us create distance which creates objectivity and thus changes the experience.

The next Mask Painting workshop is scheduled for this coming December 10th.  I’ll be sure to share more pictures with you.

There’s a FREE tutorial on the TUTORIAL PAGE for you to create and process your own “Mask of Pain”

The Mask We Show to the World – In the Face of Pain

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A favorite Therapeutic Creative Expression exercise is mask painting – whether it is on an actual mask or on a 2-dimensional outline

I have participants paint or collage the inside and the outside of their mask representing in color, symbol, design how they experience


what they present to the outside world and what they experience on the inside that no one can see.

There is a worksheet on the TUTORIAL PAGE – click on TUTORIALS in the header and scroll down – that helps PROCESS the exercise.  The processing is as important as creating the mask.

The green mask is the only one that is collaged using torn pieces of magazine as “color”.  All the rest are painted with acrylic paint or drawn on with crayon.

I have three masks hanging in my office waiting room.  I find all the masks beautiful, each in their own way.  

Even if you don’t draw/paint or collage your mask imagine it in your mind’s eye and do the worksheet.

I would love to know what your vision is.