The HeART of Spirituality
Worksheet to explore your own sense of COMMUNION, LOVE and CONNECTION
The HeART of Spirituality Worksheet
The unexamined life is not worth living – Socrates.
“One hour’s reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship” Baha’i
- Card: Love of God, Love of self – the spark within or what is Holy to you.
- Card: Virtues that connect me – create a sense of unity with family, friends, colleagues & the world.
List all your POSITIVE attributes, accomplishments, characteristics – general & specific/small & large
Finish each sentence. Write the first thing that spontaneously comes to mind.
I FEEL most “embedded” in life when __________________________________________________________
I EXPERIENCE myself connected to others when/during _____________________________________________
I FEEL disconnected or estranged from people/life when _____________________________________________
These are examples of how I connect or reach out to others.____________________________________________
These are the virtues I am most in touch with/aware of in myself:_ ______________________________________
These are the virtues I am drawn to in others______________________________________________________
These are virtues I want to express more:_________________________________________________________
Here are behaviors I can do to express those virtues:_________________________________________________
* * *
EASY Bag Lady
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If the video doesn’t load click here for YouTube video http://youtu.be/Hhdk-crubzk
3 Reasons to try Therapeutic Creative Expression:
1. Creative expression has been shown to lower the stress response. This is HUGE. With any life altering condition, life fibromyalgia, auto-immune disorders or ongoing life stressors, the body is in a chronic elevated stress response. Incredible to think that you can pick up a crayon and scribble to lower your own stress response! Try it! Scribbling/doodling count as a form of creative expression.
2. By expressing your thoughts, feelings your brain doesn’t have to keep reminding you of them. The brain wants us to survive so it will continually remind us of “danger”. And when you have fibromyalgia or any life altering condition your brain keeps reminding you of all the negative things it can muster up to keep us on the alert. (Sound familiar? — stress, anxiety, depressive thinking)
3. Creative expression is FUN! There is no right or wrong. That’s one of my rules. So you can skip the critique, skip the need to perform, skip the need to be right, perfect, chipper, “normal” and let go and enjoy. Now I don’t know about you but I need all the fun I can find wherever I can find it.
Creative expression + NO right or wrong + FUN = Therapeutic Mind-Body Experience
No Rx needed!
- Acrylic or tempera craft paint or crayons or oil pastels.
- Piece of paper
- Make-up sponges, cue tips or your fingers!
Here’s an EASY, fun way to start out your Bag Book (See Tutorial, How to Make a Bag Book
And as long as I was challenging you to do something creative and different I thought I’d better put my money where my mouth is or at least a mouth where the Book Bag is . . . you’ll see . . .
My first video! Herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre goes! (Tell me what you think. Unless what you think isn’t what I want to hear, then don’t tell me)
I teach PROCESS JOURNALING. In Process Journaling you do not do one page at a time. Rather you have many pages at various stages. You don’t ever need to stop doing a page as a matter of fact. You can come back AT ANY TIME and rework, add, paint over, tear up what you’ve done. You’ll discover that the pages make themselves if you simply let your intuition cut, paste, dab, smear, arrange and rearrange. This is NOT about making art. This is about expressing your unconscious PROCESS using pictures, color (and words, if you choose).
Therapeutic Creative Journaling
This is NOT your Mother’s journaling!
IT’S a PROCESS
1. Do NOT start with blank pages. Color or alter lots of pages before you do anything else.
Ideas for coloring/changing your pages:
- Smear acrylic paint (I use old credit cards to smear the paint all over the pages)
- Paste colored or printed paper on blank sheet
- Stamp all over the blank sheet
- Water-color the blank page
- Put a border around the page
2. Spontaneously & intuitively cut or tear out pictures from magazines/newspapers etc that get your attention or “speak” to you.
3. Paste the pictures on your pages. Don’t worry about where you paste them or how many or how few to a page. Just use your intuition as to where and on what painted page the picture “belongs”.
4. Alter the pictures & pages.
Ideas for altering the pictures & pages.
Any of these can be combined.
- White-wash over the picture with diluted white paint or gesso so it is obscured yet you can make it out.
- Doodle on the page.
- Paint parts of the page
- Outline parts of the pictures
- Tear or cut pieces of colored paper and add to the page
- Draw on the page
5. Write on your page or leave it as is.
Ideas for writing:
- Words, phrases, sentences
- Cut out words from magazines/newspapers and paste onto page
- Quote poetry
- Quote songs
- Quote sayings
ANY materials and media can be used. Cheap Acrylic paint is best as it covers best, dries the fastest and is not expensive. (Tempera can be used if that’s all you have but buy acrylic in the craft bottles if you are just starting out.
Water-color, permanent markers, oil pastels are all fun to experiment with
I love using old books and smearing paint on the pages. The covers can be painted and all the pages are already bound!)
3-ring binders are also a great way to start. You can add pages anytime and you don’t have to have your binder with you to work on pages.
Above all just experiment and have fun!
Have questions please e-mail me at JudithWesterfield@gmail.com
Process Painting LOSS
You’ll be relieved to know I’ve run out of Forrest Gumpisms. (But you must admit I was on a roll!) Today is some more of the one line drawings and paintings from workshops I’ve facilitated.
- Acrylic paint is the medium – it dries fast
- Sponges, sponge brushes and q-tips to smear, dab, dribble and smush the paint on the canvas
Instructions are to use color to express feelings in a step by step process (created by Laurie Zagon, Art & Creativity for Healing, a wonderful non-profit)
- Focus on Loss- someone or something, physical, emotional, personal and express the feelings with colors
- God, spirituality, giving and/or receiving love and express that with colors
- You can essentially do whatever you want to express your feelings. The only rule as Laurie taught me is to cover the entire canvas with paint so you have a complete painting and no canvas showing.
- If you don’t have canvas use paper.
- If you don’t have acrylic paint use crayons.
- I know you have feelings!
- Want to share this? Click here!:
Fairy Fun!Materials: Pencil, paper, crayons or colored pens, pencils and Fairy Imagination
- Draw the fairy with the paper up-side-down. Believe it or not this will help you draw without being critical of what you are doing
- Don’t try to duplicate, just concentrate on the shapes.
- Draw SHAPES rather than trying to make a realistic picture.
- When you are done, turn the paper right-side-up and decorate it anyway you want.
- HAVE FUN, that’s what all Fairies want!
Here are some examples:
In the Face of Pain
1. Paint or color (crayons, colored pencils work) the area surrounding the masks with the color that represents your pain, your issue, your focus
2.. Color in the entire mask so that there is no surface that isn’t covered with crayon, paint, pencil.
3.. Color outside the lines if you choose!
4. Scribble, doodle, scratch and scrawl.
ONE rule: There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG.
5. Looking at your picture fill out the worksheet
6. Read it back to someone you trust or out loud to yourself.
Inside of Mask WorksheetImagine the inside of your mask speaking to you and record what it is communicating. Write quickly, spontaneously and intuitively. The responses may or may not make sense immediately. I am the one who_______________________________________________ I feel________________________________________________________ I think_______________________________________________________ No one will ever see_____________________________________________ Because______________________________________________________ Never tell anyone______________________________________________ because if you do______________________________________________ It is not possible to ____________________________________________ This is MY secret:_____________________________________________ This is OUR secret_____________________________________________ I know you know______________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________
Outside of Mask WorksheetImagine the outside of your mask speaking to you and record what it is communicating. Write quickly, spontaneously and intuitively. The responses may or may not make sense immediately. I am the one who_________________________________________________________ I feel__________________________________________________________________ I think________________________________________________________________ When you look at me I believe you feel__________________________________________ When you look at me I KNOW you see__________________________________________ When others look at me I believe they see_______________________________________ Do NOT_______________________________________________________________ Please_________________________________________________________________ I’m ___________________________________________________________________ I know_________________________________________________________________ I know you know_________________________________________________________ This is our secret_________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ Fun+Lesson=Funsson Pictures! 11OCT Funsson #1 (Fun + Lesson = Funsson)
Getting Rid of Your INNERTIC (INNER + CRITIC = Innertic) Pictures Posted on http://www.flickr.com/groups/creativitytothemax/Send me YOUR pictures before you get rid of them! I want to see! Here’s how:
- Photograph it
- Upload it to your computer
- Go to: http://www.flickr.com/groups/creativitytothemax/
- Join CreativitytotheMAX and upload your picture.It’s EASY and you don’t have to use your real name!
I’ve had many people write and say “I”ve tried to do therapeutic creative expression but everything I do looks like a kindergarten drawing.” (Recognize yourself?)
I have a comment! (when doesn’t she have a comment! you’re thinking)
#1 Therapeutic Creative Expression is only therapeutic if you DO NOT CARE what the end product looks like! If you do NOT care your stress response will drop and your functioning improves. Now if that’s not a reason to NOT CARE I don’t know what is.
#2. Self criticism, self-doubt, self-deprecation are NOT therapeutic! They raise your stress level and thus raise your heart rate, your blood pressure and increase muscle tension which increases pain levels.
If you are going to draw like a kindergartener at least have FUN like a kindergartener! And if you are an artist go back to your roots and fumble around having fun!
Enough comments. You who draw like kindergarteners have inspired me to facilitate a Drawing from the FUN side of your Brainworkshop and have decided to give it to you for free! (Please don’t tell anyone who lives in Southern California). Here GOES . . .__________________________________________________________________________________ Funsson #1 (Fun + Lesson = Funsson) (borrowing some silly vocabularly from Carla Sonheim)
Getting Rid of Your INNERTIC (INNER + CRITIC = Innertic)
Why is this lesson #1? We don’t want your Innertic spoiling your fun for the rest of the Funssons. So here’s a way to tell your inner critic how to go, if not where to go.Materials: Piece of paper, minimum size 9″ x 12″, Crayons or colored markers
Let’s-do-the-how-to:Using your black or darkest color crayon or marker:
- Draw a Great Big Circle on your page. It can be wobbly or lopsided and should NOT be perfect. If it’s perfect, start again.
- Top third of the circle, draw two more circles, side by side. They can touch or not.
- Draw a smaller circle inside each of the two circles. Fill in the smaller inner circles with a dark color.
- Bottom third of the Great Big Circle, draw a horizontal (—) shape: an oval, rectangle, half-moon etc.,and fill the shape in with color
- Middle of the Great Big Circle, draw a vertical ( / ) shape: a long oval, a banana shape, a rectangular shape etc., and fill in the shape with color.
- Top half – draw straight, wavy, curly, spiral, scribbles from the outside of the Great Big Circle to the edge of the page
Finishing TOUCHES to your Innertic:
- Do whatever you want! Doodle lines and squiggles, add ears, add a weird body. Give it a hat, a wart, body piercing jewelry, pimples, a tongue, buck teeth, eyelashes, an eyepatch, a black eye, draw hair growing out it’s nose, a dimple, rosy cheeks, give it another eye . . .
Finishing OFF your Innertic:
- Write words, phrases and sentences on the front and back of the paper. ”BEGONE”, Take your criticism and shove it!” etc. Be as mean and judgemental to your Inner Critic as it is to you. Don’t be shy. Don’t censor yourself. You know what to say. Write a minimum of 5 things you want to tell your Innertic.
- Get rid of your symbolic Inner Critic!
scribble over it until it disappears
cut it up
bake it in a batch of brownies
rip it up
bury it in the flower beds
crumble it up and burn it.
You’ll KNOW what to do.
Now don’t tell me that didn’t feel good!
P.S. If your Inner Critic changes appearance and sneaks back
repeat this lesson until it gets the message!
Send me your pictures before you get rid of them! I want to see! Here’s how:
Upload it to your computer
Join CreativitytotheMAX and upload your picture.
It’s EASY and you don’t have to use your real name!
What’s a practice-doodle. It’s simply drawing over and over, variations of the same basic shapes while you are talking on the phone, watching TV, taking a bath, waiting at a doctor’s appointment or on a boring date!
Materials: napkin, scrap paper, junk mail, old envelopes – anything that has no value. You want to have the freedom to doodle and experiment.
(I have several really lovely journal books, sketch books and expensive drawing paper that I’ve not touched in (I hate to admit this) YEARS. Why? They are “too good” to mess up. I only want to use them when I’m an excellent artist and my drawings are worthy of being displayed in a famous museum. But I have a picture I did on a brown paper bag that I liked so much I framed it.)
Draw circles and rectangles and triangles and sticks.
put a smile on your face
THEN DOODLE SOME MORE!
Share YOUR Doodle-Doos! Here’s how:
- Upload to your computer
- Go to: http://www.flickr.com/groups/creativitytothemax/
- Join CreativitytotheMAX and upload your picture.It’s EASY and you don’t have to use your real name!
Paper, any size
Magazines, scissors, glue sticks
- Draw a large box, draw a triangle on the top for the roof/attic
- Divide the box horizontally (-) in two (upstairs/downstairs)
- Divide both the upstairs and downstairs each into two room, any size – it’s Your house!
Helpful Hint: Photo-copy your house so you can do it again or share with a friend or child.
- In the magazines cut out pictures that “get your attention, appeal to you in some way or intuitively “pick you”.
- Paste them wherever you choose using your intuition rather than your reasoning.
- Have fun interpreting them. Check the blog postings AND comments (Oct 2010) for examples of how to interpret.
The power of creative expression, whether you are cutting and pasting pictures, painting, singing, dancing, woodworking, sewing is that it is created from our own unconscious wisdom. It’s our signature – who we are, where we are in life.
1. Draw a profile on one side of paper
2. Draw half of a full face on the other side (It obviously doesn’t have to be a likeness!)
3. Make several photo copies
4. Doodle on your pictures
5. Color the faces in like you would a coloring book. (I used permanent markers and pastel chalk). Crayons work great!
6. Have fun!
It’s quick and easy.
If I look at the 3 faces in relationship to my fibromyalgia: The left is when I’m fibro-fogged and one brain and the other aren’t fully communicating; The middle is when I’m in pain and gritting my teeth but beginning to come together; the right is my face to the world when I’m feeling “blue”.
Tutorial: An easy way to Color Outside the Lines
Materials: Crayons, glitter pens, a child’s coloring book.
Follow this RULE: There is NO right or wrong.
- RANDOMLY pick a page.
- Color everything on the page making sure you go outside the lines.
- Fill in the entire page with color, anyway you want.
- Break and peel crayons; use side of crayon to cover large area
- Title & date your page
- On a separate piece of paper:
- Write quickly, spontaneously, intuitively.
- Do not be concerned about spelling, punctuation or grammar.
- Do not be concerned if it doesn’t make sense.
- Write what the picture means to you; how it could apply to your life.
- Write how you felt when you were coloring
- Write about any childhood memories, associations you have about coloring, “art”, creativity, sharing.
- When you have a trusted friend or relative available, read what you have written out loud to them. They are not to comment, just listen.
Taking it to the MAX! Here’s a sample of what I wrote:
Right now I feel like I am climbing a tree — trying to get to the top of my pile of things to do.
It felt good to color the page because I didn’t have to think about following a rule. I do remember when I was in kindergarten one of my favorite activities was painting. There were only a few easels in the classroom and everyone had to wait their turn and could only paint for a small amount of time. It seems that things never change . . . never enough time to do what I want to do. At least now I don’t have to wear an apron if I don’t want to.
Process Reading: Mind-Body Noodle Head Lady
Here’s the page I started weeks ago (see April 26th post, tutorial):
Added more color on her curls, eyes and background. Doodled a bit on her gloves. I gave her cheeks a bit of rouge and outlined the noodle hat on her head. I like that I colored her eyes to match her mittens — or is it the other way around?
Was sorting through a stack of papers and came across a free verse poem I wrote many months ago. I don’t even remember the context. The minute I read it I knew it belonged to my Mind-Body lady.
This the original page posted below. Haven’t done anything to the flower-gem thingey on the opposite page. It is the “soul” part of the Mind-Body-Soul.
Process Reading, The Missing Sunflower
I woke up in the middle of the night after posting the collage (May 16th) and having it pointed out to me there were 6, not 5 sunflowers!
Aha! I said. Actually I didn’t say “aha”, it was the middle of the night. But if it had been the middle of the day I would have.
The 6 sunflowers represent the 6 decades I’ve been alive. The sunflower I didn’t see that is farthest back and has it’s head down is the first decade of my life. Faded from memory, but cradled by the hand as something precious.
The sunflower behind my left hand is the 5th decade, when I developed fibromyalgia, and my life was full of physical pain and exhaustion. The lowest flower and the one facing out is the 6th decade — now. Not quite as upright as the other decades but still in bloom!
There is still room in the vase for one or two more sunflowers.
The Missing Sunflower, “Reading”
The Missing SunFlower
I originally posted this on http://JudithWesterfieldFibromylagia.blogspot.com. I wondered what the 5 sunflowers meant until a friend pointed out there were 6. I had to really examine the collage until I saw the 6th flower. In the middle of the night I woke up realizing what the sunflowers represented. Here’s my original post:
“Tears have always, for me, been a sign of truth. A knowing that comes from deep within my bone marrow. Tears have always been, for me, a sign of deep physical pain, an admission of hopelessness. Tears have always been, for me, a sign of deep longing, deep spiritual pain that come from the need for connection.
In 1996 when I became symptomatic with fibromyalgia my tears converged in what was, for me – “the perfect flood”.
I did this journal page about a month ago. When I do journal pages I don’t process them for weeks, sometimes years later.
Looking at it again it is nice to see (binoculars) that the tears (with the “shark symptoms” of fibro swimming around in them) are not the largest image in focus.
By my own hands my life is blooming. I have worked very hard these last years. It’s interesting that there are 5 sunflowers. I will have to think about what each might currently represent. Nothing comes easily to mind.
Here’s a fun one, even if it is about anger. So keep checking the new page to see what’s UP.
Anger & fibromyalgia (or ANY LIFE ALTERING CONDITION) are buddies. Both hang out together sometimes in public, always in private. They often prefer to be invisible to others . . . and sometimes to ourselves.
Personally I’ve never thought of myself as an angry person, still don’t, but the UNEXPRESSED anger I’ve felt over having my life turned upside down and not knowing how to redefine myself created an indescribable loss of control. For years after my diagnosis I found myself inpatient, short tempered and jealous of others who I perceived as “whole”.
Tutorial: Graffitti Board, Releasing Anger and Frustration
“I have been contemplating the woman falling backwards. The side borders are open. The water may be my escape, my way out. I think the fireworks behind my head are things that stress me out. Pink and blue background colors may represent kids (students and my own). I need to take time for myself.
Thank you for offering this class. I am having so much more fun than I ever expected!”
Theresa is attending the Wonderful Woman Journaling group. She used her intuition to begin to put personal meaning into the journal collage pages she is creating. I’m going to open up more possibilities so that all of you can see how my mind works when I process. (Could be a bit scary to see how my mind works so I’ll try to be circumspect!)
The woman falling back is upright in a VERY trusting, serene position (like the trust falls where you fall backwards into a group).
She might be falling, she could be leaning on an unobservable support, what she’s standing on may be tilted and she’s standing straight (like the crooked house in Disneyland. What is your platform?
3 firework explosions: What are the 3 major wonders, beautiful blasts, celebrations, stresses etc in your life that are BEHIND you that you don’t see?
The two largest are touching you, the smallest is the farthest from you? OR the largest explosion could be crowning you, the next explosion is close to your heart. All three are exactly the same shape, color – what are three things, relationships, activities, events that are the same except for size and where they have “touched” you?
Let us know more Theresa by posting a comment so everyone can learn!
Here’s a collage page from Valerie Dambach”s journal.
First and most importantly only YOU know what the meaning is. I can only give you possibilities. You can see from her writing the powerful meaning for Val is “MOVING ON”.
To begin to understand how to process your own work here’s the jumpstarts I gave Val to process creative expression.
Start with the obvious: EYES
Placement: The large eye is looking “inward”. It is not attached to a body: Perhaps it is the soul, the objective eye, the eye of the unconscious? There is a paper towel (literally) underneath: to catch tears, to keep it clean, to mask something?
The eye on the woman’s face is looking “outward” and is a part of a whole face: The eye may be viewing outside circumstances in your world; taking in all the eyes of others and what they are seeing; looking away from the knowing of the “soul” eye, viewing the physical realities of your world?
The multiple eyes on the border are looking in many directions: Seeing ALL circumstances, all issues, all possibilities; The eyes of everyone in your world watching and waiting; Different parts of you that know everything; Your mind surrounded by objective reality.
The woman is smiling: She likes what she sees, she likes what others see, she is putting on a smiling face to the world?
Now it’s your turn. SEE what rings true and what doesn’t and comment here on the blog so everyone can share in the processing.
Remember ONLY the artist KNOWS what the meaning is for her.
Send me a jpg of your work and I’ll give you some jumpstarts!
Tutorial: Split Personality
A Month later . . .
I had about 15 minutes before bed and here’s what I did:
I started adding paint to the dual picture. I kept the two split sides next to each other as I add the first layer of acrylic paint.
I prefer to work spontaneously and intuitively. So I just took a couple of tubes of acrylic paint and started adding to the picture – giving as little conscious thought as possible. I mixed the paint with a lot of water and acrylic glazing media which makes the paint thinner and more transparent.
That way the collage pictures I had pasted down will show through even if I put paint over them.
When the pages are separated you can see a bit better how each side of the split picture begins to take its own look:
- Pick a picture that represents pain and one that represented pleasure. Magazine, newspaper pictures are fine.
- Do it quickly, intuitively and spontaneously.
- The pictures can be a literal, symbolic or metaphorical representation.
- Cut away the back ground so you have just the basic image.
- Paste it on a sheet of white or black paper
- Pick colors that represent pain and pleasure We used oil pastels (they really look great on black paper but crayons or markers are just fine)
- Draw, scribble scrawl the colors on the paper, including the pasted picture if you want.
This is one of the participant’s pictures. I sure you can see that the picture conveys what no words can.
P.S. Check out http://www.TOSSociety.org. A great organization that provides, FREE services (did I say FREE!!!), resources, medical research info and trials, Social Security Disability information, support groups, not to mention FREE services!, complimentary care for those with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) or have CHRONIC PAIN.
Phil & Cyndy La Pluma founded this wonderful non-profit and Director Rhona Jordan, http://www.rhonaimagery.com, an extraordinary Guided Imagery and Hypnosis Therapist, organized the training.