Monday, November 30, 2009


The picture above shows the art pieces that we created during the November 28 "Transforming Loss: Altering Photographs" workshop, the second rendition of this workshop that I have facilitated. Each participant created pieces that reflected aspects of themselves, their losses, and their healing journeys. At the end of the workshop, we set our pieces in our sacred candle circle, honoring each of the ways we expressed our unique selves through image-making.

Ann shows her art piece, full of light, healing, and love.

Dorothy pieces together images and colors, creating a tapestry of authenticity.

Karen makes the final touch on her piece, hammering in an important sound element.

Bethany examines her photographs, finding the ones that reflect her journey.

During the workshop, I realized that the symbol of my strength comes in the form of tree roots. So I created this piece above to honor the ways in which I carry my father's strength with me in the form of roots holding strong, settling deeply into the earth, always growing.

I also created another tribute piece to my father. The photograph depicts my father walking away, although, I like to think that he is walking towards something lovely, something so bright and comforting. He is always, ever always.

I want to thank the participants of this workshop for being themselves in the present moment, for risking to create art (yes, art can feel risky to some of us!), and for witnessing the process of each other. I feel grateful and honored to be your guide in this process of insight, healing, and transformation.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Renewing Light

We are just about month away from the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. This year, the Winter Solstice will occur at exactly 5:47 pm Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on December 21, 2009.

As we move through these soggy November days into the new days of December, I find myself lighting candles consistently and mindfully. Creating candlelight glow has become second nature in my daily routine, I suppose, because I find candles comforting. I love the flicker, the soft yellow illumination, the scents, the wavering flame. There is something very primal about candlelight, too, as if something very old awakens in my body, some dormant seed that's been hiding in the dark of these long evenings. I also feel a sense of potential in the light that is to come once we pass the solstice mark. There is something in me ready to glow, regenerate, renew.

I created the art piece above to honor the power and comfort of the candles that flicker my evenings along, making striking shadows on the walls. These companions light my way most evenings and remind me that I am also a flame, burning with creativity, emotion, and strength.

How do you use light during these dark months of fall? Do you surround yourself with candlelight like I do or perhaps light a fire or hang strings of lights? Or do you find yourself comforted by the darkness?

And what in you is ready for some renewal? What is ready to burn its way into being and show itself in the light?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Healing Through Art Making

Earlier this month, I facilitated "Transforming Loss: Altering Photographs." The candle above holds the intentions of all who participated and shared their losses through talking, writing, and above all, art-making.

The whole afternoon was poignant as we worked together as a supportive group and separately in our own creative bubbles, depicting our losses and hopes and visions. There was a creative silence that could only be described as healing silence as we cut and pasted and glittered our way to understanding our losses.

It was humbling to notice the physical changes in the participants--stiff, nervous bodies turned to relaxed postures and tight apprehensive faces turned to calm soft faces--and to hear the insights and revelations that the art pieces revealed to each person. And I was moved so deeply.

Here are my two pieces from the workshop (lucky me -- I got to participate, too!):

A tribute to my dad.

A self-portrait piece as I learn to feel strong again after loss.

I am offering this workshop again due to additional interest. It's on Saturday, November 28, 1-4pm. Email me if you'd like to join in:

And the loss issues you bring to the workshop can be any type of loss -- not just loss due to the death of a loved one. In the last workshop, there were many different manifestations of loss shared and explored, including loss of relationships, loss of identity, loss of innocence, etc.

If you are a Facebook user, you can become a "fan" of Rising Bird Healing Arts, and once on my page you can view some of the other art pieces from the participants! And here's a link to some photographs from the last workshop (also on Facebook).

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Thrust of Action

Powerhorse, encaustic by Courtney Putnam

Happy November, everyone!

I must say that part of me feels like sleeping through November and waking up in December, just in time for my birthday. But, there is another part of me rearing for action. I feel a burst of desire for doing. I think spending yesterday building a raised garden bed with my friend and neighbor Juliet helped recharge me. I feel like spring is around the corner (well, sort of) and there is much to do!

It will be interesting to see how I balance my sleeping / doing energies. I imagine I will be engaging in both quite evenly as the month progresses, but I wanted to share with you a bit of my enthusiasm for action since so many of us drag a little in the fall and winter months.

To honor this sudden thrust of "I'm going to get things done" energy, I give you another entry from my Body Cards book, still in process (but becoming more complete as I do, do, do!):

Soleus Muscle: action

Location: One of the muscles of each calf, deep to the gastronemius muscles, which are more superficial.
Function: Aids in balance and walking. Pumps venus blood back to the heart from the lower extremities.
Unique Fact: Due to its fish-like shape, the word “soleus” comes from the word “solefish.”
Associated Chakra: Root (1st Chakra)

The soleus muscles are often called “The Second Hearts,” for they returns venus blood from the lower extremities to the heart through their pumping action. That’s why exercise is so important for circulating blood throughout your body. These “little hearts” require action in order to function properly; without movement, we can become stagnant in our heart. All our heart’s desires, like our all-important blood, could be pooling at our feet!

If you find that the soleus muscle is pumping its way into your cards, perhaps its time to feed your heart’s desire through action. Have you been envisioning something for quite a while, yet are resistant or scared to take action? It’s important to “feel right” before we take action, but maybe you’re ready to take the leap right now. What’s holding you back? Move your way into manifesting something important to you. Go ahead: tell someone you love them; take that new job; enter that juried art show; sign up for that marathon. This card signals a time of doing; ask your heart what it desires and then allow yourself the chance to move your way into manifesting your dreams.