Mission of Creative Wellness Services

Creative Wellness Services provides unique, creative and experiential wellness programs for individuals and groups, such as your work place environment. Services are facilitated to include the use of art, creativity and self-reflection to promote enhanced teamwork and individual wellness.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

4-In Response a short film by Sandy McLennan

I have had the most fun with this current exhibit at the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA), called Response (and Responding) a collaborative art exhibit with Beverley Hawksley, Carmen Hickson, Tanya Zaryski and myself, Supria Karmakar.

Our process started in November/December of 2016 when Shelley Carter, a board member of the Elora Centre for the Arts suggested my name to the curatorial team as a possible artist to show in the gallery.  I knew that I wanted to show with others - doing things as a group and in community is so much more meaningful.  Beverley Hawksley was suggested as a possible creative partner, whose work I had become very familiar with and loved deeply; and I have also always admired Carmen Hickson and Tanya Zaryski's work, and so we were formed.  I was delighted they said 'YES' to working together.

From there unfolded a series of emails and a few meetings, to discuss a possible theme for our collaborative.  While discussing our process and the meaning of our works, it became very apparent that there was a common theme and thread in the way we each worked.  We found that each one of us responds to our creative energies from within, and that this is a deep and sacred relationship with our creative muse; one in which we give ourselves over in complete trust and allowance. So that the works can be birthed organically and authentically in commune with our creative muse.    We decided that our exhibit was going to be about RESPONDING, to our calling to create, both to produce individual works but we also knew we wanted to create work with each other, to have the opportunity to respond to each other's work by working together.

So in October 2017 we all got together at the beautiful home and studio of Beverley Hawksley and Sandy McLennan in Huntsville, Ontario.  I remember the drive clearly, the beautiful fall colours were inspiring and I was filled with anticipation knowing we were going to work together in a creative unfolding for our group exhibit.  Each one of us brought a piece of art work from either its rawest form or in the beginning stages to share with one another, with our creative muses.  We did not know how the day was going to unfold.   That was the first step in trusting the calling of our creative muse.  It was a meeting of our creative muses as much as it was a day for us to work together.  We spent the day over food and connection discussing our works, ideas, what we were being called to create and discovered a beautiful unfolding.  Sandy McLennan took 4 hours + footage of our day together and created a beautiful short documentary called "4 in Response".  The short film is a wonderful piece of work and captures the magic of our process.  Thank you Sandy.  The art works are still being exhibited at the Elora Centre for the Arts until March 8th, 75 Melville St. Elora.    Very worth a drive to Elora for a visit.

Love to hear your comments and thoughts on this film and our process.  Thanks to everyone that came out the night of the showing.  For those that couldn't make it here is another opportunity to see the film:  https://vimeo.com/251804502

Friday, January 5, 2018

Response (and Responding) - A 4 Woman Art Exhibit

Response (and Responding)
A 4-person exhibition of exploratory work by Beverley Hawksley, Carmen Hickson, Supria Karmakar, and Tanya Zaryski  

Sunday January 14th – Sunday March 4th, 2018
Minarovich Gallery at ECFTA - 75 Melville St, Elora, ON N0B 1S0
Opening Reception
Sunday January 14th, 1 – 4PM
Response (and Responding) features the work of Beverley Hawksley, Carmen Hickson, Supria Karmakar, and Tanya Zaryski. Exploring the theme of art as embodiment of mindfulness, these four artists working in a variety of mediums, challenge themselves to engage more deeply with their individual and collective creative process. Response (and Responding) addresses the space between action and reaction; the quiet reverberations moving from the creative source to the maker and from the maker to the viewer. Opens Sunday January 14th and runs through March 4th in the Minarovich Gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts.
In conjunction with the exhibition, “4 IN RESPONSE” (2017), a short film by Sandy McLennan exploring the collaborative art making process of Beverley Hawksley, Carmen Hickson, Supria Karmakar and Tanya Zaryski will be shown as part of the Elora Women’s Film Society Event on February 15th. Following the screening there will be a Q & A with the artists. Event begins at 6:30PM in the Harris Exchange at the ECFTA.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

What is balance anyway?  What is recovery?

I don't know about you - but I have been experiencing that finding a place of balance or determining what is a natural start to my day or the end of my day more difficult to locate.  The constant pull to being perpetually PLUGGED in has contributed to this state of affairs, as well as, being self-employed perhaps?  

However, I would wonder and am curious about whether many people are experiencing this similar challenge of finding balance?  Maybe or maybe not...We all have so many pulls for our attention, work, life, family, friends, home chores, financial commitments, when is there down time, what is recovery time? what does that mean to recover and to rejuvenate?

Let's face it, life's demands can be stressful, and it has become critical to our health to find recovery and rejuvenation time.

Michael Gervais' podcast - Finding Mastery, conversations with Michael Gervais in a recent podcast with Arianna Huffington,  was helpful to assist with answering some of these questions.  Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including, most recently, Thrive and The Sleep Revolution.  She has also been named to Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful women list.  

The mission of Thrive Global includes, "changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success" (https://findingmastery.net/arianna-huffington/).

Some of the take aways on how to turn it off and do 'recovery and rejuvenate' are:

  • Turn in your electrical devices at the end of the day, to put them to bed outside of your bedroom at least 30 minutes before going to sleep yourself  - check out the parody "Good Night Smart Phone" free on Audible 
  • Declaring an artificial end of your day as we don't necessarily have one anymore because we can be plugged in all the time
  • Focus on getting a good night sleep - making sleep a priority & taking naps etc. - a fatigued brain leads to lack of mental clarity, staleness, illness and earlier death
  • Meditation - focus on being more present, authentic, grounded versus doing 'more' in your day
  • Avoid comparison mind, look to self vs to others for betterment 
  • Growth and betterment are incremental and don't happen overnight - small baby steps 
  • Weaving in more JOY in your life - finding small moments of joy in your life, celebrating your accomplishments and successes no matter how small or large
  • Embracing failure - failure is a stepping stone to success
  • Loving Kindness to self - Non-judgmental tone and self-compassion
My joy this past week has been more forest bathing:  This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, the medicine of simply being in the forest. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

If you are interested in exploring recovery and rejuvenation in a supportive, compassionate and non-judgmental environment connect with me here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Cycles of our lives, our history and our future….Samsara the Wheel of Life….

I've just spent the last two days (+) preparing and facilitating a creative process art play shop…..called "The Samsara Project" - A Creative Shrine Play Shop.  

Samsara being the 'Wheel of Life that we create'…. the patterns of our lives, that are created, that show up, arise and pass, the constant changes, transitions, of joy and suffering.

What do we do with what arises? With the suffering, loss and grief that show up?  How do we react to the pain, as well as the joys, the accomplishments, the gains?

On so may levels of our lives this cycle, this samsara can be seen…not only in our daily lives, as well as over the generations, in the historical, political and social patterns of our world.  This is perhaps where the saying "History has a tendency to repeat itself" comes from.

How do we react and address what shows up?  Can we create meaning in our world about what happens, be it love, loss, death, grief, sadness, loneliness, winnings and fallings, beginnings and endings?

That is what The Samsara Project is for me?  Coming to an awareness about the moments we create? or that are created out of our control?  Ways to find peace in those moments, in our daily lives and in our historical patterns?  Do we learn form it?  Or are we going to come back to it time and time again addressing the same patterns. Instead we could lean into the discomfort…the suffering, the pain, the desire, the wanting, the discontentment.  Perhaps doing so will give rise to the opposite, the ease, the joy, the satiation, contentment, etc.

All the while remembering these will pass, the wisdom of impermanence.

What are the patterns in your own life that are cycling? showing up?  What is the most relevant to your own liberation?  Where can you become unstuck?

The places we are broken and cracked is most definitely where we can find love and light, peace and joy….even as it is temporary ---- The cycle can expand us,  through the ebbs and flow, change is certain.  How are you going to act now?

To quote from Rebecca Solnit  Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change….

"This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen.  It is also a nightmarish time..Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both …Power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is the dark around the edges..not the limelight centre stage….

Also from Rebecca Solnit, "You row forward looking back, and feeling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future.  We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant of our victories.  The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future".  

Thanks again to Brain Pickings for some insightful reading and speaking from the heart that helps other hearts grow and make sense of powerful emotional and transformative times.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Another post on how creativity is good for our wellness and health….

Have you ever felt that sense of flow, that sense of being so full when creating art, getting lost in the process and not worrying about the outcome?…That is the magic moment…the place where we are creating wellness in our lives.

I have felt this flow when I take the time to just play, to let go of outcome, embrace those happy mistakes and create just for the sake of creating.  I have decided that I am going to take this year to do that…after my May art show commitments, I have taken a conscious moment to decide to create only for my own wellness and growth.

I think this is how I can expand and take time to push my artistic edges.  So after 10 years of being on the Elora-Fergus studio tour, I am going to take a sabbatical from it this year and any other art shows.

I will continue to embrace not only my own artwork in this way, as well, I will offer opportunities for others to do the same, creativity for the sake of wellness.   Here's to embracing getting lost in this new transition.

Here is a link to some other thoughts on how creativity serves our own health and wellness.  Enjoy your own creativity, creating for your own sake.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Transformations- An Altered Book Arts Exhibit - Call for Submissions and New Program in April

Call for Artists Submissions
Transformation: An Exhibition of Altered Books

Artists are invited to submit altered book works for an exhibition at the Town of Halton Hills Helson Gallery from September 14 to November 27, 2016. The exhibition is open to Ontario artists at emerging, mid-career and established levels.

Transformation is an exhibit about the evolving nature of books and our lives. Everyday changes abound, politically, socially and psychologically, we as human beings are transforming. This is an invitation for artists to work with this theme of transformation in ways that intrigue the artist, viewer and community, to engage in the concept of change and evolution, using the book as the medium.

The exhibition celebrates the book as object and submitted works should clearly incorporate the physical elements of a book or books, ie. pages; covers; spine.

Each artist may submit up to three works. Works should not exceed 48 inches in any dimension. Works may be two or three dimensional, ie. suitable for wall mounting or display on a shelf or plinth. Works may combine various media and should be created within the last two years.

Artists should submit digital images in jpeg format not exceeding 1 MB in size. Each work may be represented by a maximum of two images (ie. one overview and one detail). Please include a description of your work with title; media; dimensions, date along with a short statement and CV.

Transportation and in-transit insurance to and from the Helson Gallery will be the responsibility of the artist. COD shipments will not be accepted. Submission Deadline: May 15, 2016

Exhibition Jurors:
Supria Karmakar, Artist and Curator
Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator

For additional information and to submit please contact:
Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator
905-873-2601 ext 2536

Also at the Helson Gallery: Altered Book Workshop with Supria Karmakar
Using mixed media, collage techniques and the vintage layers of a book, participants will have an opportunity to create a new structure from an old hard covered book. Join us for this five week workshop April 2 – May 7 (note: no class will be held on April 23) led by noted altered book artist Supria Karmakar. Fee: $200 plus $60 materials charge owed to the instructor at the first session (cash or cheque only please). For details and to register contact Judy Daley, Helson Gallery Curator

The Helson Gallery is located in the Town of Halton Hills Cultural Centre in downtown Georgetown.
9 Church Street, Georgetown, Ontario L7G 2A3
For further information: 905-873-2601 ext 2536


Monday, November 23, 2015

Metta Mindfulness Silent Retreat - The Insights and the Spacious Spaces…..

Above:  Imbetween Spaces, Encaustic Mixed Media, 2015.

I had truly forgotten the sweet feeling of quietness, to invite peace, ease and happiness into my life, with each daily moment, and the embracing of these imbetween spaces.

Coming off a 4-day silent Metta, (the Pali word for lovingkindness and friendliness) mindfulness meditation retreat, run by True North Insight (TNI) with three powerful teachers, Molly Swan, Jill Davey and Patricia Rockman, where the theme was on the 'heart of mindfulness'.  The journey with all its conditions were as they needed to be, which I see now but didn't at first.  The Loyola House in Guelph have these beautiful trails to get lost within and the food was soul nourishing and healing.  The container provided by these three wonderful women has filled my heart and soul with love, gratitude and peace - it has been a gift.

This gift of mindfully sitting, walking, eating in silence for four days has provided a new awakening that is only a sliver of what still has yet to unfold.   The coming into silence was anything but silent in many ways, the incessant chatter from my own mind, the memories of sweet blissful love, and the haltering sorrows of loss and heartache, all came sweeping into this silence, and for days it continued…

The first two days was filled with my excruciating sleepiness, pure exhaustion came flooding in and the pain of sitting in every joint….was this exhaustion or avoidance?

I try to sit, meditate, to be still, to allow what may surface, reciting the metta phrases of love, safety and peace…yet all I get is sleepiness, I fall asleep, time and time again…. I try, really TRY, I hold my posture, breathe deeply, even force my eyes to open but all I get is sleepiness, it finds me time and time again..this is my struggle.  Again I ask, is this exhaustion or avoidance or an invitation to renunciation?

It crosses my mind, "what have I done, is there still time to leave, to run away?". …But deep within I know  I am here in the right time and place.  I'm here as I need to be.   The day seems endless the sitting (the falling asleep in my case) the walking, the standing, the walking, the eating, all in silence, and all with intent and so it goes on….all the while inviting Metta, for self, for the benefactor, the friend, the stranger, the unfriendly one, and all beings….sending Metta through myself, my heart making space for them all.

This reminded me of Rumi's poem, the GUEST HOUSE, to invite each guest with welcome arms, to sit, drink with them to listen intently.  And so I get through the first day (barely) and the second day there seems to be a sweet settling, and I think maybe I can actually get some meditation done today, to sit, but 'nope' sleepiness arrives at my door again.  This is when I realize the exhaustion is my guest to welcome in, to sit with to have tea and listen to intently.

That evening Jill Davey, gives a magnificent Dharma talk on 'happiness'…What is it?  How do I get it? How come everyone else seems to have it?  And like some, I too want those 'boots', - Yes that will make me happy, right?  The newly renovated garage, the perfect kitchen, and the pristine English style garden, with just the right amount of wildness, with no weeds…this will do it, bring me happiness?  Right!!!…Happiness is within - The making do with what is showing up, inviting a welcoming embrace for it all, being mindful with our thoughts, our reactions, our preferences, dislikes and likes, being loving with our imperfections….Being curious about it all, that is how I find my 'awake', whether it makes me happy or not.  This is what is finding peace and harmony is, being in the moment - a perspective.

Sometimes we aren't able to change the conditions, or control the variables, to try to do so only brings challenge and suffering, like my 'forcing myself to stay alert and awake'…when I came to accept the state of exhaustion, it lifted, and I found I could truly listen….this was my guest on the last day - and I began to be able to feel the metta for myself, for those around me and for those in the room with all the sweet annoyances, and even for those that have hurt me intentionally and /or unknowingly.  Out of which, I realize that I have only begun, touched the tip of the iceberg, and there is so much yet to feel, to deeply explore, to be awakened to.  To make the space for metta daily, to see, feel and connect and slowly and softly tread this earth as I continue the unfolding.   With a full heart I feel more space and welcome it all, whatever may arrive at my door.