Monthly Archives: December 2014

Easy Art Activity #14 ~Step 2

Use ART to Acknowledge Your Obstacles
Arachnoiditis Survivor's view of the "office chair" (Image found at TravelBlog.org)
Arachnoiditis Survivor’s view of the “office chair” (Image found at TravelBlog.org)
Step 2 Using the same methods described in Step 1 Create a collage board OR sketch out or write down a stream of consciousness series of thoughts and images of the Arachnoiditis-Related Experiences which hold you back. You can also combine the text, drawings, and cut-out images into one collage. This project can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. 
These images can be actual photos and drawings of the debilitating events or ideas and imagery which have become symbols for these feelings.  It is 100% acceptable …maybe even assumed or expected…that you will cry, cuss, moan, and vent during this process. This is YOUR space to put it all out there.
In my sketchbook journal, a spiked chair (similar to the one above) was the symbol I used to represent the pain I felt every time I attempted to complete a task at my desk. The below sketch was one way that I illustrated how isolated I felt due to arachnoiditis. The lack of communication with others, at that time, felt like a crippling obstacle to any achievement. ~slk
Conceptual sketch for the Still Standing series.(2009)
Conceptual sketch for the Still Standing series.(2009)~slk
Cold Comfort
Cold Comfort ~depicts the weight of being cold combined with the illusion of being wrapped in warmth ~slk

If you feel comfortable doing so; please post your Step 2 thoughts and images or collage to share your arachnoiditis obstacles with other visitors to the page. Use the Registration Form if you would like this work to be included in the FIRST Art For Arachnoiditis Project Public Exhibit.

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Easy Art Activity #14 ~Create YOUR vision for 2015

Living with Arachnoiditis Requires Vision~ CREATE A VISION BOARD

My 2014 Vision Board (top)
My 2014 Vision Board (top) ~slk

The narrow lense of Arachnoiditis creates the image that “there is no way I will ever be able to do that again..now…” “I am afraid of what will happen if I…”  While the lense of hope & desire paints the picture,  “I wish I could still…”  “If only I could…” “I really miss doing…”

Survival depends on opening our eyes to see that the truth of our abilities is mirrored back to us when we include all of these concepts into our view of the big picture.  Life with Arachnoiditis changed for me when I allowed myself to see it differently. I realized that I could choose what lens I used to look at my world.

Step 1  (For this activity, I am using a concept that I learned while participating in a business development program for my studio. Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan (2013-2014) vision board helped me to plan and launch the Art For Arachnoiditis project. I think it is also an effective way to illustrate how I shifted my arachnoiditis perspective.~sheila)

Use magazines, newspapers, old photos, printed digital photos, copies, etc to find the text and imagery that best displays your ideal year in 2015. There are no rules or limitations to this process. Cut them out.

Paste them onto poster board in any order which is visually pleasing to you. {If cutting and pasting in the old fashioned way doesn’t work for you; try cutting and pasting a digital collage in a photo program or word document.}These ideas and images can overlap and combine in any way that sends a message to remind you that these are the things that make you feel good about life.

When your collage is finished; hang it on the wall or post it to your desk-top, or hang it on the door or ceiling of the room in which you spend the most time. If you cannot hang it up yourself, ask somebody to hang it for you. Best results happen when you hang in a place that is easily visible to you….especially during horizontal time.

If you feel comfortable doing so; please post your collage to share your dream vision with other visitors to the page.

For what seemed like too long, I believed that I had to stop enjoying my life because Arachnoiditis was in the way.

Then I discovered I can work around it. Arachnoiditis does NOT mean that we have to stop or avoid doing these things. It means we must pace ourselves and adapt our methods.

Step 2  will be coming in the next post.

I look forward to seeing your vision for 2015!

Easy Art Therapy Activity #13

Find and share an artist you love. It could be one you have followed and known your entire life or one you just discovered yesterday. Tell us about his/her work and why it matters in your life.

“Over the course of my Arachnoiditis Experience, I have come to realize that my art is my gift and my salvation. It is always there. Even when everything else falls away; it arrives to save the day. I would be lost without it. Still, there are times when I feel uninspired or caught up in other aspects of life that do not leave room for art or allow me to feed my creative nature. Visiting the work and motivations of other artists can be a fantastic comfort at these times. Here are a few of the ones I am following right now for inspiration and renewal in preparation for this new, bigger, and connected year to come. “~Sheila L. Kalkbrenner

by Garmia Roy
Art Saves Lives by Garmia Roy at Fractal Enlightenment

How does seeing, making, and participating in Art help in the healing process?

“The task of therapy is not to eliminate suffering but to give a voice to it, to find a form in which it can be expressed. Expression is itself transformation; this is the message that art brings. The therapist then would be an artist of the soul, working with sufferers to enable them to find the proper container for their pain, the form in which it would be embodied.” – Stephen K. Levine

“Presently, art therapy is divided into two processes: One where a person is exposed to artworks by fellow beings to reach to their core of emotions and the other, where one is asked to create art to award relief to the mind and body……

…Art as therapy is not restricted to someone who is unwell. Introducing art in general in your daily life, will keep your state of mind healthy. 

Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Some find the art of gardening therapeutic, whereas, some find solace in listening to music. Find that fragment of art that suits you and make it a part of your life for the well-being of your mind, body and soul.” ~ Garmia Roy at Fractal Enlightement   “Art as a Therapy for your Mind and Soul”

 

"Mexico" skate art by Chris Dyer
“Mexico” skate art by Chris Dyer

“I think artists are like super heroes with special powers. We have to share those powers with others.” ~Chris Dyer Working toward spiritual evolution and unity.

Here is the full documentary on visionary skate artist Chris Dyer, that was released on DVD in the spring of 2011. It covers his interesting life story, many r-evolutions and explores different topics like “Can art help heal the world”. The movie includes appearances by different respected artists n skaters, like Alex Grey, Andy Howell, Karl Watson, Nilton Neves, Bob Burnquist, Omen, Ron Allen , Other, etc.

“I AM VERY INSPIRED BY THE ENLIGHTENING, BEYOND-ME, ADVENTURES OF AMANDA PALMER RIGHT NOW. She reminds artists that they don’t need permission to make art and that artists have been at the center of keeping communities connected for centuries. It is the idea of celebrity artists/performers that created the divide between living the art that we make. Re-visiting her work and learning more about her recent projects helps me remember why I make art in the first place. “~Sheila

“Asking makes you vulnerable…

Don’t make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan….Fall into the audience and trust each other…” ~ Artist/Musician/Blogger, Amanda Palmer ~ The Art of Asking

See her TED talk about being able to “ask without shame” and what it means to really SEE EACH OTHER .

 

 

Ancient Wisdom~Modern Life with Anne Hayman

Anne Hayman's Website Cover Page
Anne Hayman’s Artsy Website Cover Page

Anne helps others find ways to use ancient wisdom for our modern lives through practicing

Working through Anne Hayman’s Ancient Wisdom Modern Life e-course reminded me that coloring  is one of my favorite forms of moving meditation.  It is one of the ancient ways to get “grounded, connected and balanced.”

The obstacles of life in general bring about the need to do this. Living with Arachnoiditis, adjusting to the many changes and adjustments threw me off balance in so many ways. It still increases my own need to find balance. Anne’s FREE, 3 part, e-course has already reminded me of some wonderfully gentle ways to do this for myself. Check out the details and offerings on the Registration information page.

Portions of this project may also serve as an introduction to the Flow: 30 Day Journal Project  (also FREE) that I will be doing with Lisa Sonora beginning January 1, 2015. My part of the 30 day journal project will be the source of the Activities for Healing With Art that will be posted on The Art For Arachnoiditis Project during the month of January. You will be able to follow these activities here and on the Art For Arachnoiditis Project Facebook Page.

I hope you will join us on this healing adventure.

 

Easy Art Therapy Activity #12

I am going to let you in on a little secret that only my former co-workers and family members know… I have a secret stash…

in my desk drawer, at all times. This particular package is NOT for sharing. When days are crammed full of obligations, crisis intervention, and too many scheduled activities; sometimes I get overwhelmed. So, I close the door, open the drawer and pull out a box of FRESH, un-used Crayola crayons. And I smell them. This is the best break from adult-related stress that I have found. Aromatherapy for the work-place,  it helps me retreat into a safe mental space. Things calm down in my mind and a few minutes later I am ready to get back to the crisis at hand.

Some days, aromatherapy isn’t enough. So, I just do it. I pull out my favorite coloring book or create a new mandala design and I JUST COLOR. The gestures and movements become a colorful meditation. Sometimes the lines and patterns start out very heavy and fast, aggressive even, if I have had one of THOSE days. Eventually, it slows down. Clouds of color blend together. I relax.

Crayola 8 pack
Crayola 8 pack
Sheila coloring at the Balloon Rally Parade 2013
Sheila coloring at the Balloon Rally Parade 2013
More reasons & ways to find your Crayola bliss…

Colors can have a positive effect on your mood. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.~Wassily Kandinsky

[One of my personal favorite artists, Kandinsky wrote the book on the power of color. His birthday was yesterday. He was born December 16th, 1866. Wassily Kandinsky’s birthday – in pictures and in prose~ Paul St. John Mackintosh]

Coloring is one of my favorite, best-loved old acquaintances, and moving meditations.
“From choosing colors to the gentle, repetitive motion of your hands as you bring color to paper, coloring can be seen as a form of “active mediation”. Oftentimes when you think of meditation you think of sitting still for a long period of time. With active meditation it is just the opposite. Repetative motions such as coloring (or running, walking, dancing or even drawing) can help strengthen your focus and easily shift your attention back to a relaxed state. Stressful thoughts and future worries can be simply pushed aside as you take time to enjoy the present. When is the last time you have done this for yourself, or have you ever?” ~Meditative Coloring~ Aurora University

If you can color, you can meditate ~ 30 Minute Madalas to Color

 |  By

Fine Art Labyrinths Coloring Book

Coloring Pages on Pinterest

Healing with Color and the Human Aura ~ Rev.Simeon Stefanidakis

Easy Art Therapy Activity #11

Make a Forgiveness Box

ninniane/Flikr Example of a Forgiveness Box
ninniane/Flikr
Example of a Forgiveness Box

“If there is a certain person — including yourself — you don’t want to harbor negative emotions toward any longer, try making him or her a forgiveness box. Decorate a small box with soothing images and words that can be either specific to an individual or catered to your desired inner state. You can write the person’s name on a slip of paper and include it in the box if preferred, and the name can be removed and exchanged if needed. The act of making the box will bring up happy memories of whomever the box is for, as well as help you physically work toward a place of forgiveness.”~PF

From: 10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank 

If you like these ideas form Priscilla Frank, you may also want to check out:  These 12 Childhood Art Techniques Can Help Adults Relieve Stress  at  | By

Frame #4 from the paper sculpture series, Still Standing.
Frame #4 from the paper sculpture series, Still Standing. (c) sheila l. kalkbrenner

“Still Standing was a five month, self-imposed rehabilitative art project which facilitated a great deal of healing and forgiveness. I suppose you could call these my Forgiveness Boxes.”~slk (Watch a quick video showing all 6 frames.)  If you look closely at the boxes you can see how the motor skills improved with the progression of the project.

Your boxes can be made from found objects, photos, doodles, drawings, sketches, simply anything that you would like to include. The project can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be to express what you need to release from your mind and spirit to allow room for more healing.

To demonstrate the ways in which Arachnoiditis Survivors benefit from participation in the Arts, The Art For Arachnoiditis Project includes Art By Survivors. Survivors are invited to share their original artwork from self-designed projects and from the healing activities described here.

Descriptions and comments about how you benefit or additional input about what might be helpful in the future activities are also welcome.

 

There is no obligation to share images of your finished healing art activities.  However, you are welcome to do so in this thread or in a private message for possible inclusion in the Art By Survivors portion of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project public exhibition. Be sure to specify if you would like to be named or remain anonymous at the exhibition. Here is theProject Registration Form .

Easy Art Therapy Activities #9 & #10

Don’t think of yourself as an artist? You may make some new discoveries doing these activities.

9. Write a Found Poem

“Don’t consider yourself a poet? Let someone else do the hard part of coming up with the words by grabbing your material from old books, magazines, newspapers or even letters. Cut out words that jump out at or inspire you. Collage your found materials just as you would a visual collage. You can have a topic or story in mind at the beginning, or just get started and see where your word collaging takes you.” ~PF

image from Kylewagaman/Flikr
image from Kylewagaman/Flikr

10. Craft a mark-making tool unique to you

Image from lamentables/Flikr
Image from lamentables/Flikr

“Instead of spending the majority of your time on an actual painting, why not focus a little of that attention on crafting an alternative paintbrush all your own? You can make a mark-making tool out of nearly anything, whether it’s a row of toothpicks (glued to a cardboard base) and dipped in paint, or a DIY paintbrush made from pom-poms and yarn. When you finally get around to actually making a piece with your new tool, you will have relinquished some of your artistic control to your distinct artistic medium, which, of course, is a work of art in itself.”~PF

From: 10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

P.S. The Organic Artist has some fantastic ideas for making unique paint brushes!  ~Sheila

Sample Endorsement Letter

As we continue to seek funding and Fiscal Sponsorship for the Art For Arachnoiditis Project, it becomes increasingly important for us to be able to show the benefits of the project.

If you would like to offer your endorsement, support or submit a testimonial about the benefits you have received from following and/or active involvement with the project, this template may serve as a resource to help you to do so in your own words.These endorsements and support are a critical portion of eligibility for project funding. Send your endorsement via attachment in an email to: sheilalynnk@yahoo.com subject: A4A endorsement letter

Please send by January 20, 2016 If you would like to contribute your endorsement/testimonial about The Art For Arachnoiditis Project to our 2016 grant applications. Thank you!

 

Sample Endorsement Letter for the Art For Arachnoiditis Project
Sample Endorsement Letter for the Art For Arachnoiditis Project

Printable Sample Also Available on Google Docs.

Easy Art Therapy Activities #8

Produce a Permission Slip

KimberlyKalil/Flikr
KimberlyKalil/Flikr

“Think of the societal and self-imposed pressures you feel on a day-to-day basis, the personal traits you see as faults, the natural slips you see as errors. Choose one of these things and give yourself, in ornamental detail, permission to do just that. Turning one simple defeat into an accomplishment can minimize feelings of self-hatred, allowing you to achieve more of your important goals. Remember, it’s an art project, so make it pretty.”

From: 10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

WHAT DO YOU NEED PERMISSION TO DO? How often are you told that you cannot do these things?

Although I do truly value and respect the people who continue to participate in my life with arachnoiditis, I give myself permission to be late to certain events. I give myself permission to cancel unexpectedly. I give myself permission to reschedule. The societal concept that these things imply disrespect CANNOT apply here. I am tired of having guilt about it….tired of declining invitations because I may have to cancel at the last minute.

I am considerate of others and try to give them as timely notice about any changes as I can. I warn them ahead of time that my plans may change unexpectedly. Once a person who was ALWAYS at least fifteen minutes early for everything, I no longer push myself to elevated pain flares in order to pay homage to these traditional  social expectations. That fifteen minutes of waiting could be better spent resting until it is time to leave. It makes for a much better event for me…and anyone else attending.

So, GO AHEAD! GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO CONTINUE LIVING WITH ARACHNOIDITIS. ~slk

To demonstrate the ways in which Arachnoiditis Survivors benefit from participation in the Arts, The Art For Arachnoiditis Project includes Art By Survivors. Survivors are invited to share their original artwork from self-designed projects and from the healing activities described here.

Descriptions and comments about how you benefit or additional input about what might be helpful in the future activities are also welcome.

 

There is no obligation to share images of your finished healing art activities.  However, you are welcome to do so in this thread or in a private message for possible inclusion in the Art By Survivors portion of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project public exhibition. Be sure to specify if you would like to be named or remain anonymous at the exhibition. Here is theProject Registration Form .

To Speak of Duty

Early stages of the "Panama" painting from last winter. @SheilaLynnK Art Studio
Early stages of the “Panama” painting from last winter. AtSheilaLynnK Art Studio

From Fireflies in a Fruit Jar ~ John S. Workman

“We shall speak today of duty.

(Did we lose our audience?)

“Duty, It is a noble, if unpopular, word.”

‘Duty: a moral or legal obligation; an assigned service or responsibility’conduct due to others.’

“Duty.Responsibility.Obligation.Service. Heavy, words, indeed, guaranteed to chase many away.”

“Speak to me not of duty,” we fun-lovers say. “Speak rather of pleasure and happiness and leisure and license. Take your duty and peddle it elsewhere.”

“So it goes. but sometime, somewhere, someone must speak of duty. 

Duty, of course, has many names. One person’s duty is another’s “petty obsession.” One’s duty is another’s impertinence. To nominate something to duty status is to start an argument….”

“Duty has many lovers, few students, fewer servants. But there are, we contend, some indisputable duties held in common…

  • To be a faith-full people in an age when keeping faith is a seemingly impossible feat.
  • To be seers of beauty and joy in a world where wonder often is crushed by human greed.
  • To be encouragers of one’s fellow human beings.
  • To be strugglers toward love, pointers toward the way even though one may stumble awkwardly along the path.
  • To be, however frail and unfit, keepers of dreams and custodians of visions.
  • To be bringers of light, however small into dark places, however, large.

An old admonition remains: there’s a duty to be fulfilled, little children of light. Go forth and shine.” 

~“Fireflies In A Fruit Jar; On Religion, Politics, and other Wonders”      By A Southern Preacher-Turned Journalist.  John S. Workman With Sally Crisp. August House/Little Rock Publishers, 1988.