Category Archives: Activities for Healing With Art

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

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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

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 .

Easy Art Therapy Ideas #7 and fun, too!

  1. Zentangle from Ambursky235/Flickr
    Zentangle from Ambursky235/Flickr

“Create a Zentangle-inspired creation” is #6 on the list from 

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

Zentangle is a drawing method invented by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, designed to make drawing meditative and accessible to all. To learn the official method you must be taught by a Zentangle Teacher, but you can recreate the basic idea on your own. Use a piece of paper, cut into a 3.5″ square piece, and draw a freehand border around the edge in light pencil. Then use your pencil to draw a curved line or squiggle within the border, called a “string”.

Now switch to a pen and begin drawing a “tangle,” a series of patterns and shapes around your “string” and voila! You got yourself a Zentangle. The process is designed to encourage deliberate, ritual creation and allow room for human error — no erasing, that’s against the rules. Traditional Zentangles are always black and white but we fully support experimenting with color. The entire process shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, and can be repeated whenever you feel the urge. Keep some 3.5″ squares handy so you can always create when inspiration strikes”. ~ PF

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 the Project Registration Form .

______________________________________________________

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”~PF

Easy Art Therapy Ideas # 6 Wander Land Cards

WANDER LAND CARDS; emergency supplies for the blizzard

Coping with obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid rotation caused by spinal adhesive arachnoiditis in the thoracic and lumbar spine

There are days when the mind wanders through the OTHER kind of snow…. A simple Wander Land Card can point you in the right direction so you can shovel that junk out of the way.

The Path was here a minute ago...
The Path was here a minute ago…
The Right Path?
The Right Path?

I agree when Lisa Sonora Beam says, When you’re in the midst of overwhelm, depression or despair, you can’t logically think yourself out. It’s even harder to take action.”

When significant scarring in the subarachnoid space causes an obstruction to the natural Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) rotation, these emotional factors may not be the only thing affecting the ability to act and remain in cognitive control.

Imaging study of CSF rotation
Imaging study of CSF rotation and pooling of  CSF in the lumbar and thoracic spine

The CSF is crucial to the health, well-being, and FUNCTION of the human brain. Fluctuations in CSF levels can impair cognitive ability. Depending on numerous personal medical, mental, and physical variables; this phenomenon can present in different ways for each individual. For arachnoiditis survivors symptoms of CSF obstruction can mimic those seen in cases of CSF Leak, hydrocephalus, and Chiari Malformation even when those specific conditions are NOT present.

After seven years of living with spinal adhesive arachnoiditis, my family has come to recognize when my CSF levels are low. I begin to resemble a ball in a pin ball machine bouncing from one room to the next without ever doing or achieving anything. When I am in a store I go from aisle to aisle without actually picking anything up off the shelf. My conscious sense of purpose becomes scattered. Though I don’t necessarily feel any unusual(for me) specific physical discomfort at this time, it is an indicator that a full pain flare and spinal headache is on the horizon. Even my dog knows when to tell me to go lay down.

What do I do about this?

PREVENTION is KEY.  Three hours of vertical time is my limit before these cognitive issues start to snow all over my mission. Anyone who has followed my story knows that I adjust my work stations and schedule to include horizontal time every three hours. I also use an inversion table at least once a day to help restore fluid to its proper location.

Inversion and Warm Fuzzy Socks = Focus
Inversion and Warm Fuzzy Socks = Focus

PLANNING for cluelessness helps…

As my work scope increases for the Art For Arachnoiditis Project and my Studio goals, the brain snow has become increasingly irritating. Last month I created a schedule for myself. This is a very specific schedule that blocks out my time by project and by the hour, to focus on critical tasks of a given day. On clear days I allow fluctuation in this schedule. It is not intended as a restriction or limitation. This schedule serves as a valuable resource on those days that everything looks like a polar bear in a snowstorm. I just know that there was something I wanted to accomplish but CANNOT remember what it was. I keep three copies of the list. One is near my bed so that when I wake up in pain I can remember what I wanted to do today. One is near my PC in my office, and one is near my cot so that I can review when I lay down.

KNOWING what you intended to do, does not mean that you cannot forgive yourself for not being able to do it that day.  Personally, I like to remember what it is I am forgiving myself FOR.

Shortly after I privately created this schedule for myself, I received this post from Lisa Sonora Beam. Although the end goal is the same, the way she tells it is much more profound than mine… She refers to what I call my “blizzard list” as her  Dark Side of the Moon list.

She says, “make lists for what to do during creative overwhelm and despair”. Even if your mission is NOT an art-related one, I think her description of the purpose of the list and how it works is so much better than anything I could do to explain how meaningful and useful this method is to me. I firmly believe that these concepts and methods are transferrable to any mission.

For Emergency Use
IN CASE OF AIMLESS WANDERING During White-Out READ THIS CARD 

Did you make a Wander Land Card for yourself? What other ways do you cope with these arachnoiditis Blizzards on the Dark Side of the Moon? Tell us about your experience and methods, and/ or share your images in the comments below.

I am an experienced patient, NOT a medical practitioner. Any medical discussion or references here are based entirely on my own personal experience and are not intended as medical advice or guidance. ALWAYS Seek consultation with a trusted medical professional prior to making any assumptions about diagnosis or changes to treatment.

MEDICAL RESOURCES

Cerebrospinal Fluid Concentration of Brain-Derive Neurotrophic Factor and Cognitive Function in Non-dimented Subjects

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leaks

Cerebrospinal fluid – function, production and circulation – animation by Cal Shipley, M.D.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Research {BIO MED Central} 

Cerebrospainal Fluid (CSF) circulation in brain: Sites and mechanisms of CSF secretion, circulation and reabsorption.Physiological and modeling description. 

Neuropathology CHAPTER 14 CEREBROSPINAL FLUID

Chiari Malformation; Anatomy of Chiari and CSF 

Neuropsychological Findings In Congenital and Acquired Childhood Hydrocephalus

What is Hydrocephalus?

Vitamin D in relation to cognitive impairment, cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and brain volumes

Easy Art Therapy Ideas #4 & #5

Coping with cabin fever...
Coping with cabin fever…

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 the Project Registration Form .

 

This first series of activities is from

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

  1. Draw in total darkness
    Out of the Darkness
    Out of the Darkness

    “So much of the stress we experience when making art comes from the judgments and criticism that seem unavoidable every step of the way. Try creating artwork in total darkness to make art free from that inner art critic inside your head. (Think of it as a form of blind contour drawing.) You’re suddenly freed up to create lines, shapes and patterns simply because you feel like you should. When you turn back on the lights, we suspect you’ll be surprised by what you find.” ~PF

  2. Watercolor your bodily state

    Bodily Reflections
    Bodily Reflections

    “Lie down and close your eyes. Visualize your body as you breathe in and out. Try to imagine your breath as a particular color as it enters your body, another color as it exits. What do you see? Draw an outline of a body on a large sheet of paper, and inside, create a watercolor based on your bodily state. Think about what these colors mean to you, where they are densest, where they are most opaque. Think of this as the most relaxing self-portrait you’ll ever create.” ~PF

Wishing all of you a low pain day. ~slk

Easy Art Therapy Ideas #3

This first series of activities is from

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

  1. Build an altar to a loved one When I saw this activity, I felt that it might be the perfect one for arachnoiditis survivors. Many survivors grieve for the person that they were before arachnoiditis entered their lives. My suggestion is that it might be beneficial to build this altar in halves. The left half is the altar to the “YOU” that you remember and the right half is a second altar to the “YOU” that you would like to become.  There will certainly be a disparity of sorts between these two images. However, the combination of them gives some semblance of recognition and tribute to the validity of the “YOU” that you are now.
    Loving Altar as tribute
    Loving Altar as tribute

     

    “Take inspiration from folk art and create an altar honoring a unique relationship between you and another person, living or not. Decorate the shrine with photographs, letters and relics of memorable times spent together, as well as new art objects you’ve created in their honor. Anything can become artistic material, from gifts you’ve exchanged to a candy wrapper you know your subject would love. Building a totem to another person awakens memories and creates a physical manifestation of a relationship that can provide comfort in tough times.” ~ PF

    Creating a physical manifestation to honor the relationship between both sides of yourself becomes an empowering totem which promotes an inner acceptance of you. Some other things you might want to consider as artistic material: memorabilia of a victory or milestone achieved, an obstacle you have overcome, a grocery receipt for healthy foods that support your recovery, a teabag tag that gave a few minutes of grace in an otherwise horrendous day, a leaf of many colors or any  object that reminded you of the beauty that still exists in the world, a case number to show you are in pursuit of justice, a photograph of quality time you have spent with a child, and any other found or created object which celebrates your achievements- great and small.

     

     

    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 the Project Registration Form .

Easy Art Therapy Ideas #2

This first series of activities is from

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

  1. Cut and paste a painting to create a collageEzArtCollage11.16.14

    “Create a painting on a material like paper or cardboard. When you’re finished, cut or tear it up. Then use the pieces as building blocks for a new artwork — a collage. See how your original artwork transforms into something new and exciting, something unpredictable. This exercise illuminates the close proximity between creation and destruction, encouraging us to take risks to push ourselves creatively and in other aspects of life.”  

    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 the Project Registration Form .

E-Z Art Therapy Ideas #1

It is freezing out here…and supposed to get colder. It seems like a good time to start a series to help cope with winter confinement.

This series of healing art activities begins with

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

FIRST ACTIVITY

  1. Design a postcard you don’t intend to sendEzArtPostcard11.13.14

Whether it’s a love note to someone you’re not ready to confess your feelings to, or an angry rant you know is better left unsaid, sometimes enumerating all the details helps deflate the issue at hand. While writing the text can be therapeutic in its own right, designing the postcard gives even more value to the object. It also allows you to activate different portions of your brain while relaxing in a manner similar to coloring in a coloring book. Once you toss that signed and sealed letter in the trash (or tuck it away in a drawer), you’ll find its message has lost some of its power.”

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 the Project Registration Form .

I originally saw the article in my news feed from The Art Therapy Alliance.