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What Books Do Therapists Read?

What Books Do Therapists Read?

Have you ever wondered what books your therapists are reading? They have so much wisdom, so much valuable knowledge, you wonder where they got it all from! If only they would just give you a list of all the books they have hanging out next to their bedside table. Luckily, we have just that from our therapists at Integrative Counsel! Here are the books that are currently on Laura and Vivi’s bedside tables:

The Glass Enclosure – Psychodynamic Exploration through Guided Imagery by David S Gordon


Laura has been enjoying this book “because it is filled with so many nuggets of wisdom, and it really makes me stop and think.” This book acts as a guide and takes you through the steps to learn a form of guided imagery. The guided imagery that you learn about in this book helps you feel more in touch with your creativity and your passions. “At its best, hypnosis can be a powerful form of creative expression, utilizing all aspects of the therapeutic relationship to improvise in the moment, weaving metaphor, memory, and motivation, cadence and cohesion, play and purpose, breathing and balance, and time and timelessness toward a wide range of therapeutic goals.” You can purchase this book here
.

The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols by Jean Chavelier and Alain Gheerbrandt


Laura likes this book “because it is great to have on hand as an easy reference for symbolic imagery that may pop up throughout the day, or in your dreams.” The editors and the people who have contributed to this book all have different backgrounds, from anthropology to psychology and art history. They give the symbols a wide variety of interpretations, giving you many different perspectives from all walks of life. You can purchase it here.

Iron John, A Book About Men by Robert Bly


Laura thinks this book is great “because it provides the reader with a new perspective on what it is to be a man. “It talks about the impact absent fathers have on their sons and daughters and uses myth as well as the collective lessons from our personal stories to portray the different archetypes of men. This book acts as a guide or inspiration for men and women coming into themselves. You can purchase this book here.

Beloved by Toni Morrison


Vivi loves this book “because it is incredibly well-written and has so much depth.” It is about a slave woman named Sethe who is haunted by her past, quite literally. The baby she gave birth to died without a name and has come to haunt her. Throughout the story, Sethe tries to fight the ghosts and memories that keep popping up from the past and affecting her. But, once her big secret is revealed, she must deal with the emotions head-on. “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”.You can purchase this book here.

Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our future by Merlin Sheldrake

Vivi loves this book “because it opened my eyes to the world of fungi and filled me with curiosity and wonder.” It is absolutely vision-changing. This book is about the many different kinds of fungi in this world, from yeast to psychedelics. It also shows us how fungi can heal our bodies and our minds. Merlin Sheldrake does an amazing job explaining this complex subject and reveals how fungi are changing how we understand the world around us. You can purchase this book here.

Addiction to Perfection by Marion Woodman


Vivi loves this book “because it is very good at explaining all the trials and addictions women suffer from.” Woodman shows how awful a woman’s internalized inner critic can be. Woodman is also a Jungian analyst and explores the hidden causes of addiction and compulsion in both men and women. She talks about the root of eating disorders, substance abuse, and other addictions. With this book, you will learn about the nature of the feminine and how the patriarchal culture we live in puts such a weight on perfection rather than the wholeness Woodman believes in. “The true feminine is the receptacle of love. The true masculine is the spirit that goes into the eternal unknown in search of meaning….Without the true masculine spirit and the true feminine love within, no inner life exists. If we try to make perfection outside, try to concretize our unconscious inner ideal, we kill our imagination. We are left holding life in our rigid molds. to be free is to break the stone images and allow life and love to flow.” You can purchase this book here.

Meet Laura

expressive arts therapist, laura hensely

At mid-career, I wondered – what had gone wrong? I’d started grad school with excitement and an absorbing interest in the subject of psychology. I envisioned a professional practice that would let me delve deep into my true human potential, and help my clients do the same. But over time, my career dreams were drained by numbing daily routines, dispiriting institutional constraints, and what seemed practical for financial planning purposes.

All of this was at odds with my core beliefs about who I am, and the passion I feel for giving what I have to the world. What to do? At this critical moment, and with the help of a really good therapist, I discovered an approach to not only my work life but my whole life – a way of accessing my hidden wisdom, my true expressive self, that vast creative part of me that knows a great deal about what I want and truly need.

Through Expressive Arts therapy and personal practice, I find and make meaning, develop my own personal mythology, and gain confidence and connection to myself and others. I offer this same opportunity to Integrative Counsel clients by way of multimodal creative exploration of your intentions, goals and heartfelt desires!

Meet Vivi


There have been points in my life where I felt disconnected from myself, weighed down by regrets and disappointment, or lost in sadness. Those times were often precipitated by a life stage change, some other change in circumstance, or by a perceived failure on my part. For me, navigating those hard times included having a vision of my best self, a willingness to bring to light the feelings, thoughts, and history that were weighing me down, the help of a good therapist or guide, a mindfulness practice, supportive friends, and large doses of creative expression.

What is it that informs your life? What grounds, centers, and feeds your soul? If your best vision of yourself is currently not matched by your day-to-day experiences, if you feel uncertain about how you will weather what life has thrown at you, or feel burdened by your history, then I invite you to begin to explore new possibilities.

Multi-modal art-making, mindfulness, active imagination, body-mind synthesis, and ceremony may be incorporated in our work together.
Together we will cultivate an environment of safety, respect, kindness, patience, curiosity, and creativity to foster insights and facilitate your amazing journey.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Change Your Thoughts-Focus More Now!

Change Your Thoughts-Focus More Now!

Do you feel like it’s difficult for you to put all your focus into one task? Is staying in the present moment a challenge for you? In our new series on changing our thoughts, we focus on, well, focus! If you find yourself drifting away from the present moment, forgetting important things, or just feeling fuzzy, you are not alone! Sometimes it feels like there is nothing but distractions at every corner. What usually contributes to a lack of focus is having negative thoughts swirling around in our heads, excessive access to other people via our phones, and noise in and around our workspace. With those challenges in mind, here are some ways you can improve your focus:

Find a calm, distraction-free location to complete your work

These days, a lot of us are working from home at a home office setup. This has been a welcome change for most of us, but has also opened up the door to all the distractions being in your own space brings. It can be difficult to complete your work when you see that you haven’t swept your floors and you must clean before you start on your work, right? This is something that I struggle with in working from home, and what has helped me is making sure my workspace is clean the night before so that I don’t get tempted to distract myself with cleaning before working. It also helps to set up your workspace in a way that lights you up and makes you excited to be there but doesn’t distract you. Make sure your environment is calm and quiet so that it is difficult to get lost eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. If it’s a challenge to get away from the noise, have a pair of headphones handy and crank meditation music as loud as you can handle. I have also found that lo-fi beats are great to listen to while you’re trying to focus on work.

Avoid multitasking

It really isn’t healthy to multitask. It splits your mind off into too many different directions, making it hard to get the most out of what your brain can achieve. Focusing on one task at a time helps you stay in the present moment and prevents you from being overwhelmed by all the work you have convinced yourself that you need to get done at once. This helps you make the most out of the time that you have allotted to complete this task, because you are putting all of your brainpower into it, not just half.

Clean out your mental attic

It can be a major challenge to focus when we have too many emotions swirling, unchecked around in our heads. I find that it’s best to take care of this in the morning before getting to work. Set yourself up for success and take care of your mental health by checking in with your body and your emotions each morning. I like to sit with them in meditation, and then if I am feeling particularly emotional, writing my feelings down in my journal and trying to find a solution helps. Writing it down allows me to release the emotion, and seeing it written helps my brain detect what I have the power to fix right then and there, and what I can push away. This is a DBT skill called the “pushing away method”, which you can read more about here.

Take short breaks

Instead of forcing yourself to plow through task after task, which contributes to a significant loss in focus, split up your tasks with small breaks in between. It helps to have a small snack to help your brain get more fuel so that you can be even more productive and focused when you get back to work. A five to ten-minute break where you give yourself time to stand up, stretch, eat something, and do breathing exercises can do wonders for your focus, mental health, and the overall quality of your work.

Write out your priorities at the beginning of the day

I like to do this while I’m doing my morning journal entry. After writing down my morning affirmations, which helps shift my brain to a more positive mindset, I write down the three most important tasks I need to get done that day. Splitting off my priorities into my “big three” for the day helps me feel productive and also helps me stay focused on what I need to get done that day. It helps to be clear and direct with yourself about what you need to accomplish, otherwise, you have this vague sense of anxiety in the pit of your stomach, making it hard to finish your work in a timely manner.

 

If you haven’t already, check out last week’s article, where you will learn how to engage with your creative potential!

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Engage With Your Creative Potential

Engage With Your Creative Potential

Do you ever feel like you have all these creative ideas swirling around your head that you don’t know what to do with? Or maybe you feel like you want to be creative, but have no idea where to start.
A fundamental value of art therapy is that creativity is our birthright. Whether we consider ourselves artists or not, we all have creative potential. Here are some ways to answer when your creative potential is calling you:

Be adaptable

Don’t lock yourself in with one version of your idea. Give yourself permission to re-imagine all your great ideas. Don’t stay stuck in a mindset that limits creativity. Instead, allow flexibility and freedom to flow through you. This will help you unlock and engage your creativity.

Don’t sacrifice your sleep

Sleeping helps us recharge our brains. While we are sleeping, our brains are still processing the information it picked up during the day. In order for us to fully integrate our creative ideas, we must give our mind a break with sleep so that it can process and cement the ideas we’ve had during the day. When we wake up, our ideas will be more coherent and thought out. Check out our article on how sleep improves the brain!

Disregard perfection

You start a war with yourself by being overly concerned about your ideas being perfect. Perfectionism is tricky. The growing fear of failure prevents you from getting started, and you end up avoiding the task altogether. Instead of worrying about perfection, fearlessly dive in. Failure is better than not trying at all, because you always learn from failure and you can come up with newer and better ideas along the way.

Do an activity you love

Lift that pressure to have the next big, creative idea by doing something that you love. Engaging in your hobbies relaxes the mind, soothes anxiety, and makes you feel productive. Allowing yourself to relax into an activity that brings you joy lowers your stress levels, which helps your creative mind become more active.

Unplug and spend time outdoors

I can’t even begin to explain how freeing it is to leave your phone inside and let your curiosity guide you as you step out into nature. Taking time to unplug from social media and observing the beauty and wonder of the outdoors will inspire you to create. Sometimes, the best ideas find you when you give your mind and body the chance to wander. The fresh air and abundance of nature will be enough to get your brain moving and the ideas flowing.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

4 Actionable Ways to Set Intentions for the New Year

4 Actionable Ways to Set Intentions for the New Year

This year, rather than making a new years resolution, try setting intentions for what you want your year to look like. An intention is what focuses your energy towards an aspiration. It is an invitation to the universe for guidance. Setting goals and finding the direction you want to take this year starts with the intentions that you set. Creating the life you want starts with a seed, which is your intentions. As you water the intention with the actions you take, you start to see real growth and are able to hold yourself accountable. Here are 3 actionable ways to set intentions for the new year:

Get clear about your values

Ask yourself what your life looks like when things are going really well, and make a list of 20 things that bring you joy. With this list, you can figure out what your true values are. If watching a nature documentary and taking a new class brings you joy, you can narrow that down to a single value, which would be learning and growing. Narrow this down to 5-7 values.

Focus on where you are lacking

What takes you away from your true values? Where do you feel you have a gap in your life? For example, If you feel like you spend too much time on your phone, and that is creating a gap in your productivity and happiness, make one of your New Years’ intentions to be more mindful. Focus on what you know you can and will change to improve your life.

Commit to your intention and make it apart of your everyday thinking

We recommend committing to a length of time to work with your intention. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so commit to at least one month. You can write out a plan for yourself and specify how you will reach your goals. You can also choose a word that represents your intention for 2021, like “joy” or “independence”. Another great way to make your intention a part of your everyday thinking is to use this future-self journal from the holistic psychologist. This will help you think of actionable ways to become the person you want to be for 2021.

Create a clear vision of your intention

Creating a vision board is a great way to get clear on your intentions. Not only is collaging relaxing and therapeutic, but it helps you focus your energy on what you really want for 2021. You can also write your intention on sticky notes and put them around your house, or make the word your background on your phone.

Nothing creates significant change faster than setting a solid intention. Setting intentions gives you a purpose and something to focus on. Without it, you might feel lost, and without a reason to grow and level up. These actionable steps will help you make meaningful changes in your life, creating a healthier and more positive outlook.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

 

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people. 

10 ways to close out the year mindfully

10 ways to close out the year mindfully

As the year comes to a natural close, it’s normal to reflect on the past and contemplate the future. What do you wish you did differently? What are you proud of? What mindset do you want to bring into your life in 2021? 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many of us. It’s normal to feel nervous about what is going to happen in the future, but there are many ways to add positivity to your life. Here are 10 ways you can close out this year optimistically and mindfully:

Get creative

Set aside time to make art, and do it with the intention that it doesn’t have to be perfectly what you envisioned. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you imagine, but that does not make it less valuable. Let go of the negative emotions that may have built up this year through a painting, drawing, collage, or intention board. Visualize yourself living the life you want and pour it into your creation.

Get lost in the flow of doing things you love

Don’t spend time worrying about your productivity. Make a list of three things you absolutely need to accomplish that day. Once you complete those tasks, make a point to do something you love, and get lost in it. Don’t worry about productivity, your measure of success should be feeling at peace.

Start a daily meditation routine

Allow yourself to tap into the creative and intuitive side of your brain through meditation. This is called reaching a theta state of mind, which a daily meditation will help you achieve. You may also find that meditating to certain frequencies helps you feel more grounded and healed. Some of the different meditation frequencies are 174HZ, which removes pain, 741HZ, which awakens intuition. One of our clinicians, Laura, uses these questions during meditation to reflect on: What are the deepest truths on which you can rely? What do you trust, about yourself, about others, about the nature of reality? What endures for you? She says “I never answer the questions entirely – I’m not sure anyone could – but they always feel like just the kind of reflection I need around this time.”

Get in the habit of observing your thoughts and emotions

Starting to get into the habit of this now will set your year up for success. Instead of running on autopilot, letting yourself be attached to your thoughts and feelings, extend your awareness outside of those things and question yourself. Why am I feeling this way? What is the deeper emotion that I am feeling?

Mix up your routine and try something you’ve never done before

If you let yourself get stuck doing the same thing every day, you will lose that lust for life. Try to do something new, exciting, or outside of your comfort zone every day, even if it’s something small. This will help you feel more productive, excited, and you will learn to trust yourself more.

Practice gratitude

You can do this by starting a gratitude journal, or thinking about what you are grateful for when you wake up in the morning and before you fall asleep. Here are some tips to help you start your own gratitude journal. Our brain naturally holds on to negativity, but keeping a gratitude journal helps balance that negativity out.

Spend time outdoors

Taking a hike on New Years Day with friends and family is a wonderful way to close out the year mindfully. If you’re away from friends and family this year, you can connect with them by calling them and talking to them on the phone while you hike. Being in nature will help you feel more peaceful and grounded.

Reflect on what you learned this year

Our founder and leadership coach, Dayna, closes the year out mindfully by reflecting on what she can take away this year. “I took time this year to reflect with a trusted group of girlfriends on what I learned, what I’m ready to let go of, and what I’m (now) ready to allow into my life, which for me is ease. As strange as it seems, this took a lot to struggle to get to – being ready to allow ease into my life. I also created a 2021 strategic plan for the business. Personally, I used the below 12 areas to get clear on what I intend in this new year. Lifebook is a course I took a few years ago, which helped me change the direction of my life. I like to reflect upon and update these categories once a year.

Monotask

Instead of pushing yourself to multitask in order to get everything done, try doing one task at a time. When we don’t allow ourselves to be present with one task, we feel more stressed, lose concentration, and are likely to make more mistakes.

Cleansing

One of our clinicians, Vivi, is finding that cleansing is helping her close out the year mindfully. “This year-end has been about cleansing… completing old stale neglected projects, giving away or selling furnishings I no longer use or like and opening up my space, and consciously identifying and letting go of old ideas and feeling states that I recognize as unsupportive of my goals and self-care. The result has been a newfound sense of spaciousness…in my surroundings and internally, both physically and emotionally. This feels renewing. The action of cleansing is not necessarily what I recommend to everyone, for me the decision to do that came out of this past year’s reflections on what I want more of in my life, and less of. What I am committed to and motivated by, and how I wish others to know and see me. Each of us finds our own answers and our own congruent actions to take. I think this is part of the result of being mindful…knowing oneself better with kindness and patience.”

If you missed it, check out last week’s article, There’s No Place Like Home, which will help you make your home feel more special, even when you’re stuck inside and it’s a holiday.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

There’s no place like home…

There’s no place like home…

When you’ve been stuck inside for months, it can be challenging to see your home as an exciting place to spend the holidays. You’ve been looking at the same decorations for months, and you’ve been quarantined with the same people, how about a change of scenery? With COVID, that change of scenery might not be an option for you. Luckily, we have some ideas on how you can make your home feel special, even when you’re stuck inside on a holiday.

Get extra trees!

christmas tree, feel at home

This year may be the year that you add an extra Christmas tree to the mix. Let your children flex their creative muscles, and add a mini Christmas tree to their room, free for them to decorate with their own individual tastes. If you’ve always wanted two different trees with separate themes, now is the perfect time to go all out with your house decorations. Give yourself permission to turn your home into a place that makes you feel peaceful, comfortable, and joyful.

 

Build an extravagant table

Be creative and find the joy in making your eating space beautiful and extravagant. Decorating can be a form of expressive arts therapy, allowing the left brain and the right brain to work together. Dig through your china cabinet or raid your local thrift store, and put together a table that makes you feel like royalty. You will see that you can bring holiday excitement to you in the littlest of ways.

Delight your senses

feel at home

Another small way to add that holiday touch to your home is through the senses. Nothing says winter like pine, clove, cinnamon, orange, and cedar. If you have a diffuser and these essential oils, and you play nothing but old-timey holiday music you won’t want to be anywhere else. Also, Bath and Body Works has incredible three-wick candles that always meet your expectations when looking for an enticing holiday scent.

BAKE!

baking, feel at home
Baking makes you happy, it makes you feel productive, and it fills your home with all the scents and fuzzy feelings. It’s the perfect activity to fill your time with family. Baking brings people together in such a low-key, light-hearted way while giving you something to delight in after. Here is a great list of 14 different holiday cookies you can bake this year. You’ll want to remember to leave some out for Santa.

When you make your space enjoyable and relaxing, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on something more, because you’ll have already cultivated it for yourself. That is the beauty of the holiday season. It is about giving to other people, and still finding balance and giving to yourself. Giving to yourself this year means staying as comfortable and as safe as we can at home because there is no place like home.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

  Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people. 

How To Allow Acceptance Even When You Feel You Don’t Deserve It

How To Allow Acceptance Even When You Feel You Don’t Deserve It

There are times where you may feel like you don’t deserve the love you receive from others. When you barely accept yourself, you struggle to allow yourself to be nurtured by others, even when you need it. There comes a time when you must shed the need to punish yourself and allow loving, positive light to shine down on you. No matter what mistakes you have made, you deserve approval. So, how do we allow acceptance even when we feel we don’t deserve it? Here are 5 ways to accept the love we really deserve:

Remember that everyone deserves love and acceptance

No matter what has happened to you in the past, you deserve to be loved by your friends, family, and romantic partners in a healthy and fulfilling way. If you let your negative beliefs about yourself overrule you, you could potentially shut yourself off from connecting with amazing people and having beautiful experiences with them.

Set boundaries and stick to them

When we set firm boundaries, we protect ourselves from experiencing anything less than what we deserve. Even if at that moment, we feel like we don’t deserve acceptance, it’s important to stick to our boundaries and move on from anyone that treats us like we are less than.

Stay present

Often we are afraid to accept the love we deserve because we are afraid what may have happened to us in the past (abandonment, abuse, etc) will happen in the future. When we stay present, we allow ourselves to be loved right in that moment and fully enjoy it.

Work through your tangled thoughts

When our minds are overwhelmed by negative, anxious thoughts, it becomes difficult to view ourselves in a positive light. If we let these thoughts get out of control, they can be really harmful to our relationships. Stop those negative thoughts, examine them, and sit down with them and see what they are really trying to tell you about your subconscious beliefs. Once you bring them to the light and present them with reason, they can’t hurt you anymore.

Cultivate self-love

If you don’t love yourself, you will find it very difficult to accept love from other people. Start loving yourself by doing the work to heal yourself from the traumas that make it difficult for you to accept the love that you deserve. Prioritize your care by taking the time to connect with yourself every day through meditation and journaling.

You can go even deeper with yourself with the help of a therapist. Our therapists will act as a guide, holding the lamp up for you as you explore and work through the parts of you that hold you back. Contact us to set up a consultation.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Why Sharing Makes Us Joyful

Why Sharing Makes Us Joyful

As humans, we crave social interaction and deep connections. Some of us have this belief that people are mostly motivated by their own self-interest, and that we are meant to be independent and not trust anyone to fulfill our needs. This is false! I don’t know about you, but when I share with people, I get this light feeling in my stomach and I start feeling increasingly happier. And that brings me to this question–why does sharing make us feel so joyful?

The act of sharing produces happy hormones in our brain.

When we share with others, we allow ourselves to be interconnected with people, which produces serotonin and oxytocin. This is because it is emotionally rewarding for us to share with others.

It gives us a sense of belonging and purpose.

Sharing is essential to the expansion of all human relationships and cultures. It brings us closer together and allows us to be interdependent with each other. When we feel like someone else is having the same experiences as we are, it makes us feel connected and understood. We don’t just build this connection by sharing material things, but by being vulnerable with the people we love and sharing our feelings.

It builds trust.

When we share our feelings and experiences with supportive friends and romantic partners, we learn to trust each other. We learn that when we have other’s best interests at heart, they do the same for us.

It summons gratitude.

Sharing happiness with others is a beautiful thing. The more you talk with the people you are close with about what you are grateful for and what delights you, the happier you will feel. Sharing joy will increase joy. When you make another person happy through your positive news, you will feel even happier. Sharing these positive feelings are a win-win. It’s about the joy you feel for bringing someone else joy.

To cultivate more of the joy that comes from bringing joy to others, try out this visualization:

  • Start by closing your eyes and visualizing yourself in a safe, happy space.
  • Imagine what this space looks like, what it smells like, what it feels like, and what it sounds like. Immerse yourself in this space. Imagine the sunlight beaming down on you, warming you and letting you glow within. This sun radiates positive, happy energy onto you. Let your negative energy flow down through your feet, and allow the earth to transmute this energy.
  • After you have let go of the negative energy, create a shield of light, joy, and happiness. You can do this by thinking back to a time when you were a young child, free of worry and filled with curiosity and laughter. Think of a truly joyful experience from your childhood, remembering sounds, sights, and smells from this memory.
  • Invite the people you love into this peaceful space and share feelings of joy and happiness with them. Imagine sunshine and happiness washing over them, taking away any physical or emotional pain.
  • Invite people you feel neutral into this space and also share feelings of joy and happiness with them. Again, imagine that there is a positive light healing their pain. Do this for the people that irk you, as well as the people who have harmed you. Share that joy and happiness with everyone.

After having explored the joy of sharing, check out our article from last week about opening your heart to change.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Open Your Heart to Change

Open Your Heart to Change

In life, if there is any certainty at all, it’s that things are always changing. It’s challenging when we want stability, and yet, everything seems to be continuously shifting around us. As creatures of habit, it can be difficult and sometimes even painful to endure changes. However, it is important to move forward with whatever the universe throws at you. When you open your heart to change, you will experience more;

Strength.

Strength is the ability to withstand a great force. Growing and healing mean that change is inevitable and in order to build your strength, you need to move towards what scares you. When you avoid what triggers you, you increase the resistance and overall fear. To get rid of your fears you must face them until they run out of power. Opening yourself up to change will build your strength because you are able to prove that you can face your fears, withstand adversity, and overcome it.

Resilience.

Resilience is your capacity to bounce back after life throws a curveball at you. Most of us want life to be smooth-sailing, with no added stress. Without experiencing some sort of challenge, our bones become weak. The more change we accept into our lives, the better prepared we become, and the quicker we can recover from any damage it may cause. When we panic and avoid these changes, we are doing ourselves a disservice. When you open yourself up to change, you are building that resilience. Start with small changes, like ordering something new at the Thai restaurant, and you will see how resilient you really are.

Confidence.

Once you open yourself up to change, your confidence will skyrocket because you prove to yourself that you can take care of yourself during big transitions. Just being willing to examine our current behaviors and patterns while being open to changing them is self-care. This builds more and more trust and self-confidence.

When experiencing a lot of adjustments in your life, if you feel like you’re losing pieces of yourself along the way, just remember that what you are shedding is what you are outgrowing. You can release and move forward, with a healthier and more vibrant approach to life.

Check out last week’s article, where we focus on how to slow down this holiday season!

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A Leaf In The Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins

A Leaf In The Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins

A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins is a combination of the artwork of mother, Rose Marie Prins, and poetry of son, Jaro Majer. After the death of her son, she moves through her grief by creating these wonderful watercolor and Sumi ink paintings. This loving memorial is a broad look into the larger-than-life mind and personality of Jaro and his unique, touching view of the world around him. Jaro was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in his 20s, a few years after he lived in the spiritual community and wrote those poems. His work is a mixture of raw candidness and spirituality; the poems move effortlessly from the challenges of the earthly plane to the hope of the spiritual realm.

This beautiful book of artwork and poetry shows the way people with mental illness struggle to find meaning in a world that wasn’t built for them. “I want to share this love, this brilliant exposure of soul, with another who is willing to let go of all that society thinks is worth gold, but is like mere yellow-colored dust on the side of life’s road.” He sheds light on how difficult it is to be vulnerable in a society that is so linear and rule-based that it dismisses people with mental illness because of the negative associations of mental illness and violent, destructive behavior. Through his poetry, Jaro bares his soul to the world and shows that we are all just having our own human experience and coping with it the best we can. He searches for meaning through spirituality, preferring to live in the light of God than in a world that rejects him. “I wish to shed this cocoon of disgrace, this lack of understanding, and emerge a beautiful butterfly.” I believe the ultimate aim of these poems is to show how inaccessible the world is to people who are vulnerable because of their mental illness and the extra work that they must put in every day to fit in and find peace and optimism in this world that wasn’t properly structured for them.

Putting all that aside, I also believe these poems shed light on the beautiful connection one can have with a higher power. Despite often feeling alienated, Jaro finds solace in God and connects to the higher power in such a deep way. It’s almost as if he is floating between the physical and spiritual world. His greatest wish is to be free.

The books, and digital prints of the images in the book, are available for purchase online here and here. You can also purchase it at:

  • The Gift Shop at the Morean Arts Center in St Pete
  • The Dunedin Fine Art Center (until 12/23)
  • The Gallery at Creative Pinellas, Largo, until December 20. No prints at the latter but several of the original artworks are on view and for sale.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.