What is art therapy?

When we were kids, art time was often the best part of grammar school. Who didn’t enjoy coloring, drawing, and painting? It was fun, relaxing, and you got a wonderful euphoric feeling from creating something you made with your own hands.

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Then you proceeded to working life in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. At least. The movements of your hands were limited to typing on the computer keyboard and your imagination was put to sleep like your beloved ill dog, which suffered from cancer.

Yes. A sad story. Today we are no longer creative. We have far less ways to express our emotions. We shout at our kids, we pump at the gym, we come home edgy after a full day at work… Jenny was like this until she discovered art therapy.

She never would have thought that art therapy could help her through the toughest spots in her life, but it actually did. It helped her to release all her emotions, without the need to scream or pull out your hair from your head.

WHAT IS ART THERAPY?

Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses a variety of art media as its primary mode of communication and expression. It’s a particularly useful method of finding ways to explore difficult emotions. I use art to help grown-ups and children deal with emotions including loss, grief, transitions, attachment, emotional, bullying, mental health, behavioral issues, and confidence issues among others.

There is something so freeing about art therapy. The goal of art therapy is not a production of an art masterpiece, it is rather a creative process in which you take out all hurtful and sad emotions to the daylight. From your brain, heart, as well as the subconscious mind. You speak, not with words, but with colors and images. You move, you create, you are in the flow.

All you do is you move your brush or pencil, create, take it all out with fierce red or the blackest black.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ART THERAPY?

1. You reduce stress.

You had a bad day at work. You have a problem with your boss. You come to an art therapy session. You imagine you are telling your boss everything by colors and lines you put on paper in front of you. Thinking about your boss and your feelings towards him/her, you let these feelings come out. When you finish you feel relieved, born again, happier.

2. You address past traumas.

Do you remember that hurtful break-up between you and this man you so much cared for? You buried it deep down inside and from that time your relationships with men are not going well. In the art therapy session, you work to release the emotions about that break-up, which are still present in your body and mind. Maybe you didn’t express them before? Maybe it was too painful to dwell in it? Now is the moment to say a proper ‘good-bye’ with art therapy method.

Art therapy is great when dealing with marriage problems or divorce.

Kids quite often use art therapy unconsciously, when for example, their parents quarrel or divorce.

Plantation of Creativity leads art therapy sessions for children and adults. Contact us and schedule your first session with us!

“If you’re feeling blue, try painting yourself a different color”.

No day is more important than today

Rainy autumn day. Monica sat down on the couch after coming back from work. A pack of Lays Chips of fromage taste was lying near on the coffee table.

The power of the present

She said to herself: “Well, I worked hard today in a job which I don’t like. I deserved these chips.

A voice in her head asked the same question as yesterday evening: “Monica, what about using this time to build up your own business that you’ve been dreaming of for so long?”

Monica did not reply and ignored the voice. She forwarded her hand to reach for the chips, switched her computer on and started to watch a movie.

No stress. No effort. Just distraction. Imagine it is you who eats these chips and watches a movie. Would you regret it later on?

Regret is one of the basic human emotions. Sometimes we regret small things – that we worried too much, that we didn’t take the number form the girl we liked or that we simply, just like Monica, postponed our dreams and ate chips to cover our feelings up.

It’s normal. Life is not a test from mathematics. We cannot fully prepare for life. We come to our thirties or forties and wonder: “What the hell am I doing in this job?”. Then, still, we sit and watch a different movie every evening and eat chips to console our feeling of being “too late for changes”.

Usually, when I ask people why they don’t do what they dream of, they answer: “it’s not worth it, I am already 35” or “It’s too late. So much time has passed by”.

Yes. It is sad that you lost so much time. You made stupid mistakes. You ate chips and watched movies every single night. This time will not come back.

Looking form this perspective, we can say that today is everything we’ve got. You can either eat your chips and complain about how much time has already passed by or take care that you will lose no more of it.

BE CONSCIOUS OF THE PRESENT MOMENT.

Your future exists only in your imagination and not in a material world. Plus, by the way, you create your future today, at this very moment. This moment is everything you’ve got. When you think about the past where are you? In the present. The same, when you think about the future. Eckhart Tolle speaks about it in his fascinating book “The power of the present”.

MAKE SMALL STEPS TOWARDS YOUR DREAM EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Exchange chips & movie evening into taking action towards your plans. Reorganize your desk. Get rid of stuff you no longer need. Go for a walk. Sign up for a drawing class. Change your job.

Your future depends on what you are doing today. It is not too late to change your profession or learn something new.

At least, when you do it now, you’ll say after years: “Good that I started in October 2019”, instead of saying “Pity, I didn’t start it earlier” when you’ll be 50.

Plantation of Creativity Team

Create the Map of Your Dreams for 2019

Do you write down your goals and dreams? Do you move towards them? Or you simply prefer to sip your coffee, write your goals in a beautiful golden notebook, listen to countless coaching videos on how to finally make your dreams true and still not move your finger towards your plans?

Last week in Zurich, Switzerland we were learning how to grab the wheel of the ship called ‘life’ and how to fulfil our dreams.

You know the saying “dreams come true”, don’t you? I think it’s trumpery.

You have thousands of life coaches who give you advise on “how to attract things into your life”, but only a few of them really know the missing ingredient of the soup called ‘the life broth’.

Last week in Zurich the Plantation of Creativity organised creative-coaching workshops to uncover the key missing ingredient in our life broth. Using a Feng-Shui method based on Bagua Map, we were learning to spot out true dreams and discover the ways on how to fulfil them. Also, we learned how to avoid the traps of “positive thinking” and setting too many goals for the year.

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The majority of the dreams were focused on love and relationships. During the workshops the participants learned the hard truth of what a personal happiness means and the secret ingredient of a happy relationship.

Are you a woman whose dream is to meet a man who will take your sorrows away and be a prince on a horse? If yes, then I have bad news for you. The prince won’t arrive, even on a pony. If you will be sitting, complaining and waiting for a man to ‘save you’ then you didn’t get it right.

The same goes if you’re a man looking for a princess who will brighten up your life, give you a life purpose and finally motivate you to change for better. The fact is, we, princesses like men who are already motivated and don’t need a woman to motivate them and tell them what to do.

If we are not happy with ourselves, we won’t be happy with another person. If we won’t take care of our well-being and of our personal plans and goals and simply wait for the other person to come and fill our life, we will wait forever, like for a bus on a desert, which will never come…

What makes you happy and attractive for the other person is how you live your life. It doesn’t matter if you drive Maserati and spend your weekends in St Moritz or on a beach in Hawaii. What matters is if your Maserati and St Moritz weekends give you joy and make you as happy as Larry. By the way, can you be happy stripped off of your car and luxurious vacation? Sitting in a pyjama, reading a book and looking out the window enjoying the snowfall?

If yes, I congratulate you. You seem to have got it right.

If you enjoy being with yourself, you will enjoy being with the other person. And only then the “Bailando” of love will start to happen… 😉

Don’t spread your pain in installments. Let go of your past.

Take a look at your past. What do you see? Is it the source of your strength and experience or the source of a recurring pain and suffering?

How old are you? Even if you’re still young, you’ve been through some experiences in your life. Some of them were pleasant, wonderful, worth to remember. But there were also the moments which you don’t want to remember, but somehow they come back to the surface of your life like dead fish which emerge at the surface of the water in a river-flow.

Which memories take up the most space in your mind?

Pleasant ones or turbulent ones from your past? Still the same old movie that’s haunting you, trying to revive same old scene, like in a song by Roxy?

How to deal with the negative experiences from your past?
Skiing can be the answer.

What we tend to do with our past experiences is we revive them by thinking about them in our present. We are worried all the time when we meet a new person and we wonder “what if he or she turns out to be like my ex?”. We are afraid of being exposed to pain and suffering, of  losing ourselves again. Because we all are well-aware of how hard it is to find ourselves back on track after a painful fall.

We fail to control the thoughts about our past the way we forget to control our skis when we’re wearing them for the first time.

What we tend to do with our past experiences is we revive them by thinking about them in our present. We are worried all the time when we meet a new person and we wonder “what if he or she turns out to be like my ex?”. We are afraid of being exposed to pain and suffering, of  losing ourselves again. Because we all are well-aware of how hard it is to find ourselves back on track after a painful fall.

We fail to control the thoughts about our past the way we forget to control our skis when we’re wearing them for the first time. 

Have you ever tried cross-country skiing?

When you learn the skating technique it is essential to keep the V shape of your skis to glide and move forward. If you don’t keep the V you either fall or glide backwards. Therefore, as a beginner you need to put all your attention to keeping your V and moving forward. It’s a practice. If you check on YouTube some cross-country skating you’ll find watching it easy and it will appear to you as a relatively easy technique. But it’s only after you put your skis on and practise, you discover it’s a hard work and an enjoyable though painful exercise for your muscles.

The same goes for letting go of your past.

You cannot erase it by clicking ‘delete’ but you can store it in some part of your memory. Instead of accessing these painful memories every day, focus on keeping your skis in your V to move forward. Stay in the present and don’t let your thoughts about the past wander around. Control them the way you control your skis on a slope.

Easier said than done – you’ll say.  Indeed. Letting go of your past requires practise. It is not an in-born ability. The only things which are innate is your tendency to have a prostate cancer, the length of your thighbone or the amount of hair on your head. All the rest is up to you how you deal with it.

It is not enough to sit and tell yourself “dear thoughts about the past, please go away”. They won’t.  The more you think about them, the more influence they will have on your life. The pain will thus be spread in installments, instead of being paid at once. 

Traumatic past experiences are like small stones in your shoes that hurt your feet.

Such stones are past, disappointing relationship, broken hearts, old wounds and inability to forgive. You can cover your hurt feet with plasters with Mickey Mouse but it won’t eliminate the pain.

What you need to do is to deal with the source of the pain – take the stones out of your shoes. They won’t fall out by themselves. 

There’s one good exercise, which can help you to say goodbye to your negative memories of your past. Usually it’s people, who hurt us and produce the negative hurtful emotions. That’s why it’s essential to let go of them peacefully. The technique is called ‘the ship’.

  1. Lie down on your bed, switch off all distractions like mobile phones or computers.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 5 minutes.
  3. Imagine you stand on a pier by a beautiful sea. Smell the fresh, salty air, hear the seagulls screams.
  4. Picture a big ship standing by the pier. This ship has everything essential for a very long, infinite journey. It is safe and modern and the person who will board the ship will have everything she or he will ever need.
  5. See a person (the one that hurt you in the past and you want to let go) strolling on the pier, walking to meet you. 
  6. Look at his/her eyes and thank him/her for everything you have experienced together and say to him/her that you are going to let them go on a beautiful infinite journey, away from your life.
  7. In this moment you may cry. Allow yourself for the tears and all the emotions. Feel them and let them be. Take the pain out. Say “thank you” again.
  8. Observe the person boarding the ship. 
  9. Then, release the anchor and watch the ship until it disappears over the horizon.
  10. Now, take a deep breath, smell the see and look forward to the horizon when new things and people will soon come to you.
  11. Take a deep breath and open your eyes. Welcome again 🙂 

You have released your past and you have sent the person who was producing the negative thoughts on an infinite journey. You let go and made space for new things to come. Well done!

We’re like pawns on the eternal board, who are never quite sure what they’ve moved towards. But it’s far better to have an unsure future than to live in the same old scene that’s been haunting us.

Let go of your past and get rid of the burden which prevents you from creating a happy future. Focus on keeping your V and moving forward. Take a ski lesson.

Enjoy your practice!

Plantation of Creativity Team

Why your dreams don’t come true?

Robert had one big dream. To wake up and to see that finally everything’s alright. That he has a good job, a steady income, a wonderful girlfriend and friends, who call him a “viking” instead of a “loser”.

He’s been having this dream since many, many years. Why it doesn’t come true? Why the universe keeps ignoring Robert’s wish list?

MOVEMENT AS THE LACKING INGREDIENT

We wake up every day with a fresh chance to finally move on. But the only thing we do is moving our limbs to repeat the ordinariness of our everyday existence: make coffee, put a shirt on and step on the gas pedal to go to work. 

If Robert’s dream was to have a good job and steady income, what has he been doing the past 5 years? Moving his limbs, that’s it.

He wished for a new job but only in his head. He was moving his limbs to execute daily repeatable activities but not to go after his true dreams and hit the dancefloor of his life.

With dreams it’s like with a vertical wrinkle in between your eyebrows. The more you frown, exercising this muscle, the more visible it appears. If you literally don’t exercise your dreams, if you don’t make steps towards them, they will stay in your memory for some time, giving in to the weariness of everyday life.

It’s crucial to realise that dreams stay dreams until you move and do something about them.

PURSUE YOUR DREAM THE SAME WAY YOU DECORATE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas is already past behind us, but let me make a small comparison for you.

Christmas trees are simple trees. Fir, pine, spruce. Straight from the forest. They are made “Christmas” or festive, the moment you decorate them. You put a star on top and colourful baubles. You decorate it the way you want.

First you make a plan what decorations you’d like to buy (chains, light, baubles etc). You choose the type, style and color. You plan how you’re gonna decorate it and how the lights are gonna hang. Then, after such preparations you stand before your tree and with  watchful eyes you choose the location for your baubles. You move back a couple of steps to assess how it looks. After you finish, you sit by the fireplace and enjoy your work. You enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree, which became “Christmas” thanks to your effort. 

The same goes for your dreams. You already have a tree – a dream in your mind. You just need to get off from your couch and go shopping for baubles or make them yourself. Decide and plan how to achieve your dreams. Make them goals. Put them in your calendar. And finally, move towards them.

Christmas is gone? Make Christmas in your life, where each day is a special sparkling bauble which gets you closer and closer to your dream.

With best wishes for the New Year!

Plantation of Creativity Team 🙂

DREAMS DON’T COME TRUE. YOU MAKE THEM TRUE.

When you cannot sleep. The art of acceptance.

There comes the time when you cannot sleep. You toss and turn on your bed. You listen to podcasts to fall asleep, watch a movie, open the window to let some fresh air in. But it all doesn’t work.

Then, you look at your phone next to your bed – it’s 2 a.m. You think: “Gosh, I really need to get some sleep as I have to get up at 6:00 a.m. to go to work”. The thing is the more you stress, the less chances you have for a good sleep. Sounds familiar?

WHY WE CANNOT SLEEP?

Let me tell you a story.

Dora was a successful 35-year old woman. She had a steady job, was renting a nice apartment in the city center and was a beautiful woman. Many would kill for either her looks or her intelligence. Actually, they could kill for both. So, what’s the problem you might ask?

One night (and she was usually falling asleep at 10:00 p.m. max) she started to think about her life. Was she really happy? Was the job her dream job? Were the people she was giving her precious time and energy worth it? Why didn’t she yet have a partner or a successful relationship that she so much dreamt about?

Suddenly her brain became hyper-active with all those questions. Her heart was beating faster and faster and her body became hot like in a state of  fever. The thoughts in her head started dancing in a crazy way, just like the skeletons at the Halloween party she attended the night before.

Tired of tossing and turning she got up. It was 2:15 a.m. She washed the pile of the dishes after yesterday’s dinner, cleaned the fridge, went down to take the rubbish out and then cooked lunch for the next day. At 5:00 a.m. she tried again to fall asleep. Then, unlucky again she said to herself:

Okay Dora, you cannot fall asleep. Accept it. Read a book instead. Accept your emotions. Accept that you don’t like your job. Accept that you can choose not to work. Contrary to all women in your family. But it’s your life, Dora, and even if you go unemployed and betray the pattern of how women in your family behaved, you can act differently. Because it’s your life. You decide. You are the queen on your courtyard called Life. You can be faithful to no one else, but yourself“.

On the example of Dora you see what prevents us from having a good sleep:

  • thoughts circling in our heads
  • imagining scenarios, especially the bad ones
  • fears and emotions that we usually lock in our bodies and in our subconsciouss mind

 WHAT TO DO TO SLEEP BETTER?

  1. Accept your day. All the problems, emotions it triggered in you and it brought you.
  2. When you’re in bed try not to think. Limit the number of your thoughts, especially the negative ones.
  3. Imagine only the good things happening to you. Let your mind fly. Think about your biggest dreams and create a beautiful movie in your head with you as the hero of the movie.
  4. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down what causes you the biggest stress. Then, write how you can accept it and what you can do about it.

Example:

STRESS – “My biggest stress is my job, which I don’t like. I’d gladly quit, but then I’ll have no money.”

ACCEPTANCE – “I accept that I don’t feel happy in my job. I accept all these negative emotions. I accept I chose my past jobs and I choose my future ones. I accept I am in charge of my life”.

SOLUTION – “What can I do if the fact that I don’t like my job causes me stress?”

  1. Go to work and in the meantime search for a one that would be my dream job.
  2. Quit and then create a plan of what I really want to do.
  3. Find after-work activities that will help you to calm down, relax and balance your work life.
  4. Your own solution different to the above 😉

Stressing would do you no good. While you stand in front of the mirror, preparing for work, tell yourself: “It’s just a job. I can change it because I am responsible for my life. And being responsible for your life is freedom!”.

Let me finish this article with a quote by Leonardo da Vinci:

“A well spent day brings happy sleep”.

Wishing you well-spent days ahead!

Plantation of Creativity Team

Why quitting your job is so hard?

Life is not a picnic. I guess you’d like to lie on the grass, eat strawberries, drink champagne and relax in the company of your friends all day long. Play ball with your dog, enjoy the sunrises and sunsets.

Instead, you leave your house at 7:00 a.m. to make it at 8:00 a.m. sharp to the shoffice (sheep office), where all the sheepshit is waiting for you like a delicious sausage is waiting for a dog. Meetings, deadlines, e-mails, coffee with co-workers, paperwork, projects, phone calls…

We all know it. You sacrifice 10 hours of your day for an employer in exchange for money and bonuses. Maybe you like your job, maybe not. But what to do if you realise that’s not the life you want to have? When the thoughts in your brain multiply like rabbits and scream “Run, (put your name in here), run!”.

We have been programmed from the moment we were born. Our parents were telling us: “go to school, get good grades, find a good job”. But what if we see that apart from our jobs we have time for nothing else? Or we are simply too tired to think about making something else and trying a new way of living?

If you’re unhappy with your job you will hear – “just quit and find a new one”. Yeah, if it would have been so easy, all of us would be unicorns and not sheep working in shoffices.

Why quitting your job is so hard?

Listening to the song “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias I start to wonder. The words “Ya no puedo mas” (“I cannot take it anymore”) we utter all the time, complaining about our boss, low salary or slim chances of promotion. Yes. But why we still don’t quit? What keeps us from doing it?

1. FEAR

When you want to quit your job you will need to have a little tete-a-tete with this guy. He can take many faces:

  • fear of lack of money
  • fear of being redundant in society
  • fear of having failed
  • fear of survival

“If I’m unemployed, I’ll have no money to live. If I don’t have job then I’m not a good and worthy person. If I don’t work I won’t survive the next month” (for those who have no savings).

2. HABITS

After we finish our studies, we go to work. How many years have you been working now? 10? 20? 8? We are used to working and it became our habit. Just like smoking cigarettes or eating your favourite pizza. Therefore, it’s so difficult to allow yourself “not to work”. Even if this means staying on unemployment benefits and having money for our essential needs. It’s also the fear of the unknown. Our habit of working will be broken. Then, we won’t have a new habit yet, just an ocean of possibilities and questions.

What to do when you really wanna quit?

You might want to quit before you pop off on your working desk. You don’t want to have a burnout or a serious disease, do you?

That’s why it’s essential to have a plan. Before you quit. To strike a deal with the fear. To accept the bad guy and at the same moment, acknowledge the good guy inside of you.

No-one is unbreakable. We all face similar fears and emotions. But everyone of us has an internal power socket, which is like a fireplace. This place is our heart. The fire is burning there as long as we breathe. This is the place of our strength and cosmic power.

How to make a plan and prepare yourself for departure from your company? 

  • MEDITATE

Start from the heart. Focus on its beating and internal fire. Sit by your desk at work (you can close your room) and say in your thoughts: “Dear fear, I see you. I feel you all over my body. I accept you. I allow you to be. Just be. You are fear. You have no power over me. I am the one to decide”. Acceptance of your fears and emotions is the first step to prepare yourself for the move.

  • TAKE CARE OF YOUR FINANCES

Save up as much as possible. If you know that your termination period is 3 months, then prepare a plan of limiting your expenses and increasing your savings. You will feel more comfortable knowing you have the money to live on.

  • CLEAN UP YOUR WORK SPACE

Whether you work in open space or you have your own room for sure you have a desk with cupboards, where you keep all you stuff. Do a big clean-up. Throw away the unnecessary papers, old printed e-mails. Take your personal belongings home. Let the universe know that you are freeing the space around you and preparing for the move.

  • WRITE YOUR PROFESSIONAL GOAL

Write in your journal or on a piece of paper your dream job. It can be having your own business or working for a chosen company. Stipulate how much you want to earn. Read it every day or put the paper in a visible place. You can stick it on your refrigerator or computer screen.

We often forget that above the clouded sky there is always the sun. We don’t see it only because of external circumstances like weather conditions. Your internal sun is always shining. Even if it’s raining now in your soul.

Prepare well and go after your heart’s desire. A job is just a job. You have your whole life to live. Smile and remember about your internal sun. Quitting a job shouldn’t be harder than giving birth 🙂 Good luck!