Shine the Divine:

Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice

When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gratitude and SoulCollage®: Hannah Klaus Hunter

To complete our week of Gratitude and SoulCollage®, I'd like to introduce Hannah Klaus Hunter. Hannah is an art therapist. I used to imagine going back to school to be an art therapist or expressive arts therapist, but that was not in the BIG plan for my life. When I taught art and spirituality classes to Jewish teens, I would often incorporate things I'd learned from reading books on art therapy and my own personal practice in order to guide the students to a deeper level of creativity. Students are so stressed out, they really need to be able to have a time and space where they can just open their hearts and play. I even offered a semester of SoulCollage® one year.

As a Mom whose child had been hospitalized for 10 days two years ago, art making was tremendously important. The Childlife specialist realized early on that Rosie was a gifted artist and told us we could come in and take whatever supplies we needed back to her room to play with any time of day or evening. This brought my daughter so much joy, kept her hands, mind and heart busy and helped relieve her anxiety. Creating art in her hospital bed was remarkably healing for my child. She made some awesome art and we put it up all over her room at the hospital and then she brought it home. It wasn't art therapy with an "art therapist," it was child and Mom guided. Neither was what I was creating in my classroom "officially" art therapy, but that too was certainly healing and I believe heart opening for many of my students.  I am so grateful to have Hannah, a gifted Art therapist, and SoulCollage® Facilitator  as our host today. The work she does in the world is so valuable and deeply needed. Thank you so much for being here as our host today Hannah and sharing your beautiful story below.

SoulCollage® Card by Hannah Klaus Hunter
November is a month in which we speak openly of gratitude; we bring it into our line of focus. I received an invitation a couple weeks ago to write a post about gratitude from Laura, an open hearted, inquiring and creative blogger whom I met through SoulCollage®. 

Laura's invitation was simple: Read these instructions through first and then...Close your eyes. Exhale fully. Inhale fully. Exhale again with a full sigh of release, relief, opening to gratitude. What do you feel grateful for in your life at THIS moment? What am I grateful for?

I am grateful for the breath which blows through my body. I walk around my world feeling immense joy each time I look out our bathroom window and see the Japanese Elm aflame with multicolored leaves spinning themselves from green into shades of fuchsia and wine and finally, into radiant golden hues. Rapunzel is right outside my window!

As I drive to work after my morning shower, crossing the causeway between my town and Sacramento, the marshes are filled with all manner of birds, including my favorite, the luminous white egrets. The scene is positively biblical. In front of me, cottony clouds over the Sierras promise snow. I am grateful to be down here in the valley, where I can observe cyclamen erupting, spreading in brilliant shades of pink and red as the sycamores shed their bisque colored leaves, big as salad plates.

When I reach the hospital where I work as an art therapist, I try to think about how to bring this practice of gratitude into my art group with the kids. Keep it simple, I think to myself. Inspired by Laura's blog, I go with a "gratitude turkey"-an outline of one's hand on a sheet of colored paper, out of which spring multicolored paper feathers, each sporting a word of something we love or are grateful for in our lives.

That's a tough sell for our student volunteers to explain-they're more used to complex chemical formulations, so I only have one taker, a shy, dark haired, ten year old girl, restricted to her bed because she's on room oxygen. Veronique is hesitant about beginning, thinking I'm the doctor and she has to follow my instructions. After I've explained what she needs to know, I back off to see what happens.

She bowls me over. Honestly. After adding watercolor grass for the turkey, a shaft of paper feathers and painted stars in the sky, I think she has finished, deciding not to add words. Instead she picks up a felt tip pen and in flowing cursive, she writes on feathers that are still wet with glittering paint: "family," "dog," "trust," "love."

Truthfully, in my world, it doesn't get much better than this: a young girl's offering of love.

Please drop by and visit with Hannah at her inspiring blog:

In case you missed them, here are interviews with Seena from my friends Anne Marie and Cheryl as well as her interview with me from earlier this week.
November 8 -     Kaleidosoul - Anne Marie Bennett


Seena's next blog stops are listed below! 
November 22 -   Listening for the Whisperings - Catherine Anderson 

7 comments:

  1. I love the simplicity of the gratefulness spoken here. This whole idea of art therepy just fascinates me...for years I have used art in a sense as therepy with my childen and in my daycare business years ago...even now when my little one's are acting out of sorts and I suspect struggling with something, I place art materials before them and let them just create..there is something about colors, whether it be in the paints, markers, crayons or whatever the creating means that does something for them.

    I keep many of our art materials handy for them to pull out when the feel the need to create. In fact, both of them are at the kitchen creating as I type..they chose this instead of Saturday morning cartoons. :)

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  2. Thank you for this wonderful series of posts, dear one. And thank you for letting your beautiful and generous heart and soul shine on this blog. You are a special treasure to so many.

    Sending you love and light,
    xoxoxo
    Angela

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  3. "family, dog, trust, love." I'm right there with her. Thanks for this lovely post of gratitude and beauty. I'm glad those patients have you, Hannah.

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  4. What a wonderful job that must be...healing through art.

    Beautiful post, Hannah. The little girl and her words - well, they made me cry. Bless her soul.

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  5. Thank you Laura, for your wonderful introduction. I think what you and Lori say about art being a pure conduit to expression is so true. I came to art therapy through my own daughter--finding just what you described Lori; that putting out materials so that they were always to hand helped her through some difficult years in school. Laurie and Talon--It definitely goes both ways--I feel so lucky to work with them:)

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  6. "Truthfully, in my world, it doesn't get much better than this: a young girl's offering of love."
    it is a wonderful job that must be...healing through art.

    Beautiful post, . The little girl and her words - well, they made me cry. Bless her soul

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  7. Thank you so much for these interviews Laura. So much love out there :-)
    I used the hand idea in one of my classes. I used a white oil pastel and wrote the words these preschoolers were thankful for. Art was one of them. Family, mom and dad.. but cows and pigs were also included. We put watercolors over the words so they magically appeared. Great fun for a 3 and 4 year old.
    I am so thankful for having you as a blogger friend to share these wonderful experiences with. I love coming to your blog for inspiring, and uplifting words. a million thanks.

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