Return to Wholeness

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The word Mandala comes from the Sanskrit language and means circle, wholeness and/or center. Cultures from around the world use some form of the mandala to promote healing, meditation, and as a tool to connect to the unconscious. We will use principles of the mandala process including meditation and visualization to focus on our inner messages.  Various art mediums, such as pastels, colored pencils and collage will be used to create personal freestyle mandalas.

You will learn how art and specifically the process of art, deepens self awareness,  is a tool for relaxation and creates a sacred space to connect to your inner world.

  If you are interested, please email me at:  or call:

West Los Angeles Location

Journal to your ARTs Content

I've been keeping a journal all my life and, as I've gotten older, my journals are much more revealing and connected to my heArt. I used to just write what I did that day, or who I saw. Today, my journals include emotional states, thoughts, feelings, anger, sadness, joy and ART.  Mostly, collage, or images I come across that speak to me.

Recently, at one of my Mandala workshops, I met a woman named Cola Smith, who is an artist. I later came across one of her paintings that touched me titled "Earth Mother." The heading of the chapter, where it appeared was called Heal and Nurture, which is something I'm personally working on these days. The painting at the left is by Cola Smith is from the "We' Moon" '09 Date book.

I also cut out and paste horoscopes that have special meaning for me, images that come to mind that need exploring and almost anything that I can cut, draw, paste, or adhere to my journal.

Journaling is my friend, therapist, sounding board, dart board and much more. I invite you to add the art of journaling to your daily practice.  You will discover a sense of clarity, calm, joy, relief, creativity and more.

Mandala Workshop January 2014

We had a great time at yesterday's Mandala workshop. Lots of sharing of ideas, thoughts, feelings and experiences with allowing the process to happen. The next workshop will be Sunday, Feb., 9th. You can also look at this blog for more ideas about how to create your own personal mandalas or you can contact me at 310-922-3957 for inspiration. Be creative!


If you've followed my blog for a while, you know I love mandalas. I lead monthly mandala workshops here in Los Angeles at the local YWCA and I introduce them to clients in my practice. Recently, I've been using the guidance of Heather Plett's Mandala Discovery online mandala journal workshop to learn more about my own creative process. Heather has a 10 week course that introduces a new subject every week that helps guide you through the mandala process. I love to learn and engaging in Heather's course has taught me more about the process of creating mandalas. You can find more about Heather's workshops at:

So, it's a new year and new resolutions have probably got you on the up and motivated path to a new you! Or maybe not. Maybe you are totally happy with the way your life is going and where you are in your journey. But if you are one who likes to have a deeper understanding of your process and loves self-awareness, I offer to you a mandala resolution or better yet, Aspirations 2014. Instead of thinking in terms of Resolutions, think in therms of something you move towards. For instance, if you are looking to eat healthier then think in terms of taking steps in that direction. So, process instead of product. Which, is exactly what creating a mandala is about. Sometimes, we take a few steps forward and a few steps back; that is, what do I need to do to keep moving forward? Maybe I need to slow down. Maybe I need to keep healthier food in my home and leave the cookies at the market. Maybe it's a family effort. Maybe you need to know how to say "NO," more often or live in a state of balance instead all or nothingness.
ART Directive
1. Draw a circle on a blank piece of paper - any size, but large enough to write and draw on it.
2. Draw a line down the center and across the middle so you now have 4 quarters.
3. In each quarter write an aspiration you have for 2014. It can be a mindset change, a physical change, a behavior change. Whatever it is, write it down. If you do not have 4, no problem. You can always had something during the year.
4. Now, here is where you might need a little thought. In each quarter, where you've written an aspiration, write under the aspiration, what it will take from you to be present with this aspiration. i.e., well power, focus, support, information, etc. You can add images, color or whatever inspiration you need to help support you in your aspiration process.
5. Cute the circle (mandala aspiration) out and tape it some place you can see it. This will act as a reminder to you when May rolls around you may have strayed from your January high.
6. Most of all, have fun and don't beat yourself up!

Has the Empty Nest Got You Lost?

As August and September loom, many parents will experience the "empty nest syndrom," where sounds of children's voices and footsteps have been replaced with silence. The shift in the home energy can create feelings of loss, questions of what next, who am I and other dilemmas concerning identity.  Emptiness can stir up many feelings and it is important to acknowledge those feelings. It is also an opportunity for exploration. The empty nest can provide a place for self-discovery and excitement.  It does not have to be something we run from, but rather a place to gain a deeper understanding of who we are outside of parenthood.  One way to gain insight during this transitional period is to create something called process art Art that is less about a product and more about what you feel and the experience of creating the art.  For instance, making a mandala or collage with the theme of exploring the empty nest or creating a new nest that reflects this new chapter. What do you want your new or altertered nest to look, feel and express about yourself? What parts of yourself have you put aside so that you could raise your family? What is it you have yet to explore and would like to:
Lets begin.

Mandala Nest
You will need:
a blank piece of white paper any size or journal
colored pencils or markers
collage images cut from a magazine
glue stick

Begin by tracing a circle on your paper. You can use both drawing and collage or stick to one medium.
Close your eyes and breathe and begin envisioning what you would like to bring into your life. What is it that needs attention and makes you feel whole. Nothing can replace your children, but there are aspects of yourself that you can develop and explore that maybe have been pushed aside.

You can tear or cut collage images and glue inside your circle and you can draw shapes, symbols and images too.  What you are doing is basically using your mandala to create a personal nest. You are gathering and building a new nest to promote greater self-awareness and insight into who you are outside of parenthood and for this new chapter in your life.

Once you have created your new nest, sit and reflect on what you have created. You might want to journal about any insight or messages you have received from this process. How do the images, symbols, colors speak to you? How do you feel when you look at your mandala nest? You can also do your mandala nest in a journal and continue to add to your nest. Have fun, play and tap into your creative soul!

Why do humans run from FEELINGS?

In my work as a psychotherapist and art therapist, I have discovered that most human beings run from, numb or push way a variety of feelings. Feelings such as sadness, anger, fear, etc. We want to feel the so called "good" feelings, love, happiness, joy, etc. Those other feelings can cause emotional pain, can lead to depression, and as many people report, "they feel uncomfortable." So, where do we learn to label certain feelings as good or bad? Where do we learn that some feelings are "bad" while others are good? Isn't there something to learn from ALL our feelings? I find that that is why most people end up in therapy, because they don't know how to take care of those painful feelings when they surface. OR, they have no clue what they feeling. Especially if you learn from a young age that you shouldn't feel angry, sad or upset.  If growing up, you heard, "Oh, don't cry, you'll make mommy sad too." Basically, you learn it is not OK to feel sad and you end up pushing sad feelings away....well, feelings don't stay forgotten forever; they find a way to surface and cause havoc on your life!

My intention with this posting is to get you to recognize your feelings, acknowledge them, and not run from them. Begin to build a relationship with them, so that when they do come up, and they will, you will not fear them or want to run from them.

One way to do this is by using art to identify the array of feelings you experience. So, use color to represent sadness, anger and joy. Maybe a symbol can represent a particular feeling. Learn to dialogue with your feelings instead of numbing or running from them. They will not hurt you.  Learn to be curious about them instead of rejecting them. They are all a part of who you are. Embrace them! Make a chart such as this and in each block write a feeling you experience. Pick a color, image or shape that represents that feeling. You can also cut out collage images to represent the feeling. This is one way to begin to know your different feelings.  You can then write about each of these feelings. When was the first time you remember experiencing this feeling? What did you learn growing up about this feeling? Were you allowed to have this feeling? When someone says to me, I don't know what I'm feeling, I will suggest a few feelings and let them choose.
Feel the feeling, sit with it and know that it will not destroy you. Allow it space to be felt.
Be well.


Colored pencils
Do you WORRY about things that haven't happened yet? Do you live in the past and the future and NOT the present?  If your answer is YES, most likely you live with ANXIETY and WORRY. When you don't live in the moment, you create many WHAT-IF's. What if's create a sense of unknown and a sense of having no control.  My belief is that anxiety and worry mask what you are actually FEELING.  For instance, what is behind your WORRY?  If you were to take the mask of worry off, what would be left? Sadness? Fear? Aloneness?  Is it possible you might be experiencing any of these feelings?  What would happen if you felt the feelings instead of the anxiety?
Tissue paper collage mandala

So, what can you do and how can ART help YOU?


Anger is just one of the primal emotions that if not understood or expressed constructively, can sabotage a person's relationships, career, academic life and one's ability to live an emotionally healthy life.  From a young age, we are given messages either consciously or unconsciously from those around us about our feelings and how or how not to express them. Anger, if not taken care of, is one emotion that can have us responding aggressively towards others or, kept inside of us causing health and emotional problems down the road. So, learning how to express anger constructively is vital to your well being. One way we can express anger is through art. Though, I will give you some tips on how to get to know your anger and steps you can take to calm yourself in the face of the anger beast.