Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just to brag a moment....

I would just like to give a little shout out to my family, friends, co-workers (some)... Thank you for being so supportive of me throughout my college career and keeping my faith in myself strong.  I seriously don't think I'd be where I'm at today without all of you!

To all you people who didn't/don't have faith in me and think that "Art Therapy" is only going to get me a "bartending" job.... Take this suckaaaaas!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meditation to Concentration. Duh.

 "The mind is everything; you think what you become."
         Many people have been uninformed or misinformed about the true meaning of meditation and the true benefits it can give to people.  Mediation is a growing practice in the entire world and includes all types of people and cultures.
Meditation is defined as being an approach that anyone can use to help them cope with medical problems, stress, anxiety, contemplation and reflection.  In fact, in the Western world the word meditation means a concentrated state of mind in serious reflection. In the East, Mediation is something very different; it is described as repairing the mind in a spiritual ideal, to be one with it and/or the thought-process disintegrating in the consciousness of it. Mediation also includes an array of practices that are slightly different, while keeping the primary dictum of consideration and quiet thought to bring out a state of rumination. 
There are a variety of commonly recognized and not recognized meditation practices out there.  Some common practices are:
  •  Zen meditation
  •  Prayer
  •  Buddhist meditation
  •  Taoist meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Mindfulness meditation                                       
 The different types also may include different requirements of the body such as holding completely still or moving with controlled steadiness, while other types are more free movement.  While all the meditation types are very different, the conclusion of meditation is usually the same with mind-peacefulness and free from stress. 
There are two basic goals of meditation: 
  • Spiritual renewal (or the feeling of wholeness with a higher source of life) 
  •  To be in a state of mind-peace with yourself.  Having a peaceful mind helps you become free of your everyday worries and also gives you wholeness with yourself.  When your mind is at peace, you will develop a more effective way of dealing with stressful situations and events that happen in your every day life.  

Research has proven that meditation is a safe and easy way to balance different mind sets such as: emotional, physical and mental state.  Doctors around the world are even promoting the benefits in mediation in stress related illnesses, which is probably the most beneficial for people.  Duh. 

                  "All wrong-doing arises because of mind.  If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?" - Buddha

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh the time has come, What I've learned about myself in 2010!

Another year, another dollar... Time to reminisce about the year I learned the most about myself. 2010.
1.) It's ok to step outside the box.  It's ok to be an individual.

2.) Perception is not always reality.  What I think and what is really going on, is not always the same. Numbers never lie, people do.... so get good numbers. 

3.) I've learned that there's nothing better than a good helping of humility at least once a day.  Pride often looks far too innocent. 

4.)  I like all of my music on my iTunes.. except when it's on shuffle.  Then I like about 1 in every fifteen songs on my iTunes. 

5.)  Judging people before you know them is not fair.  I never really realized how judgmental I actually was until this year.  Thus, I'm still working on my judgment skills. 

6.)  Meditation is wonderful.  Since I started meditating and taking it seriously, my concentration has improved miraculously, I'm less bothered by little things and I have a better understanding of my inner self.

7.) It's important to try and see the good in everyone.  Everyone inspires me in some way, some form...If you give people long enough, they will show their kind, positive side.  I believe this applies to 99% of people.

8.)  Time may heal most wounds, but not all.

9.)  I was never into writing, but now I find therapy through it.

10.)  I've finally found myself: who I really am.  And I feel damn good about it.

11.)   I learn more from children and teens than I ever thought possible.

12.)  Making a living is not the same thing as making a life

13.)  It's been a couple years since I've trusted a man romantically, I still don't see that happening any time soon. 

14.)  I used to hate touching people... but  I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch - holding hands, a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back.

15.)  I've learned that regardless of my relationship with my parents, I miss them terribly when they are so far away. 

16.)  Sometimes I look at my phone 3 consecutive times and still not know what time is is.

17.)  Nothing sucks more that that moment during an argument when you realize that you're wrong.

18.)  I've learned that no matter where I go... the world's worst drivers follow me there. 

19.)  Bad decisions sometimes make good stories.

20.)  Being a slob is ok... sometimes....

21.)  I really try not to judge people, but if they have bad sloppy eating/table manners... game over.

22.)  Sometimes, no matter how positive and encouraging your advice is.. people aren't ready to hear it.

23.)  I have the choice to focus on the positive or negative aspect of a situation.

24.)  Holding a grudge against someone harms you far more than it will ever harm anyone else. I try and find a better use for my energy.

25.)  The older I get, the more wise I get... and the more I grow out of text messaging.  I absolutely hate hate hate it when people text me 2-6 page texts in a simple conversation.  I despise it so much that whatever you are saying to me, I probably only take in half of it.  Short and sweet.  End of story. 

26.)  Patience.... truly is a virtue. 

27.)  It is way easier for me to forgive others than to forgive myself. 

28.)  I may be strong and I may be brave but I am always astounded by how many tears my body can produce.

29.) I've come to the realization that if I stay single the rest of my life, I'll be ok.  I like it just being me.

30.) Family is EVERYTHING.

31.) Friends are next.

32.) I am always responsible for what I have done. No matter how I feel.

33.) I can either control my attitude, or it can control me.

34.) My best friend and I can do anything, or nothing... and still have the best time.

35.) Sometimes when I'm angry, I'm allowed to be angry.. but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel or rude.

36.) No matter how much I can care about some people, they just don't care back. 

37.)  Maturity doesn't necessarily mean how many birthdays you've celebrated.. rather what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them.

39.)  I still can not fold fitted sheets. Ugh.

40.)  Never ever tell a child that their dreams are silly and to color inside the lines.

41.)  My life was completely changed in a matter of hours, by people and kids I don't even know.

42.) Art. Saves. Lives.

43.)  There is always going to be a teacher that doesn't like me.

44.) It used to be a lot easier for me to react than to think... Now all I can do is think.

45.) I have an appreciation for all music.

46.)  I do want to travel. Everywhere. Culture is one of the things that inspires me the most.

47.) I used to be more conservative.. that was before everything I know now.  Now I believe in peace.

48.) You really can't change other people, and it's rude to try.  Being your own individual is most important.

49.) Yelling ALWAYS makes things worse.

50.)  Whenever I think about worrying what everyone else thinks of me, I really think I'm just worried about what I think of me.

51.) NOBODY has it "all" figured out.

52.) People who complain the most, accomplish the least. I really wish more people would see this.

53.) You can't be good at everything.  Someone is always going to be better at something than you.

54.) I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone read National Geographics.

55.) Words are immensely powerful.  One cruel word could damage someone for a lifetime. 

56.) One of the best things you can do for your kids is take them on road trips.  I'm not a parent- but I was a kid once.. :)

57.) Wishing things were different... is another way to torture yourself.

58.) Giving is far better than receiving. 

59.) People need to understand the meaning of Respect.

60.)  I have learned that there's always a lot more to learn. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do Something.


A person who performs or offers to perfom a service at free will.


To give or offer to give voluntarily.


To do charitable or helpful work without pay.

                 Volunteer.  This word used to be painful to me.  It was like hearing nails on a chalkboard... being asked to do something without getting paid?  Pssssh.  Paaahlease. Or even the most simple things like taking the trash out when being asked to.  I couldn't even stand to hear the word "volunteer".  Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for the way I was raised and the way I grew up- my parents were and are amazing parents, but now that I am into adulthood, I look back and sometimes... well, sometimes I get a little disappointed in myself.  I catch myself reminiscing all the time lately, especially with the holidays here.  My siblings and I were blessed with the best gifts and the best family, but there was always some sort of bittersweet bliss that went along with it- because God forbid... someone got something better than I did.
               Slowly but surely as I grow, my eyes open more- and I'm more aware of the community, the state and even the world.  But recently as I started my internship as a therapist (with adolescents), it was as if the door I had been waiting for flew open and smacked me right in the face, which left my eyes permanently, When I started to see firsthand how families live without heat, electricity, or love and compassion, I felt like the most selfish person in the world.  The day I stepped into that facility, was the day that I decided I needed to give back to the community. 
              Why give back you say?  Well, when you start to give back to the community and when a parent, kid or whoever thanks you, you will know what I am talking about. Most of the time you are gaining way more than you give when you're a volunteer; a chance to share your passion, meet people, and experience one of the most unique feeling a person can ever feel. I can not explain WHY someone should go out and give back in simple sentences.  This is not because it is so hard to extract the benefit from it, but rather because it is so hard to cover everything you could possibly gain.  We are all reliant on each other in one way or another in a community, state,  By benefiting someone else, you are improving the condition in your own life.  This my friends... is the fruit of volunteering. 

"Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." 
                            -Elizabeth Andrew

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Art as Healing: Adolescents.

         In the stages of Adolescence, there are many changes throughout the human body.  Adolescence is a transitional period of the body from youth and puberty to maturity.  Not only does the body change physically, but mentally as well.  It is common during adolescent stages for teens to experience dramatic change in behavior towards peers, adults, and especially their parents.  Reason for this is, they are starting to distance and separate themselves from their parents and become more independent.  Around this time, kids are more aware of their own surroundings and other kids their age, and desperately trying to fit in.  
Understanding teenagers is a challenge at best, and a teen who is struggling with emotional crisis, psychological stress, or just ill in general is beyond challenging.  Doctors usually treat the physical problems and aspects, but are often struggled with trying to find a therapeutic treatment for this age category.  Adolescents, unlike adults, more often than not need more original and fresh ways to express themselves than through “talk therapy”.  Thus, being one of the greatest struggles for a teen is their resistance to authority and diminishing trust in the adult world.  Though tough, these stages in adolescent development are completely normal, but they do not occur simultaneously with the long-established forms of verbal therapy.  As teenagers mature and develop, they gain the ability to comprehend abstract concepts and to form judgments.  There is a desire to find themselves and who they are as an individual. 
Art as an expressive language helps guide adolescents into self discovery and communicate difficult feelings and thoughts through different art mediums.  It can also be used in assisting in problem solving, building social skills, behavioral management and increasing self-esteem.  Art, as a language can provide a lead into a relationship with teens by digging into their creativity and expanding a form of communication that is nonthreatening and where the adolescent has control over the situation.  When teens are welcomed to an art therapy room, there are materials available to what they would prefer to use which enables them to draw anything they choose, and even make a statement in images that represents who they are or what they are going through in their treatment process.   Every treatment has a plan and art therapy can help adolescents map their therapeutic journey from beginning to end, helping them see how they have come along the way.  
Many therapists and counselors work in groups where there is no particular starting or ending point and they always welcome new members.  Teenagers work well in groups, simply being that they are used to being in groups.  They are introduced to groups in school, social groups such as friends, and even sports.  Thus, group therapy is a familiar setting and most teens find it a safe and familiar atmosphere.  Majority of teens are being transferred to therapy because of difficulty with interpersonal relationships between peers, parents, and teachers (authority figures in general). It is theorized that adolescents learn by each other and watching each other interact, which is another benefit of group therapy and help with these struggles with interpersonal skills.  The group setting helps with practicing all of these skills and at the same time, providing a safe space for the teen.  
The art that adolescents construct can help the therapist obtain some insight on the teens life and concerns, especially situations where they (teens) feel that it is too risky or embarrassing to reveal verbally.  Although working with teens is a difficult task and requires a little extra work, they are conducting an accomplishment to the therapist as well, in a more personal way.