Breathing Lessons

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Not so long ago, I needed to learn how to breathe.  What?!?  What self-respecting person doesn’t know how to breathe?  Well, I have learned that there is breath and there is breathing.  Think of all the ways in which we can breathe – rapid, panting, sighing, gasping – and slow, conscious inhalations and exhalations.  I needed to learn to do the latter.  I needed to learn how to just breathe.  To listen to my heart, my breath and my life force.

As an artist, my soul needed to create.  Life had dealt some harsh blows – financial struggles, medical concerns and the resulting mental burdens were like a yoke around my shoulders, thorn by thorn pressing into my heart and psyche.  Art was my safe place. 

Serendipity knows when we need her the most.  Looking for a creative release that would allow me to focus only on breathing while I created, I discovered art journaling and in particular, tangling.   Tangling is a form of creative meditation that focuses on making intricate patterns one line at a time.  For more information on the tangling process and to see beautiful examples, follow this link:  http://tanglepatterns.com/zentangles

With each line, my love flows.  The process of not knowing what I will end up fosters trust and confidence in myself.  Deciding which color or whether to use color at all reminds me to breathe in beauty.  There are no mistakes, I cannot do this wrong.  It is all learning. The gentle beating of my life force reminds me to let go of my need to be perfect with each exhalation and to absorb my magnificence with each inhalation.  With each breath, I heal.  Each line, color, form, symmetry or asymmetry is a part of the journey within and the journey is beautiful.

Breathing is more than merely the rise and fall of our chest; it is the tour de force that is our authentic selves coming to bear.  Breathing lessons are important.  What will your breath teach you?

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp, The Creative Link .  All rights reserved.   

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Untangling The Soul Through Art

Pain and confusion are often looked upon as bad things; things to avoided at all costs.  Yet the creative process responds to pain and confusion by drawing us in (figuratively and literally) and asking us to play with it.  Mold pain and confusion into clay, direct it in the form of a line, paint it and release it with letters, symbols and voice.

Our art provides a safe place to examine our hopes, fears, dreams, joys, disappointments and self-image.  Line, color, form, placement, symmetry and asymmetry provide a voice that transcends our current circumstances to teach us about ourselves.  Those lessons are the most valuable.  What has your art taught you?  Leave a comment below and tell us how your life has been changed by creative expression.

Create love!

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” Zuntangled Energy” © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

The hearts and butterfly are the dreams of the heart taking flight, the jester hat is for mirth and joy, the mask around the eyes represents the way in which we shield ourselves, sometimes even from ourselves, the sun with the stitch marks is a labyrinth representing the uneven paths on which we sometimes find ourselves, the blue on the left side is the ocean, the blue on the right is the night sky, the goddess in the middle is mother earth protecting us and the red flowers at the bottom are poppies.

 

International Women’s Day 2013

Today is International Women’s Day.  What do you, as a woman, need in this world?  What will you, as a woman, give the world?  Will you offer acceptance of another woman rather than petty jealousy?  Will you make a difference to a woman who is abused, who is overwhelmed, who has a dream but needs a little help in realizing it?  Most of all, will you love yourself today?  YOU ARE ENOUGH  

In case you need a clear sign that you are enough, here it is:  A love letter from me to you.Image

 

Tips for Lovingly Communicating with a Depressed Person

© Paulissa Kipp, 2013

Tips for Loving Communication with a Mentally Ill Person

  • Don’t tell your loved one that how he or she feels is “selfish”.  You wouldn’t tell someone that he or she doesn’t deserve to feel ______ amount of happiness.  It’s the same concept, really.
  • If your loved one asks you to stop a behavior because it is causing anxiety, is a trigger, etc, STOP immediately.  Your failure to do so speaks volumes about your love for the sufferer.  Not immediately stopping the behavior ramps up the anxieties even more and when your partner believes you cannot be trusted, all bets are off.  The mind wanders to self-doubt, lack of self-worth, wondering why am I not important enough to respect or protect, suicidal thoughts, thought of self-harm and more.
  • Do not mock your partner when he or she asks for you to stop talking and listen, when told that your noise (radio, voice, etc) is overwhelming.  Do not be facetious.  Do not say things such as “Do I need to send up a flare every time I enter a room because you startle so easily?”  That is not helpful and merely drives a bigger wedge between you and your partner.
  • Do not feign ignorance and say “I didn’t know ______ was a trigger for you” if your partner has clearly communicated that it is.  Your partner isn’t buying it.  Forgetting is understandable from time to time, but your partner will pay attention to pattern and frequency.  Forgetting and do a behavior once in a month or less frequently – you are more likely to be forgiven or believed.  Do it more frequently and it seems like a choice and recklessness with your partner’s feelings and wishes.
  • Beginning a statement with “Why?” can be a trigger for your loved one.  We want people to treat us with kindness, even if they don’t understand our actions. Having to explain to people solves nothing and has the effect of making your loved one feel judged, thereby adding to stigma and anxiety.
  • Beginning a statement with “just” as if it the desired behavior is simple to achieve and your loved one isn’t making an effort to change or cope.
  • “Just think positive.”
    “Just get over it.”
    “Just think about something else.”
    “There are people who are worse off than you.”
    “Stop complaining.”
    “Come on. It cannot be this bad.”
    “Cheer up.”
    “You are making it up.”
    “You don’t have a reason to feel that way, so stop it.”
    “Stop being so selfish.”
  • Comparing one person’s circumstances to your loved ones’.  If your loved one needs inspiration for succeeding with a mental illness, he or she will find it on his or her own.  Your attempts, while well-intentioned, may create further overwhelm.
  • If offering self-help books, frame your offer in terms of “You may find this information helpful.”  If your loved one refuses, graciously allow that to be the end of the conversation.

MORE LOVING WAYS TO COMMUNICATE:

  • Ask what you can do to help.  At times your loved one may need silence, sleep, a massage, music, a hug, a mug of tea, etc.  Do what you can to facilitate that.
  • Offer affection.
  • Let your loved one know that you are concerned FOR him or her, not scared OF him or her.
  • Communicate to your loved one that his or her challenges do not affect your love for that person.  Many sufferers worry that their challenges will lead to abandonment by friends and family.

©Paulissa Kipp, 2013.  Please share freely with a link to this blog and proper acknowledgement of me as the author.

As a sufferer or one living with a sufferer, is there anything you would add to this list?  Leave a comment below and let me know.