If you could paint a canvas full of all you hoped for in life, what possibilities would you see?

To help you get to know me and the excitement and passion I feel for all who come to CREATE for healing, I’ll share a little story with you about the seed of transformation planted early on for CREATE.

It all started over 6 years ago…

At 46, I unexpectedly became widowed with two teenagers. Eleven days after my husband of 24 years died, my son was accepted to a college 700 miles away from home and four days later, my daughter was to have celebrated turning 13.  Six months later, they both lost two grandparents.  Looking back at that time as a single, working, newly widowed mom, I felt like I was a Whirling Dervish all the while balancing Chinese porcelain plates spinning on sticks with each too precious to fall.  Even though I wrote my graduate thesis on loss and death and had worked with many young and old alike coping with loss, nothing could have prepared me for navigating such compounded losses for myself or for my children. 

As a seasoned and trained counselor, art therapist and artist, I did know one antidote that would help--making art. The simplest and smallest elementary gestures of self-expression became a beacon of light leading me out of the darkness of death. At first it was making simple doodles and then drawing light sketches in a journal. It did not matter if I could draw or make something that looked good—what started healing was the simple act of creating.  

Creating was life-giving and gave me hope.

Eventually every week I painted with other artists.  Being with others and creating at a time of loss breathed new life into me. I felt inspiration again.  Whenever I painted, the act of creating seemed to make death dissipate and diminish depression’s voracious appetite.  Death could not exist while creativity and self-expression was present.  Every day for three months at the studio, I worked on painting a portrait of my daughter so that when she came home from school, she could see new color on the canvas—a stroke of life and light kissing her face, tickling her toes, or brushing her shoulders that would somehow be an offering of hope and love to her.  Creating had a surprising and far-reaching effect not only making me feel more vital, yet also fostered hope and vitality for both of us.

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Creating this painting made me begin to imagine how life may be like a canvas. Looking towards the future, I wondered what if I made a visual collage journal of all I could hope life could possibly bring. Believing that anything could be possible if I could let faith trump fear, I began filling pages of pictures of what I hoped for...

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I hoped to live in a cottage home with a sunny front porch adorned with window boxes and surrounded by serene gardens with an attached art studio in a safe and friendly walking town with a farmers market and town festivals. 

I hoped for my children’s hearts to heal and for them to move forward getting great educations to reach their potentials, personal goals and dreams. 

I hoped for my faith to grow even at the bleakest time of my life.  

I hoped to make new girlfriends and host warm gatherings inviting them to widen their circle of friendships. 

I hoped to live by water and woods so that I could kayak and take long hikes with other kindred souls.   

I hoped for a bike with an attached wicker basket brimming over with flowers and filled with French bread from the local farmer's market.

I hoped to be able to travel easily by train and see places afar. 

I hoped to discover ways to study abroad so that I can learn about other cultures and continue educational pursuits. 

I hoped to open a private practice as a safe place for women to relax, kick off their shoes and feel empowered, celebrating and honoring their innate creativity all the while discovering new possibilities and making their new beginnings become a reality. Whether women made art or talked—the conversation and mission is the same:  Sitting with women as their hearts healed and reimagining and creating vibrant lives they were passionate about living.

And with grace and some (…okay, a lot of….) elbow grease and feeling scared to death at times (…many times…) it all came true.  I gave away one-third of all I owned, closed my old business, moved across the country with my teenage daughter, Golden Retriever, and two Beta fish in tow, moved into a cottage home in a walking town after a two-year search, got my kids off to college, made lots of new friends, and on my 49th birthday opened CREATE in Greater Philadelphia, Inc (Counseling Resources & Expressive Art Therapy for Empowerment)..

What do you hope for?

All you hope for is possible.  

Contact me today at 610.329.1684 or email me at info@createarrtherapy.com for a free 15-minute consultation and let’s talk about how therapy may help you begin creating a life you love and living it passionately.