Gems for the Journey

Creativity and Healing

This past weekend I led a retreat based on the image of broken branches and fallen leaves. We talked about how leaves need to fall for the continued health and life of the tree. It is like a cleansing process--shedding things that could hinder it's life in the winter months.

The metaphor of broken branches feels much stronger and more painful. Branches don't break as often as leaves fall, and when the do it is often the result of strong wind in a storm. We also noted that a tree doesn't "heal" in the spot where the branch broke. It seals over the wound to prevent infection, but a type of scab remains.

We talked about ways that we can express our sorrow over our broken branches in our lives. Creativity comes through time and again as a powerful way to find healing. I read a couple of my poems as an example of how I have creatively worked at healing.

In the open time that followed, participants used their own creative talents to express loss and hope for healing. One created a water color of a tree with a broken branch. Another made a collage of magazine photos the depicted her loss. Another took a series of photos that expressed the emotion of her loss.

I happen to believe that every person has a creative spark somewhere. You might be surprised how a simple collage of magazine photos can help you express and connect with your own emotions and be another link toward healing.

I am going to keep this newsletter shorter this time. There has been a lot of additions to the site in the past month, so take a look at what is new. And if you have any suggestions or feedback, I would love to hear from you.
New to the Site

I am beginning to add information about my book that has a March 2 publishing date. Take a look at Seasons of Solace.

I am also starting a section on books about grief. It is still a work in progress, but you can check it out. If you have a book that has been particularly helpful to you, feel free to add it in the comment form on the Books on Grief page. Click here to see books on grief.

Finally, I have begun a section on offering sympathy. I find that I am often asked about ways to offer sympathy, since I have been on the receiving end. But I feel that I am learning along with others what is appropriate and helpful. And of course each person and journey is different. Click here to see the offering sympathy section.

Retreat Offered

If you are local to Pennsylvania, you may be interested in a series of retreats that a friend and I are offering. This retreat provides space for participants to explore their spiritual journey through scrapbooking, photography, and other visual arts.

No art experience is necessary, just a desire to enrich your prayer life and connect with God in new ways around your life story.

Both Mary and I found the artistic expression of life journey to be healing as we worked through grief following the death of family members. Mary enjoys working with paper collage and fabric. I enjoy writing, scrapbooking, and photography. You can find out more info on the site by clicking here.

Feel free to contact me anytime, if you think of anything that would be a helpful addition to the site. Also feel free to pass this newsletter on to anyone you might know who would find it helpful.

May you find peace today for your journey,