Welcome to AWBA

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our Newest Blog - Ebbs and Flows

We are so excited to share with you AWBA's newest blog, "Ebbs and Flows."  Blog author Michelle Rogers writes.

I’ve had years of experience as a caregiver in both my professional and private life. I consider myself blessed and challenged by the lessons I have learned while being with others in that way. In recent years though I have found myself on the other side of good health. Diagnosed in 2008 with the first of what would be several chronic illnesses, I have found myself facing many new challenges. And what I have come to believe is that the journey of life, whether as caregiver or care-receiver, involves a back and forth movement of body, mind and spirit. Sometimes I fight it and sometimes I can just go with it…either way there are things I learn and things yet to be learned. As a grateful member of the AWBA community, it is my hope to share some of my thoughts and feelings and to hear also from you, as our lives continues to ebb and flow…

Stop by to visit at Ebbs and Flows to read Michelle's first post, "Dragonflies and Fairies."  You can receive automatic notification of new posts by registering your email address on the blog's home page.  If you would like to comment to any post, simply click the comment link at the bottom of the post to which you wish to reply.

Michelle, thank you for sharing your story with the AWBA readers and helping us widen and deepen this community of compassionate and supportive listeners.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

To Communicate Without Words

When words seem ineffective, creativity makes visible the inexpressible.

(copyright 2012, Judy Smoot)

Those who have been following this blog for a while may recall that I am a student of the expressive arts and will finish my training in 2015.   I deeply believe that when the timing is right in a person's journey, creative expression has the power to move us beyond the walls we build around ourselves into an expansive place where the unspeakable can be heard in some manner - first by ourselves and then, as we desire, by others.  We trust our stories into the safe hands of a few chosen kindred spirits where we are listened to and honored without judgement.   Whether through movement, voicing, visual art, clay, sand play, collage, music-making, and other forms of expression our deepest and most authentic voices are heard.   

As AWBA continues to explore all of the ways of providing spiritual care to those we serve, expressive arts is one avenue for our programming.  If you do not receive our monthly newsletter (to receive this email visit our website), I want to share with you that AWBA is developing a pilot program directed toward those impacted by Parkinson's.  Below is information about this new program.  Currently, we are seeking funding for supplies so that we can make this series of workshops available to participants at no cost to them.  We are off to a great start and continue to seek your support.  I invite you to visit the links shared below to learn more about this simple and meaning-filled form of expression.

Introduction to Touch Drawing
(A Pilot Program For Those 
Impacted With Parkinson's)

(copyright 2014, Judy Smoot)

Using non-toxic, water-soluble oil paints, a brayer, tissue paper, and fingertips, participants will be invited to explore this visual form of expression.  No art experience is necessary in this casual, nonjudgmental creative space.  Touch Drawing has been very successful in the Sarasota, Florida community and you can read one person's experience here.  The facilitator for this AWBA event has received in-person training from the creator of Touch Drawing, Deborah Koff-Chapin.

It is our desire to offer this four or five-week pilot program to participants at no cost.  This is where you come in.  We seek your support for purchase of art materials.  Every dollar donated goes directly to this program.  It is our hope to expand this offering in the future to include other diagnosis so that we can tailor each program to those particular needs.

Your contribution of: 

$40 - purchases all supplies for one participant for the series

- or - 

$5 - purchases one paint board
$8 - purchases one paint brayer
$10 - purchases tissue paper for one person for the series
$17 - purchases paint for one person for the series

Paint brayers and boards are reusable for future Touch Drawing workshops. To make a donation in any amount, click here to be directed to our website.  

We anticipate offering this pilot program in late summer if not before.  We are also seeking a site for this event if you have access to a space with few or no steps or an elevator and, preferably, an uncarpeted floor with easy access to a sink.  Email us at director@myawba.org if you might know of a location for this series.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Instructions for Living a Life

Instructions for Living a Life

pay attention
be astonished
tell about it

~ Mary Oliver

I have been sitting with this quote for a few weeks now as I sketch and doodle to come up with a piece of art on which to place these words for safe keeping.   I think they need to stay with me for a while.

As many of you can appreciate, I am compelled to be outdoors in recent days.  It was nearly impossible to take my early morning walks when ice and snow covered every pathway (and I did try a few times), and temperatures were dangerously cold.  There were not enough layers to make it possible.  Now that the thermometer is above freezing, that is enough for me.   I ventured out in the wind and the rain this morning to visit my favorite garden to see how the new life is coming along.  I have seen crocuses showing their brightest party faces these past couple of weeks.  However, today, they were all curled in on themselves for safety.  But, oh my, the Lenten Roses were abundant and they did not care about the wind and the rain.  They demanded to be noticed.  Pink and white blooms everywhere.

I continued onto the boardwalk and came to a stop with this image.

I tried to keep walking but I couldn't.  Something drew me to the reflection of the bare trees.  Dripping wet with no one else walking the area but me; and this just stopped me in my tracks.  I don't know why.  Maybe someone else does??  It will come to me.

So, I lived Mary Oliver's words today. I paid attention in the midst of seemingly unpleasant environmental circumstances, I was astonished and now I am telling about it.  Was has astonished you this week?  Have you told someone?  It may seem silly like the above very wet walkway but there is no defending of "astonishment".  It simply is what it is.

I send blessings of spring to each of you.  May you look beneath the surface to new life straining to be found.  May it astonish you.  May you tell about it.   Share it here if you like :)