Lisa Hahnlen, M.S.
*Expressive Arts Facilitator
*200 hr CYT Yoga Instructor
ABOUT FEEL YOUR ART STUDIO
Hey, there! Here's a history lesson on how Feel Your Art Studio came into being.
My formative years were spent right on the Pacific Ocean in a small, coastal town in the state of Washington. For most of my childhood, there wasn’t a tv in my home. My three siblings and I came up with ways to entertain ourselves. You know, old-fashioned things like playing outside (ok, ok, my mom had to MAKE me go outside), reading, or spreading out markers and crayons on the kitchen counter to fill up one of our many coloring books. Sometimes we’d free style draw and my mom’s friend, Lorna, gave local kids some art lessons. I observed my siblings easily achieve realistic outcomes. This, too, was my goal - to have a final, perfect product that looked like I thought it should. Because it wasn't automatic for me, judgmental voices would speak loud and clear, labeling me an art failure. In high school I took a few art classes, but my negative inner voices continued to have free reign (since I thought they were telling the truth). They robbed me of relaxation, enjoyment & free expression. At times I remember being *extremely* frustrated with myself when I couldn’t produce a desired outcome. Despite my results being far from what I thought they "should" be, a part of me still wanted to create.
Fast forward going through college, getting married and moving to Pennsylvania. The next chapter in my life involved challenges in starting a family and coming face to face with some of my own issues. When these became too painful, I realized I needed some support and began to do my personal work with a therapist. Learning about family patterns, codependency, self-responsibility and acceptance was quite an adventure. I slowly (VERY slowly!) began to integrate acts of self-care into my life: yoga, massage, meditation & more time with friends. Through all of these modalities, a practice of self-compassion began. After many years, I now no longer view self-care as "selfish." Instead there is a clear link between how I care for myself and how I can show up for others. Caring for myself and meeting my needs enables me to meet others' needs in a healthier and more genuinely caring way.
Now, where does art fit back into this? Well, I had continued at different times to try to "develop" my artistic skills. And a funny thing I noticed was the further I moved into a place of self-compassion, the quieter my judging mind got. My art experiences became much more pleasant, at least from an internal perspective. I found more open formats such as Zentangles and watercolor painting. However, I still wanted my work to look a certain way. At the same time, I was reading about people living an intuitive life, following things that gave them a spark of joy (yes, like Marie Kondo of "Tidying Up"). Hmmm. How does one do this, I wondered? As synchronicity would have it, I began reading blogs from Creative Juices Arts with creativity guru, Chris Zydel. I was touched as I read her authentic and wise posts. She talked about never apologizing for being fully yourself. She explained how the practice of expressive arts could change your life. All of this sounded pretty amazing to me. And then I saw it on her website - a Teacher Training for the Expressive Arts!
The wheels started turning:
*What would it really be like to create without judgment?
*Is it even possible?
*What is my “intuitive side?”
*Can I have even more freedom from my judging mind?
This shifted to:
*What an amazing way to immerse myself in a new practice!
*Hey, I wonder if my sister would like to do this with me?
It turns out my sister was willing to join me (Thanks, Sandy!) so we traveled from two different states to just north of San Francisco for our retreat trainings. Being near the Pacific Ocean was returning home for me. My body and spirit felt a deep sense of calm, as I joined 11 other adventurers to wade (or dive, as the case may be) into this process. Although I had envisioned being stretched to become more intuitive and learn the gift of "doing art" in a non-judgmental way, it brought me these things and so much more! And I didn't even have to be an artist to get these gifts - I just got to show up as myself and be willing to do whatever came next.
I am blown away at the power of this process to create, heal and grow far beyond the practice of art.
Feel Your Art Studio was created to share this process with others.