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Is Stress Stressing You Out? 6 Steps to Deal with Stress

In today’s fast paced, multitasking world we find ourselves more stressed than ever before. When someone is in stress it has direct affects from hormones that govern many tasks like digestion, circulation and the brain function. And there are secondary affects of stress that can lead to disease and emotional distress.

Here are 6 steps you can take to help you manage through stress related issues.

  1. Consciousness: We can accommodate to stress and numb out from the reaction and body response to it. Become aware and recognize that you are feeling stress. This is done with no judgment as stress is a response to a situation in our environment that we are hard wired to attend to. However, many of us are out of tune to our bodies and need to practice some form of conscious insight to our feelings and body signals (increased pulse and breathing rate…).
  2. Breathe: You want to break the philological response to stress and performing conscious breathing is a great way to do this. Conscious breath work is a form of meditation that will add increased oxygen to your body and stop the adrenaline from pumping in acute stressful situations. Breath work also opens your second and third chakras that can become stagnant in more chronic stressful situations.
  3. Affirm:  Affirmations during or after breath work is a good energetic message to ourselves and to the universe that we are intending a positive shift out of the stress. Find a few affirmations that apply to your situation, “I am safe, I am able to handle whatever comes my way with grace….” Use your affirmations by letting them evolve as you move through the stress process.
  4. A-line: Balance your energy through varied practices like yoga, Reike, SoulCollage®, or Ti Chi to open your energy centers. Responding to stress and moving though it even in the most positive way can leave residual heavy energy stuck in your chakra centers. The sooner you can move this energy on out the more centered and balanced you will feel.
  5. Analyze: Is this something in my control or not? If it is in your control and you have gone through the above steps it becomes easier to make a plan that a-lines with your highest good. Often times when something is not in our control it can also lead to anxiety as we feel powerless against it. This is where spiritual practice (what ever that may be) and trust in the universe for your highest good comes into play.
  6. Maintain: Revisit steps 1-5 frequently. They are fluid and may require repetition several times per stressful event. Feel empowered and not a victim; you are in control with how you choose to respond to stress once you are conscious of it. Reliving the event by repeatedly telling your story can keep your energy in the stress mode and your energy gets stuck in that pattern believing the reinforcement of the story is what is the truth.

Teresa Van Lanen is a life coach and Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of experience. She works with individuals and groups to release blocks and increase their level of joy and happiness. Visit Teresa on facebook or her website www.makingartoflife.com.

What are Chakras?


At the cellular level, every living thing is made from energy and all energy contains a unique vibration. One such vibration is called the chakra. Chakras are centers of swirling energy that funnel into different areas in our bodies. The chakra centers connect us to a higher level of vibration; to balanced emotional and physical well-being. Here are the major chakra centers and a brief description of what it looks like and its purpose:

The seven major chakras are:

  • Root chakra: Red in color. This chakra is the grounding force that allows us to connect to the earth’s energies and empower our beings.
  • Sacral chakra: Orange in color. This chakra often offers us the opportunity to lessen our “control issues” and find a balance in our lives; achieving emotional balance.
  • Solar plexus chakra: Yellow in color. This is the area that defines our self-esteem.
  • Heart chakra: Pink or green in color. This love center of our human energy system is often the focus in bringing about a healing.
  • Throat chakra: Blue in color. The healthfulness of the fifth chakra is in relation to how honestly one expresses himself/herself.
  • Brow (third-eye) chakra: Indigo in color. It is our avenue to wisdom – learning from our experiences and putting them in perspective; intuition.
  • Crown chakra: Violet or white in color. We use the seventh chakra as a tool to communicate with our spiritual nature.

When there is an imbalance in the chakra centers, we can feel disconnected with our selves. We may feel restless, anxious or confused, or become physically ill. There are many practices that can be used to rebalance your chakra energy centers. Yoga, reiki, meditation and breath work are some of the practices that traditionally address chakra balance. Another tool is to use SoulCollage®. Through meditative focus, you can find an intuitive pairing of your chakra center with an animal guide.

Animal guides in SoulCollage® can be used to assist in balancing our vibrational energy centers and to ask for specific assistance from these guides and energies. Some animal guides will continue to show up in various ways until they are acknowledged. This happens when we have images or actual animals that reoccur in our environment over a period of time. For example, I remember having several sightings of bald eagles: dreams of eagles, mailings with eagles on them and seeing three bald eagles on a road trip. These eagles needed acknowledgement and are now representing my solar plexus chakra in my SoulCollage® cards.
Use SoulCollage® cards as a part of your self-balancing and your spiritual meditation. The use of the animal guides that represent your chakras is a perfect way of doing this. I pull out my animal guide cards when I need some balancing and intuitively ask which chakra requires balance and why. Use this practice along with yoga or meditative practice to help with your balanced energy.

Animal Guides

Animal Guides
As we are here in our physical bodies, we are guided by many different entities. The guides are always around us but may not be in our awareness as guides or in our awareness at all. Once we actively call them to our attention, however, they are there. Once such guide is an animal guide who can show themselves to us in subtle ways such as:

  • During a dream or meditative state images of animals can come to you.
  • In waking states, think when you go to the zoo is there a certain animal you can’t wait to see or an animal that holds your interest.
  • Or you see the same kind of animal popping up in different ways, on TV, in magazines, or in real life.
  • If so, these maybe animals that you are connected to as animal guides.
  • Pets often times are not animal guides but part of your family and have a different energy of connection with us.

I recall how reoccurring presence of Bald Eagles during work commutes would show themselves. It took a few sightings to see that these were animal guides that are sent to me as form of protection. In fact on one such commute I had several guides show themselves in succession, at the time I did not recognize it as such, but they had a strong message for me. Driving in Northern Wisconsin last winter I first saw a deer run across the highway in front of me (not so strange in Wisconsin), then about a mile or two down the road a wolf ran across the road (that took me by surprise). I kept driving and pretty soon I saw a Bald Eagle (OK your getting my attention) and then shortly after that there were a pair of Vultures (Wow). I sat a bit straighter in the car and slowed down, obviously something was going on. I came over a small rise in the road and there was a car that was swerving out of control and crossing into my lane. With the repeated warnings (since I am a dim human I obviously needed more than one) that my animal guides were giving me, I was able to avoid the accident and remained safe in my travels. Since then I am keen to observe for those subtle signs.

I share this story with you as an example of how guides can work. It’s not a Dr. Doolittle thing in a literal sense but it is in a way that animals and human do converse, weather we are consciously doing it or not. Since that encounter last year I have been much more in-sync with my guides. I use them when in meditation and ask that whatever guide will be best to assist me in a task or for the day’s events, to make their presence known. Other times I may want council from a specific guide. So if I want some assistance with keeping my heart space open, I may call in the animal guide that represents this energy and then I listen to the wisdom then can share.

Some Shaman traditions say that we have 365 animal guides, one for every day of the year and that each animal has certain traits or characteristics to them. Like a Butterfly representing transformation and an Owl, wisdom. But each individual may resonate to an animal differently and what represents one area of support to you may represent other areas of support for another. Use of SoulCollage® to assist you in discovering your animal guides and the connection and working with your animal guides.

Teresa Van Lanen is a life coach and Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of experience. She works with individuals and groups to release blocks and increase their level of joy and happiness. Visit Teresa on facebook or her website www.makingartoflife.com . Teresa will be hosting SoulCollage® workshops and drop in courses through out the year. Look for the two day SoulConnection workshop in May by viewing www.makingartoflife.com for details.

Decorating Matters

Decorating Matters
I often wonder why I am drawn to beautify my spaces. Even watching others getting their spaces remodeled is engrossing for me. This is such a part of my life that my sons cringe when they see a paint roller in my hands. Their first priority now that they have their own space is to hang their Packers memorabilia, so I know they have the draw, too.

I ponder the question, why am I so drawn to decorating? There has to be more to it than what is apparent on the surface. I sense it is with the strong connection between creativity and spirituality. Listening to a spiritual leader say that there is no difference between prayer and art hits home for me. Also, reading what designer Nate Berkus says, “The things we touch and see are all part of our lives. It is not materialistic but an honoring of who we are.”Reading and hearing these words help to further define my draw to beautifying my spaces.

Color matters, with its energetic resonance. But now considering the things we put in our spaces makes sense as well. To have these things reflects our values, dreams, memories and personality; honoring who we are. When I delve into my attraction to DIY shows, it makes more sense now, too.

These makeover shows actually represent transformation. To witness dramatic transformation in 30 minutes or less is pretty amazing. It fuels my soul. It helps me see that transformation is possible, not only for myself but also for others. Remember earlier I said there is no difference between prayer and art? Well in a way, the transformation on makeover shows is a form of witnessing spiritual transformation. By participants being in the NOW of what is happening and being open to positive change, wonderful things can happen. In our own spaces, through the use of various colors, textures and things, we are creating an energy that represents and honors who we are and where we have been.

So the next time I ask myself if I am a design addict, I will reply no, I am addicted to spiritual transformation.

Teresa Van Lanen is a life coach and Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of experience. She works with individuals and groups to release blocks and increase their level of joy and happiness. Visit Teresa on facebook or her website www.makingartoflife.com . Teresa will be hosting SoulCollage® workshops and drop in courses through out the year.  Look for the two day SoulConnection workshop in May  by viewing www.makingartoflife.com  for details.

Are You Hiding?

If you are struggling with having your intentions coming to fruition ask yourself, am I hiding?

We all have things from our past that we might not be proud of and some of us maybe wishing to keep such things to ourselves. In this example of hiding the individual is aware and attempts to keep others from becoming learning of these issues. At other times issues or memories can be so deeply hidden that the individual may not hold conscious awareness of it.

Either way that one hides from parts of themselves there can be all kinds of ramifications.  These can be seen by disease or medical conditions such as headaches, stomach or digestive issues and liver problems are common side effects from hiding issues from yourself and others.

Sometimes even more devastating are the emotional disconnections or issues as a result of hiding. These can include anxiety and depression as well as mood swings and anger. Ultimately having unresolved or hidden issues will affect your relationship with yourself and with others and will affect your manifestations and life intentions.

There are several ways of addressing hidden issues; ignoring them is one way, using counselors is another and the use of energy work such as Reiki is yet another. My new favorite is the use of SoulCollage®. The things about us hidden in the shadows can come to us very clearly in a gentle awareness through this process. Then further detail can emerge as we are ready.

In SoulCollage® participants use intuitive thought to select images that speak to them in some way. In doing this, participants stay out of their thinking mind and into emotion and spirit. When images strike a cord there is a reason. Sometimes the images address one or more hidden parts of personality. Just by exposing these and bringing them into the light will help release that energy holding you back and assist you in manifesting what you desire.

Teresa Van Lanen is a life coach and Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of experience. She works with individuals and groups to release blocks and increase their level of joy and happiness. Visit Teresa on facebook or her website www.makingartoflife.com . Teresa will be hosting SoulCollage® workshops and drop in courses through out the year.  Look for the two day SoulConnection workshop in May  by viewing www.makingartoflife.com  for details.

Find an Inner Compass with SoulCollage®

Today, we know from the news that, in addition to the usual changes that life always brings, many people are facing new transitions in jobs, finances, and homes. So many now have family or community members with these challenges.

What if, in the middle of a transition or at a crossroads there was a way to get some really helpful guidance with a decision one had to make? SoulCollage®, an intuitive collage process is one way some people find their answers and at the same time are able to rest, play, and have fun. SoulCollage® has been doing this for twelve years with thousands of people and has trained Facilitators who are practicing in over 42 states and 18 countries.

What kinds of questions do people ask about their challenges or reshaping their lives? Here are some examples:

“How should I approach the particular challenge I have?”
“If I decide to take this particular road ahead, what might help me and what might get in the way?”
“What might help me take care of myself and stay healthy with all this stress?”

These are just three of the infinite questions one might ask oneself in doing a “reading” with one’s very own SoulCollage® deck. Following simple directions, the individual SoulCollage® cards will “speak” back to the one who made them and offer access to the card maker’s own inner wisdom.

How does one make such a deck? Looking in on a SoulCollage® workshop, one would see people who had decided to take a little time just for themselves. They are seated around a table, scissors and glue in front of them. They are having fun leafing through old magazines, old photos, and catalogues. Some of them already have a stack of pages in front of them that they have torn out. As they looked through the magazines, some image jumped out at them them. Although they didn’t understand why exactly, they felt an emotional connection with that image and tore out that page. They cut carefully around the image and move it around on a background they have chosen until it feels right. Then they glue it down on a mat board card. The SoulCollage® card practically makes itself.

It is hard to believe it is that simple. Yet the answers to questions the card maker poses can be surprisingly deep when that chosen image finds its voice. The best part is that this wisdom comes from inside the card maker. No fortune telling or fortune tellers involved!

 

 

Seena B. Frost, founder of SoulCollage®, has a great book called; SoulCollage® Evolving: an Intuitive Collage Process for Self-Discovery and Community (Hanford Mead Publishers). The basic instructions for doing SoulCollage® are in it. The book also describes the many ways that all kinds of people in many community, religious, and professional contexts are using SoulCollage®. An accessible, inexpensive, and simple process, SoulCollage® inspires creativity and helps develop real community.

Teresa Van Lanen is a local SoulCollage® facilitator who will be hosting an introduction to SoulCollage® class on Saturday Febuary 9 from 10 am to 2 pm. Participants will receive images, cards, written materials, instructional guidance and more during this class. Go to Teresa’s website: makingartoflife.com for more information and to reserve your spot for this potentially life changing and fun class.

Teresa Van Lanen is a Life Coach who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and to move into more joyful and productive life. For products and services and to register for an introduction to SoulCollage® workshop Febuary 9th, visit Teresa at www.makingartoflife.com. Sign up for a free quiz to gauge how much creative energy you have and other tips. Follow Teresa on Twitter and Facebook as well.

How to connect with your children using creativity (part 2)

Our lives and those of our children are getting busier all the time. We multitask between taking our kids to basketball, to balancing the checkbook and planning next week’s business project. And the kids are Facebooking while doing a paper and prepping for the big game. No wonder we pass each other without much true discussion; gradually we being to loose our connection with each other.

Last month I addressed the benefits of using creativity to build a strong connection with your child. To recap the benefits I discussed here they are:

  • Having neutral ground
  • Building new experiences
  • Leading to casual conversation
  • Showing interest in your child
  • Having a product as a keepsake from your experience

Now that you see the benefits if using creativity, here are some creative activities you can do with your child:

  • Get out of the house and go somewhere, sounds simple but it has a big impact.
    • This will establish a neutral territory neither of you have history with, so will build new memories.
    • Establish some rules; like no phones allowed. You can mutually agree on a break to check messages and such if necessary but the more you can be in the moment with each other the better connection you will make.
  • Find a creative activity centered around an interest your child has; make them the star.
    • Making a collage or mobile from photos of their events is a great way of really putting toe focus on them.
    • Singing songs from their favorite artist or even making a dance video together,
    • Don’t be afraid to get a little silly, this helps break down barriers and get the energy flowing.
  • Discover unexplored creative outlets together.
    • Take a class together, like cooking, bonsai, or pottery, something you both are interested in exploring but have not done much of. You will be in the same level of exploration and wonderment as your child which will add to the bonding experience.
    • Vacation time is a great time to put aside for these kinds of events as most things are unexplored. But also be delving into opportunities at your doorstep, what classes are offered at the Recreation department, after school programs and campuses in your area. There are a lot more things available and you are teaching your child that they do not need to be an expert in this type of creativity to enjoy it.
  • Communication and what you say at these creative events is really important during a creative event, so use only positive and encouraging words.
    • Have someone else take the lead, like in the class taking there will be a teacher or instructor. By offering up your lead and control as parent it can free you to release your inner spirit and increase your connection to your child.
    • Teach your child how to be flexible with the accidents that occur while creating. How can you make this blob of paint into something great?
    • Be in the moment and let yourself experience the activity in its fullest. Out children usually will take our lead.
  • If relationships are very strained with your children begin simply and without expectation. Your consistency in a positive neutral environment shows interest and will gradually win out.
    • Be consistent with a routine of creative activities to connect with your child.
    • Take turns planning events, this will keep the excitement up and also have your child develop responsibility by investigating cost, times, location….

Teresa Van Lanen is a Life Coach who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and to move into more joyful and productive life. For products and services visit Teresa at www.makingartoflife.com. Sign up for a free quiz to gauge how much creative energy you have and other tips. Follow Teresa on Twitter and Facebook as well.

How to connect with your children using creativity (part 1)


Are your children often absorbed in their electronics? An ear bud in one ear and thumbs going strong on some game or keyboard? Pretty difficult to engage your children when they are in this mode, isn’t it? Plus, many of these activities can be a form of escape and tend to lack imagination. And don’t forget about parents; multitasking is a daily part of our busy lives. We chauffeur, plan dinner and do laundry all at one time. So how in the NOW are we at these times? No wonder connecting with our children can be challenging!

As a result of this disconnect, our parent-child relationships can get strained. Doing creative activities together can be a nice way of bridging communication and gaps in connection with a child of any age. Here are the benefits of using creativity:

  • It’s a nice way of having neutral ground. Sometimes the territory of the house can provoke certain memories or roles where we live in conflict rather than bonding.
  • It’s a good way of building new experiences and memories together. This will give you fuel for future conversations and a spring board for other creative activities.
  • It’s a great way to lead to casual conversation. Children who may have trouble verbalizing are able to communicate easier while in the process of “doing.” Also, physical kinetic activity can be an easier way for some children to express themselves.
  • It’s a positive way to demonstrate your interest in your child and who they are without being invasive. Parents can attest that privacy is a major deal for their teens. Doing some creative venture together is a good way of sharing while respecting limits.
  • It’s a way of having a keepsake end product from your creative activity together. Having a keepsake will help you build memories and have a physical representation of that connection with your child to recall time and again.

Teresa Van Lanen is a Life Coach who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and to move into more joyful and productive life. For products and services visit Teresa at www.makingartoflife.com. Sign up for a free quiz to gauge how much creative energy you have and other tips. Follow Teresa on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Is Creativity a state of mind?


I had someone comment to me recently, “Teresa, it seems that you can find creativity in just about anything.” And after short reflection I would say; yes, yes I do. This is just part of who I am naturally. It is my belief that creativity is a state of being that anyone can embrace at anytime.

Let’s first try to define what being creative or creativity is; Webster defines being creative as, “To bring into existence and to produce through imaginative skill.”

My definition of creativity takes a different view. My belief is that creativity is part of the human condition and is deeply in grained. It has only been in recent times that creative products have been easily purchased through factory sameness and convenience. And as necessity waned, we have let our creative tendency slide.

Like other things over the last 200 years, creativity and how it is demonstrated has evolved. So hand crafting does exist, at some level but at another level, creativity still shines through. Take a look at computer and phone technology for example. It takes a huge amount of imagination to create and develop concepts of these products such as, games, Apps. and programs.

To be creative first you have to get into the right mindset, which include these four steps:

  • Be open to expressing yourself in some way.
  • Be conscious of the process of creating (in the now) and not the end product (ego).
  • Be open to exploring possibilities, keep flexible with the process.
  • Be open to not knowing where the plan or process will take you, let go of control.

Cooking is a good example task for us to examine the creative mindset. I choose this because I do not see myself as a great cook. I most often cook as a chore to get a passable meal, just ask my kids there have been many misses here. But other times I may want to make a certain dish and get inspired to create it. I will begin with looking to see what is on hand maybe purchase a few extra things that appeal to me and throw it together. These meals are truly creative and cannot be replicated exactly since it is spontaneous and unique.

Look at other tasks you do during the day and see if they can or do have a creative blend to them, just by being in the creative mindset. Tasks such as:

  • Playing Lego’s with your children
  • Telling stories or remembrances to fiends
  • Taking photos on vacation
  • Problem solving a tactical issue at work
  • Dealing with customer service

Just a little re-calibration of thinking will turn any of these tasks into a more creative venture. Try to slip into the creative mindset especially when you are trudging through the day, going through the motion, it will up-lift you and everyone around you. Creativity brings a much higher vibrational energy and focuses our attention on the present. Enjoy your creative mind.

Teresa Van Lanen is a Life Coach who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and to move into more joyful and productive life. For products and services visit Teresa at www.makingartoflife.com. Sign up for a free quiz to gauge how much creative energy you have and other tips. Follow Teresa on Twitter and Facebook as well.

In the great scheme of life are there Do-over’s?

I don’t mean a do-over as turning back the hands of time, but as the learning through life experiences. And with that said, yes, I have found for most of us do experience do-over’s and usually more than one. You are evolving and changing every day. Some of us are just doing it in bigger leaps than others. It’s what you say to yourself after a life event and what you do with those lessons that can either move us ahead of keep us stuck, looking back and what once was.

So how can you embrace a do-over in order to move ahead?

1.  Acknowledge the event

      • Sometimes when we are in the midst of an experience we may fall into a victim role (why me??) and have difficulty even knowing really what is going on. This can last a few minutes of a life time depending on the degree of woundedness.

2.  Be open to learning from the event.

      • Everything is in our path to encourage life lessons. Try doing some meditation and journaling to help sort your feelings out.

3.  Get into a positive mindset.

      • Do something that gives you joy; like creative activities, dancing, or gardening. This will shift your energy and is a good reminder that you are taking good care of yourself while you remain open and calm.

4.  Embrace new opportunities.

      • Now that your energy has shifted to a higher vibration you will draw positive opportunities your way. And then you will be open to detecting these opportunities and be open to receiving them. When in a lower vibration you are not open to see that these opportunities even exist.

5.  Maintain a higher vibration.

      • To do this, use a combination of meditation and journaling to check in with yourself. Ask yourself when faced with an opportunity, “Is this for my higher good?”
      • Then follow that practice by doing an activity that you are passionate about. Using some form of creativity a few days a week is a great way to keep that energy going.
      • Don’t forget to participate in physical activity of some sort. This will help keep you grounded in the hear and now as you get into your do-over.

6.  Recognize when you need grounding.

      • Are your thoughts scattered? Are you feeling stuck or even a little dizzy? These are all signs that you need a bit of grounding.

7.  Ways to get grounded:

      • Message and yoga are great in getting your root chakra cleared, a fast track to grounding.
      • Exercise and sports can be very grounding but if that’s not your thing try:
          • walking in the woods, jumping rope, skipping, dancing, cleaning your spaces from clutter, walking barefoot in sand, or cooking.

Don’t get stuck looking for what once was by playing it safe, life doesn’t have ghoul but there are do-over’s!

Teresa Van Lanen is a life coach who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and move into more joyful and productive lives. For products and services visit Teresa at www.makingartoflife.com. Sign up for a free quiz to gauge how much creative energy you have and other tips. Follow Teresa on Twitter and Facebook as well.

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