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The Gift of Receiving

What? That sounds backwards Teresa. Yes it does sound backwards but really the ability to receive with grace and gratitude are gifts. Being able to receive with an open hear and fully accepting the positive things that come your way can be the biggest gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Sounds simple but is it really? It requires:

  • Practice
  • Relinquishing control
  • Feeling worthy
  • Stepping into your power
  • Keeping your heart open

Practice and relinquishing control can be a big hurdles. You need to firstly recognize that these are issues for you. I often find myself discovering these things about myself and simply wanting them gone. But it takes patience with yourself. Practice being patient for the divine timing of events while keeping your energy in a positive place. And relinquishing control over the details of who, when, how things will happen. Repetitive practice in different situations is a good way of tackling these hurdles.

Feeling worthy of great things happening for you can be another difficult hurdle. This issue can be a stumbling block for so much. And when our unworthiness blocks good thing from coming our way, it fills our unworthiness engine and continues the cycle which we find ourselves perpetually trapped in. Work on your worthiness by accepting small things with and open heart. Then build up to bigger things.

Stepping into your power means to set boundaries regarding things that don’t meet your highest good. This can be related to self-destructive habits or other things. Stepping into your power is also accepting your abilities and using them for good.

And keeping your heart open is like a portal directly to Universal abundance. When you release control and are open to positive abundance, you feel worthy to accept and embrace your own power. Your heart is open and what a gift this is, to allow great things into your life. So my holiday wish for you is to open yourself to the gift of receiving with grace and gratitude. Happy Holidays my friends.

Teresa Van Lanen of Making Art of Life and Soul Connection, is an Occupational Therapist, Life Coach, SoulCollage® facilitator and Reiki practitioner.
Please follow and reach her on Facebook, Twitter and on
She works with individuals who are wishing to connect with their inner spirit for a balanced happy life. Look for her fall Soul Connection workshops this month on the events page of her website.

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

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 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 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.


What do you want to be free of?

In 1776 our founding fathers were seeking freedom from an oppressive external force: the political and spiritual imperialism of Britain. Through the years some of us may have sought freedom from external oppression, but many of our restraints are not any less oppressive in nature, but come from internal sources.

How is that, you ask? Well, I will use myself as an example. There was a time that unconsciously I believed I was unworthy of being treated with love and respect and as a result I was treated in that manner. It took repeated occurrences with the same effect that I began to recognize the lie I had been telling myself.

Feelings of unworthiness seem to be the root of many issues that I hear about today. As in my case, if we do not bring this first to our consciousness and secondly to retrain ourselves to think and act differently, we will live a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I was speaking with a friend of mine going through Shamanic training about an exercise or ritual she had participated in, and it reminded me of a variation that has been in use in many forms of spiritual practice. It is a practice that can be used in many ways to rid ourselves of the role we play in lying to ourselves or to be used to assist us in a more positive manifestation.

What I like to do is to turn the negative roles into positives to reinforce the power of words in our lives and to literally send these messages into the universe.

Here are steps to creating freedom of self oppression:

  1. Write a list of five to ten roles or descriptors about yourself and life that you can come up with (bad with money, un-loveable, sad, and impatient …) A variation of this can be a self portrait as you take on these old beliefs.
  2. Then write what is really true in the eyes of the universe (I handle money easily and effortlessly, everyone loves and embraces me, I am open to all the love and happiness the universe has in store for me …) A variation of this can be a self portrait as you take on the new beliefs.
  3. Cut these truths into strips of paper
  4. You are going to make a sacred fire; be it a candle, bonfire or something in between.Make sure you are safe and in a non-flammable location. Some ash may fly so be extra cautious and follow all precautions and regulations of your community.
  5. Before you start your fire do some meditating about the new roles and descriptors, breathing in fully as you make these statements aloud. To reinforce this you can look at your reflection in a mirror.

  6. Ask your spiritual guidance to assist you in cleansing from the negative old thoughts and beliefs and into these new ones through the ritual release into flame.
  7. As you release these feelings, once again read the new belief that you wrote on your papers, and burn each individually, breathing in deeply.
  8. To follow up you may want to do some journaling or make a mendala to represent your new self.

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 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.

Move to the Groove

I used to think that Blues music all sounded the same and was sad. I have since grown very fond of Blues music. To me it fuels my spirit and speaks to my soul. Recently I attended a live Blues music event that hosted several bands through out the day. Like many genres of music there are several styles and variations of the Blues but at the base they have a similar theme.

As I attended this event I was struck by the blues dancers. Just like with the various styles of music, the dances and dancers had many variations as well. Most dances were fairly uninhibited as people displayed their interpretation of the music into dance. Some dancers only shuffled their feet with arms swaying; others were more feet and hip than arm. One dancer crouched down and took small little steps while another near by swirled her arms in reciprocal circles like a swimmer. One thing we all had in common was our smiles. We were a happy group “digging” the Blues.

This witnessing of such inhibition and enjoyment was the inspiration of my writing today; the celebration of movement and how freeing it is. Dance and movement helps us connect with our inner selves and helps us shed the mind or ego. Daily movement can be a great precursor to creative activities and problem solving alike. It helps clear out the unwanted baggage we sometimes carry in our heads that keep us weighed down and small in thought and action. And movement connects us to the hear and now and is a celebration of our physical, emotional and spiritual selves.

The author Julia Cameron of “The Artists way” so strongly believed in this concept that she wrote a book about this topic and using walking as a way of clearing her thoughts to drive inspiration for her writings. It is called Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity. Like Julia I have found that I get stuck in my process at time. So when I need to brainstorm on a creative idea or to problem solve something for work implementing movement into a daily practice can clear that clutter and help me focus and to hear my guidance more sharply.

I have found some people feel inhibited and perhaps embarrassed to dance but there are many ways to move. Julia named one way with walking, and of course there is other exercise such as canoeing, jogging and skiing. But here are a few more to get you feeling this is a doable practice for you.

Five ways that you can begin the practice of using movement in your creative or mind clearing practice are:

  1. Start small with simple things like stomping or marching to a heavy drum beat, gradually add an arm swing or clapping. When your mind is a bit muddled try cross marching (taping the opposite hand to opposite knee) is a good way of organizing the Right and Left sides of our brains.
  2. Remember skipping? This is a great way of introducing movement and fun; your inner child will smile!
  3. Swimming or water play is not only seasonal this time of year but good exercise and fun. Great spiritual cleansing and connections can be made near and in water as well.
  4. Shadow movement with a partner, It is a fun way of bringing another into your movement activities and are gender neutral. This is when one mimics or mirrors the other’s movements without touching the other person.
  5. Progress to dancing either alone of in a group. If you are shy you can leave the lights off, curtains closed and begin to sway to the music, gradually adding more feet and arms. I like to use music that has lyrics that are in a foreign language as I am not focusing in on what is being said as much as how I feel to the music.

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 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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