Now That I Have the Time, Where Do I Express My Creativity?

For many people making a living takes up a significant portion of their time. Forty hours a week was a standard for many full time jobs. The workplace has transformed dramatically over the last several decades. Many people now have more time to be creative and to become fully self expressed. A fully expressed life is not about being active, it’s more about your games or projects, the environment you live in and your whole life being a mirror image of who your are and what matters to you. If this appeals to you it may be the time to explore self expression opportunities.

Community education is an invaluable resource for finding opportunities for self expression. In my local community education catalog I find a wide variety of interests I can check out. It is also a beneficial resource because the prices are reasonable and time investment is minimal. Here you have the possibility of getting an introduction to a variety of activities. If dance is an area in which you want to explore self expression,there are several choices; Latin dance, African dance along with belly, Salsa and other dance offerings. These classes are intended to be introductions, therefore the time investment is for two hours a week for six weeks. This provides an opportunity to try as many varieties of dance as you have the time and energy to partake. I tried an acting class and found I liked acting but I didn’t care for memorizing lines. Then I tried a class on Improv, which is unscripted acting and I fell in love with this form of self expression and soon I wanted to perform in front of an audience. Community ed has a wide variety of offerings; cooking,computer skills, physical fitness, recreation and the Arts and much more. Some are seasonal,like skiing and ice skating which are not offered in the summer.

The second benefit of community education is that it is affordable. Looking through the catalog, I found most most six week classes between thirty and thirty five dollars. For my improv class that was six weeks the cost was thirty five dollars. Not bad for 12 hours of instruction and practice in self expression. In addition to these already low prices they have a senior discount. This means that if you are 55 years of age or beyond you get a 50% discount. This makes these classes available to people who may be on a fixed income. Sometime there is a small additional cost for printed material but, in my experience it has never been over five dollars.

In summary more and more people are interested in becoming fully self expressed. Community education is an excellent resource for introductions to a huge variety of offerings for anyone to explore. In addition these introductions are minimally priced and discounted for people 55 plus years in age. Self expression is all about your life mirroring who you are and what matters to you. Go online and explore the community education offerings in your city today.

Eco-Psychology and Expressive Arts – Truly a Holistic Offering

Dianne Monroe of San Antonio, TX is an Expressive Art Facilitator who combines eco-psychology in her work. She shares what she does and why she is called to this work.

GJC: What do you do?

DM: I am an Expressive Arts Facilitator, writer and photographer.

Much of my work is about facilitating reconnection (with our inner selves, with others, and with the natural world) and guiding people to discover, explore and deepen their understanding of their unique gifts and how they live them in this world. Through workshops, classes and consulting I offer my own blend of Expressive Arts and Eco-Psychology – using arts, creativity and nature to offer tools and pathways for healing, connection, a deeper understanding of self and as a guide in one’s journey through life.

GJC: How have you prepared for your career?

DM: My life experiences have prepared me for what I do!

An early love of art and deep connection with others led to my work as a writer and photographer, and many years as an Arts Educator working with both children and adults.

Through my work as a writer and photographer I personally experienced the power of art and nature to touch hearts, change lives and express the intimate mysteries of the human spirit. As an Arts Educator, I felt great joy in my ability to offer this experience as a gift to others.

My personal journey to better understand this profound power led me to study Expressive Art, through the program led by Barbara Ganim at Salve-Regina University. During my studies, I discovered Eco-Psychology and began to develop my own way of blending these two fields (Expressive Arts and Eco-Psychology). Since that time I have deepened my conversation with the natural world, pursued further learning, and continued to evolve my work and what I offer to others.

GJC: Why are you called to this work?

DM: Again, life called me to do this work.

It was through my own artistic journey and life journey that I experienced again and again the profound power of art – to touch, heal, change. My many years as an Arts Educator showed me that this power lies within everyone.

For me, art and creativity are as natural and intrinsic to humanity as breathing – and can open us to new ways of experiencing, knowing and being in relationship with ourselves, others and our world. We are all artists and the most important artwork we are creating is our lives, our unique selves, and how we live our gifts in this world.

I am called to this work because I want to share the joy of this discovery with others.

GJC: Do you work with individuals? Groups? Workshops? Conventions? Conferences?

DM: I work with both groups and individuals. I offer workshops, classes and consulting. I have presented and brought workshops to conferences and also trained therapists, counselors, teachers and others in ways to integrate the arts into their work. I offer consulting on Expressive Arts and nature activities with youth. I can also work by phone.

GJC: Will you travel?

DM: Yes, I enjoy traveling.

Do Educational Toys Promote Early Childhood Development? (Developing Creativity, Part V)

Every child has within themselves the ability to be creative. It is important that parents recognize the value of their child’s creativity and pursue avenues as well as make every effort in helping their child to develop in this area of their lives. Creativity can be defined many ways but is basically the development of unique and special abilities and talents in your child. However, creativity goes beyond the mechanics of developing a skill in a particular area such as music, the arts and writing. It also involves the release of one’s individuality, uniqueness, diversity and personalization of ideas and thoughts which makes it their own.  

Creativity is essential as it provides a means for children to develop ideas and solutions for problem solving. When problems occur they do not always have an easy answer meaning that a solution may work at one particular time and although the circumstances may seem the same a new solution must be applied. Problem solving involves a creativeness that is flexible with the ability to adapt and apply thoughts and ideas resulting in a successful outcome. So when it comes to problem solving, children need to be challenged to make observations from various perspectives and to apply an array of solutions that they have developed through creative thinking.

Some of the ways that parents can help their children express themselves and solve problems through creative thinking are…

  • Be a role Model; show them first hand
  • Provide situations that provoke multiple choices, ideas and answers
  • Encourage your child to explore other possibilities
  • Allow flexibility rather than structure (what everyone else thinks)
  • Accept unusual ideas and their possibilities
  • Recognize and help them to express their individuality
  • Provide imaginative play
  • Allow and encourage spontaneity
  • Build their self-confidence through positive affirmation  
  • Show your support in their efforts
  • Unless asked, let them accomplish tasks without your help
  • Ask questions that challenge alternative answers
  • Encourage, encourage, encourage

Playing is important and the most natural way for children to learn and grow. Researchers have suggested that creative adults were most likely involved in imaginative play as children. Educational toys are an invitation to fun creative learning. They are an avenue to stimulate imagination as well as providing situations requiring problem solving. They open the door of socialization with other children which provides opportunities of how others think and feel. They provide a means of developing self-confidence as your child masters various ways to accomplish tasks which also builds their self-esteem. They are also useful in helping children discover various emotions as their self-expression bubbles forth.    

Creativity plays an important role in the future success and productivity of your child. Self-expression, problem solving, decision making, expressing ideas and experiencing an unlimited flow of endless opportunities and possibilities are all developed through creativeness. Although we may take for granted such things as an automobile, a telephone, lighting and computers, it was the creative expression of ordinary people who broke the mold of popular thinking an achieved what most thought the impossible. But isn’t that the desire of all parents, that their children become more successful and productive than themselves? So parents help your child’s creative juices flow.