Category Archives: Follow Your Joy

Swings in Playground

Place of Inclusion: One-of-a-kind Playground for Every Kid

In San Antonio, Texas a unique park has been created with the goal of uniting people young and old with the common element of play.

Inspired by a young girl with physical disabilities, Morgan’s Wonderland creates an atmosphere where people can safely enjoy time with family and friends, regardless of any physical or mental disability.

This 25 acre park caters especially towards people with special needs and provides for guests a first-class area where people can relax and have fun.

Accommodating Every Person

Swings in PlaygroundMorgan’s Wonderland is an interactive and inclusive park where people with special needs and their family and friends can interact and enjoy all aspects of play. Traditionally, parks are designed and built, then accommodations are made for people with physical or mental limitations. Morgan’s Wonderland was not created this way: all obstacles were identified first, with its design following second. The entire park is accessible, safe, and fun for people of all ages.

This recreation area leads the way in providing inclusive, family orientated activities. In 2007, the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation created Sports Outdoor and Recreation (SOAR) as a non-profit organization to raise money and provide administration for the park. Fundraising came from many sources, including the City of San Antonio, the State of Texas, family and friends, and various charities and corporations.

In just a few short years, Morgan’s Wonderland opened with the mission to “provide a safe, clean, beautiful environment free of economic barriers for special needs individuals of all ages.”

Features of Morgan’s Wonderland

Carousel RideThe park has many attractions that can be enjoyed by every person:

  • an event area and gymnasium with basketball, volley ball, and tennis access
  • an interactive sensory area that includes a theater, horse stable, fix-it shop, grocery store, and a television station
  • accessible 1930s style train
  • amphitheater
  • accessible cars that travel a track throughout the park
  • carousel
  • wharf
  • 8 acre lake with fishing access
  • accessible playgrounds and wheelchair/adaptive swings
  • water park area
  • picnic area
  • garden
  • sand pit
  • music garden
  • various pavilions and rest areas

Morgan’s Wonderland is the first “ultra-accessible family fun park” of its kind in the world. Individuals with special needs are admitted with no cost, and other guests to the park are charged a nominal entrance fee.

For more information, please click > Morgan’s Wonderland

For more information, please click > Morgan’s Wonderland

Poipu Crater Double Rainbow

Rainbow Experience of the Third Kind

I had quite the rainbow experience one late afternoon.

It seems to me that rainbows are learning how to interact with people. Or perhaps, we are learning how to connect with rainbows.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about having unusual rainbow experiences. If not, perhaps what happened to me may prepare you for unusual rainbow experiences.

Kauai, the Island of Rainbows

Kauai is the northern most island in the Hawaiian island chain. The island seems to have many facets that make for wonderful reflective types of possibilities. Maybe rainbows are particularly attracted to multi-faceted environments, such as Kauai, the Garden Island. I now believe “close encounter of a rainbow kind” type of experiences may soon be recognized as a special class of phenomena.

Poipu Crater Double Rainbow

First Sight

Getting on with my story…I was sitting in front of my computer working away on a task that was a bit boring and repetitious. Music was playing in the background providing a soothing sound to help me focus. The repeated action from working on the task at hand and the melody of the music placed me in a sort of trance-like state.

As I was typing away I suddenly heard someone speak to me. Yet there was no one in the room. But the voice continued. Then suddenly I realized I was having a telepathic experience and the messages I was receiving was quite persistent. The voice urgently said, “Get up. Get your camera and go!” Whew, it was so loud.

I was jolted out of my chair because I felt so deeply I needed to follow the voice that carried this direct command so strongly into my thoughts. As I stood up I thought to myself, “What a loud and clear communication.” I happily and eagerly paid attention.

Double Rainbow Spectrum

Immediately I stopped what I was doing and jumped up and grabbed my old camera out of its bag. The two of us headed out the door to Mustang Sally, our pink Mustang convertible. As I slide behind the big steering wheel I knew I needed to head toward the Hyatt Hotel, so I did. It took about 3 minutes of driving from the time I jumped into Mustang Sally until I received a stunning visual scene. Synchronistically I had this strange sensation that I was about to have a one of those close encounters that I had heard about but never really experienced.

I suddenly got all tingly, and as I looked over at the base of a small caldera we know as Poipu crater, I saw not only a single, but a double decker, awesome, vibrating, radiating spectrum.

“Yummy!” I said out loud, and a full range of sensations flowed wildly inside of me.

Out came the camera, and snap, crackle, pop! I stopped the car, jumped out, and I was flashing away. The air was so erie and the sky had a very strange golden glow. I thought for sure I was about to receive a very mind altering experience.

The Race with the Rainbow Began

Then, all of a sudden the rainbow began to move. It started heading for the old sugar mill in Koloa. This started the race. I wanted to see if I could get to the mill before the rainbow did. I again jumped into Mustang Sally and peeled out onto the smoothly paved highway. I was driving faster and faster. I could hear the flapping of the comfortable top on the car, which was yielding to the swirling whirling trade winds known to flow through this area.

Then it happened … and all of a sudden, the rainbow and I seemed to merge. The car filled with bouncing light moving every which way. “Whoa!” I thought, “Who is going to believe this?”

Rainbow Light Pattern

Bathed in Rainbow Light

It was like being sucked into a third kind of experience that I imagined only leprechauns knew about…unexplainable really. The car’s side view mirror was reflecting my close encounter, so I knew it was real. I had no fear as one might have in a close encounter of the third kind. I was smiling from ear to ear!

What I found to be so very exciting about this rainbow encounter was I had arrived to the Koloa sugar mill at the exact moment the rainbow did, too. It was like we were one. When I stepped out of the car, the rainbow eagerly moved to its place just above the top of the sugar mill. It just knew it was waiting for me to take a perfect photograph as this living rainbow expanded it’s colors making sure to present a perfect image.

That day brought me so many gifts, and I learned that a picture  is truly worth a thousand words, or more!

Paint Brushes in Art Mug

Art Therapy Beneficial for Mind, Body & Spiritual Wellbeing

Art therapy is a healing practice used to increase the overall health of one’s body, mind, and spirit. It’s a therapy that can easily be successful for people of all ages and for people suffering from many different challenges, such as illness or trauma.

The American Art Therapy Association was established to help promote the healing aspects of art and how it can improve the overall quality of one’s life.

Art therapy is often used when working with the aging population, as it is effective with increasing people’s self-perception, memory, and coordination.

Wellness with Art Therapy

Paint Brushes in Art MugResearch has shown that the creative process has many benefits, including:

  • helping with managing stress levels;
  • developing conflict resolution skills;
  • balancing emotions; and
  • improving cognitive clarity.

Useful for everybody of all ages, art therapy helps with personal development because the creating and reflecting aspects of art increases self-awareness.

Accepting Aging Through Creative Expression

As we age, there are many things that change in life that sometimes we may not be willing to accept or have a hard time coming to terms with: we lose people, we lose our health, we lose our home, and we lose our mobility. Depression is common among elderly people, in addition to confusion and low self-esteem.

Art helps people come to terms with various aspects of aging and can help people reclaim their identity. Because art is full of choices people have the freedom to make, it helps ease the feeling of dependency that aging people may feel. Growing older is often viewed as merely a day-to-day survival issue, whereas creative expression lays emphasis on the person’s experiences, memories, and relationships.

American Art Therapy Association

With over 5,000 members globally within 36 chapters, the American Art Therapy Association strives to promote the effectiveness of art therapy for every type of person of every age. The Association supports legislation involving art therapy at both the state and federal levels of government and supports different research projects, educational programs, and clinical uses of art therapy.

The following video was produced with help from the American Art Therapy Association with the goal of showing people how effective this creative therapy is for the elderly population. It is an example of rediscovering one’s joy and happiness through expression.

As art therapist Wendy Miller notes, “[Art is] not a luxury; it’s really a necessity.”

Discover The Gift: A Self-Discovery Film for Unlocking Your Unlimited Potential

Everyone has a purpose. Everyone has a contribution to make. Everyone has a place in this world. When these realizations are made, our global community is enhanced with joy, knowledge, love, and endless opportunity.

From what began as an honest quest of his own personal transformation, award-winning filmmaker Demian Lichtenstein, along with his sister Shajen Joy Aziz, created Discover The Gift (Equilibrium Entertainment).

This has since manifested into a movement of self-illumination for everyone to experience the extraordinary and powerful journey of self-discovery.

Create Your Own Reality

Discover the Gift's Shajen Joy Aziz & Demian LichtensteinWhat happens when one starts questioning the purpose of their life’s purpose? For Lichtenstein, this questioning led to Discover The Gift, a powerful documentary film illustrating the realization that each person on earth is here to release special gifts and powers that lay within.

In the film, Lichtenstein notes that individuals are a “singular manifestation of a cosmic destiny,” and as each person realizes his or her gift, they graduate to the next stage of their own evolution. This, in turn, stimulates the gifts in others.

The stunningly written and produced film depicts Lichtenstein’s admission—and that of Aziz—of not being present in their own presence and the struggle to emerge as true, authentic beings. Through a series of honest discussions, both Lichtenstein and Aziz come together after years of separation and discovered they individually have gifts to offer the world. And, through the process, they realized a gift they can share in unison: so began Discover The Gift.

The Process of Enlightenment

On the path of discovering life purpose, one will discover how to intentionally change their thoughts to manifest an honest and pure existence. It’s a discovery of living a life not made by one’s parents, clergy, or even politicians, but of finding the thing that makes one think, “I was born for this!”

How can one find his or her gift? It can come about in many different ways. For example, silence and solitude can help one become more in tune with themselves. This is an opportunity to give one’s self permission to dream, to forgive, and to love one’s self and others.

Process of EnlightenmentLife is just like a mirror: this is one of the most profound message delivered in the film. The human mind creates life for us. Life is the process of what we pay attention to or what we focus on. Lichtenstein advises viewers to follow their hearts in order to discover the greatest gift and adventures that could come their way. The only obstacle in life is ourselves!

Eight Universal Spiritual Laws to Change Your Life

The film and corresponding book by the same title discuss eight simple, yet profound, principles that help individuals discover their true potential:

  1. receptivity
  2. intention
  3. interaction
  4. feedback
  5. vibration
  6. gratitude
  7. compassion
  8. unity

This beautifully-created film includes the inspirational guidance from over 40 global leaders, each who offers their spiritual wisdom and guidance to viewers. Discover The Gift is about the possibilities that exist within every individual and society as a whole. This film delivers a powerful, universal message that will leave a lasting impression with everyone who watches and takes its meaning to heart.

The Second Annual Awareness Film Festival

Discover the Gift Dvd and BookDiscover The Gift made its debut at the second annual Awareness Festival, held early May, 2011 in Hollywood, CA. The mission of the Awareness Festival is to present films that bring awareness and open viewers’ eyes to some of the world’s most pressing issues regarding ecological perspectives, political impacts, the understanding of health and wellbeing, and scientific progress.

The Awareness Festival was created by the non-profit charity organization HealOneWorld.org. Funds generated from the event go to support the organization’s mission to help people learn about and receive preventative and alternative health care approaches to wellness.

Inspirational Words

Both the film and book of Discover the Gift is available for preorder prior to their release on June 14, 2011.

Discover The Gift (Harmony) is also a book of inspiration designed to show readers how each one has a special purpose in life that must be shared with the world. The book complements the movie, and unfolds the authors’ personal self-journeys of discovery while offering guidance for readers to do the same. The book is available in hardcover, as a Kindle download, or an audio CD.

The Discover The Gift book and video are a powerful combination and serve as a collective catalyst for unlocking individual and combined potential for creating more love, joy, and happiness in the world.

Learn more, visit Amazon > Discover the Gift DVD

View the book, click > Discover the Gift Book

View the Discover The Gift Trailer

Learn more, visit Amazon > Discover the Gift DVD

View the book, click > Discover the Gift Book

Power of 3 X 3: Paying it Forward a Growing Global Social Movement

Based upon a novel written by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Pay It Forward (Simon & Schuster), the Pay It Forward Foundation promotes the global social movement based on a simple plan of action.

The idea upon which the foundation was created is simple: anyone can change the world.

The Pay It Forward Foundation seeks to educate students of its mission and works with teachers on developing strategies of how they too can pay it forward.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is an example of what happens when we follow our inner urges, and how one small thought turned into an action can ripple to make a vast difference in many other people’s lives.

The Pay It Forward Foundation

Image From Pay It Forward FoundationStaffed mostly by volunteers committed to its simple but profound mission, the Pay It Forward Foundation encourages everyone to do a simple act at any time for anyone in any place. Paying it forward means doing a favor for someone without any expectation of being paid back—save for encouraging the recipient of the favor to in turn to pay it forward to someone else.

The idea behind his movement is to never assume a favor you pay is too small or too insignificant, as to someone else it could mean the world. How do you know that this exact opportunity won’t change the life of a complete stranger in ways you can’t even imagine?

Catherine Ryan Hyde, Esteemed Writer and Inspiration

Catherine Ryan Hyde is an established author with several acclaimed books to her name, including Second Hand Heart (Transworld UK) and Jumpstart the World (Knopf). Her short stories have been featured in several prominent literary journals, and many have gone on to win top literary awards.

Her 2000 novel Pay It Forward was developed into a popular movie of the same name, and was acknowledged by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list. The novel appeared on several national bestsellers lists. The message of the book has inspired many people to try paying it forward in their own lives, and serves as the basis for the Pay It Forward Foundation.

Beside writing, Hyde also delivers public speaking addresses, including ones based on her pay it forward idea. The following is a transcript of Hyde candidly discussing her inspiration for paying it forward.

Setting: Echo Park, Late at Night

Catherine Ryan Hyde PictureSo, here I am in this bad section of Echo Park . . . I don’t know, does anyone know Echo Park in Los Angeles? Some of you actually do! And if you don’t, don’t run and check it out, just take my word for it, okay? It’s not really the place to be late at night. However, I lived there, which narrowed my options.

So, I’m driving home, and I should tell you that the car I was driving was not in good condition, because—at least I’m pleased to be able to say that I was young 24 years ago (I know, it’s hard to imagine)—I had this theory about cars when I was younger. I thought it cost less money if you didn’t take your car to the mechanic. It’s a logical theory when you think about it, because mechanics cost money, so you don’t go, you save money, you know? That’s one of those theories that works very well until the day it doesn’t anymore. So this is a story about the day it stopped working.

So, I’m coming home late. I get to the end of the ramp, you know, the freeway ramp where there’s a stop sign at Echo Park Lane. And I put my foot on the brake, and the engine stalled—which may sound unusual to you, but it always did every time I put my foot on the brake. That’s what happens when you don’t go to the mechanic! And then something that had never happened before: headlights, dash lights, all of the electric on my car, out.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

So, now I’m out there in the dark. That’s a new one. And while I’m pondering this, I noticed that there’s a curled smoke—right away you know this is not good news, right? Where ever the smoke is, however the smoke is, right away you’re thinking, “That’s not good news!”—coming through the firewall from the engine side. And it’s curling up under the dashboard, and it’s beginning to fill up the passenger compartment where I sit.

Now, when you’re in a car in a bad neighborhood late at night—you probably know this already—you have a very powerful incentive to stay there with the door locked. But now the car’s filling up with smoke, which has got to be a textbook definition of being between a rock and a hard place. Right? So, once again, just so you don’t have to go out and do your own research, I will tell you the smoke wins. You’re going to get out of the car at that point. So I got out of the car.

Now I’m outdoors in this bad neighborhood late at night. And I looked up and I saw that there were two men, two total strangers, running in my direction very fast. And one of them is holding a blanket.

Strangers Help Out of the Blue

Burning CarMany thoughts danced in my head. Not a single which had anything to do with rescue. As a matter of fact, I think the first thought in my head was that I’d never made out a will. And then of course I realized that it didn’t matter because I had nothing to leave to anyone, anyway. Except the car, which is on fire.

So, I really thought that those were going to be the last few moments of my life. I mean, you’ve had that moment where your life flashes before your eyes. Really, never occurred to me that they might have been running to my aid. But oddly enough, that’s exactly what happened.

Apparently they had been driving by—I say apparently because I never really got to talk to them—saw the trouble that I was in, pulled their own car over to the side of the road, took a blanket out of their own trunk, [and] one of them popped the hood of my car. You know, popped it from the inside—the other one actually opened it. [He] leaned his whole upper body into my flaming engine compartment and put the fire out with the blanket.

Total Strangers Save Lives

Now, just to stop and review what I find important in this story: his upper body, my flaming engine compartment. Isn’t that an interesting combination between total strangers?

So, right around the time he got the fire put out the fire department showed up, which I thought was interesting because none of us called them. Okay, so once again, the kids go, “Okay, so someone had a cell phone and you didn’t know it. “ No, not in 1978, I really don’t think so. Apparently some other good Samaritan driving on the freeway behind us had seen what was happening and called the fire department.

Now, I absolutely guarantee you in that situation I would have done that for a stranger. If I had seen you broken down with your car burning I would have stopped at the next call box and called the fire department for you. Not sure about the thing with the upper body in the flames. I don’t know about now, but at the time I don’t think I would have been ready for that.

Life and Death Situation

And, so, to make a long story short—perhaps it’s too late for that, I’m not sure—in the confusion of talking to the fire department . . . and by the way, one of the things that I learned from them is that we all could have been killed. You know, a car on fire is a lot like a Molotov cocktail, when you think about it. You know, you have a big tank of flammable liquid with a fuse that goes into it, and once it’s burning it’s, you know . . . you have some problems.

So, I turned around to thank these men who I thought were standing behind me listening to all of this, thinking, “Boy, this better be a good thank you!” Right? This was the biggest favor I had ever gotten in my life. This had better be a good thank you . . . and discovered that they had already packed up and driven away.

So, I didn’t even say thank you! I mean, I tried, but I didn’t know they’d do that.

The Birth of Paying it Forward

Pay It Forward MovieAnd so what happened as a result of this, you know, people will say to me, “So, if they hadn’t stopped and done that for you, none of this pay-it-forward-thing ever would have happened.” And I like to take it even a step further and say that if they had stayed around to be thanked, maybe the rest of this wouldn’t have happened. If they’d stayed around, you know, I would have gotten their address. I would have sent them a Christmas card every year for the rest of their life. You know, 24 years later, it’s almost December, I would have sent them a Christmas card and maybe that would have felt like enough.

Pay it Forward BookBut as it was I had received this huge favor and I hadn’t done anything to pay it back. So what was I going to do?

So I found myself—for those of you who know anything about the pay-it-forward concept, you are probably guessing where we are going with this story—I found myself on the lookout for someone in trouble. I thought, “Okay, sooner or later I’ll find someone in trouble and I’ll stop and pay that favor to them instead.”

Read 5 Star Reviews of the book > Pay It Forward

Read 5 star reviews of > Pay It Forward Movie

Hear Catherine Tell Her Story

Learn about  > The Pay It Forward Foundation

Read 5 Star reviews of the > Pay It Forward Book, (Now in Paperback)

Read 5 star reviews of the > Pay It Forward Movie

Helping is Healing: The Creation of Art & Creativity for Healing

Color is a language that allows people to express the emotional and social burdens of abuse, illness, grief, or stress.

Art & Creativity for Healing is an organization offering participants opportunities for healing through various fine art classes and workshops.

This organization was started by Laurie Zagon in Laguna Niguel, California in 2000. It is a non profit organization funded entirely from generous donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Healing Through Art

Art for Healing Book

Art for Healing Book - Includes Instruction For Starting a Healing Center

Emerging from the idea of artist and author of Art for Healing: Painting Your Heart Out (AuthorHouse) Laurie Zagon, this organization has flourished and assisted countless children, teens, and adults with various healing opportunities. Her Zagon Method for healing with art was first executed in a workshop in 1987. From there, Zagon went on to found Art & Creativity for Healing.

The mission of Art & Creativity for Healing is to “support emotional healing through art and creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear, or stress.” This non-profit organization was designed to offer everyone from child through to adult an opportunity for creative expression using paint on canvas as a release from the emotional struggles of abuse, illness, grief, or stress.

Benefits of Creative Healing

The art classes and workshops offered through Art & Creativity for Healing give people a platform from which to express their personal experiences—from encountering chronic or terminal illness, child abuse, substance abuse, and more—in a creative and healing manner.

Art allows people:

  • to achieve a great self-awareness;
  • to recognize their strength for the ability to confront many emotions; and
  • an opportunity to communicate their thoughts and feelings when sometimes words cannot be expressed properly.

Art & Creativity for Healing operates from donations by foundations, corporations, and individuals. This non-profit entity has an online store from which people can purchase various items—such as Zagon’s publications, educational DVDs, workshop kits, art supplies, and more—with the profits from the sale of these items going towards the organization’s operation.

Learn more about > Art & Creativity for Healing

Art for Healing: Helping is Healing

The following is the transcription of Laurie and some of her program’s participants talking about the program Laurie designed to help those suffering from various traumas move past them into a more resourceful state of being.

Young Girl: My name is Sarah and I’m 8 years old. And what brought me here was my little sister Elizabeth who died. I was sad and happy at the same time, because she was going to a better place, but I felt sad because she left us here, and I thought about how much fun a baby sister would’ve been.

Woman: We’re all kind of integrated, of some sort. And we’re all a big masterpiece of this giant painting. And each of us have a very important part in life. And how, if you allow it, there will be people and there will be resources and chances available to just kind of let you deal and heal and cope.

Laurie Zagon: There are so many people right here in our community that are hurting. There’s so many people here—children, adults, an entire family—that are hurting because they’ve had something traumatic happen to their lives. This program helps them to process those feelings.

Gannen’s Perspective

Young Boy: Hi, I’m Gannen Eck, and I’m 12 years old, and when I was 8 I was diagnosed with severe aplastic aneamia—that’s bone marrow failure. And so I had to take 30 pills a day—15 at night and 15 in the morning—and get my blood drawn every night and get a shot every morning. So, it wasn’t very fun. I rarely ever got to see my family.

Yeah, I’m completely cured. I can do whatever I want. I’m a normal healthy kid now. I still come to Art & Creativity for Healing because it’s just so much fun! It’s painting . . . it’s my life. I love to paint and draw and I love to do art.

Art & Creativity is a help to children and adults, anybody who’s been emotionally hurt or sick in the hospital, so it’s a great program for all kids and adults and teens. For everybody to just get out their feelings on a canvas with some paints and stuff.

The Language of Color

Laurie Zagon

Laurie Zagon

Laurie: The beauty of the program is that you don’t have to be an artist to do this program. Anyone can do it, young and old.

But the beauty of the program truly is that it’s teaching people a new language. It’s the language of color and painting on canvas. You don’t have to be an artist. You don’t have to know how to draw a straight line. All you have to do is sit down and allow us to take you through a series of questions that you answer with colors and shapes on canvas.

It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a very cathartic experience. It helps people to release a lot of the pressure cooker steam that sometimes has built up from emotional things that happen in our daily lives.

Art Helps in Ways Words Cannot

Woman: I had emotional trauma growing up, but as an adult I had one of my children die of bone cancer. That was really the most traumatic thing that happened in our lives. My son Brandon was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 14 1/2. He was a really neat, healthy, active kid.

When the diagnosis came, my son Brandon kind of straightened himself up and said, “You mean I could die because my hip hurts?” I said, “Yeah, you could.”

I miss him awful. I have worked for years to try to help myself get past the deep grief, and I’ve spent a lot of money doing that. But until I came to Art & Creativity, I really was stuck. And doing a couple of the courses related to grief has helped me tremendously.

To the community, I would ask that you be generous to this organization which goes out and helps so many people in so may places, in hospitals, in institutionalized settings. They help people of all ages, from young children through the teens, and through mature in life.

Art does it in a way that words never can.

Laurie: It’s normal to have stress. Everybody has stress. So the Art & Creativity program really is designed for every human being that wants to take a class. The language of color and painting on canvas is something universal, and I think that’s why we’re successful. Mostly because it’s easy, and anyone can do it and it’s fun, but it also has a way of tapping into areas that maybe people need to release by putting some colorful strokes of paint on canvas.

Healing Families & Individuals

Family During Trying TimesMother of family: We found Art & Creativity a few years ago when we moved to California from the east. It just kind of sounded like a great organization, and I decided that I kind of wanted to get involved. And then the day before the Pallette of Colors dinner last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So as I was going through chemo and everything, I kind of brought the family here to . . . so Art & Creativity could help them be a family and process everyones’ feelings about my cancer.

When I got the diagnosis of breast cancer . . . your world kind of stops. And it just went really vast. And then you have to come home and have a family meeting and tell the kids, and it was just really hard.

Son: One night we had like a big meeting. We talked about how mom was getting breast cancer, and then everyone started crying. Even me.

Mother: I think donations are needed to Art & Creativity because cancer and other diseases, I’m sure, really don’t just affect the person, they affect the whole family. And by going through this and by seeing other families and by going to support groups and just seeing that there’s such a need, and I think that there’s more work to be done.

Program Funding Needs for Art & Creativity for Healing

Laurie: We need your help. We would like to be able to have more and more programs and more and more places that we can reach people that are hurting. We need your help. We need your dollars. Any dollar amount makes a difference to us.

It is so important that you understand that every little bit helps. But I also want you to know that from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Because we could not have done it without you.

Hit By a Rainbow

Laurie Zagon - Daniel's Integrity

Laurie Zagon - Daniel's Integrity

During the early days, Zagon’s illustrations were published in a well known table top, affirmation book in 1989 by Ballantine Books. It’s Never to Late To Have a Happy Childhood: Inspiration for Inner Healing was authored by Claudia Black, M.S.W., Ph.D. It was one of the early books on the Law of Attraction, and Zagon’s illustrations were chosen to accompany the use of the book’s affirmations. Black is internationally recognized for her pioneering and contemporary work with family systems and addictive disorders. Along with It’s Never to Late To Have a Happy Childhood, Black has authored a very long list of self-help books, CDs, and DVDs .

Zagon created the Hit by a Rainbow film back in 1990, about the same time as her art was accepted for Black’s book. This 28 minute video is well worth watching. In this short film, viewers gain insight into the unfolding of Zagon’s life path that brought her to where she is today. She shares her insights and passion as an artist, her observations about light, color, and movement. Viewers can clearly sense how her “inner joy” brought her art alive and how taking each inspired step  lead to the creation of the Art & Creativity for Healing Organization.

Many artists don’t act on their creative urges due to some type of perception or creative block. Most show up as self-judgment, anxiety, or stress. But, by allowing that initial step, a person can open a vast door of possibility. As you can see by watching Zagon’s Hit by a Rainbow many lives were touched along the way. How inspiring to witness how the simple first step of following joy opens a door to helping others, and goes on to create much more than first ever imagined.

Watch the Video

Visit Zagon’s website > Laurie Zagon Art & Creativity

The Story of a Transformative Force: Joseph Farrell’s Manifesting Michelangelo

Joseph Pierce Farrell is a well-known pioneer in the field of human consciousness.

His book, Manifesting Michelangelo: The Story of a Modern-Day Miracle—That May Make All Change Possible (Atria) is about the powerful journey of how he healed people’s deformities and cured their illnesses simply by using the power of conscious healing.

This extraordinary account of Farrell’s experience also contains in it for readers a five-step process that can be used to help develop everyone’s potential to manifest change using our consciousness, the same five steps all great manifestors of change have followed before.

Farrell’s motivational book bridges scientific evidence with spiritual awareness, and provides a concrete link for this transformative force.

The following is a transcription of Farrell talking about how our thoughts can change the world.

The Power to do Miracles

Joseph Pierce Farrell PictureManifesting Michelangelo is the story of an ordinary man who one day, with the undiminished imagination of a child, attempted the impossible and succeeded, and discovered a latent capacity: the capacity that gave him the power to do miracles.

People ask me what I discovered. Well, what I discovered is that there is a transformative force. It is a force that exists beyond measure, beyond the understanding of science, and beyond this seeing with our five senses. And what this is is that there is a transformative force that if we tap into, it will ignite within us the capacity to literally manifest change across all areas of human endeavor—whether it’d be environment, or social issues, or health care, or your own life, or your own family life—on a community level or on a global level.

From Faith & Evidence Comes Tangible Change

Manifesting Michelangelo is different from any other inspirational book ever written because it’s the first book that asks you not to believe on faith alone, but on actual evidence in the form of empirical data, photographs, and expert testimony all saying the same thing: that we as humans have the capacity to literally manifest physical, tangible change.

All of our lives, even if you haven’t learned yet to connect to the transformative force, everyone listening and every reader has been touched and your lives have been enhanced by people who have.

Michelangelo’s art, Martin Luther King’s March for Freedom, John Kennedy’s dream to put a man on the moon—all of these people looked and they saw obstacles, and they made a decision that they would overcome these obstacles. And they connected, and they acted, and they manifested these changes.

And these changes, these manifestations of these dreams in the world—whether it’s David, whether it’s beautiful art, or a beautiful song, or a beautiful change in humanity, or a great freedom that we have earned—these are all dreams manifested on Earth.

The Message of Manifesting Michelangelo

My message is the same message that’s been around since the dawn of man, and that is that you, with the faith of a child and the mind of a child, if you believe and you act in absolute faith you can go out there and perform the miraculous. You can go out there and actually manifest changes on the level of miraculous.

Joseph Farrell Talks About Manifesting Change

Reading Manifesting Michelangelo is an Experience

So many of us go through life feeling that we are not making a difference in the world or that we may never reach our true potential.

Reading Manifesting Michelangelo has the potential to change your perspective of life. You can begin to see your life as a grand synchronistic puzzle where all the pieces and events are leading you to a perfect moment.

Book Cover for Manifesting MichelangeloAs Farrell shares the events that greatly shaped his life, his words have a spark to them. You feel his integrity, warmth, and heart. By the time you finish this inspirational book you will feel as though you have found a new friend: someone who is there to help you ignite your inner passion and a sense of purpose. You will sense that you are significant in the world and can make a difference. The five simple steps shared at the end of the book can ignite those sparks of energy that may be laying dormant inside.

Most of us experience life events that seem to thwart our inner callings and creative urges. Farrell speaks to those moments that often alter our path and lead us to conformity. He helps us understand how to use those times so we can become more self-aware and regain our sense of self purpose.

By the time you finish this heart-felt true story, after you see the evidence and pictures, when you’re finished reading the confirmation from scientists and medical doctors, you will know without a doubt the power of your intentions.

I love this book and feel it will play an important role in advancing human potential. Joseph Pierce Farrell’s story is a catalyst.

This book reminds me of something an NLP teacher once said to me: “If one person can do something, it is possible to model it and teach it to others.”

—Sandy Breckenridge

Visit Amazon, to learn more > Manifesting Michelangelo by Joseph Pierce Ferrall

Quantum Healing with Dr. Shui Yin Lo

Dr. Lo is a quantum physicist who is working to prove the existence of qi (chi)  through quantitative, scientific means.

This is a transcription of the following video that was first screened  at the Institute of Noetic Sciences by Dr. Lo who was seeking funding for his research.

Quantum Healing

My name is Dr. Shui Yin Lo. My background is theoretical physics. Currently, I’m professor of Chinese medicine at the American University of Complementary Medicine.

One of the most mysterious elements of Chinese medicine is qi, the light or force of human beings.

When I passed my age of forty, I started to feel weak and [sought] out qi gong masters to improve my health.

The qi gong masters understand how the qi works, but they cannot explain it through the language of modern science. It has become one of my life’s purposes, now, to explain qi gong through quantum theory and carry out experiments to verify the existence of qi and the efficiencies of qi gong in promoting health.

Qi Gong & Distance Healing

One of the most dramatic aspects of  qi is distance healing. Distance healing means that the healer does not touch the patient at all. It’s my intention to show that distance healing can be understood within present day scientific theory.

Now, we want to expand the mechanism of distance healing. In Chinese medicine, the bodies line up with meridians. We postulate that meridians are made up of water clusters. The water clusters have a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on the other side. Along the meridians, they line up in an orderly fashion, like this chain (holds up chain). When they shake, the actuated waves will be emitted. This would become a component of the external qi. The healer’s water clusters would emit chi—which is already inside the actuated waves—that travel through empty space that is absorbed by water clusters of the patient’s.

Atoms in Quantum FieldThe next step is to find out what qi is. This is where quantum theory comes about.

We define qi as a quantum field, like [how] we define light and sound with quantum fields. Once qi is defined rigorously in quantum field, then it is possible to assign rigorous experimental devices to yield quantitative results that are repeatable and can be accepted by any skeptic.

Importance of Quantum Theory

Every educated person should learn quantum theory as applied to their big life. We live in a world where human power is so powerful that it supersedes the natural power. It’s necessary for everyone to know quantum theory so everyone knows the most fundamental, most basic theory that governs everything that’s surrounding us and inside us.

I’ve treated hundred of patients in the course of two years, and every single time when I put infrared images on the patients and take photographs of them before and after my treatments, they show remarkable change.

As a healer, I know I’m healing them. As a scientist, I’m really intrigued. It’s my belief that everyone can do what I’m doing. Everyone can be a healer. Everyone can learn quantum theory. Everyone can be a more divine and spiritual and more advanced person.

Video on Quantum Healing with Dr. Lo

Healing Visions: A Film by Annie Gusman Joly

The following film and transcription follows the artistic expression of Annie Gusman Joly.

Annie describes her creative path and how starting in 1986when she attended classes at the Esalen Institutehow her relationship to painting deepened and opened a door to healing.

Perhaps her journey may provide inspiration for others to move beyond fear and channel their energy into a path of healing no matter what chosen medium to fuel a space for healing.

Annie Gusman Joly’s film, Healing Visions, is about how the act of painting has helped her heal emotional wounds.

Annie Gusman Joly’s Healing Visions

Painting of a Face by Annie Gusman JolyI started painting for myself in 1986.

I took a workshop at Esalen Institute, and when I arrived I had no what I was going to paint. I had been an illustrator over 10 years, and I was just feeling the need to paint for myself to do something different. I thought maybe I would paint the scenery. I was painting in a beautiful building on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and I stood there with a giant white piece of paper and my hand just started to move. And I was totally amazed at what came out.

And the more I painted, the more came out. Even though the paintings were very dark as far as imagery, it was a great release to do them. It was discovering a whole new part of myself that I did not know had existed. When I look at the paintings now, it seems that I had some kind of awareness, some kind of precognition, because that year my mother committed suicide.

Using Intuition

People are afraid to paint because they don’t know where to start. Seeing that piece of white paper is very scary, but it is also very exciting at the same time.

I don’t think too much about what I am going to paint, I just try to go on intuition. Sometimes I just put a color down, and that color has a certain feeling which will make me want to put another color next to it.

After my mother’s suicide I felt like I was leading a double life: the internal life and the external life. It made me feel very separate from other people. As you can imagine it was a very, very dark and very difficult time for me. But I knew that I had to do something. I started to paint again, because I remembered how comforting the paintings had been to me when I painted at Esalen.

Healing Through Painting

Painting by Annie Gusman JolyIn one of my favorite paintings called “My Healer,” I realized that my healing was up to me. The paintings became a practice, like meditation . . . like dance . . . like poetry.

It’s very important to suspend judgment at the painting. I still occasionally look at something and say, like, “Oh, I don’t like that color. I think I’ll move this.” But now I think of it more as it’s only a part of painting that I don’t like, and I know that’s going to happen.

And maybe it’s just the tension in the painting that helps me move on, that helps me finish the painting. And I really try not to judge it as though I would if I went to museum.

It’s about those early paintings . . . there is a lot of demons flying around. And the demons are really scary at that point, I am really afraid. They look mean. They look angry, because that’s really how I am feeling inside.

As the months progressed, the demons became my friends. For example, after her death, I had an incredible dream. The dream was very scary at the time, but when I actually started to work on the piece, the whole mood, the whole character, of the painting changed into one of benevolence and compassion, and kindness and healing.

Listen to the Paintings Speak

In the early nineties, I met a man named Shaun McNiff. He taught me that it’s really not a good idea to talk about paintings, and that so many of us judge paintings according to somebody’s criteria. He taught me: don’t judge the painting. Don’t talk about the painting. It’s just as if the painting has a soul and a being of it’s own. So when I look at the paintings, what I do is pretend that they are actually a person.

For example, you wouldn’t talk about a friend who came into the room and said, “Wow, that dress looks really bad with those shoes,” you know, or, “That hat is really the wrong color.”

What I like to do is have the paintings speak to me.

Most of the time, I stand when I paint. I feel like if my whole body is involved rather than my hand and my brain, things seem to flow better.

When you paint with no judgment, things happen that you don’t expect. And it’s a journey. It’s like going on a trip to a foreign country, a place like you had never been before.

It’s almost like a door. It’s really not the grief any more; the grief is turned into a door. Where I know that these images will come . . . I just know that.

Speaking Truth

Annie Gusman JolyI think it’s easier to speak your truth when you are not doing something for money. These paintings were created for me; they came from a flow that was inside. So I feel free . . . I feel free to create what I want to create without worrying about the end result.

When I first started doing these paintings, I was little nervous to show them to people, because I thought they would think I was really strange, kind of crazy. Slowly, but surely, when I started to share them with some people, it was really amazing to hear their reaction. I think everybody relates to them in some manner in their own life. Everybody’s had loss, everybody’s had some problems.

I never feel like I run out of things to paint. I have an endless well of imagery that I feel now can come out at anytime. I never felt like this before I started these paintings.

When I’m in a room full of my paintings, I feel that I am with my best friends. It’s like something else is at work and things are not as they appear, and that there is another force going on within us. And that if we just can connect with . . . I don’t know, just makes me smile.

Abstract Art Energy Paintings by Keren Or Benafshi

The “Follow Your Joy” series spotlights individuals who are transforming their lives and the lives of others by listening to their inner bliss.

Artist, Keren Or Benafshi’s joy lead her to a deep connection with nature that resulted in a growing passion to create a special form of abstract art.

After spending much time in an Australian rainforest, Keren found a new life journey through transferring the connections she found in nature into energy art. Each artistic creation holds the intention to again transfer this intelligent design to the viewer.

The following interview highlights Keren’s journey and shares insight on her art creation process.

Energy Art by Keren Or Benafshi

Sandy Breckenridge: Greetings Keren, Thank you for this opportunity to interview you from across the globe!

We are delighted to have this opportunity to dialogue with you about your beautiful energy paintings and abstract art, such as this first piece, the Lovers shown to the right.

absract lovers by keren benafshiFirst we would like to share with our site’s viewers a little bit about your background before we discuss your art philosophy and your artistic techniques.

Can you share your background with us and how you were called to become a spiritual artist?

Meditating in the Rainforest

Keren Benafshi: After military service in Israel, I decided to travel around the world. I spent a year in India then went on to Thailand.

Next I went on to Australia where I felt I was in heaven the the moment I went inside the rainforest. I felt home for the first time in my life and felt like I belonged.

As a child I always felt different from the environment in Israel. My clothing, way of talking; dancing in the streets instead of walking. I always felt I could sense the deepest feelings in people.

I lived for a year next to a tea tree lake in a tent and I ended up staying there for two years living inside this rainforest. I would mediate for hours reflecting on the parts of the trees and different plants. The longer I looked into my environment the deeper I started to see.  After a few months I was able to actually see what looked to me like the atom structures of all that exits around me.

Realization All is One

You may call it energies, atom, pixels, vibrations…really all the same meaning using different words. The wild rainforests  and scenic deserts of Australia is where I came to the great realization that “all is one.”

All the universe is like one big geometrical nut that is made of an infinity of geometrical shapes through frequency and movement.

Everything we see is made of an infinite layers which creates matter as we know it. The deeper we are able to see we see these geometrical shapes that are made of little dots.

Fitness of a Spiritual Artist

Sandy: What an exciting and expansive time of life that must have been for you. In my world I would call that a spiritual awakening. I can understand how this experience lead you to become a spiritual artist.

keren benafshiKeren: Yes, to become a spiritual artist (to channel love vibrations) means to be able to let go of self judgmental, empty your thoughts, and become a vessel for the universe’s vibrations to flow through you…to let go, not think, and just be.

My suggestions are to practice meditation every day and spend a good deal of time in your life living out in nature….to do so is soul cleansing.

Also, take care of your body because if you want to be a clear channel you have to be ready and in shape. So its good to exercise everyday. I feel when a person is opening to a connection to the universe and to channel their body vibration moves faster and faster and if they don’t take care of their body they could end up getting hurt because of being out of shape.

Sandy: I can get that. I find that when we try to do to much our body can say, wait a minute … slow down! So to channel — you are saying —  exercise regularly so that you are prepared physically, as well as spiritually, and mentally, to channel what comes to you.

Perhaps, people sometimes create energy blocks because they are not ready for everything they take on.

Now I like to ask, what drew you to the artistic mediums you use in your energy paintings?

The Vibrancy in Benafshi’s Abstract Art

art abstractKeren: I create my art images with fluorescent acrylics colors. I actually developed my own mix. (This are image shown to the left is an image before exposing it to a black light.)

I started to create my art first by using regular acrylics paints. But, I soon realized I wasn’t getting the vitality I see in nature in the way I love to represent it.

While I was looking at the sunrise and seeing how everything shines and glows, and then looking under water at the living colors I knew I wanted to recreate what I saw. So I started to research fluorescent colors.

I soon found that all fluorescent colors are not the same quality. Some on the market are not very good and cracks when the paint becomes dry or the fluorescent diminishes after a while.

I kept researching. Then I found colors that were that were vibrant were made with a large percentage of phosphorus, which can be quite dangerous to the artist’s health. So I kept experimenting.

I eventually had ordered fluorescent acrylic paint from over 20 different countries which lead me to find the right mix with the lowest percent of chemicals while still retaining vivid hues and vibrancy that would last for years.

Sandy: It is evident that you figured that out the magic formula when we view your paintings. I love the example of the vibration we see here in a painting before introducing it to black light and after!

This is what drew me to your beautiful images. There is so much movement and vibrancy in your art.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and the intent you wish to convey in your paintings?
the golden rectangle

The Golden Rectangle & the Creative Process

Keren: During the first two years when I was creating my paintings I would do so with eyes closed.

Then my third year people that came to my exhibitions began telling me that I was using the golden section (the golden rectangle).

I didn’t know what they meant. So I started to read science books so I could learn more of what my paintings depicted. Doctors who came to my exhibitions began showing me parts of my paintings and shared how they were comparable to illustrations in medical books (photos from inside human being body, essentially, how they were the same.

So I soon realized each of my paintings just may have healing powers. I started to experiment with different people who had various illnesses and I we found relating to the art seemed to actually promote healing in most of them.

Now, when I finish each painting I take a whole month to view the painting and take in “what each art piece tells me.” I actually hear a voice inside of me that explains each of the images intent and what they are about.

Movement in Art as a Catalyst for Healing

Sandy: That is exciting that your spiritual art is a catalyst for healing! What type of healing do you wish to invite with your art, or is it just random, as in whatever shows up?

Karen: While I was living in the rainforest I realized that healing relies on movement; all we choose we experience and everything that enters us moves out of us too.

Movement is basic to existence. Movement means liveliness = health = happiness = renewal and above all experience. Our life is an accumulation of different experiences. The dot is a circle where all ends and all starts.

black light paintingThe unsymmetrical of the symmetry creates movement, while we create a perfect symmetry, we create symbols, or I like to say a static position without a flicker wave.

Because we are living between walls most of the time we should at least put art on the walls in our environments. The kind of art that provides movement to make the wall disappear!

As an artist, my wish is to portray joy, love, and harmony while incorporating nature and the wilderness, and the warmth of the sun and bring this into everyday urban life.

Sandy: What are your future creative plans?

Keren: Funny question, Sandy! The future is the mystery of life and this the beauty of life as well. We can never know what the future holds for us. I wish to keep working with light, people, and the life within my paintings.

Sandy: Thank you so much for sharing this time with us. We appreciate the love you extend into your art, thus out into the world. Any last words you would like to share.

Keren: Yes, now is the time for all of us to fulfill our dreams. The universe is shifting into higher vibrations of love; Future, present, and past are one. I want to tell everyone to let go of their fears, be loved and love, and be in peace.

Thank you, Sandy, blessings!

Sandy: Thank you so very much Keren. Do keep us informed on your new paintings and drop by and let us know of some of the experiences people while interacting with your art. We would love to stay in touch.

To learn more view > Keren Or Benafshi Energy Art Paintings