What are HEARTshops?
HEARTshops are experiential workshops that invite you to tap into your forgotten yearnings; to move, to imagine, to write and to make art. They are not about learning how to make art, or how to write or even how to dance; they certainly don’t involve any “work,” nor are they about making the best or most beautiful ‘anything.’
HEARTshops are about returning to a state of play, nature, and curiosity.
HEARTshops are about creating your art while tapping into your heart. Through guided intimate gatherings that encourage joyous and soulful expression, your whole body will engage in peeling off layers that shield your creative core. Whether in a private session or through group collaborative art-making, gift yourself the time to unleash your creativity and find a renewed sense of well-being and serenity.
Liberating yourself from self-imposed limits and external constraints.
Stashing your monkey mind behind the door. Stand up. Start anew.
Calling up your spirit, weaving through the fullest dimensions of yourself.
Finding joy, self-healing, increased sensory awareness and self-confidence.
Each of us, even those largely guided by reason and the intellect, or those who have forgotten the unadulterated joys and curiosities of childhood; each of us possesses a unique ability to turn inwards, listen to and lead from, our core. Your heart is your beacon, always linking to your deepest self, and connecting you to truths long buried or not yet unearthed.
WHAT WE DO
Expressive Arts / Intuitive Painting. * With hands-on projects, no previous arts-related experience – professional, amateur or otherwise – is required. All you need is a desire to join others in tapping into your heart – and creative spirit.*
HEART-centered mindfulness. Visualization / Guided Imagery. Writing. Walking Meditation. Movement. Exploring nature. Intentional Observation. Yoga / Gentle stretching. Relaxation. Silence.
*Forest-Bathing / Beach-Walking. A restorative stroll (or power-walk) involves mindful attention to the space we occupy as we move our bodies. Using a combination of Narrative Therapy practice, silent contemplation, stretching, art-making and other modalities (as they arise or planned for, in advance), we engage the body, mind and spirit to uncover and imagine what lies below – and ahead.
*Art @ Dawn. Welcome the day in silent contemplation and self-expression. Unleash creativity through collaborative art-making. Bask in the quiet hours of morning, then transition smoothly into the coming day.
*Meet your Creative Core: Welcome your inner artist. Discover the power & JOY of art and movement. Delve into the creative process in a peaceful, supportive and non-judgmental environment.
*Artable Hours: Unplug. Cut the cubicle. Hang up your suit jacket. Give up the heels. Loosen your tie. Roll up your sleeves. Switch off your phone, tablet & laptop. Breathe. Make art. We bring color and creativity into the corporate / hi-tech / digital nomad class.
*Cross-Cultural Awareness & Sensitivity: Deepen your awareness of connection to those of varied backgrounds – language, culture, experience, disability – through understanding, empathy and support. Collaborative art-making with a purpose: transcending linguistic borders and cultural boundaries.
*Wisdom of Girls & Women. The lives of Girls and Women can be fraught with misunderstanding, uncertainty, wavering self-esteem and confidence. But set aside the head and mind, welcome in the heart and soul – and reach for the whispers of the heart. Expressive arts are a vehicle for accessing inner strength, wisdom and compassion.
*Painless Arts: Healing from Chronic Pain, Depression & Trauma. An opportunity for you to explore and express your feelings and emotions as you struggle with the often-debilitating aspects of living with pain. Unearth buried grief & beliefs. Tap into your resilience & truth. Connect to inner longings through process, practice and peace.
*The Liminal Sessions: An Exploration of Self-Discovery in Strange Times (3 Parts) During these months of chaotic pause, we inhabit the in-between. Somewhere between the known past and the unknown future. Neither here nor there. In these very Covidesque times, our lives are suspended in a liminal space. Through imaginative writing, art-making, rituals and engaging conversation, unshackle your own splendour buried deep within the ambiguities of a world gone haywire.
*PLEASE CONTACT ME TO DISCUSS HOW WE CAN COLLABORATE!*
MY CREATIVE SOURCE
My background in art and art education led to teaching art at summer camp and leading art classes at a village school in the jungles of Nepal – where children drew their environment; huts, birds, hippos and deer.
Later, buoyed by a broader appreciation for the arts, and a realization that the ‘education’ and ‘training’ of art was stifling creativity in too many people, I embarked on a new process – that included a no-rules approach to creative expression.
Among my community-wide arts initiatives, the September 11th Peace Quilt Project brought together quilters, artists and others into a space where they could safely and creatively gather to express grief, solidarity and hope. The quilt still hangs today in a Montreal homeless men’s shelter.
In the beginning, I led creative workshops – but creativity + work didn’t get along. So I excised “work,” so laden with negative connotations about the the drudgery of office life. Then I toyed with the idea of calling them playshops – but these gatherings transcended play per se; they were about excavating the depths of soul and experience, teasing through layers of personal history, unearthing clarity, expressing pain, observing and connecting, discovering joy and empathy, kneading out the knots of a life not fully lived.
Which is how HEARTshops came into fruition.
Mindful that each person’s journey is individual and subjectively experienced, I always urge participants to leave their judgments (towards themselves as to others) behind; to refrain from using loaded words such as ‘good’ and ‘bad’; and to allow themselves to open up to the abundance of their creativity – in a safe and joyful space.
I have led
workshops playshops HEARTshops in Canada, Nepal, Cambodia and Indonesia. If this process appeals to you, and you would be interested in discussing individual exploration, or small-group gatherings (via Skype too), I would love to hear from you.
I really enjoyed your workshop on creative arts. To begin with you encouraged each one of us to share significant events and/or details that molded us to be who we are. You set the atmosphere to be fun, friendly and not judgmental. ~ Lillian S., Montreal, January 2011
The participants, both Khmer and foreign, hailed from a variety of occupations, some NGO workers, some English teachers, others small business owners who worked in pairs to enhance communication methods using paints, and other tools. Participants had lots to say about the experience. One participant was “refreshed [about] the meditative aspect of artwork, and enjoyed the people and Amit’s easy charm”. ~ Kinyei, Battambang (Cambodia), March 2011
I love creating – so thank you, Amit, for creating the space, setting us up, nurturing our creativity and expression. ~ Kimberley A., February 2012
All I really wanted was to go to bed and pull the covers over my head. But that seemed such a wimpy way out. In the end, I made myself go to Amit’s afternoon workshop. I was so glad I did. I completely forgot about the growling stomach. 3 hours of sharing a beautiful space with some lovely people while we encouraged our inner children to come out to play worked magic. By the time we finished, all the tensions of the morning had drained away and I cycled off home relaxed, renewed, and very glad I’d gone. ~ Kristi G., May 2012
Amit’s workshop was a mixture of activities that allowed me to openly explore different modes of expression in a safe and friendly atmosphere. I had a lot to reflect on after the workshop which shows that the activities touched deeply beneath the surface. Amit’s soft and open manner helped me feel comfortable and at ease. ~ Susan A., July 2012
I like that the painting was free style and whatever flows through, you paint. I liked how Amit was easy flowing and gave me a good idea about being in the moment of painting. I learned how to observe from different perspectives, up close and far away. ~ Jaya L. (age 11), Bali March 2017
In a blink of an eye people around me were completely absorbed in the act of “creating”, “letting it all go” and just expressing their inner world on a piece of paper. Amit reminded all of us just how important it is to disconnect from the daily hassle and gadgets and find time to nurture and continuously explore your creativity. ~Alexandrina, Livit, Bali, March 2017.
Standing up to paint is a really nice approach to making art. Facing a large blank piece of paper taped to the wall was not intimidating at all – rather an exciting invitation to dive in and see what happens! Amit welcomed us warmly and explained the process (a blend of mindfulness, playfulness and creative expression), before an invitation to pick up a brush and get started. At the end of the painting session we sat down to share thoughts and ideas about both the process and the painting. ~ Kristin F., Bali, April 2017.
Amit has a very gentle and respectful approach in talking about the artwork, encouraging the artists to share their insights, as well as providing her own. I found her observations about my painting were really insightful and gave an added depth to the image in front of me. It was an enriching experience and I would encourage you to try it! ~ Anthea C., Australia/Bali, March 2017.
My “sleeping artist” was happy to slowly be awakened by gentle movements and suddenly the first brush stroke were made and inspiration and creativity were starting to flow so easily. Art@dawn was a beautiful way to start the day! ~ Agneta J., Sweden/Bali, June 2018.
Thank you Amit for offering this beautiful workshop. I enjoyed the painting in silence, the group energy and to witness the diversity of drawings during the closing. And of course your guidance.🙏🏻❤️ ~ Aneesha vG, Switzerland/Bali, June 2018
I experienced a full range of emotions thanks to your skillful guidance & came out with some awesome paintings from the heart. ~ Lisa B., Australia/Bali, June 2018
I was visiting Bali and looking for a little something to spark my creativity and get my mind and body moving, but didn’t have time to attend a week long retreat. Amit’s Heartshop was just the thing! She is very generous, patient and supportive. Her insights into my work encouraged me to think deeper and push my ideas further. It gave me just the inspirational push I needed at the start of my new journey. ~ Julie P., Chicago. June 2019.
During my Heartshop, Amit created a supportive environment to set the tone, starting with stillness, breathing, contemplation and poetry. While I painted, she wandered in and out of the space, asking questions and providing input to stimulate the process. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but at the end of the session, Amit and I discussed my experience – which I’d unconsciously embarked on with preconceived ideas. Amit graciously agreed to leave her supplies and encouraged me to try again over the next couple of days. Instead of paint brushes, I decided on a more tactile approach; using my hands as tools, with no pre-defined expectation of creating “art”. Very powerful stuff! Thank you, Amit for your guidance and insights. ~ Cheryl G., Canada / Bali. November 2019
I have a place in Open Space. It’s where I speak and listen and laugh and care. It’s where I mosaic and read and paint and garden. It’s where I place my feet on the floor and breathe and stretch and settle. It’s where I can be just me, where we can be just us. Thank you Amit. ~ Cath S., Peebles, Scotland. Zoom @ COVID, 2020.
Amit’s weekly Open Space has been a welcomed and welcoming oasis amid Covid isolation. Though living across the globe we are connected by supporting one another as we each navigate the perils of our times. Individually we isolate sacred moments to create as our whims whisper, and our journey’s lead us. Ever so grateful to Amit for this cocoon of time. ~ Heidi S. Massachusetts, USA. Zoom @ COVID, 2020.
*What Are You Waiting For? Let’s Get Creative!*
“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves