WHAT ARE HEARTSHOPS?
HEARTshops invite you to tap into the deepest yearnings of your heart; to return to a state of play, to move and to make art. They are not about learning how to create art, or writing or dance; nor are they about making the best or most beautiful ‘anything.’ Through guided intimate gatherings that encourage joyous and soulful expression, your whole body will engage in peeling off layers that shield your creative core. HEARTshops hold a space where you can connect to the deepest parts of your be-ing; to your heart – and to the art that resides within you. 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 out the fullest dimensions of yourself, straight from the heart.
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, the heart. Your heart is your beacon, always linking to your deepest self, and connecting you to truths long buried or not yet unearthed.
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.
*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.
*PLEASE CONTACT ME TO DISCUSS HOW WE CAN COLLABORATE!*
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 being. Who hasn’t listened closely to their heart, and in hushed tones, acknowledged a missing piece, a yearning for something or somewhere else?
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, 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.org, 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, 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. ~ Jaiya L., 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.
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.
As an art therapist, I am familiar with this approach to artmaking and value it highly. There is something very special about “being allowed” to put marks on paper without any pressure to produce something “good”. It was an enriching experience and I would encourage you to try it! ~ Anthea C., Australia/Bali, March 2017.