How To Have More of The Life You Want.

How to have more of the life you want

I am writing a book title “Sobriety Now What?” to help people sustain sobriety and recovery. In doing so I am researching the importance of finding our direction. One way is listing your top ten values and living within them. However, today I want to share another way that may be a clearer way to live ones life. To create our own personal code or list of virtues like Ben Franklin and so many other successful and creative people have before us.

Some call it a code of honor, a list of virtues, a moral code. Below are Benjamin Franklin 13 Virtues as well as a list of Ben’s 13 Virtues. I did not write the below they came from two separate websites. 1. 2. CNN the wisdom project at I encourage everyone to check them out. Another recommended website is warriormindcoach that has a great article on creating an honor code. 

For art therapist: Creating a code can be used in an art therapy technique allowing poeple to explore what living a life with their personal code would look like in a collage. Materials: magazines, glue, scissors, 12×18″ paper. Enjoy!

   In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character.

In his autobiography , Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as:

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

“I propos’d to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex’d to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr’d to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express’d the extent I gave to its meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin


Below is from – CNN The Wisdom Project: 

Ben Franklin’s ’13 Virtues’ path to personal perfection

By David G. Allan, CNN

Updated 5:03 AM ET, Thu March 1, 2018
“Ben Franklin considered various virtues that, if mastered, would lead him to perfectionStory highlights

  • After 10 years of following Franklin’s example, I am more industrious, patient, mindful and healthy

This essay is part of a column called The Wisdom Project by David Allan, editorial director of CNN Health and Wellness. The series is on applying to one’s life the wisdom and philosophy found everywhere, from ancient texts to pop culture. You can follow David at @davidgallan. Don’t miss another Wisdom Project column; subscribe here.

(CNN)Of the many inventions (bifocals, odometer), accomplishments (US postal system, Constitution) and experiments (that kite in a lightning storm) credited to Benjamin Franklin, none of his contributions to humanity, in my opinion, outshines his brilliantly simple method for self-improvement.

“A bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection” is how America’s least controversial and most industrious statesman described his method of personal betterment in his autobiography. I’ll call his big life hack “13 Virtues,” and for about 10 years, I performed Franklin’s experiment on myself.

He devised it so anyone could become their best possible self. And although I have fallen short of that lofty goal many times, the enjoyable years I have spent working on 13 Virtues has led to demonstrative progress toward a more virtuous life.

How it works

Franklin started by taking a critical look at his behavior, and he found that too often he traveled down unvirtuous roads that “natural inclination, custom or company might lead me into,” as he put it.

He fell short of his ideal in more than a dozen areas of his life, he concluded. He ate and drank too much. He talked too much, especially about himself. He spent more money than he should. He didn’t finish all his goals. And so on. In other words, he wrestled with the very same human urges, flaws and proclivities that now fuel our New Year’s resolutions and the ever-booming market of self-help books.


Drawing upon your own life experiments

Then he considered various virtues that, if mastered, would counteract his unwanted behavior. His list of 13: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity and Humility.

Thirteen wasn’t a nod to the original colonies, nor was it random. He chose 13 because that number fits neatly into a calendar. Multiply it by four, and you get 52, the number of weeks in a year.

Franklin would take a single virtue at a time, work on it for a week and then move on to the next. Trying to fix everything that’s wrong with you all at once is overwhelming, he decided. The virtuous path needs to be broken down to give each area some concentrated time of intention and effort. Every 13 weeks, the cycle repeats itself.

He accounted for his progress on a chart and shared his scheme with others. Modern social science has since proved that tracking and accountability are two key components of successful habit formation. He was also hundreds of years ahead of the curve for the fun and addictive trend of gamification.

I came across 13 Virtues in college. It was mentioned in a couple of paragraphs in the middle of a magazine article about Franklin, but reading it was like that key tied to the end of Franklin’s kite in the storm: It charged a sudden desire to try the method myself.

Adopting and adapting

In his autobiography, Franklin recommends that all his readers take the 13 Virtues challenge if they seek moral perfection. He defines each virtue, explains how they build upon one another and outlines how to chart one’s progress.

As excited as I was to try it out, I hacked the experiment slightly in a way that I hope Franklin would have approved.

First, I didn’t adopt his list of virtues wholesale, although it was a good starting place. I took my own long, honest look in the mirror and chose virtues that better countered my personal shortcomings. I even asked my friends about my faults, because we’re easily blind to them. Franklin explained how Humility was added to his list after a friend told him he needed to work on it. “To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama has since pointed out.

Start a new (good) habit, kill an old (bad) one

Secondly, I didn’t simply track how well I thought I exemplified a given virtue, as Franklin did. Instead, I gave myself specific tasks to complete each week. For me, these were more measurable and helped me take a step closer to that virtue. I volunteered for a charity, stopped procrastinating over a project, meditated, wrote poetry, wrote letters to friends, read interesting books, tried new ways to save money and started new workout routines.

And I tracked my progress in a notebook. I first wrote down the definitions for my own 13 virtues, kept a list of ideas for weekly goals for each virtue and then made entries stating my goal and my self-assessment at the end. I kept this up over five marble notebooks for a decade.

I also reassessed my list every year or two, swapping out virtues over time. My final list, 10 years in, was Morality, Industry, Friendliness, Erudition, Frugality, Flexibility, Civic Duty, Introspection, Patience, Spirituality, Creativity, Mindfulness and Healthfulness. Two were lifted from Franklin’s list.

The weekly tasks were often fun. One week, for Friendliness, I’d call a friend every day. Another week, I’d attempt going vegan for Morality. Erudition sent me looking up every word I came across and didn’t know. Sometimes, I just learned something — or something about myself — and other times, 13 Virtues became a reason to do something enjoyable or interesting, especially in categories such as Creativity or Erudition. Other weeks weren’t as enjoyable, but they all felt like self-improvement. Because 13 weeks is a predictable schedule, I could plan ahead and incorporate vacations and holidays.

Self-improvement experiments can be gratifying even while they’re self-improving. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has famously given himself interesting annual goals such as meeting a new person every day, learning Mandarin, writing thank-you notes and reading a book every fortnight.

The ‘know thyself’ weight loss resolution

The road to perfection can take many routes and is worth the journey, even if you never arrive at the destination.

Although I’ve taken a break from 13 Virtues, there are some experiments and projects I still do today that were forged in its fire. I started writing letters to myself in the future during a week of Introspection and kept it up ever since. I’ve drawn the spines of every book I’ve read for more than 20 years, which started as a single sketch during a week of Creativity.

Other long-lasting effects are less tangible but no less real. After all that time thinking about these virtues and trying to embody then, the net effect is that I am, for example, more industrious, patient, mindful and healthy than before I started.

Virtues and vices

The experiment also sparked a new interest in the subject of virtues. What they are, and how did human progress reach the notion of personal ideals? Philosophically, I found it interesting to consider how fine a line there could be between a virtue and a vice. For example, frugality is a virtue, yet being stingy is a vice. Self-confidence is a virtue but egotism a vice. There are some virtues, it seems, where too much of a good thing falls back into the category of shortcoming, such as being “too nice” or “too busy.”

How to stop being annoyed by life

My 13 Virtue notebooks contain lists of them as defined elsewhere, including the Puritan Cardinal Virtues, Socratic virtues, Gandhian ones, Islamic, Buddhist, journalistic, Girl Scouts and bushido (the seven virtues of the samurai warrior), to name a few.

The notion that there are guideposts pointing us in the direction of our better selves is as old as religion, and yet it doesn’t need religion to perpetuate them. 13 Virtues is secular dogma anyone can easily adopt.

Mission accomplished

After 10 years, I stopped tracking 13 Virtues. I’m perfect now — except for Humility, I suppose.

No, the real reason is that I decided to move on to other self-improvement experiments, and I did this one long enough to prove to myself its effectiveness. I can always pick it back up again, as I did before writing this column to see whether it held up. I concluded that it’s as solid now as when I first took the plunge back in college.

Franklin didn’t reach the peak of the virtue mountain, either.

Subscribe to this column

Don’t miss another Wisdom Project column by subscribing here.

“On the whole, tho’ I never arrived at the Perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell short of it,” he wrote. “Yet as I was, by the Endeavor, a better and a happier Man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”

I couldn’t agree more. I am a better and happier person for my years of enjoyable labor in the virtue labor camp. And like Franklin, I can’t recommend the experiment enough, no matter how long you endeavor at it.”

I encourage you all to write a code to live by or a list of virtues for yourselves starting today.


My best,


Posted in Art Therapy, Inspiration, Relationships, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

8 Lessons on Financial Prosperity

dont give up

I copied this wonderful blog from Marc at Enlight8. Check out his sight it is a good one. I am almost finished with reading The Richest Man in Babylon. A book that this blog is based on. If you google the name of the book you can download a free PDF copy.  I found it very helpful explaining the book in an easy way to understand the foundations of financial prosperity. If you have ever struggled with finances. This book and blog may help you end this. I also have a free wealth building visualization on my website you are always welcome to download to help you in this new mindset. Enjoy! and remember happy people live happy lives. What do you chose today? May happiness be with you. My best, Stuart


January 7, 2013 Marc

In 1926, George Samuel Clason published a series of pamphlets written in parables that was set in the ancient city of Babylon.  The book became known as The Richest Man in Babylon and has become a classic in financial literature.  I first encountered this little book when I graduated college and was blown away by the simplicity of the story and by the tried-and-true lessons it presented for accumulating wealth.

The story sprang from the characters Bansir who was a chariot builder and Kobbi who was a musician. The two had become the best at their craft but yet had no money and were poor.  They went out to seek the advice of their childhood friend Arkad who in contrast had grown very rich and amassed fortunes.

The lessons that Arkad provided for his friends was the premise of the book and they are lessons of wealth building habits that I believe every rich person had followed to accumulate their wealth. Below are lessons in this book that has helped me and many others become financially stable and wealthy and I believe these lessons will help all of us build a firm financial foundation on our way to becoming the richest person we can become.


  1. Pay Ourselves First ( “Start thy purse to fattening.”)

One of the greatest lesson the book has taught is this first lesson. When Bansir and Kobbi seeked the advice of their very wealthy friend Arkad he tells them a story. Arkad was once a poor scribe who made a deal with a rich man to find out the secret to wealth in exchange for his work on a clay inscription.  The rich man gave him a very valuable advice  “I found the road to wealth,” he said, “When I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.”   Although this is a very subtle message it is very powerful in accumulating wealth.   We cannot accumulate wealth if we do not save what we earned.  We can do that by paying ourselves first and foremost before we spend any of the money we have earned.

Did you ever wonder why the U.S. government takes taxes on our wages before we can get to it?  The U.S. government (IRS) knows this law well.  They pay themselves first with our money.   This is why we must be vigilant to pay ourselves first with every money we earn.  The book recommends that we pay ourselves 10% of all that we earn.   For every dollar that we earn, 10 cents should go to pay the person you see in the mirror every morning. You may call it the “Me Tax” if you like. The difference between rich financially stable people versus poor broke people is knowing this first rule. Wealthy people pay themselves first and poor people do not. Before we start paying others or start spending the money we earn we need to pay ourselves first.

“If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were youths, it is because you either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them.”

“A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be not less than a tenth no matter how little you earn. It can be as much more as you can afford. “

“Pay yourself first”

  1.   Live below our means. (“Control thy expenditures”)

If we have paid ourselves first at least 10% of what we earn that leaves us with 90% or less of our income to live on. Controlling our expenditures enable us to make good use of the money we have left over after we have paid ourselves.   There have been many advice on frugality over the years but I think it will not solve the problem for the majority of us until we truly define what money is to us and also define the difference of need vs. want.  I wrote about this on the guide to becoming smart about money.

“Budget your expenses so that you may have money to pay for your necessities, to pay for your enjoyments and to gratify your worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.”

The best advice to becoming wealthy is to keep expenditures down even when our earning power increases.  Many of us have the habit of spending more as we earn more and it’s not unusual to see someone splurging and suddenly their expenses go up as they start earning more.  For example, if we suddenly have a $2,000 – $3,000 raise it is best to maintain our current expense level as if the raise never happened. Instead we can tuck that extra money away into our savings or investment. Controlling expenditures will mean living below our means. When we live below our means we accumulate wealth faster.  We can think of it in this way, our earning power is our ‘offense’ and controlling our expenditures is our greatest ‘defense’.

  1. Make our money work for us.(“Make thy gold multiply”)

I believe this lesson is about investing our money and letting it work for us.   I personally believe that each and every one of us should think about investing only after we have built our savings and an Emergency Fund.  After we have accumulated 6-8 months worth of expenses in our Emergency Fund it is only then that we should consider about investing our money on other investment vehicles. Our Emergency Fund is a security blanket especially during this time of economic downturns.

 ” …put each coin to work so that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to you more income, a stream of wealth that will flow constantly into your purse.”

If everything else is good and gravy, making our money work for us is a great way to accumulate wealth.  There are many investment vehicles we can tackle but the best thing we should all be aware of is that we should never invest in anything we do not completely understand.  Investing our money will mean becoming knowledgeable about what we are investing in as well as the repercussions if the investment does not pan out as well as our potential exit strategies when we are ready to take our money out.  There are many ways we can invest our money such as stock markets, real estate, businesses, and so on.  We must do our diligent effort to find great investments so we ensure our money will multiply and work for us.

We should also invest our money to ensure we have a steady and safe income while taking advantage of compounding interest we receive from our investments.  Time is our biggest ally and as our investment accumulate interest and the money we get from the interest earns interest and so on this is how we can make our gold multiply.

  1. Insurance protects our wealth. (“Guard they treasures from loss.”)

Have you ever had a car accident?  I have.  I was in an intersection when a car on the left passed a red light and hit my car head on.  Thankfully we both did not get hurt. And thankfully we both had insurance.  Insurance helps safeguard our wealth by absorbing potential loss and mitigating our financial situation.   There are many insurance we can buy and we should  do our research on which one and how much we need.  A renter’s insurance or a homeowner’s insurance helps protect our homes. Another one is longterm insurance which become suitable to help us as we grow older and help protect us from medical expenses and long-term care.

We should all consider buying insurance now in case we need it if something happens.  This is a proactive approach and one we should take and not forget.   The idea is that we will never have to use the insurance but in case something does happen we are protected financially from the loss it would have caused.

  1. Our home is our biggest expense.(“Make of they dwelling a profitable investment”)

Our homes are potentially the biggest expense we have to tackle.  Many of us do not own a home and  instead rent one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I believe the lesson we can learn from this one is that we should manage our biggest expense smartly.  Many of us have decided to take on a huge mortgage to buy our home and after the real estate bust many were left with homes that lost their value and in many cases were underwater.   I believe the lesson we can learn from that was that we needed to ‘live below our means’ and  buy or rent a home we can comfortably afford.

Since our home is our biggest expense we must play great defense in this arena to lessen that expense as much as possible.  I learned this lesson when I bought my first home. I can afford a home twice as much as the price of my current home but I was  happy with the home I bought. It was affordable, in a location that I liked, and had enough space for myself.  I do not sweat the mortgage since it is comfortably affordable for me and I am trying to pay it off faster with the extra money I earn.

I know that many think their homes are an investment but the truth is it really is not.  It is an expense and a very high expense at that and one we must manage carefully.

  1. Have a retirement plan.(“Insure a future income.”)

A 25 year old earning an annual salary of $40,000 with an annual raise of say 3% will have earned an estimated $3 million if they retire by age 65. That’s about 40 years of working and earning.  We should have a retirement plan if we want to retire comfortably.   We can do that by setting  aside money to be invested for our retirement. There are many retirement investment plans out there such as 401K, Traditional IRA, Roth, etc.  The younger we can start putting money away for our retirement the better.  When we start putting money away for retirement early we take advantage of a magical thing called ‘compounding interest‘.

Our net-worth does not equal our self-worth. We need to keep them separated.

Compounding interest is known as the eight wonder of the world.  Benjamin Franklin knew of this knowledge.  Did you know that Benjamin Franklin left 1,000 pounds (about $5,000 in today’s money) when he died to a trust. He bequeathed that trust and left it to his favorite cities Philadelphia and Boston with the provision that the money was to remain untouched for as long as 200 years.  What was left in the trust after it grew was the amount of $2 million given to Philadelphia and a whooping $5 million for Boston. The lesson we can learn from this is to make time work for us when we plan for retirement by starting early. Time can be our retirement’s greatest friend.

“Remember that money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more.” – Benjamin Franklin

  1. Invest in ourselves. (“Increase thy ability to earn.”)

The best way we can increase our earning is by investing in ourselves.   We can do that by continually learning and striving to develop ourselves.  We are now in a very exciting time: the Information Age where knowledge is literally within our fingertips thanks to the Internet.  I really love the OpenCourseware idea where many schools including Ivy Leagues post their whole class courses for free. It’s a great way to learn on our own.  Another one is Coursera which has many online courses for free from Finance to Philosophy, check it out.

“Those eager to grasp opportunities for their betterment, do attract the interest of  the goddess of fortune. She is ever anxious to help those who please her. And who is she pleased with? She is pleased with those who do  – rather than those who merely talk and engage in wishful thinking. Action will lead you forth to the successes you desire.”

There are many things we can learn on our own and should strive to make ourselves well-rounded.  Whether we learn to eat more healthy, enhance our current work skills, or learn to make more money, we must take the initiative to invest in ourselves.   When we become smarter and wiser our ability to earn more also increases.

The 5 Rules of Gold from the “Richest Man in Babylon”

  1. Gold comes gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family
  2. Gold labours diligently and contentedly for the wiser owner who finds fir it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field
  3. Gold clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling
  4. Gold slips away from the man who invests it in business or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

8) Track Our Wealth.(Know where you are and where you are going.) 

In order for us to know where we stand financially we need to face the whole truth of our current situation.   We can do that by tracking our current wealth or lack thereof.   This is a tough exercise but we must face the truth of how we earn and spend our money in order for us to know where we are going.  There is a big difference between wealthy people and those who are not,  wealthy people know their net worth while the poor do not pay particular attention nor care at all about tracking their assets and liabilities.

“You cannot manage what you do not measure.”  – Bill Hewitt (co-founder of Hewlett Packard)

We can track our wealth by creating a spreadsheet of all our months earnings and expenses and tallying the difference between the money we earn and how much we spend.   When we do this work we are able to gauge how we are doing financially.   We can also track our net worth by calculating our assets versus our liabilities (our debt).   If you have not done this work yourself it is an eye-opening experience.  In order for us to fully develop a plan to be wealthy we need to learn how to track our wealth so that we may know where we want to go and create a plan to get there.

I hope you learn and enjoy this article on 8 lessons of wealth building from “The Richest Man in Babylon”.    Please feel free to share your advice and leave a comment for us.

Posted in Inspiration, Parables, Uncategorized, Wealth building | Leave a comment

20 De-stressing Art Therapy options

20 Art Therapy Activities You Can Try At Home To Destress

” Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso


Here is a list I copied from This list has some wonderful  stress busting tips from Jan Shultis that you will enjoy by yourself or with friends. Make life a little better today and do some art. My best, Stuart


Art therapy is a broad term used to refer to the practice of creating as a way to heal wounds of the mind or spirit. While art therapists are employed with increasing frequency at hospitals, nursing homes, in schools, and in treatment programs for a wide swatch of ailments, the rejuvenating, stress-busting results of such a practice are something we can all benefit from.


Invite your creative side out to dance with these 20 art therapy ideas you can pursue at home:


Design a postcard.


Have something to say? Give your words extra dimension by literally decorating them yourself. Writing to a person who caused you pain? Consider burning or otherwise destroying the postcard when you’re finished, as a symbol of your decision to move forward. Have the need to send it, but don’t want to invite them back into your life? Mail your anonymous thoughts to Post Secret.


Give thanks with cards of your own.


Focus on words and thoughts of gratitude, of your own design. Pick up a stack of blank cards and envelopes at a paper or craft store, or simply embellish a pre-made card. Consider offering thanks to those helping you through current troubles, or those who have helped you in the past. Already said “thanks” in person? A card is nice way to let folks know that they made a lasting impact.


Cut and paste a collage.


Not sure what to do with those advertisements and circulars scattered around the house? Take a pair of scissors to them, and let your imagination run wild. If you are seeking encouragement in a particular area – love, finances, body image, and so on – zero in on images that cause you to feel uplifted and positive, or ones that embody your goals. Use them as pieces of the larger puzzle of both your collage and healing.


Make a digital collage.


Short on art supplies, or simply more of a computer person? Fire up your laptop, and download one of many free collage programs. You can create a collage from your own photographs and memories, or conduct an online search to find images that resonate with you. Programs such as Photoshop will provide the most options, but more rudimentary programs such as Photoshop Elements, PowerPoint or some Adobe platforms offer enough for a first effort.


Draw in response to music.


Music is a form of art that is often said to move souls. Energize, relax, and otherwise give attention to yours by simply putting a pen or pencil to paper and moving it as the rhythm dictates. Sharp, staccato music may prompt you to draw jagged edges or bold lines; softer rhythms may encourage you to draw waves. Instrumental music is generally a more effective stress-buster than music with lyrics, because the mind is allowed to relax without distraction. If more formalized or finite images begin to emerge, allow it – the point of the exercise is to allow for creation without expectation or restraint.


Bring a motivational message to a colorful life.


Do you have a phrase or saying that makes you feel uplifted?  Cut the words out of magazines and arrange an encouraging display. Don’t have a “go to” phrase? Find generic words, such as “happy,” “joy,” “inspire,” and start with a general display of words. Crack open old journals for inspiration, or start a new art journal for your new creations.


Move those magnetic words around.


There is art in manipulating the written word, too. Tap into your inner poet and give yourself something nice to read every time you open the refrigerator door, with fridge art. A box of words can be rearranged in a seemingly infinite number of combinations. For only a few dollars, pick up boxes with theme-based verbiage, or boxes that include graphic images. Running low on inspiration?   Post a poem or story that resonates with you – just because someone else is the author, doesn’t mean you can’t still reap the relaxing rewards.


Bedazzle the box.


Most of us have a box of memorabilia tucked away somewhere (or bits of memorabilia scattered everywhere). Get organized and give your treasures a facelift by literally decorating the box you keep them in. Decor can be specific to a set of memories or time period, or more general. Decorating a box is also a great way to add to a time capsule or memory box given as a gift.


Create an affirmation you can carry with you.


Gain a more frequent boost from your art therapy efforts by creating a product that you can literally carry with you. Whether it’s a piece of jewelry, an article of clothing, or a key chain, choose images, words, and colors that remind you of how and what you want to feel. Not sure how to begin? Attend a class at a local craft store or gallery to get the creative juices flowing and brush up on techniques.


Brighten up old clothing.


Working through feelings of unworthiness or low self-esteem? Wish you had the budget to completely overhaul your wardrobe? Get thee to the craft store! Spend $20-$50 on beads, bows, even a bedazzle, and give items you already own an update worthy of fabulous you. Have a bit more to spend, and already know your way around the business end of a sewing machine? Pick up a pattern for a new item of clothing, or a book on an easy-to-learn craft, such as knitting.


Color it real.


Your feelings, that is. Select colored pencils in accordance with what draws you the most, then check out how they correspond to this chart. Don’t overanalyze or think too much about what your choices might “mean.” By taking a second look at your art after it is created, you may gain valuable insight into your underlying feelings.


Map out your heart.


At a loss for a place to start with art therapy? Go to the source, and a draw a picture of your heart – literally. Fill in the shape with images of the things you desire, dream of, and love.You can find photos, or simply assign a colored section to each corresponding desire. However you do it, your heart will be full both literally and figuratively by the time you finish this exercise.


Capture pain in chalk…

…then wash it away. While one purpose of art therapy is to purge the mind and heart of negative, past, or unwanted emotions, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to create a permanent monument to such emotions. Resolve this dilemma by pouring out your thoughts in chalk. When you’re finished, anything you no longer wish to carry can be literally washed away.


Sculpt a better state.


Sculpturing doesn’t have to require a lot of space or materials. Make your own play-dough with a few simple ingredients (conduct a quick online search for a variety of recipes), then let your hands and your imagination soar. The malleable stuff is ideal for exploring emotions that you want to work through, without making permanent; anger can even be unleashed when you smash your creation flat. Ready to relax? Mix essential oils into the dough for some aromatherapy. Store leftovers in the fridge for use during your next session.


Give art therapy a hand.


Use fingerprints to create in a way that unlocks the child in all of us, and provides additional texture to explore. Or, trace your hand and use the colors and textures of your choice to illustrate the things you hope your hands will create. Really need to let loose? Dip your hands in paint and slap some prints on the paper! The release of energy may be just the healing you need.


Not feeling drawn to the more traditional arts?  Try one of these, and continue to reap the healing rewards:








Redecorate a room.


It is often said that healing occurs with even more speed and intensity when the external environment is adapted to facilitate and reflect healing. Burn off extra energy and adapt your environment to your needs by rearranging furniture, ridding your space of old things, and adding punches of uplifting color and texture. Remember to save room for vision boards, affirmations, and other products of your art therapy time.


Gather with friends, and create in public.


Hesitant to dive into the art world? Gather a group of friends and explore together. Art groups, like book clubs, meet regularly to explore different media and forms of expression at each gathering. Sound like too much of a commitment?  Studios are popping up around the country that allow groups to create under the guidance of an experienced teacher, while enjoying both wine and food at the same time.


String prayer or meditation beads.


Take a trip to a local craft store and select beads that appeal to you. Remember to grab line for your string and a clasp if desired; fishing line can also work in a pinch. The beads can be of similar shape and color pattern, or can be random. If you intend to carry your prayer beads with you, select beads that are small enough to fit into a pocket or purse. Not finding what you want? A specialty bead store may have more options.


Rake the sand.


Whether you’re taking a fork to a plate of sand on your desk or hauling a truck full of tools to the beach, raking patterns is a good way to release emotions in an economical, non-permanent sense. Your creation can be a deliberate piece, or simply a series of geometric shapes that help you blow off steam. For an added shot of healing power, work on a large enough scale that the physical exertion required to wield your rake both calms and burns off excess energy or anxiety.




Help something grow.


Gardening is an art form that employs plants as paint and your hands as tools. Whether you build your garden in a small tabletop bowl, or take over an entire hillside for your colorful creation, let your imagination soar. Don’t know much about plants? Spend some time at a local nursery and find out what grows best in your area, and what care requirements are realistic for you. Peruse local books or visit several plant sellers to gather ideas for your arrangement.




Posted in Art Therapy | Leave a comment

50 Art Therapy Blogs

Top 50 Art Therapy Blogs


I found this art therapy list from  Shelley Klammer at This is a great resource to get those creative juices flowing. Check out her site and the many down below. Enjoy and live and inspired life!

Enjoy! Stuart

General Art Therapy Blogs

The following blogs offer general information about art therapy, as well as links to books and articles you can read to find out more.

1. Psychology Today: The Healing Arts: This blog is run by art therapist Cathy Malchiodi who posts topics about advocacy, art therapy intervention ideas, and more. If you are looking for the basics of this practice, this is a good blog to check out regarding the integrative, reparative and restorative powers of the arts.

2. Inner Canvas: Lisa Mitchell is an artist and a therapist who promotes the use of creativity in professional practice.

3. Art Therapy: If you want to find out the basics of this practice, as well as find books, ideas, and other resources, this is the blog to check out.

4. Art Therapy Reflections: Karen Wallace is an art therapist, artist, Focusing trainer, and art instructor. She has a private practice with adults and children and specializing in depression, trauma and life transition with adults and children. She expresses her love of nature, her practice of Buddhism and her family in her art.

5. Colors of Play: This blog provides creative art and play therapy for children, adolescents and young adults with special needs, autistic spectrum disorders, behavioral problems, and children coping with loss & bereavement and emotional & traumatic issues.

6. Art of Life with Mairead: This transpersonal art therapist writes about mental health research, community awareness, music, movement, art, and comedy.

7. Healing with the Arts: Art and healing is now a huge field. All over the world, people are healing themselves, others, community and the earth with the arts. Healing art from around the world is documented by artist and nurse Mary Rockwood Lane and Dr. Michael Samuels.

8. Art Therapy Los Angeles: Let this therapist share stories about interesting clients, inspiration, and ideas to give you a basic understanding of her practice working with chronic illness.

9. Mullumbimby Art TherapyThis blog offers interesting thoughts, ideas, and resources for anyone who wants to find out more about art therapy. This Creative Arts Therapist has fused her passion, interests and life experiences into her own unique approach to self discovery.

10. Health Care Fine Art: Henry Domke M.D. started this blog to learn more from experts about using art in healthcare. It became the basis for his book “Picture of Health: Handbook for Healthcare Art.” The intended audience includes interior designers, art consultants, architects, framers, hospital staff and artists. As a doctor, he relates to what stressful places hospitals can be.

Paint Brushes

Blogs That Offer Art Therapy Ideas

11. Naropa Community Art Studio International: This blog uses art therapy practices to help relieve suffering and maintain a vision of international unity.

12. Art Therapy Cookbook: Art therapist Christa Brennan offers a database of inspiring art therapy techniques.

13. Creativity in Therapy: This art therapist primarily works with children, adolecents and families and shares art therapy directives that she uses in her professional practice.

14. Creative Juices Arts: Allow artist Chris Zydel – transformational teacher and creativity mentor to inspire you to find your way back to your creativity.

15. KinderArt: If you are are curious about exploring age appropriate art activites for kids in art therapy, check out this blog.

16. Yellow Door Art Therapy: Art therapist Donna Scott uses the multimodal approach of Creative Arts Therapy which includes visual arts, sound, movement, poetry, and play.

Blogs from Organizations

Some professional organizations offer blogs on their website. These can provide you with links to resources.

17. New Mexico Art Therapy Association: The NMATA blog regularly posts contributions from their board of directors, members, and friends. They frequently post images they have created individually or in workshops.

18. Art Therapy Alliance: Where art therapy meets social media. Their extensive social media portal for art therapists is here.

19. Art Therapy Without Borders: This organization promotes, develops, and supports international humanitarian art therapy initiatives and the work of art therapists worldwide.

20. National Center for Creative Aging: This organization encourages everyone to use art, music, and more everyday, especially as they age.

4 people jumping

Blogs by Art Therapists

If you are interested in getting to know more about art therapy, let the experts themselves teach you. Blogs by art therapists often provide new ideas, unique perspectives, and educational videos.

21. The Centre for Psyche and the Arts: This blog is run by art therapists Michelle and Mark Dean and reflects their interdiscplinary approach to art therapy as artists, counsellors, and writers.

22. Elizabeth Beck: Ed Tech Art Therapy Blog is a place to search for art therapy ideas and exchange resources.

23. Adventures in Art Therapy: This blog teaches readers the power of art therapy and also tells stories about successful interventions.

24. Hannah Klaus Hunter: This art therapist’s blog focuses on textile and paper art inspired by her years of reflective meditation and writing.

25. ArtLight Therapy and Studios: Counselor Joni Becker offers a path to healing through creativity.

26. Helen Ellis Art Therapy: This art therapist has extensive experience working with children and teens in foster care, adoption and child welfare.

27. Lani Puppetmaker’s Blog: Get some inspiration and ideas from this art therapist’s site. She posts interesting art, explaining her take on it.

28. Maricle Counseling: This is an art therapist and licensed mental health counselor who specializes in using the arts to help people overcome anxiety and low self-esteem. She includes intervention ideas, information on art therapy as a profession, and what to expect in an art therapy session.

29. Creativity in Motion: Art therapist Gretchen Miller enjoys finding inspiration, creating positive energy, and discovering transformation by working in mixed media, collage, altered art, art journaling, as well as organizing art exchanges and creative collaborations.

30. Paint Splash Art Therapy: Southwestern College offers a comprehensive blog that collectively features the works and writings of art therapists and art therapy students.

31. Abbey of the Arts: Art therapist Christine Valtner Paintner melds expressive art with contemplative arts in her practice.

32. Art Therapy Spot: This comprehensive blog by art therapist Sara Roizen offers a wide variety of art therapy directives and examples.

33. Kathryn Wingard: Follow the journey of this art therapy student who explores art and culture.

34. Petrea Hanson-Adamidis: This art therapist specializes in children’s mental health using the modalities of puppet-making, therapeutic stories and guided meditations.

35. Denver Art Therapy & Counseling: This therapist focuses on issues related to divorce and separation, so check out art therapy in this context.

Watercolor Paints

Blogs about Art and Healing

If you want to find out firsthand how art therapy can help those who are trying to recover, reading a blog about firsthand experience can help tremendously. Not only will you be able to read the stories of various bloggers, but you can also see the artwork that expresses how they feel.

36. Modus Vivendi: This blog displays a large gallery of art created by those who are using art therapy to heal.

37. Intuitive Flow: Art therapist Giora Carmi uses art therapy to heal from chronic nerve pain. He shares his own personal experiences of intuitive art-making on his blog.

38. Sundrip – Art for Life: This blog brings together art therapy for mental health and art associated with the difficulties of Lupus and Fibromyalgia.

39. Crackers and Juiceboxes: This is another survivor in recovery who uses art therapy to get through life. Read her story and check out her art.

40. Art Stories: This blog by art therapist Girija Kaimal offers short illustrated stories on self-expression, creativity and learning in a creative and dynamic format.

41. Laura Hollick: This transformational performance artist shares her healing and teaching process through creative photography and movie making in a way that celebrates women’s empowerment.

42. Bonpournous – Recipes and Art: This blog is a sharing between art therapists and cancer patients and offers art processes and healthy recipes.

43. Beautiful Dreamer: This blogger mostly talks about the struggle with Dissociative Identity Disorder, but the blog does include a separate section for artwork.

44. The Art Prescription: Registered nurse and artist Beverly Dyer offers a daily dose of art and haiku. Her prescription of art and poetry aims to help boost the immune system, ease pain and depression, and release emotions.

45. The Language of the Soul: Artist Margie Woods uses art journaling as a healing and authenticity practice.

46. Art Therapy Wellness Project: This art therapist is passionate about healing potential of the arts.

47. Expressive Art Inspirations: This counsellor shares personal examples of creative practices for spiritual self-exploration, and the healing of emotional pain through expressive art.

48. Chrissy Cranitch: This intuitive artist shares her emotional process on the journey between the inner calling of spontaneous art making and marketing herself as a professional artist.

49. Inner Spirit: This blog shares an artist’s process of artistic inquiry of her emotions and spiritual journey.

50. My (Getting Better) Story: Check out this abuse survivor’s drawings and poetry as she copes with the past.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Letting Go of Toxic People through Forgiveness — Awakening Journey

Spirituality does not mean to be positive all the time. To be awakened is to be mindful and aware of your life and your current existence. Although I have forgiven many people who hurt and wounded me, it does not mean that they are accepted back into my life. These people were toxic, mentally or […]

via Letting Go of Toxic People through Forgiveness — Awakening Journey

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Art Therapy Research Color More!

colored pencils

This article by Samantha Zabell shares new research in the journal of Art Therapy. Coloring is not just for kids. If stressed Color read on…

The stress-relieving benefits are real

You may think you’re “not creative” or “bad at art,” but a new study from Drexel University says you should head to the craft store anyway. According to new research, making art can significantly reduce stress levels, whether you’re gluing macaroni noodles or painting museum-worthy landscapes.

The results of the study, published in the journal Art Therapy, were not entirely surprising to lead researcher Girija Kaimal, EdD, who said in a statement: “That’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting.” Even people who rarely picked up a crayon experienced the same stress-relieving benefits as those who were practiced in making art.

The researchers studied 39 adults between the ages of 18 and 59, and measured their cortisol (stress hormone) levels before and after a 45-minute art session. Participants were free to experiment with everything from markers to clay, without instruction or direction. Following the session, 75 percent of participants experienced a drop in cortisol levels. The other 25 percent experienced heightened cortisol levels, but Kaimal explained that those individuals were not necessarily more stressed—heightened cortisol levels can also suggest engagement or enjoyment.

There was no significant correlation between skill or materials used and cortisol levels, meaning modeling clay was just as soothing as coloring. But because younger participants consistently exhibited lower cortisol levels after making art, Kaimal believes creative arts would especially benefit stressed students.

If you don’t have a robust craft closet at your disposal, there is a simple way to reap the same benefits without much mess—adult coloring books. You’ve likely read about the craze, which proves these intricately designed books are no longer just for kids. In 2015, 12 million copies of coloring books were sold in the U.S., compared to just 1 million in 2014.

I hope this article has inspired you to bring more color into your life. Bring a friend along when you color it is more fun. My best, Stuart

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Does your relationship do this?

This Article was taken from She has worked with a variety of people who are change agents in the world. I thought you may like this short and sweet description on whether you are in a healthy relationship or not. This is a another way to change your mindset and change your life. My best, Stuart

How to Gauge a Healthy Relationship

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a particular relationship – whether a platonic friendship or an intimate relationship – is good for you or worthy of you investing your time.  Consider these attributes as some of the basic elements that are crucial to healthy relationships. Obviously, no kind of aggressive, threatening or violent behavior should be present in any of the relationships and that holds true no matter what type of relationship you are developing.

Ask yourself . . . is the person (or persons) you have in mind:

  1. Safety – this means that you feel safe with the people with whom you spend time and that the environments you are in also feel safe. Specifically, safety means that no one uses words or engages in any kind of behavior that diminishes your mental, emotional or physical integrity. No name calling, accusations, shutting out, intimidating behaviors, threats or physical harm.
  2. Positive – meaning they are optimistic, have a positive outlook and are well-intentioned in how they relate to and with you and others and in their actions with you and others.  Are optimism and being well-intentioned aspects of their overall approach to people and life?
  3. Predictable – this means that you have a pretty good idea how someone will respond to people and life demands (does not include people who: “fly off the handle”, threaten others, get angry and yell at people or kick, throw or hit things when frustrated).  Remember, I started with positive first for a reason.  People’s actions must be truly well-intentioned.
  4. Congruent – the best way to understand congruence is that a person’s words and actions match their thoughts and feelings – this can be reflected in the simplest of interactions such as a person calling at an agreed upon time. It may also involve more challenging experiences like telling someone you are angry with them, that you are disappointed by something they did, or that you really care about and love them (especially as close to the time that you are feeling it – not weeks or months later).
  5. Consistent – think of this as predictability over time
  6. Responsive – means that the person truly listens to what you have to say – shows a genuine interest in your experiences (positive and negative) and makes a concerted effort to help you sort out your concerns, validate your feelings, generate alternative solutions and affirm your successes. In the ideal, the people in your life help soothe your distress and celebrate your successes.
  7. Reciprocal – this means your experience with the other person is mutual or two-way – there is relative balance between each person’s contribution to the relationship – or understood another way – a relative balance between the give and take between you and the people in your life.
  8. Stimulating – means that the relationship is alive and you feel alive in it.  You are in a state of constant learning and evolving as a person. You individually and collectively pursue new or novel experiences that invite both of you to stretch and grow.

Emotional and physical safety in relationships creates a foundation for emotional growth and well-being.  If those or other elements mentioned above are not in place for you, it may mean you need to take some time to reflect on your next steps.

These steps may include such actions as talking to the person about your concerns, limiting your time with that person, or if necessary, no longer having any contact with him or her.  Challenging?  Yes.  The benefits of living a happier, more peaceful and less stressful life are well worth your efforts.

By |September 10th, 2013|Emotional Well-Being,
Posted in Relationships | Leave a comment

100 art therapy exercises to make your mind, body and spirit sing.

Tools to live an Inspired Life

100 art therapy exercises to make your mind body and spirit sing at  I am always looking for new creative ideas for my self or the clients I work with. I hope you find this article as helpful as I did. I was not able to find out who originally created this article and whoever you are Thank You!!!!

Please click like and write a comment.

My best, Stuart at

Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” It’s no surprise, then, that many people around the world use art as a means to deal with stress, trauma and unhappiness – or to just find greater peace and meaning in their lives. If you’re curious about what art therapy has to offer, you can try out some of these great solo exercises at home to help nurse your mind, body and soul…

View original post 3,126 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Race, A poem to help pick you up when life pushes you down.

When I read this it gave me the chills in a good way. This poem is to help inspire you when you are feeling down and out. When that voice in your head says give up. This Poem is one we can all relate to. It is a story of a young boy falling on his face and getting up. The reason he gets up may help you get up when life gets you down and you want to give up. I was thinking of my readers when I heard this. Read and enjoy. The story has a happy ending. I so do love happy endings. My best, Stuart

Poem: The Race,  by D.H. Groberg

“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” they shout at me and plead,
“There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.”
And as I started to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene.
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; now I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope. Each thought to win the race
Or tie for first, if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they sped, as if they were on fire
To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s desire.
And one boy in particular, his dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought, “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field, across the shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arm flew out to brace,
And ‘mid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face.
So, down he fell, and with him, hope. He couldn’t win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished he’d disappear somehow.
But, as he fell, his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit, that’s all.
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for the fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face.
That steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”
So, he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last;
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running more. Three strikes, I’m out…why try?”
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away.
So far behind, so error-prone, a loser all the way.
“I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought, “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But, then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “Get up and take your place.
You weren’t meant for failure here; get up and win the race.”
With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,
For winning is no more than this–to rise each time you fall.”
So up he rose to win once more. And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been.
Still, he gave it all he had, and ran as though to win.
Three times he fallen, stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner, as he crossed the line, first place,
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen crossed the finish line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad, he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” They still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”

Posted in Inspiration, Parables, Relationships | 1 Comment

Check out – Educational Art therapy Posters by Josh Kale

Here is a great web page on art therapy fundamental posters. Josh Kale Art Therapy Posters.

I am back from my trip to Rhode Island and got to spend time with family, friends, Artist’s, writers and creators. I was able to go to the beach and created sand art including dripple castles. I highly recommend this for anyone when you go to the beach.

I came across this web page today and thought “I love this” and I think you will to. If you are as interested in art therapy as I am then you will love this web page of Josh Kale. He worked with Cathy Malchiodi and developed art therapy posters. His posters simplify art therapy and different aspects of art therapy such as Draw a Person In The Rain, mandala’s, or the fundamentals of art therapy to name 4 of the 10 posters he has. Enjoy and well done Josh! 

Let me know if you found this helpful and “like it” or add a comment. Please click on the link below and it will take you right to it.

Josh Kale Art Therapy Posters

I receive nothing for this recommendation. I just thought you would like it.

My best, Stuart

Posted in Art Therapy, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments
%d bloggers like this: