How to stay grounded in the winter

Expressive arts, is at its core, about the process. While this may look like a simple collage to some. To the women who made them they hold strength and meaning. This is a visual representation of a grounding meditation (essential for winter months when we can no longer walk bare feet outside), the celebration of the end of one of the moms groups and the continued desire to be open to self-discovery. 

“The planted roots stretching into her body. Spreading their wings into her heart and mind. She gains strength from introspection, plants, books and  creation. She knows who she is, she knows how to stay grounded, it’s all inside her.”

“The planted roots stretching into her body. Spreading their wings into her heart and mind. She gains strength from introspection, plants, books and  creation. She knows who she is, she knows how to stay grounded, it’s all inside her.”

"I am strong. Steady. Grounding comes from within. I can access that energy and power whenever I want to need to. I am apart of that energy and power. I am made of stardust and will return to stardust. I don't need to be afraid of anyone or anything because I am connected to it all and it's all connected to me. I am part of power greater than myself. I am unique and strong. Capable and intelligent. I can access this strength everyday just by pausing and remembering that its here, with me at every moment"

"I am strong. Steady. Grounding comes from within. I can access that energy and power whenever I want to need to. I am apart of that energy and power. I am made of stardust and will return to stardust. I don't need to be afraid of anyone or anything because I am connected to it all and it's all connected to me. I am part of power greater than myself. I am unique and strong. Capable and intelligent. I can access this strength everyday just by pausing and remembering that its here, with me at every moment"

Step ONE: Earth & Belly Breathing Meditation Script from Sara Avant-Stover's The Book of SHE OR another grounding scripts you may find on the web. 

Step TWO: Art Response to capture the essence of the mediation and what it meant for you

Step THREE: Name your art piece and write to it. The writing could be the essence of your art piece, what the meditation meant to you or how you're going to take it's lessons forward into your life.


It's ok, that it's not ok

You can feel it, can't you? That unrest, that quiver of unease, that sense of despair. If you decide to show your bravery and walk among the wilderness while showing vulnerability, I will hold space for you. I will hear you. I will see you. We all will.

I've been told that I say this (a lot) "Its ok, that its not ok right now" and when working with mothers I think this an essential message. We are all creative people. Trusting in our bodies is part of the process. Trusting ourselves is even more important. Every week begins by not knowing what the art will bring froward.

Here are ten things (no, eleven) that you are likely to experience in the Maternal Healing Group:

  • The realization that inner work always starts with yourself
  • Acceptance of what you cannot control (aka. other people)
  • Moving towards living a more intentional and authentic life
  • The ability to move past distractions and scattered thoughts
  • Accessibility to unconscious thoughts - and your ability to alter them (aka. cognitive distortions, the stories we tell ourselves)
  • Realizing the "part you play" in your life & interpersonal communications
  • Sitting with your feelings, beginning to know them, learning from them
  • Permission to go into the deepest parts of yourself
  • Something new comes into being - enhancing your desire for self expression (and to be seen & heard)
  • Increased blood flow while creating
  • Improvements in immune system, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration
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You deserve joy

I was told once, that if you go back to doing the things you loved when you were 12 years old, that is where your true passion really lies.

Whether you're a parent, working professional or a retiree it can feel daunting to discover the thing(s) that bring you joy. I would suggest starting with the things you loved doing when you were 12. Whether that was sewing pillows for your friends, making friendship bracelets, journaling, sports, going for walks or spending time with animals. Start there and work your way through your 12-year old self's hobby list.

When you're feeling mundane and down in the dumps, when your life is lacking enrichment and joy, that is the time to start making your list.

This can be done by sitting quietly and visualizing your 12 year old self. Close your eyes and give yourself time to reflect. Ask yourself: What did she enjoy? What did she surround herself with? Who did she enjoy spending time with? What brought her happiness?

What's next after reflecting? Seek and experience them one by one. Maybe they'll bring you joy maybe they won't, but it's a place to start.

You have the time. Live your authentic life. You deserve it. Because you really do. Seriously, close your eyes say "You deserve joy".

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Show up with Love - Women's Empowerment Event

Do you find yourself flitting from one thing to another, not really able to focus on one thing? We can drive ourselves crazy with to-do lists, thoughts, desires, and attachments. Perhaps meditation will give you super powers, perhaps it will help you rein in your egos and emotions…. perhaps not. It looks different for each person.

This intention for this event was to introduce participants to the idea of fusing ART and guided mediation. This process increased self-awareness and gave time for reflection on how they show up in their life, how others show up for them and most importantly how they can show up for themselves. 

Together we embarked on a journey of reflection, art and introspection. 

CLICK to See the next Women's Empowerment Event


Take a breather, Gord said it as ok

Gord Downie is a Canadian legend. He brought people together, he sang the truth and spoke words like poetry.

When diagnosed with caner, he didn't retreat. He continued to give all of himself to his fans & music. He continued to live his life as the true artist he was. No one will really know what those final moments were like for him, but I imagine they were filled with tears, music, strength and true self expression.

There are many ways Gord sang of truth and authenticity in life. Here are 4 of my favourite lyrics that speak to this:

  1. "We can take a bit of a breather. We can skip to the practical part. We can skip to the time of neither" - Lake Fever, 2000
  2. "First thing we'd climb a tree and maybe then we'd talk or sit silently and listen to our thoughts. With illusions of someday casting a golden light. No dress rehearsal, this is our life" - Ahead by a Century, 1996
  3. "Armed with will and determination, and grace, too" - Grace, Too, 1994
  4. “For a good life we just might have to weaken and find somewhere to go. Go somewhere we’re needed. Find somewhere to grow. Grow somewhere we’re needed” - It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, 2002


Road-Trip Therapy {Intentional Music}

You know when you're driving and the music is on shuffle and a song comes on. A little tear leaks from your eye and you start listening a little more intentionally. After listening a while you realize, that this song was perfectly placed, perfectly timed. This song takes you to a place.  A place that you can't even really even describe to other people. It's this place where everything makes sense and you're ready for change and you're ready to move forward. You realize in that split second, that everything in your life is a choice. A choice to be heard. A choice to react. A choice to move forward. Oh I’m not saying the choices are always easy ones, most likely these kinds of decisions are hard. They require honest communication and integrity. They might be the hardest choices you've ever made in your life. These choices might include setting up boundaries for people who are unhealthy. Deciding who you get to be. Getting up each day and facing what comes. Living your dreams. Becoming the author of your own story, and putting a stop to everyone writing all over your pages. Deciding when and where and how you want to live your life. Deciding what makes you feel whole.

Yes, one song can provoke all of that. If you really feel it and invite that song in your body.

Its time to ask yourself: What is it that you want? What is it that you want to accomplish? What is that thing, that voice in the back of your mind, what is it saying?

I encourage you to let these ideas breathe, let them live outside of you, because your life is worth living.

You deserve it.


All you need is 20 minutes a day. {Intentional Music}


Full-time working mom gets home from work. While making supper she starts to get this heart-pounding-thoughts-racing feeling. Her husband walks in, with the kids and asks her "What's wrong?". She can't identify anything specific. "I'm ok" she says. While cutting up the potatoes her thoughts keep jumping... the work-day, the over due project, the new trainee, the groceries, the kids swimming lessons, the house, the in-laws, the summer holidays, the budget, the, the, the.... She knows enough in this moment to take a "time-out", she sits on the couch. Scrolls through social media, the feeling won't subside. "This isn't working" she says to herself. Puts her phone down. Walks over to the stereo and puts on one of her favourite songs.

She closes her eyes. She lets the energy of the song take over. She can feel it all over her body, she starts to sway back at forth. She feels this wave-like sensation. She keeps swaying back and forth, quietly mouthing the words, losing herself in the song. She tears up. She stays in this moment. Nothing matters but the song. The song ends. She opens her eyes and feels refreshed, finishes supper and is able to be present with her family for the rest of the evening.

It only takes twenty minutes of music listening a day to decrease your stress, boost your mood and increase your happiness. 

Jennifer Buchanan (music therapist in Calgary, AB) has some great resources aimed at using music in your life with purpose and intention.

I encourage you to explore your music tastes and start using music intentionally in your life TODAY!


Creativity is about process not product {Art Journalling}

My journey with Art Journalling started with Anne Penniston Gray. We would gather at her office, she would serve tea and we would create the morning away. When I left those sessions I felt uplifted and whole again. Like most things in life I had great intentions of keeping up with my art journal. I had dreams of finding prompts on Pinterest and I would continue with it... I never did.

Then I became a mother & business owner, then LIFE really got in the WAY. Between feedings, sleeplessness and general life upkeep... When was I to find the time? I lost myself for a time - and creativity found me again, and I found myself.

This past April I went to Calgary for a whole week. ALL BY MYSELF (yes CAPS are required for that... let me say it again... ALL MY MYSELF). I attended Level One Expressive Art Training with Prairie Institute for Expressive Art Therapy. Our instructor Carmen was reciting a poem one morning and this phrase just stuck with me " up with love". Over the next few days, I was reflecting on how I show up with love... for my family... for my business... for myself. I wasn't entirely convinced I was intentionally showing up, in any capacity. 

This phrase, this week and this clarity prompted me to start doing things for myself again. I felt inspired, in ways I haven't been for years. And now, I need it. I need it like I need to eat, breathe and hydrate! I dream about collaging and my Pinterest is overloaded with new techniques I want to try. I look forward to that 45 min window in the evenings when I can take over my entire kitchen and create.

I encourage you to ask yourself, how am I showing up with love?

What you need to start your own art journal:
- Jar of water
- Paper Towel
- Spray Bottle (filled with water)
- Notebook (could be from the dollar store, glue two or three pages together)
- A variety of acrylic paints
- Paint brushes
- Magazines
- Paper bits (could be scrapbook paper, or any patterned paper you can find)
- Embellishments (quotes, floral bits, butterflies, etc)
- White glue

This is about process not product
It may be easier to use a guide for the journal page, you can find sort of journal prompts on Pinterest.
1. Start by making your color palette and layering the paint on your page. Using the stencils with total randomness, get a base layer of paint on your paper.
2. Keep stencilling until you feel ready to add your embellishments.
3. Mess up and cover with more paint.
4. Place your embellishments onto the page with white glue.
5. Blend with more layering of paint. 
6. You can drop paint by mixing with a little water. Or smear paint with a spatula.
7. Does the page feel finished?
9. If yes, then let dry. If no, keep going till it feels finished.
10. Reflect on your creative journey and how it's helping you reflect on your values.


Self Care is important, but you already knew that, right? {Affirmation Cards}

Like so many other people when the topic of self-care comes up, my eyes glaze over (I can't help it). I know I should take care of myself. I know I'm a better mom when I actually do. I know it only takes 5 mins a day. I know!

I'm sure you already have your own secret wish-list for things you would do if you had an hour to yourself (if you don't, stop reading this and make one... seriously, go right now).

For those of you who already have a vague idea of things you would do for yourself "if you had the time"... I encourage you to let these thoughts breathe, let them air out. Give them space to grow and nourish you. Start asking yourself what you need. If it's a new hair cut, make the appt. If it's a walk with the dog  by yourself, ask your partner to but babes to sleep tonight. If it's a cold drink on a patio, take a long lunch. If it's creativity, watch the video below.

YOU can lose yourself in time. YOU can stop your whirlwind thoughts. YOU can have clarity.

- Jar of water
- Paper Towel
- Spray Bottle (filled with water)
- Watercolour Paper
- Paint Brushes
- Stencils
- Paint Brushes, Make-up Blotters, your fingers (really, any avenue to get the paint on the paper)
- Acrylic Paint
- Matte Gel Medium
- Quotes
- Embellishments (stickers, paper bits, etc)
Places to look for supplies: The Dollar Store, Michaels, Gales Wholesale

This is a process - breathe - give it the time and space it needs - be gentle with yourself
1. BREATHE - Don't think to hard about getting paint on the paper
2. Start by making your color palette and layering the paint. Using the stencils with total randomness, get a base layer of paint on your paper.
3. Using the Gel Medium, mix with paint colours. This creates more translucent colours (so your layers show through)
4. Keep stencilling for about 3-5 layers
{Here I am working between 2 sheets of paper giving the paint time to dry on one before I move onto the next}
5. Let dry
6. Cut into smaller bits. I like mine around 2.5 x 3.5 inches
7. Pick out some favourite designs from your pile
8. Start decorating. More layering of paint. Drip paint with water. Quote (written or a sticker). Embellishments (flowers, lace, stickers, etc).
9. Let it breathe
10. Know when the card is done
11. Keep or give to family or friends who need a boost
12. Reflect on your creative journey and how it's helping you in your life

Want MORE INFO or want someone to guide you through the process? I'm your gal.

Have a creative day,

kayla huszar

They will always be with us

Original post was written in 2015, edited* to remove identifying information.
Written 6 months after my Uncle Charles* suddenly passed, 
7 weeks after I was married.
I am rewriting this here, hoping you find some comfort in it too.


Sometime last month I thought to myself... I don't feel him around anymore, referring to my late uncle - whom I could "feel" around before. I was sad about this. Sad for everything he will miss. Sad for everything he won't experiance. Sad he won't see his grandsons grow up. Sad he won't attend anymore car shows. Sad for my grandma, sad for my mom, sad for his daughters & my cousins. Plainly, I was just sad.

A few days later I had a very vivid dream. I don't know about you, but I have these dreams, where I am not watching the dream from above.  I am activley participating and am in control of what happens next.

It was my wedding day. Everyone was there, including, Uncle Charles*, Uncle Kevin*, Grandpa Keith* and Great Grandma Linda*. I was seeing them & talking to them. I had a special slow dance with my Grandpa Keith, jived with Uncle Kevin and visited with my Grandma Linda. All of this was normal. 

I realized that these people were gone and how could they be here now? I said out loud with assertiveness "who else can see and hear them?". Receiving puzzled looks. I knew. No one else was seeing or hearing them, I was the only one. 

I was about to head down the isle. My Uncle Charles was behind me and whispered "Kayla, we are all still here".

My husband turned on the bedroom light. Suddenly, it was time for me to wake from my dream. They were gone (again), just like that...

I counldn't get up, paralyzed by my thoughts... They were gone. We are living. They are not. Why do we get to live when they don't. What did this mean? Did it mean anything? Was it just my subconscious, wanting them all to be here with us.

This feeling sad paralyzing stuck with me most of the day.  Eventually with some strong coffee, positive self talk and journalling, I sought comfort in the following:
No, for circumstances we can't explain, they are not here. But, they ARE all around us. Even if we can't see, hear or "feel" them. Their souls are out there, somewhere. 

They live in us. They get to live through their teachings, their life lessons, their love. They will always be with us as long as we carry them so.

And this makes me a little less sad.