Mindful Mandalas Workshop

Mindful Mandalas Workshop Sep-2020 for screens

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About your teacher:

Laura is a self-taught artist, multi-passionate creative, surface pattern designer, and dog momma living in Dallas, TX. She creates art across all mediums (traditional and digital), and you’ll often find her with more paint on herself than on the canvas. She believes deep in her heart that we’re all creative beings, and loves teaching others what she’s learned. Over the past 10 years, Laura has taught more than 120 workshops on everything from Copic markers to watercolor and sewing/fiber arts. When not creating art, you can find her singing and playing piano in her home recording studio (where her dog, Gus, likes to sing along). Laura will also be leading a workshop at this year’s “Mending in the Mountains” retreat. 

Interested in learning more on creativity from Laura? 

  • Sign up for her newsletter on www.laura-griffin.com to be the first to find out about upcoming live and online classes 
  • Follow her on Instagram @laura_lee_griffin 



6 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cancer Care

By: Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, and Alison Jefferies, MEd

Healthy living means making positive behavior changes as part of an ongoing, life-long process. To choose areas for improvement, we recommend focusing on these 6 pillars, which we call the “Mix of Six.” Each supports the other, and the synergy of all 6 leads to the most success.

Read more6 Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Cancer Care

Anxiety in the Cancer Experience

By: Grace Van Cleef

My mom has always had a stereotypical “Type A” personality: hardworking, meticulous, and high achieving. Of course, this has been a benefit throughout her life. She holds two and a half jobs, but she loves her work and she tackles each day with spirit. As the choir director/organist of a local church and conductor of a local community choir, she has never had a dull moment.

Read moreAnxiety in the Cancer Experience

5 Facts About Mindfulness for Better Mental Health

Mindfulness is somewhat of a trendy topic these days, but underneath all the publicity it can have profound benefits. Many of us will suffer from anxiety and depression at some point in our lives. Usually they serve as natural reactions to challenges we have to face or problems we need to overcome. However, at points it can feel as though our own minds have turned against us. We can be plunged into our own personal idea of hell as we force ourselves to overthink, dwell on the past, or worry about the future. Mindfulness is a great way to come back to the present and free ourselves from our negative thought patterns.

So What is Mindfulness?

In theory, mindfulness is a pretty straightforward concept. It suggests the mind is fully involved in what is happening, the space around you and anything you might be doing. This would be easy if it weren’t for our mind’s tendency to habitually change direction every few seconds. As our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our surroundings, and soon enough we are engaged in obsessive thought activity that could result in feelings of anxiety or depression.

Below are five facts about mindfulness, explaining how it can help us work towards being the best versions of ourselves.

1. It Frees the Mind

Usually our minds are full of thoughts. We are constantly planning, reflecting, wondering, or worrying about the future. Imagine what we could achieve if we could give our minds a break from these patterns. Mindfulness forces us into the present moment. When we are fully present, our mind is full of experience, and subsequently, there is no room for worrying or self-deprecation. When the mind is free, we are able to get outside our comfort zone to see the world in a new light, uncover new thoughts and cultivate the best version of ourselves.

2. Puts You in Touch with Your Experience

As far as anyone knows, you only have one life to live. This life can be joyful, beautiful and full of wonder – but it is up to you to make it so. If you are walking through the park and your mind is busy running your usual thought patterns, chances are you are going to miss the magic unfolding all around you. Mindfulness is taking time to listen to the birds and see the changing colors of the seasons. It means smelling home-cooked food and really listening to the music that surrounds you. Learning to be in touch with your experience is a valuable lesson. It leads to a rich purposeful life, full of inspiration. Sometimes it may be easier to plug into your smartphone or fill your mind with its usual chatter, but doing so sacrifices your opportunity to connect with the world around you and enjoy the simple things in life. Our lives are not the big events that happen to us, but rather a collection of small everyday occurrences. Learning to find happiness in the small things leads to a more content and joyous way of being.

3. Gives You New Ideas

Beneath the anxieties and stresses that usually encompass our internal worlds, are a plethora of unexplored ideas and visions just waiting to be uncovered and investigated. Practicing mindfulness clears away the mental chatter and makes way for new creativities to emerge. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not a trait or a skill; it is a state of mind. This state of mind comes to us when we our relaxed and inspired. One great way to achieve this is through the use of mindfulness. Mindfulness gives us constant inspiration by allowing us to see the world around us clearly, and it relaxes us by freeing us of our habitual thought patterns. When we are mindful, we can find creative solutions to our problems, become more productive at work, and maybe even find motivation to acquire a new skill.

4. It Involves Curiosity, Openness, and Acceptance

Mindfulness is not just about rooting your mind in the present moment; it is about approaching the present with childlike curiosity and exploring what it can bring you. Sometimes this may be physical, but other times it may be a thought or feeling that arises as a reaction to what is going on around you. It is important to be open to whatever may show up, accepting and listening to what it has to say. In each moment lies hundreds of lessons waiting to be learned, and mindfulness brings us closer to unearthing them.

5. It Improves Your Ability to Focus

The phrase “practice makes perfect” also applies to mindfulness. At first, you may find that you can only stay present for a second or two. This is completely normal. In fact, research has shown that the average ‘uninterrupted now’ moments, typically last between 1-10 seconds. The important thing is – without judgement – to calmly bring yourself back to the present each time you notice your mind has wandered. As you strengthen the muscle of the mind, your ability to focus will also improve. You will notice you have greater control over your concentration, and will be able to divide up your mental energy effectively and accordingly. This will improve your productivity levels, making it easier to hold an engaging conversation or even enjoy a good book.

The best thing about mindfulness is that it is highly accessible. It is completely free and requires no equipment other than yourself. You can practice mindfulness anywhere, at anytime, completely at your own discretion. During wholesome activities such as cooking, reading, walking, or spending time with friends and family, are the best times to cultivate mindfulness. Bring your mind back into reality and focus on whatever task is at hand. Soon, you will feel the pressures and stresses of daily life drift away from you as you fully immerse yourself in the bountiful experience we call life.


Active Ways to Manage & Cope With Stress from Cancer

Active Ways to Manage & Cope With Stress from Cancer

It’s tempting to want to avoid talking about addressing problems. Yet not talking about a problem will not make it go away. In general, it’s much better to actively address the problem. Here’s the difference:

Read moreActive Ways to Manage & Cope With Stress from Cancer

Supporting a Friend Who Has Cancer

Dr. Lidia Schapira, Cancer.net

If one of your friends has cancer, you may be wondering the best way to support him or her. Even though you want to help, it can be hard to know what to say or do.

It is important to remember that there are no set rules and every friendship is different. Be sure to think about your unique dynamic and let that guide you as you try to support your friend. Keep it simple. Remember that often the little things mean the most.

Read moreSupporting a Friend Who Has Cancer

“Social Distancing” does not need to be Social Isolation

In this day of uncertainty, there is one thing I know for sure, “Community is stronger than COVID-19”. As the Executive Director of Cancer Support Community Montana, I have been witness to the ill effects that social isolation plays in the wellbeing of people, since this can be a common affliction when people are touched by cancer. Across all cultures, races, ages and genders, humans have basic needs for social and emotional connection.

Read more“Social Distancing” does not need to be Social Isolation