In the past week I have begun a personal challenge to get me into doing better self-care. This challenge I am calling "99 Days of Art" and it is exactly that, I am making art for 99 days over the course of nearly 16 weeks. I had to factor in taking time off for training days, conferences, and holidays that are coming up. The idea came to me after following some art therapist and artist friends on their art challenge journeys and wondering how they got into it. Then thoughts starting coming up for me like these, "Wow, I miss making art for just myself," and "It's been so nice making artwork lately, I really didn't do much before moving here," and "Why did I stop making art?" I realized over the past several years I had slowly stopped making art in my everyday life and it was not a good thing. I felt bereft, like something integral to my very being was missing. So I decided to create my own art making challenge in order to develop it into a practice, which would eventually become a habit, a meaningful habit that helps me feel grounded yet transcendent at the same time, but a habit none-the-less. I have been at it for 6 Days now focusing on utilizing my intuition rather than making something visually concrete and representational. Here are the products of my practice:
To follow my progress follow me on Instagram @nissajackman
I seriously blew it today. I had a potential client contact me via email for a consultation and we agreed on a time when I would give them a call. It was a few hours later that I realized I did not have their phone number. As soon as this realization dawned on me, I emailed them back asking for their number.
I emailed again when it was time for the call saying they could call me if they wanted.
I wracked my brain to figure out how to contact this person knowing they would think I was just another flakey therapist for missing our phone appointment.
And it was then that I saw it.
I had not only the wrong website url (I had it changed from .org to .com a bout 2 months ago), the phone number was WRONG in my email signature. I apparently had a dyslexic moment when creating my signature and switched the numbers.
Oh, so that's why I wasn't getting called back. That's why I was not getting texts from clients.
Dear lord, what had I done? This is my business, and I had sabotaged it before it even got started!
I did what I could to plug some of those holes in the sinking ship that is my private practice. I updated my email signature to the correct web address and phone number. I even wrote instructions on my contact form on this website so people will please give me their phone number so I can call them.
Technology is supposed to help us be more efficient and productive. But the more I rely on it, the more forgetful I become. I can never seem to remember my schedule. I am constantly checking it throughout the day and I have the constant urge to check it before bedtime, which completely screws up my sleep.
Because I rely on technology so much, I can't seem to navigate where I am at without my GPS, even if I have driven to certain places over a dozen times. When I was road-tripping my way to Denver I was nearly that person who drove themselves off of a cliff because I lost my GPS signal and neglected the use of my common sense.
So now I am not so patiently waiting for a response from that potential client. I'm pretty sure its a lost cause, but maybe, just maybe they will understand that it was just a mistake and no harm was intended.
Technology is supposed to make our lives simpler and easier, but why does life seem so much more complicated?
Just in case anyone was wondering, I am now working with that client in addition to many more new clients. Yay!
I did not always love SoulCollage®. There was a time that I knew nothing about it and did not want to have anything to do with it.
I first heard of it while I was at my very first American Art Therapy Association Convention and I was initially intrigued. I love collage work. I always have. I did whole book reports for an American Lit class during High School using collage and got A+'s for them. But the name, SoulCollage®, was so off-putting to me. It sounded too spiritual or hokey to me.
So I dismissed it.
Fast forward a few years and a friend from my graduate school invited me to an Intro to SoulCollage® workshop. Since it was her asking, and I will forever love collage work, I accepted the invite and paid for the course. But alas, the workshop was cancelled without rescheduling. I got my money back and I gave up on SoulCollage®. About a year later I saw a flyer for another SoulCollage® workshop and I signed up.
It was not what I expected.
It was very process driven, meaning the workshop focused on the making of SoulCollage® cards, not the underlying concepts and not a hint of woo woo spiritual stuff. I enjoyed the process. It was simple and elegant. It spoke to my sensibilities.
I wanted to learn more.
I bought the book on it, I bought materials for making more cards, and I spent the next year carefully crafting my own cards and attempting to understand the concepts presented in the book.
I wanted to learn more.
So I signed up for a facilitator's training. Within a month of the training I had to cancel, it was just too expensive.
I still wanted to learn more, so after I received my Marriage and Family Therapist license and my ATR (my art therapy credential), I bit the bullet and spent way too much money to go to the training to become a facilitator. I loved it. We delved into every aspect of SoulCollage® from the underlying concepts as a foundation, to understanding the process as a whole, to experiential work making and reading our cards, to exploring both the conceptual and the spiritual potential when doing SoulCollage®. I learned that you get out of it what you put into it. If you want a spiritual experience, you will have one. If you want to understand yourself better, you will. If you want some clarity in your life, you will get it.
So now I am a facilitator and I love it. I love making the cards, I love guiding others in making their own cards and doing a reading. I love seeing the glow of understanding and awe that lights people up when going through the whole process. It can be so transformative and satisfying.
I just love it.
Two cards I made during my last Workshop as examples. Left: Growing, a card about growth and transformation. Right: World Traveler, a card to remind myself of my adventurous side.
,Take a moment or two and pretend this is you petting my adorable, Hank the Dog...
Hello readers! This is my first blog post for the website and I thought I would introduce myself by telling you a story. This story relates the first time I felt drawn to working with people on the autistic spectrum.
When I was an undergraduate in college I volunteered every Saturday afternoon at a small church that allowed the school to use one of it’s community spaces to host a respite service for families in the area where parents could drop off their special needs kids for a few hours. The college students would entertain the kids and make sure they were safe and happy. As a volunteer, I was able to interact with some amazing children and young adults who challenged my perceptions of people with special needs and opened my heart to the sweetness and joy they all expressed in appreciation for the attention and care we volunteers demonstrated towards them.
One day will forever stick out for me. It was the day a little boy named Billy (name changed to respect their privacy) joined our motley crew of kids. The volunteers were informed prior to the kids arriving that Billy was “Autistic” which was unusual since the volunteers were never before informed of a child’s diagnosis. Looking back Autism was considered rare at the time and so Billy was to be treated with extra care. We were instructed not to interact with Billy without being told why. I assume the psychology graduate students in charge were fearful of a meltdown and thought he would not want to be bothered. Anyway, Billy arrived and was introduced to the group and then left alone to his own devices by both the adults and the other kids.
I was curious about Billy and observed him as he wandered the rather large room. He was non-verbal and frequently left his Woody doll on the floor as he explored the space. Toy Story had been a popular movie and all of the other kids wanted to play with Billy’s toy. Billy did not seem to notice when the other kids would pick up his doll, but I did. Every time a kid would put down the doll, forgotten on the floor, I would pick it up and give it back to Billy saying, “Here’s your toy, Billy.” It appeared that Billy did not notice or care because that doll would wind up in another kid’s hands or on the floor dozens of times.
But a curious thing happened late in the day. When I was sitting on the floor with a little girl in deep conversation about one of her favorite things, Billy suddenly appeared and sat in my lap giving me a hug. Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing a stared in shock at what was happening. After the kids left for the day, all of the volunteers and graduate students asked what had happened. All I could say was, “I guess he knew someone was looking out for him.”
It was such an important moment in my life, although I would not realize this until almost 10 years later when I started working as an early intervention therapist and later as a marriage and family therapist. It was the first step to where I am today, and Billy will always have a special place in my heart for showing me that no matter how small an act of kindness may seem, it can mean the world to those receiving that kindness, and it can make unexpected connections with far reaching results.