News/Media

March 2014

Celebrate sisterhood with SoulCollage®

Rhonda Simmonds, a participant in my March 8 workshop “Celebrate sisterhood with SoulCollage®,” wrote about the event on her blog Casa Sanctuary. For photos and details of the three-hour session, click here.

 

October 24-27, 2013

International SoulCollage® conference

I will be joining trained SoulCollage® facilitators from across North America at a conference in Stevenson, WA. I look forward to learning new SoulCollage® techniques and hearing what other facilitators are doing.

January 2013

I wrote the following feature for the January 2013 issue of Seena Frost’s monthly Neter Letter. In response, Kylea Taylor of SoulCollage(R).com wrote:

“Thank you for your wonderful article in the Neter Letter that just came out. There were so many layers of healing all demonstrated simply and beautifully in your family story. Many people this time have raved about the Neter Letter to me. It was an outstanding one and I appreciate that your article was in it.”

 

SoulCollage® for the Dying and Bereaved:  

Creating a Gateway to Grace by Heather Conn
When my father was dying at age eighty-five, I wanted to feel forgiveness and compassion towards him. He had sexually abused me when I was a youngster and made inappropriate, sexualized comments during my teen years and adulthood. I had already confronted him about it, and he had apologized, even though he said that he didn’t remember any incidences.

 

Part of me still hoped that, in his final weeks, he might make some form of confession, even though I knew that this was unlikely. A close friend of mine, a palliative care nurse, reminded me: “People die the way they live.”

 

I was fifty-one. For the previous two decades, I had explored numerous forms of healing and spiritual growth, which helped me release my anger towards him. I now felt mostly at peace with our relationship. Yet, seeing him bedridden and feeble from terminal cancer, I could still feel anger returning, mixed with fear, sadness, and yes, forgiveness and compassion.

 

I knew that I wanted, and needed, to do something with the intense feelings in my body, which felt like roiling energy racing through my heart, pelvis, and arms. It was the fall of 2010. Two years earlier, I had trained as a SoulCollage® Facilitator in California, and began hosting workshops in the Vancouver, BC region in Canada.
In previous years, I would have written about this experience, adding to my almost forty years of journaling. But this time, I didn’t want to lose these physical sensations to the left-brain world of words. Instead, I decided to enter the realm of symbolic imagery-SoulCollage®-and make two Council suit cards: one for compassion and one for forgiveness. I wanted to draw on their archetypal essence.

 

By then, I had already shown my parents my Community suit card of my father. Its images include my dad as a boy and a statue of a lascivious-looking, bare-chested male clutching a younger female. To me, the latter symbolizes our incestuous relationship. The card, as a whole, silently told my father: “I know who you are and what you did, yet I recognize the pure child in you and the love that we have otherwise shared.” To me, it says: “I Am One Who has integrated love and abuse and my father’s conflicting roles and accepts all of who he is.”

Father

My compassion card features the Dalai Lama, whom I view as one of the greatest living embodiments of compassion; doves (symbolizing peace and my seventh-chakra spirit guide); a woman writing a book (representing my memoir-in-progress about my dad and me); white starbursts (my symbol of pure essence), and soothing orange-golds and pinks, which I associate with the heart. “I Am One Who embodies and shares compassion, drawing its power into my heart as a healing life force.”

Compassion

My forgiveness card, made at the same time, has similar colors and the same white starbursts. It features a woman in white with a halo-like orb and white rays splayed around her. She represents my Divine Feminine, a soul force filling our universe and beyond. “I Am One Who has discovered the gift of forgiveness and longs to share it with the world.”

Forgiveness

Inspired by these cards, I decided to host a healing circle a month before my father died. Perhaps this could create more openness for my non-expressive WASP family and dissipate some of our tensions at this challenging time. I wasn’t sure if my mom would even agree to let me host the session at her home, but she did. She said that she would just observe and not say a thing.

 

None of my three sisters attended, only my husband, mom, and two cousins. I formed a circle of SoulCollage® cards on the floor, including my three Transpersonal cards, death card, the cards mentioned in this story, and others that evoked the spirit of my father. I introduced the format: one person would speak at a time, using a heart-shaped crystal instead of a talking stick. The process worked. My mother ended up sharing two stories about my dad, and we all reminisced about what he meant to us. We even ended up in a spontaneous group hug. For a family that rarely touches, I thought that this was amazing!

 

My visiting cousin, a scientist and university professor, loved my SoulCollage® cards and wanted to know more about them. I felt buoyed by her enthusiasm. The cards’ silent power had helped create a safe, loving space for self-expression. They had transformed a family in grief!

 

Using SoulCollage® this way allowed me to release my conflicted feelings around my father and his looming death. I felt empowered to become his advocate and got him into a hospice. Overall, I felt prompted to expand my use of SoulCollage®, to learn more about working with the dying and bereaved. I took a workshop on “End-of-Life Midwifery and the Sacred Art of Dying.” I offered a SoulCollage® workshop at a Sage-ing Guild conference in British Columbia and had participants write about death and dying in my writing workshop at the same event.

 

A year and a half after my dad died, I introduced SoulCollage® to volunteers at my local hospice. When a friend in his early eighties died this past winter, I created a Community suit card of him and shared it with many of his friends, who appreciated the symbolic depiction. To help me grieve his death on my own, I formed a circle of SoulCollage® cards on the floor at home, choosing ones that made me think of him. With his card and a candle in the center, I meditated on the images, later displaying these same cards prominently at his memorial.

 

This past spring, I completed training as a volunteer at the hospice in my region. I now look forward to sharing SoulCollage®, both one-on-one and in groups, as a gateway of grace between the world of the living and dying. I feel grateful and honored to have found this new role. The work on my memoir continues . . .

*****

Heather Conn is owner of Sunshine Coast SoulCollage® (sunshinecoastsoulcollage.ca) in British Columbia, Canada and on Facebook. She is an author (Gracie’s Got a Secret ), screenwriter, freelance writer/editor, and a writing instructor/coach who blogs at heatherconnblogs.com. She welcomes opportunities for collaborative workshops. Find out more at heatherconn.com or email hconn@dccnet.com

2012

November 9

Within hours of my Hospice card appearing on the Daily Oasis website, I received an email from Dorothy (“Dot”) Everhart, a SoulCollage(R) facilitator in Pennsylvania. She wrote:

“Thanks for sharing your moving card on ‘hospice.’ And, thanks for your volunteer work with hospice.  I used to be a social worker with hospice here in PA and have been making cards since 2005 and became a facilitator in 2006. One of the best aspects of my life!

What moves me in this card is the peacefulness of the images and the movement towards the Center— literally and figuratively, where there is the opening for the Great Transition to whatever comes beyond this life.

“The transitory nature of the dandelion going to seed reminds me that we have a chance to send our seeds into the world where they may bloom long after we are gone. . . [Such is] the circle of life. The hand reminds me of how important touch is for us throughout life, but especially as we await transition– whether that of  hospice patient or our own . . .  it is a lovely card!”

Thank you so much, Dot, for your kind words and for introducing yourself to me. The spirit and community-building of SoulCollage(R) creates connections across the globe, one heart at a time.

October 19-21

I am delighted that Ontario SoulCollage(R) facilitator Lenore Walker will be sharing my Witness Self card as part of a presentation she’s giving at the Canadian Art Therapy conference in Edmonton, Alta. She will be introducing SoulCollage(R) as a self-care activity for art therapists. It’s an honour to be part of this.

October 8

The Daily Oasis website featured my Empowerment card and accompanying I Am One Who statement on their Facebook page.

August 21

I hosted two SoulCollage workshops at a Surpass camp for 13- to 17-year-olds in Roberts Creek. What a great group of kids!

March 4

Are you part of the millionth circle?

I wrote about the symbolic power of circles and the sacred feminine on my March 4 blog post. I mention my connection to mandalas and spirals and labyrinths and how I have incorporated these into my life and my SoulCollage cards. Some images of my SoulCollage cards are included. Please click on the title above to view the cards.

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Kym Cumbo’s SoulCollage workshop at the 2012 Women of Wisdom conference in Seattle

February 16-19

I’m attending the Women of Wisdom conference in Seattle, WA, delighted to be doing a day-long workshop with Jean Houston, one of Seena Frost’s inspirations and co-creators. This will be my fourth time attending this conference; that’s where I discovered Seena’s first book on SoulCollage and how I began to do SoulCollage.

February 15

In her mini e-newsletter on Surprise and Humor, Seena mentioned my Fool card and accompanying story about synchronicity, which appears in SoulCollage Stories on my website. Click here to read her content and see the link.

2011

For a schedule of my current and upcoming workshops, please see Workshops.

2010

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November

Seena Frost has released her new book, SoulCollage ® Evolving, available on her website or at a discount through me. It gives great new ideas for using SoulCollage ® cards and combining them with other self-discovery techniques. On page 30, the book includes a photo of my Writer Card and my story of  meeting Alice Walker and having her sign my card.

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Thursday, November 18

‘The Power of Symbols: Creating Community and Healing with SoulCollage®

I am presenting an informal, one-hour luncheon talk on SoulCollage® for the Workplace Centre for Spiritual and Ethical Development. (I am a member of their board.)

12 – 1:30 p.m.
Main floor, Conference Room, Terasen Building, 1111 West Georgia Street (at Thurlow), Vancouver, BC; catered sandwiches, salad, tea and coffee; $10 without lunch; with lunch: $20 non-members, $15 members
To RSVP, call 604-685-6560 or email rsvp@workplacecentre.org

September

The September 2010 (vol. 5, no. 9) online issue of The Neter Letter, published by SoulCollage founder Seena Frost, used my Writer card as its Featured Card. This included my story on how I met Alice Walker and had her sign my card. Some of this account appears on my website in SoulCollage stories.

Saturday, September 11

The website Daily Oasis, which displays a new SoulCollage® card each day, published my Gratitude card from my Council Suit. I feel honored to have this card and its sentiment (“I AM ONE WHO is grateful for the love in my life”) featured on such a significant day, which people traditionally associate with grief, loss, and trauma due to the deaths from the attack on the World Trade Center.

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— Jill Devonshire photo
SoulCollage information table at Fibre Arts Festival in Gibsons, BC

Saturday, August 21

SoulCollage® Demonstration, Fibre Arts Festival,
Gibsons, BC
12 – 1 p.m.

Friday, April 9

We’re one! Sunshine Coast SoulCollage® celebrates

After a year of operation, Sunshine Coast SoulCollage® is having a party. Drop in on Friday, April 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 3054 Lower Road in Roberts Creek, BC and have fun making cards with other SoulCollagers. All materials supplied. Look forward to seeing you.

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March 11 – April 19
Exhibition Words and Image, Gibsons Public Art Gallery, Gibsons, BC

“Writers who’ve inspired me: a SoulCollage homage”

My entry in a juried art exhibition, titled: “Writers who’ve inspired me: a SoulCollage homage,” features six SoulCollage® cards from my Community Suit and accompanying dialogue that I wrote to each writer (Mark Twain; Anne Frank; Maya Angelou; Helen Keller; Opal Whiteley; and Deena Metzger).

The heading included on the piece is “Bring a voice to what lies hidden.” In my view, each of these writers has shared wisdom and addressed aspects of life, from social and political hypocrisy (Twain) to sexual abuse (Angelou), that would often otherwise remain unarticulated. This theme fits with my own in my memoir-in-progress Love Among the Lingams: Twenty Years Healing a Family Secret.

January 6 – 31

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“Women who’ve inspired me: a SoulCollage® homage”

 

Friends of the Gallery Exhibition, Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, Sechelt, BC

My entry in a group art exhibition, titled: “Women who have inspired me: a SoulCollage® homage,” features nine SoulCollage® cards from my Community Suit. I framed them as three rows of three on a black background. They include these notable women:

  • child prodigy and diarist Opal Whiteley
  • singer/songwriter Janis Joplin
  • artist Georgia O’Keeffe
  • primatologist and UN messenger of peace Jane Goodall
  • Greek goddess of the forest Artemis
  • environmental activist and author Julia Butterfly Hill
  • author, poet and healer Deena Metzger
  • poet, author, director and actor Maya Angelou
  • actor, singer, dancer, author Shirley Maclaine

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My cards on display at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre

 

2009

 

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“A creative approach”: North Shore News, Nov. 15, p. A20, North Vancouver, BC

“SoulCollage®: Honouring your divine self in a visual way”: Sunstream magazine, July/August, 2009, p. 5, Roberts Creek, BC

“Discover the fun and insights of SoulCollage®“:The Local newspaper, April 30, 2009, Sechelt, BC, p. 9