Friday, August 17, 2012


During one of the spring healing art retreats at CHOMP, our directive was to conjure up a peaceful scene in our mind and jot a couple descriptive sentences about that scene on paper.  Each scene evolved as we passed our papers to the person sitting next to us, and they added another sentence or two, then we passed them again for one or two more sentences by the third person.  Each of the papers rotated a final time for the fourth person to illustrate the completed scene.
The scene I was handed ended up being the perfect assignment for me with my love of the sea!  The descriptions…a beach in Puerto Vallarta, fine, white sand, an endless blue sky, waves, poppies blooming on the dunes, the bright, golden sun and footprints on the beach.
I gathered tissue, wrapping, origami and printed papers, little plastic triangles and white glitter, and the resulting mixed media collage became “Respite.” 

"Respite"   Spring 2012
Mixed media collage

The definition for respite, “a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant,” prompted me to contemplate its important role in mindfulness, wellness, stress relief and healing and to consider the many variations of a respite we can seek and allow for our ourselves in the forms of gentle thoughts, visualizations or meditations, time spent in a calming place or in a relaxing activity.  As we enjoy a respite, we can find peace, solace and clarity. 

Respites I find most beneficial – deep breaths, yoga (which I need to return to practicing), beach walks, forest hikes, sitting and soaking up a beautiful view, naps (alas, too infrequent), coffee or lunch with a dear friend, enjoying a healthy, flavorful meal, creating, journaling, reading in bed, gardening, birdwatching, relaxing on our front bench, visiting an art museum or the Monterey Bay Aquarium (during the quiet off-season!) and of course, the healing art retreats I’ve been attending.
What are your favorite respites?