Spirit Houses

If you want to create a Spirit House or learn about the tradition, see Steve Kinne's article.  

Here's how one of us did this.  We will call her Barbara, who didn't want to build a spirit house from scratch (some people will) so she looked around for an appropriate structure.  Nothing there in her house but while walking in the pasture she found/remembered a birdhouse...perfect, that would do.  Only not that specific bird house. It was occupied and she didn't want to evict the birds that were already living there so she took the idea and went to yard sales and feed and garden stores and looked on line until she found a bird house that fit for her Spirit House.

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An Offering of Beauty to Life

Giving gifts to life. 

Consider this -- Balinese make beautiful handmade offerings every single day to entice, appease and appeal to the Spirits -- to keep the world in balance.  To bring good fortune.  To show appreciation and gratitude. 

Women of The World; a summit

Early last spring, we  (Andrea Steffens, executive director and Wendy Hawkins, operations director)  attended The Women in the World summit.  

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your favorite post thus far

After reading through the blog and looking at the numbers of you who read them, we found that the post on The Calming Breath has the most "reads."   What we take from this is that you want more practical "what can we do to feel better:" sorts of blogs.  Toward that end, we are beginning a series of "how to" use our arts processes for your own healing beginning with a review of The Calming Breath. Scroll through the blogs until you find it. 

And then what?

After going through Ashlar's educational trauma remediation and Self Care program, we ask our graduates to spend the last two sessions asking these questions: the first series are about personal exploration:  what does it mean to have your life back? How and what have you gained from your experience now you are no longer locked into survival?  How do you want to spend your time now your your mind is no longer a personal and private mine field?  Did your family have a difficult time adjusting to your newly claimed emotional and physical clarity? 

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The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

Vet to Vet -- an arts driven approach to healing the trauma story

We are very excited to announce the launch of the Vet 2 Vet program with and for vets suffering symptoms of traumatic stress.  We are teaching vets to be Narrative Arts Specialists.  Our goal  is that they take what they have learned and experienced themselves to help other vets suffering symptoms of PTS. Our lead person is Jim Famalero, an artist and Afghan combat vet.

Trainings involve our students going through the processes they will use. Though few in number, our rules are chiseled in stone.  The first: one: Always experience in-depth the processes you are going to use with others. 

Who We Are

                  

We make art in order not to die from the truth.

Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts is a U.S. 501c3 non-profit arts organization designed to serve the personal story and address the trauma it may contain. Our work is educational and skills driven -- grounded in thirty years of community based experience.

We use photos, interviews, and teach guided writing (Writing Through the Body).  For those people for whom revealing identity is unsafe, we use multi-media memorial building to contain and share the story in an abstract or symbolic form. Our goal is Witnessing and facilitating the creation of a coherent narrative for our students toward well-being and resilience. 

Following from our initial work with Story, we collaborate with students to create a culturally relevant Self-Care program facilitated by them and supervised when necessary by skilled professionals.

We invite you to invite us to your community.