Do you find pleasure playing with words? Much like colours, they have such splendiferous combinations and associations. So here’s one for you: When you think of “roots” what first comes to mind? The famous Canadian store, a root canal, the TV series? Or perhaps the root of an equation, your hair roots … the root of a problem, tree roots, or maybe your family genealogy? What first comes to my mind is family, and, because I’ve long been fascinated with energy, the root chakra.

My roots are kaleidoscopic. I come from a family of six with a strong French Canadian, Roman Catholic heritage. Both my grandmothers had sixteen children each. Yes, sixteen! That totals to approximately 12 years of pregnancy each!! Unlike theirs, my life has been incomparably different. At the age of two, I left a small Ontario farmland brick home to move to New Delhi, India with my pregnant mother, father and older brother. Over the next twelve years we live in the capital cities of France, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Trinidad. Each time, my world was dismantled and reassembled in completely alien, disorienting and sometimes alarming surroundings.

My loving kin was instrumental for my emotional, mental and physical survival. Years later I grasped how these marvellous, enriching, tumultuous and unnerving times shaped me. Profoundly beautiful, unique cultural expressions inspired me, yet witnessing the poor lives of Third World folk broke my heart.

As an empath with a sensitive nature, I buried tons of hurt until at the age of thirty-one I fell apart. This set in motion my search for holistic health, inner peace and true happiness. A huge part of this healing journey rests in my spiritual and artistic explorations of makes us joyful and bright.

With many directions to explore and play with, the activity of painting offers personal messages to be gently delivered. Colour, strokes, dots, lines and textures come together to create a language of their own. Out of abstract imagery emerge stories that bring insight and powerful healing.

I’ve always loved the look of layered colours because of the depth they reveal, and, just as our family roots are a backdrop for our life, the base layer of a painting inspires us to choose and define a new image, which in turn becomes a reflection of our story.

This spring, at coCreations studio, we were discussing chakra metaphors and painting what they evoke. The root chakra provided fabulous allegories for feeling grounded, safe, and part of a tribe. One painting had playful bright dots that conjured a shield representing diverse connections of the painter’s ancestry. Another looked like tree rings with a feathery yet strong, dark red centre anchoring one to the deep core of the earth.

Putting colour on a surface allows hurt, muck, negativity, fear, etc. to find a natural way out of the body instead of festering into dis-ease. Embracing art making as a process versus a product permits the body-mind to speak. This more relaxed outlook helps to withhold criticism, bypass our conscious, ego-mind and connect us to our innate wisdom and creativity.

Fiddling around with allegories some more, this fall I will be facilitating a creative workshop at the Natural Food Pantry where you not only will be able to eat food rooted from nature but play with your food as well!

Rooted in another reality, in a new collaboration with a certified yoga instructor, we’ve created the Asana of Art for you to experience a deeper place where art and spirituality are interwoven through yoga postures and, of course, some fun art making.

Of course, chakra and mandala themed workshops are on the menu at coCreations art studio this fall. When you’re ready to tend to your spirit through artPlay I’m here for you with gentle recuperative techniques, a smile, and big fat hugs for those who enjoy a squeeze. Namasté.

First published in Tone Magazine, September 2018

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