AMA Heal Your Life with the Creative Process. How Writing a Book Can Change Your Life.

Denise Demaras
Jun 13, 2018

By Denise DemarasAuthor, Artist, Photographer and Health and Life Coach, Founder of Art Therapeutics

Everyone needs to write a book. At least that is what they told me in school if I wanted to be successful and considered an expert. I wrote a book to promote my business and because it was on my list of goals from my childhood. But the real value in writing the book was the journey each day.

It was not an easy undertaking. There was so much to learn and unlearn, I learned. The creative process became the path I consciously entered each day. The act of writing the book taught me that you can treat the creative process as a practice – a practice like meditation or yoga. This was the way I was able to heal old wounds, connect to the heart and find clarity, direction, purpose to living life and writing a book. And of course, you have a book in the end. Writing a book changes your life when you allow your fingers to follow your heart. The Creative Process Heals We are all unique, that is a cornerstone of holistic belief, and I am a holistic peace loving personality. I’m also a little scattered at times, it’s so easy to be distracted. I saw in my work and personal life that in many ways, most people are the same, too. My background was in operating and consulting in the spa and hospitality businesses. It was there that I realized the importance of unwinding to recharge and reconnect with yourself. The transformation that many enjoy from stress to relief in a short time from a spa stay. It can seem miraculous.

It’s also undone as quickly as ‘life’ begins on Monday. That’s one of the reasons I left the business and returned to school. I wanted to find ways to stay centered personally and to teach others to do the same. I became to continue providing feel-good services. I believed and still do, that you don’t have to go anywhere to feel good, inspired, and live authentically while providing your creditors their due for your nice life.

We know that learning how to center in the midst of chaos and distraction helps us complete goals. It aids focus, reduces stress and increases creativity. A grounding practice also improves health and keeps life inspired.

It’s been an interesting road to founding Art Therapeutics. It began a long time ago when I found drawing as a way to process the many surprising and scary changes of a disruptive childhood. Life can be unpredictable and interesting; scary or exciting. That is how the creative process helped me reshape chaos and confusion.

Creative living can keep life adventurous and experimental. As I mentioned before, life can be distracting at times. So learning to work with it included learning formally and informally centering and self-healing methods. School provided certifications to teach meditation, mindfulness, art, and creativity for healing, herbology, aromatherapy, coaching, nutrition and more. The path to holistic living was long, determined and inspired. And each step of the way, creative expression, art, and writing, kept me processing and helped me find my center.

I wrote a book. The book was about self-healing methods and included many paintings as well as a card deck. It was a monster project I learned a lot and healed even more. The book was appropriately titled, Heal from Your Heart with Breath Rhyme and Art and at the last minute, I added a companion deck of cards. This was a long and

The creative process is a powerful path to your heart and inner peace.

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What is your process of writing from the moment idea strikes to the moment a book is published?
Jun 17, 4:28PM EDT0
If you were sitting across the table from someone who was struggling physically or emotionally, what thoughts might you have for them?
Jun 17, 6:00AM EDT0

Every situation is so different it is truthfully hard to answer what I would be thinking. Sometimes people want to express their pain and I am there and if they ant help I will offer whatever I can. Other times people do not want to discuss or expess, then all I can do is be present and notice these things while trusting that there will be an opening of relief for the person.And in the end knowing there isa gift in everything that happens for all of us.

Jun 17, 1:35PM EDT0
How can writing help a person develop compassion? Does your writing convey your personal beliefs and values?
Jun 17, 12:30AM EDT0

I believe it can when done with curiosity rather than authority. Then we are open to evolving, changing with each moment as life does. What was true for your or me yesterday, can look very different today after writing about it.  Questioning and exploring the statements that come from the mind through the  hands reveals the multifaceted diamond that life, perception and truth really are. My beliefs  are expressed and clarified, then often they change from the creative process of writing.

Jun 17, 1:43PM EDT0
Can working hard at writing serve the same meditative function as working with one’s hands?
Jun 16, 7:06AM EDT0

From my expereince if I am working hard, I am struggling regardless if it is writing or working with my hands.

Jun 17, 1:47PM EDT0
What was the event that made you leave your old lifestyle and work? How did you take the decision to go back to school? How hard was that process? In hindsight, what lessons dis you take from all that experience?
Jun 14, 2:33AM EDT0

There were a couple of personal events, a break up and a death that wer painful, emotionally and physically as well. I moved cross country  to a new town and went to an acupuncturist  for help. Leaving the office I saw a bright red catolgue and read it from cover to cover in my car. I went home, called and enrolled in New York for a Certification Program on Holistic Health and Nutrituion Counseling.. This was something that I was passionate about and now I was ready to shift from Director, manager to provider.  My brother passed yesterday so I am processing once again. As I've always learned life has a plan and I let go and follow it.  Grieving is an unpredictable journey and my expereince has shown that life is never the same when we process and stay with it. To heal and grow with the losses seem to widen the path of possibilities. Everything is new and different. Like the river it will take me where I need to go.

Jun 15, 1:17PM EDT0
What other goals did you had on your list from your childhood? Have you been able to achieve some of the other goals as well?
Jun 14, 1:02AM EDT0

Some things remain on the list, many have been achieved, and many have changed. Most of the 'career' and educational goals have been achieved from my childhood. But they all have legs. They remain 'alive' because I can do more and do them better :-).

Jun 15, 1:04PM EDT0
What techniques do you use to focus when your mind is dispersed? What does the trick?
Jun 13, 8:33PM EDT0

Mindfulness practices such as photography, walking, breathing exercises an turning off the phone, the laptop etc. Writing is a good practice too. Try automatic writing or choose  athought in your head and write about it as if you were questioning it. Go with it until you find your way back to enthusiasm, focus and order. Inspiration lives behind the thoughts always waiting for you tap into it.

Jun 15, 1:00PM EDT0
What challenges are next for Art Therapeutics? How are your furthering your business?
Jun 13, 8:20PM EDT1

I want to bring Art Therapeutics to more people actively seeking to feel better. Finding the right fit is the challenge. Offer to institutions or build a healing arts school/center or find a wellness counity that would complement the work?

Jun 15, 12:44PM EDT0
How do you nurture your creative side? What activities do you do for inspiration and for establishing a mindful atmosphere that will encourage your creative process?
Jun 13, 6:04PM EDT0

When stuckness happens around the creative process, I know it is my mind in the way. Meditation and mindful practices especially photography help me stay fresh and inspired.

Jun 13, 6:48PM EDT0

Interesting questions about the atmosphere. It is important for me to have the supplies staring at me but in a clear bright space. Music can also help me. To get it going I sometimes need to get outside with my camera walk and shoot photos of nature. Sometimes I just force my hand to begin and generally that shifts me ito the process.Taking a workshop with others is very inspiring an fun too.

Jun 15, 12:52PM EDT0
What do you do after a hard day to recapture your center and ease your mind?
Jun 13, 4:39PM EDT0

Every day is different. sometimes weather allows a brisk walk. Always there is meditation, reading inspirational works, writing, painting, and if I was out photgraphing, I can center by downloading photos and playing (editing) them. Catching up with friends, preparing a good meal and remembering to write in my gratitude journal are grounding for me.

Jun 13, 6:46PM EDT0
Do you offer life coaching sessions? What is your approach to life coaching?
Jun 13, 1:20PM EDT0

I do offer life coaching and my approach is holistic. This means each person is unique and repsonds to different approaches and we find this together by working on the main issue - the project. This is how you get to the core and find your way to live authentically and from the heart. Thisis how you feel better than you did before we began.

Jun 13, 6:33PM EDT0

I have been called to a family medical emergency. However, I intend to honor the AMA event as best I can but ask that you please be patient and youwill have your answers.  

Jun 13, 12:01PM EDT0
What lessons did you have to unlearn in order to write your book? And what others did you have to learn?
Jun 13, 2:51AM EDT0

Great questions! I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew! That is I had to get out of my mind and into my heart. I had to lean to trust myself and my creative impulses that were at times judged by others (editors, proof readers) jand release the content, art, rhymes, instructions  and musings without making it perfect. The  inmperfection turned out to be the charm and made the work both unique and approachable while connecting me to a deeper part of myself. Hope that helps.

Jun 13, 9:09AM EDT0
How can people explore the ways to find inner peace? Where is a good place to start? How did you start?
Jun 13, 2:22AM EDT0

A good place to start is with appreciating the beauty around you and finding the beauty in everything.

Jun 13, 9:10AM EDT0
In which ways would you say that writing changed your life? Spiritually? Professionally? How did it change it?
Jun 13, 1:56AM EDT0

It has changed everything really, my priorities have changed due to the creative process -  getting out of my way and into my heart showed me ways to let go of the events, thoughts, and  beliefs that were holding me back in relationships, stuck in a rut with work, and in life. It made me freer - happier.

Jun 13, 9:13AM EDT0
What scientific evidence is available to support art's therapeutic tendencies?
Jun 6, 2:05AM EDT0

The research from many studies show that it does indeed provide healing from trauma and like many other therapuetic modalities, it also eases the body.Teaching art and creative expression for healing from recovery or trauma, I've found that incorporating breath,  relaxation exercises, meditation,  music, anything that brings play into the picture (painting with q-tips, fingers, sponges, etc)  is helpful to get passed the fear of judgemnt too. It helps someone who feels they aren't creative to have fun, get out of their mindset and create. 

Jun 13, 9:23AM EDT0
What kind of services do you offer at Art Therapeutics?
Jun 5, 2:39PM EDT0

Coaching, classes, and art therapeutic products.

Jun 13, 9:25AM EDT0
How big is your business right now? How do you plan to develop it further?
Jun 4, 7:54PM EDT0

Right now I hire as needed for assitance in projects. I'm looking to expand and hoping to do so by finding  compatible communities to serve and support healing. I am also working on a program to help others write their book their way, for whatever reason they have - I know in the end, they will find more freedom, self love and joy as I have.

Jun 13, 9:31AM EDT0
How does the process of holistic healing begin? What does it entail?
Jun 4, 7:57AM EDT0

Holistic healing holds that all bodies are unique. That said, holistic healing begins with knowing yourself. I start my clients and students with what is most pressing for them. If it is the body, it's important to know  what foods help and what foods hurt the body. If it is the heart, a relationship or emotional issue, we can look at mindfulness to get to the core.

Jun 13, 9:35AM EDT0
What process must one go through in order to experience the healing nature of art therapy?
Jun 3, 2:52PM EDT0

We are all different but if you can  let go of judgment,  trust yourself and know you have an innate ability to create you are on your way

Jun 13, 9:38AM EDT0
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