What is Art Journalling?

What is Art Journalling?

Art Journaling is a beautiful creative safe space to create a visual language to help process how you feel.

The only requirement for Art Journaling is to let your mind guide your hands. The result is always something beautiful and unexpected.

My Core Art Journaling workshops are a place to play with an assortment of art materials, and writing exercises in a supportive, non-judgmental environment.

Core Art Journaling helps lead you to deeper awareness and understanding, as we explore and process our thoughts and feelings. Art journaling as a form of creative self-expression.

Why I Art Journal?
When I was experiencing a difficult time and living in the French Alps on my own I wasn’t getting my feelings and emotions resolved. Art journaling really helped me when I was looking for a safe space to process how I was feeling. I loved that there weren’t any rules and the sense of play in my journals became a place for me to unload and make sense of what was going on in my life.

I couldn’t believe how good it felt using tools like free flow writing and the magic of being able to scrawl unconsciously onto my page unhealthy mind chatter. Art journaling became a realistic creative cathartic space for me work out and heal my difficulties.

I knew it was going to be painted over and I love layering my pages writing, stamping, drawing and playing with mixed media using my journal daily to help me heal.

With Core Art Journaling there are not art rules all that is asked is to be true to yourself.

Creativity is our own personal voice and at the heart of what makes us as human.

What I do

I run workshops and retreats where I facilitate and guide how to use Art Journaling as a creative Wellbeing tool.

We have fun there are no rules, you can get messy, play and paint like a child enjoying sensorial painting with fingers and play with mixed media. Art Journaling is not about pretty pictures or making something look right it about processing, connecting mindfully and enjoying the freedom of creating.

 

Why would you Art Journal?

You process your feelings and thoughts.

Relieves anxiety by allowing yourself not to be control of the outcome of the page.

You are guided to get out what’s in your head onto the page.

You find a deeper sense of yourself.

Relieves stress and builds your self esteem.

Sense of empowerment with your journal recording your world and life.

My altered books are environmentally friendly, up cycling old books and give them a new life and story.

We liberate ourselves shutting down any inner critic that tells us we are not creative

Its cathartic.

 

How it can help recovery.

Art Journaling can help cancer patients, the process of releasing strong emotions through an Art Journaling community either physically or online is a positive recovery tool and the Mindful practice of art has proven to create positive changes.

It’s a release to visually work through all those feeling that can arise with a diagnosis and treatment. Your art journal can be powerful healing tool in that journey. All those thoughts get processed through emotional mark making and is cathartic.

Best of all it’s a realistic creative self-care action. Anyone can art journal at home setting yourself up a small area and giving yourself even just 15mins a day can be beneficial.

“Creativity is great medicine for all, both the creator and the one who experiences it. It is not an indulgence; it is fundamental to medical practice.”  Patch Adams

 

5 things about Core Art Journaling

You don’t need any Art experience

You can collect and find a home for treasured pieces.

It a positive way to process bad head space.

You can document your life and progress

Its fun!

 

© Deborah Porter Core Art Journaling

Louisa Gordon: Manual Lymphatic Drainage with Lisa

Louisa Gordon: Manual Lymphatic Drainage with Lisa

Personally, I really love how Victoria’s Promise understand the many areas of your life that cancer can affect.  The charity goes deeper than the obvious, and helps in areas I wouldn’t have thought I needed before this whole cancer journey began.
I had to have surgery for breast cancer, I also had my lymph nodes removed in my arm pit as the cancer had spread to there too.  I hadn’t realised that this would mean my arm will now find it difficult to drain the fluid properly. I was so glad to find out VP has a lovely Beauty Therapist, Lisa Fung Bowman- Hood who is trained in lymphatic drainage massage, to help me with this!
I’m not usually the type to get a massage, being rather ticklish, (I usually come out of a massage more tense then when I went in), but I could see a clear benefit for having a lymphatic drainage massage and I was pleasantly surprised at how gently and relaxing it was.
I caught Lisa off guard a little in this vlog but she still manages to get across how important and beneficial the massage is.  See how I got on in the video here:

 

By Louisa Gordon

What is VP Affinity and why is it so valuable?

What is VP Affinity and why is it so valuable?

In this week’s support Wednesday post, we are doing a major #throwback to Louisa Gordon in January 2018! In her vlog, Louisa gives a beautiful account of how she discovered Victoria’s Promise and why our VP Affinity Workshops were and are so valuable to women going through cancer treatment. Since this video, Louisa has done an incredible job of hosting our workshops and has welcomed many new faces to lots of different activities and speakers such as Tenovus Choir, Meditation, Drumming therapy and many more!

Upcoming workshops:

  • Clubbercise, Basingstoke – 17th April at Christchurch Chineham
  • Creative Journalling, Winchester – 25th April at Rawberry Cafe

To find out more about our upcoming Affinity workshops, click here

Victoria’s Promise Supports Everyone

Victoria’s Promise Supports Everyone

A cancer diagnosis can often bring uncertainty, a need to adjust life and an emotional journey. Whilst we know that supporting our young women is the first step in helping a family unit as a whole, we also realise that the specialised services we offer can also give much-needed aid throughout a cancer journey.

As stated by The National Institute of cancer ‘When you find out you have cancer, daily routines may change for everyone. Schedules may be focused around treatment. Someone in your family may need to take time off from work to drive you to treatments. Or, perhaps you need help paying bills or cooking meals. You may need help with chores and errands. ‘

How do we support our women and their families?

Part of our mission at Victoria’s Promise is to provide our young women with personalised support and treatment services that best increase the chance of survival and quality of life. This doesn’t stop with just supporting the women but also closer family.

We offer a range of services such as:

  • Childcare – Having listened to their young women VP found that a huge hidden challenge of the illness is keeping up with housework and childcare during treatment visits. VP therefore now provide domestic cleaning and child care services.
  • Cleaning – Keeping up with the housework can be difficult when going through certain types of treatment that leave you feeling fatigued. We want to ensure that our ladies have a peaceful, clean and relaxing environment to recover in. We have professional cleaners, to come in and give the house a blitz.
  • Counselling – Extensively qualified and experienced counsellors are on hand immediately to work with the young women, their partners and children at the most difficult of times.
  • Coaching – Hand-picked cancer coaches are there to support in practical positive steps forward with emotional challenges such as anxiety, stress and fear

We know that these small things can make a big impact on our women’s journey from testimonials we receive. Often small changes can offer more time with family as well as that essential support for the loved ones around them so they can support the VIP.

Check out some of our Testimonials here:

 

Published by Becky Facey

 

Mindfulness for Cancer – Living Better with Cancer

Mindfulness for Cancer – Living Better with Cancer

I have been teaching Mindfulness for over three years and although it is a buzz word now, I think many people are still unclear about Mindfulness. From my own experience, I see Mindfulness as a way of life, one that helps us live in the moment and frees us from the past and future stories we tend to live in.

 

The Origins of Mindfulness

In its purest form, Mindfulness has been practiced for centuries by Buddhists. Much of what we use in our Mindfulness practice originates from Buddhism, the meditation and focus on what is happening at the present moment is a fundamental element of Buddhist practice. What is important to remember is that Buddhism is often seen as a philosophy, one which is based on the study of the mind and firmly rooted in the belief that we can retrain our mind to be more present.

“In Mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Jon Kabat-Zinn is seen as one of the first to develop Mindfulness and introduce it in the West. He is an American professor, running a stress reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts. Jon Kabat-Zinn was a student of Thich Nhat Hanh and a practising Buddhist, he began to integrate Buddhist teachings with his scientific findings and developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program which is now offered worldwide to support people living with stress, anxiety, pain and illness.

Following the success of the others went on to develop specific programs for depression, namely the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program and the Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC) for people who want to improve their well-being.

There is a plethora of research to support the impact of Mindfulness on improved mental health and well-being. In 2015 we saw the release of the Mindful Nation UK which collated years of research findings.

 

The Cancer Experience

From my experience of working with people living with Cancer, there are some very specific difficulties and challenges that we try to support through the use of Mindfulness.

I started working with people living with Cancer over two years ago, I’ve probably taught over 100 people so far. My groups are mixed, men and women, all ages, all ethnicities and religions. Cancer has not boundary. And although these people differ in so many ways, what they have in common is the trauma of Cancer.

For every single person diagnosed with Cancer, life changes the instant they hear the words “you have Cancer” And then there is a journey ahead of insecurity, fear, anxiety, stress, sadness, anger, denial and a whole host of other emotions.

We have become very good at diagnosing and treating Cancer, medically the advances have been impressive, although we have a long way to go still until we eradicate the disease completely. However what I see is that it is the emotional side of Cancer that can be devastating.

Many of my course participants are living in fear, the fear of survival, the pain of the treatment and if that goes well, then it’s the fear of reoccurrence. And all these emotions, these constant thoughts, are valid, Cancer is a traumatic experience for most.

I have worked with people who find that even after they have been given the all clear, they become depressed and can’t move on. This is a common symptom of Post Traumatic Disorder. Whilst they are in “fight” mode, they do not have the time to think about anything else but survival. When they come out of the system, no longer needing the attention of the doctors, nurses and even constant care from family and friends, they are faced with the reality of what they had to go through. They are
changed people and they may have woken up to their own vulnerability.

I can’t count how many times one of my course participants has said “I just want to go back to who I was before the Cancer” – and it is my job to help them see that that person has changed and often for the better because they have a renewed appreciation of life.

 

Why Mindfulness for Cancer?

The Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer course was developed by Trish Bartley at the University of Bangor in Wales. It is specifically designed to support people living with Cancer, Trish being a Cancer survivor herself has incorporated some very powerful tools for course participants.

I have been fortunate to attend an intensive retreat led by Trish Bartley and I deliver most of the course to my own groups.

In her book Mindfulness: A Kindly Approach to Being with Cancer Trish explains that “Mindfulness can offer you a way of relating differently with what you struggle with. The difficulties will not necessarily go away, but by being with them more gently, things may feel easier and steadier”.

And I think in this one sentence she captures one of the most important elements of Mindfulness in the context of Cancer. Often people living with Cancer find it difficult to offer any sort of kindness or compassion to themselves. They want to ease the pain of those close to them, so they mask their own difficulties. Or they feel guilt, anger and don’t know how to be softer to themselves.

Through Mindfulness we teach people to start putting themselves at the centre of their lives, often for the first time. We teach people to give themselves loving kindness, just as they would if they were caring for someone else.

 

“As you unfold, just keep on quietly and earnestly, growing through all that happens to you. You cannot disrupt the process more violently then by looking outside of yourself for answers that may only be found by attending to your innermost feeling” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Mindfulness is not a therapy in the conventional sense, it isn’t about talking about the story of Cancer constantly. It is about getting to know the stories in our mind, the ones we keep repeating over and over, that drive us insane. The what if’s and why me?

Mindfulness teaches us to accept what is present for us, with a gentle, kind approach and a letting go of fear of the future. Through meditation we learn to settle the mind when it dragging us into dark places, we learn to come back to now, the only moment that is real.

 

About Anna:

Before training to teach Mindfulness I taught in secondary schools in London and spent several years travelling the country supporting some of the most deprived schools in England. After my divorce, I found Mindfulness as a support for my personal struggles. I became immersed in the practices and way of life, eventually training to teach through the Mindfulness Association. I am a UK Listed Mindfulness Teacher, recently completed the intensive MBCT for Cancer course through the
University of Bangor. A large part of my work is with Cancer support centres in North London. In addition, I run Mindfulness courses to the general public locally. I run online courses and one to one sessions via Skype for those that prefer personal support. I work with organisations to bring Mindfulness into the Workplace.

 

If you want to find out more or join a course:

anna@mindfulnessapproach.com or call 07518018088

www.mindfulnessapproach.com

How To Support Someone With Cancer Just By Cooking Dinner

How To Support Someone With Cancer Just By Cooking Dinner

By eating brilliantly with our new partners Abel and Cole, you can create lovely dishes at home while supporting the charity at no extra cost!  Abel and Cole are very generously donating to Victoria’s Promise for each new customer who signs up quoting “Victoria’s Promise”.  This is just one of a few amazing ways that they are supporting this charity…

But how did such an amazing partnership come about?

It all started about a year ago when I was about halfway through chemotherapy.

I was reading various nutrition books trying to learn as much as I could about my new predicament.  Everything felt completely out of my control but learning as much as I could felt like it gave me a little power back.

I was trying to learn what I could do with my diet to help get through it and feel better.  I was finding that chemo had drastically changed my sense of taste (actually I couldn’t taste a thing) and fresh fruit or veg were the few things that I could eat.

There are so many books and studies showing the benefits of nutrition for cancer. I later went to see the Victoria’s Promise Nutritional therapist who recommended upping my fruit and veg intake to 10 a day to help replenish my body as best as possible as chemo was then over.

I could feel that my toxic load after chemo was at its max.  The last thing I then wanted to do was add to that toxic strain by eating a load of fruit and veg that were also full of pesticides!  I was trying to help my body, not add more chemicals!   

It was at this point that an Abel and Cole offer came through my letterbox!  It fluttered down and landed on the floor beside me. I took this as a sign and registered then and there! WhatsApp Image

I love getting the fruit and veg deliveries, the quality is brilliant and I can totally trust that it is all organic.  I find that filling my kitchen with a good variety of fruit and veg helps motivate me to use it more. I use more veg in my cooking now because it is there.   

 

This hasn’t just helped me though,

it has helped my whole family eat better too.  My children snack on fruit because it is there.  My big salad bowl has been promoted to a fruit bowl and as stands pride of place on the side.  Just having an abundance of great veg around has made a huge difference to my diet and dishes I cook. I throw more of a variety of veg into food because they are there to hand.  We all eat better now.

“I believe that what you choose to put on your plate is the most important health intervention you can make” Dr Rupy Aujla of The Doctors Kitchen.

I finished my cancer treatment on the very last day of 2017.  I got through it all well and I feel this was due to my fresh diet coupled up with my eternal optimism.   I couldn’t wait to start working with Victorias Promise in January 2018.

To help grow the charity, the first company I reached out to was, of course, Abel and Cole as I could feel the benefits of eating better and wanted to share this further.

Good health through good food is a significant part of our prevention of occurrence and re-occurrence mission, so I felt that the young, vibrant and genuinely lovely company Abel and Cole was a great fit for us here at Victoria’s Promise on so many levels.

I got in touch and have been bowled over with their generosity and energy to help.  From providing the charity with the Good Food Fund, to actively fund raising internally too, they have genuinely been fantastic.

We went to meet them and even ended up cooking in their kitchen which was a real treat and chance to release my inner food geek (you might have noticed in the video below!)

We are so proud that Victoria’s Promise has now partnered with Abel and Cole.  They are a truly lovely company who are supporting the charity in a number of ways.  They are very kindly:

  • providing a box of fruit and veg to every newly diagnosed woman who comes into our care as a pure act of kindness
  • providing fruit and organic nibbles for all of our Women’s Workshops every month
  • offering the Good Food Fund so that we can spread the benefits of their amazing fruit and veg while they, in turn, donate up to £35 to Victorias Promise per new customer
  • sponsoring the Abel and Cole Booster Bundle for Victoria’s Promise, giving £1 to the charity for every booster bundle sold (as we talk about in the video)
  • they are holding bake sales and quiz nights internally to raise funds
  • 18 Abel and Cole employees are even undertaking the Three-Peaks-Challenge in the Yorkshire Dales National Park on June 25th. The route is 24 miles long, include 5,200ft of ascent and takes up to 12 hours to complete. The walkers all voted to donate the funds raised to VP which is just amazing!

Here is your chance to truly help make a difference

So how can you actively help raise funds for the charity while also eating brilliantly yourself?  Head on over to www.abelandcole.co.uk and sign up as a new customer quoting “Victorias Promise” in the “How did you hear from us” box. Abel And Cole will then donate to the charity £20 on your first delivery and you get a copy of their beautiful cookbook too, then they donate £5 on the 3rd box and £10 on the 5th box!

This is an amazing donation and will make a huge difference for the women we support!

GFF VP Banner HR

I signed up for the veg boxes at quite a low point in my life, at this point I ordered fruit and veg, but they really were delivering health and hope. It is this I wanted to share further with you all.  Sign up for your regular veg boxes here and make a difference to not only your own health, but the lives of so many young women affected by cancer too.

Its win win!

If you are not already a customer of Abel and Cole, why not give it a try and sign up?  I’m sure you will love it!  Not only will you be getting the benefits of eating brilliantly… you will also be raising much needed funds for charity too!  That’s a double whammy of the feel-good factor!  www.abelandcole.co.uk 

P.S Another way to help would be to share this far and wide so that you can help spread good health and fundraise for Victoria’s Promise too! We thank you so much for your support, we truly appreciate all of your help!

Written by Louisa Gordon,

Women’s Network Ambassador and Partnerships Co-ordinator