Life in Balance

Through this online art blog/gallery we can encourage, inspire and share hope with one another…We invite who you to share your “NAPS” (News, Art ,Poetry, Songs) or inspirations. Email if you would like to share inspirations. Please note we can not post advice with regards to nutrition and exercise.

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Art Heals

Art Heals challenges viewer to see the world through new eyes

March 15, 2017
By Brock Weir
Reposted from The Auroran

People spend so much time thinking, ‘If only I had more time, I would…” and, according to Shannon Leigh Phair, they invariably have a list of things to fill in that blank. But, what if the real question was what you would do if you had less time?
That is the question Ms. Phair started weighing when, in February of 2014, she was diagnosed with colon cancer aged just 32.
Still fighting the fight, the Beeton resident says she has always known deep down she is an artist at heart, but her diagnoses gave her the opportunity to explore deeper that side of herself, a side which had taken a back seat to her nine-to-five job.
The results of this exploration form part of the Art Heals exhibition now on at the Aurora Cultural Centre featuring artists from York, Durham and Simcoe Regions whose works are the end result of their healing process. Curated by Clare Bolton of the Aurora Cultural Centre, the Art Cures project is spearheaded by Allan O’Marra who saw several instances of the healing power of art while working with Mental Health Sciences in Whitby.
“In 2015, I conceived the idea of asking fellow artists to create works of art with emotional healing in mind,” said Mr. O’Marra in a statement. “The premise of the show was for each artist to create a work of art that, in its creation, deals with, and hopefully helps in the healing process of personal issues such as past discrimination issues, marital or family problems, past-life issues, serious disappointments, and so on.”
Ms. Phair, who attended high school at Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School with her now-husband, didn’t have far to look for inspiration. Her creation, “Mixed Feelings” is a series of mixed media blocks bearing various thoughts that came to the artists’ mind in the earlier stages of her cancer fight.
“My genes made a deal with my life to have a crystal clear perspective at the highest cost,” she says of the dialogue she has with herself through these blocks. “In some strange way I feel lucky to have been diagnosed with a terrible disease because it has given me the gift of perspective. The perspective we have in life can make all the difference. Maybe I am naïve or too positive, but this is what keeps me going.
“My feelings have changed a lot over the past three years. I do whatever I want when I want with who I want. I become picky about who I spend my time with. I hear people say, ‘If I had more time I would’ and fill in the blank, but it seems that no matter how much time we have we still don’t do the things that we want: learn to play the guitar, meditate, see the people you love more, spend more time looking into the eyes of the person you love. Maybe what we should be saying is, ‘If I had less time I would do all of those things and more.’”
Each lovingly crafted block is stitched together with thread, symbolic in Ms. Fair’s eyes as it represents traditional materials, “women’s work”, the craft movement, and, in the motion of weaving in and out, the art of meditation.
“It is a contemplative way of working, but it is a soft material, so it is peaceful,” she muses. “The text on the blocks are thoughts that came into my mind pretty much unedited. They were statements or questions pertaining to my struggle and the healing process and I think people can relate to them.”
She glances down on the floor to one particular block bearing the word “Alone…”.
“The funning thing is there was more to that statement, but I forgot it due to one of the side effects, so it stayed as ‘alone’ and it worked really well because that is how you feel sometimes dealing with difficult struggles. But here, I am just trying to create [for the art lover] a different way of seeing things.”

Art Heals runs through May 6.

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Mixed Media Program with Susan

Tuesday nights have become a creative and inspirational time in our art gallery in Aurora. Susan Stortini leads the Mixed Media Program, where participants are encouraged to express themselves with different types of media each week. This week – watercolour 🙂 Check out the lovely artwork below, thank you for sharing!

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Emotional Hygiene

(Reposted from YouTube description)
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. We have medicine cabinets for common physical injuries like cuts and colds but no toolkits for common psychological injuries such as failure, rejection, guilt, and loss. In his inspirational talk, Guy Winch tells us that “you can’t treat a psychological wound if you don’t know you’re injured”. Guy teaches us a lesson on why it is so important to practice emotional hygiene.

Guy Winch Ph.D. is a psychologist, speaker, and author whose books have been translated into 15 languages. His most recent book, Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries (Hudson Street Press, 2013) examines the surprising ways in which seven common psychological injuries (Rejection, Loneliness, Loss, Guilt, Rumination, Failure, and bouts of Low Self-Esteem) impact our behavior, emotions, cognitive functioning, and physical health, and provides science-based treatments to heal the wounds they inflict.
In both his writing and his talks, Dr. Winch aims to bridge the gap between the science of psychology and its practice in the real world. He is passionate about translating current scientific findings into practical applications people can use to better their psychological health and their relationships. Dr. Winch is a member of the American Psychological Association. He lives and practices in New York City.

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Second Cafe Series Concert!

Riverwalk had our second Cafe Series concert event! Located at Bonsai Hill tea shop in Aurora, we had several performances by local musicians and we displayed art created in our art programs. The event was held to raise awareness about mental wellness in our community and to promote our programs, such as our Expressive and Therapeutic Arts Program. Our arts programs are available to individuals seeking mental health support and who are interested in exploring the arts as a means of engaging in meaningful, recovery-oriented activity. A referral from Riverwalk or Addiction Services for York Region is required. Please contact to inquire about the referral process.

Thank you to our performers:

Michelle Scott

Mel and Peter from Ravyn Red

Jess from the Jay Dee Band and Peter

Riana Isenberg

Slick and Asa

Matt Gerber


Lovely staff at Bonsai Hill


jess and peter

Jess and Peter



mel and peter

Mel and Peter


Michelle and Riana

slick and asa

Slick and Asa

Our next event will be at the end of April in Richmond Hill. Stay tuned!