Friday, December 18, 2009

Mandala and rhe Art of Visual Storytelling

The mandala -- a circle -- is the oldest expression of wholeness. Buddhist, Hindu. Jung. (His mandalas are on display in the magnificent exhibition now at NYC's Rubin Museum, extended until Feb.) This was how Jung healed himself from a nervous breakdown after his break-up with Freud, and became the basis of his psychology.

There is a whole, healthy, radiant Self inside us -- a reflection of God or life force energy -- that is larger than our ego, which is separate, and is connected with every living thing. Our internal healer. Our compass for our authentic path and role in life. Our unending source of supply.

When I was writing my dissertation -- normally not known as an experience of joyousness! -- my advisor (a visual artist) showed me how to use visual art to keep up my creative energy, use the creative unconscious to pull together ideas, and dissolve creative blocks. My dissertation did turn out to be a labor of love and joy, a living document on creative practice that I use to this day!

I continue to use the same process, almost as visual and story meditation.

Tools for Creative Practice: Finding and Expressing the Visual Story

This particular exercise combines the art of Mandala with the art of construction paper collage and the art of seeding story. It can be done alone or with a group. It uses the simplest of materials, making it effortless to do for yourself, with your clients, a child, a loved one -- a sketch pad with strong paper; a pack of construction paper, scissors, a glue stick, a writing pad and pen.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Warrior Returns: Holistic Therapies for Traumatized Veterans and their Families

I've developed a conference called "A Warrior's Return: Integrative Therapies to Support Transition from Battlefield to the Community" for the NY Open Center, where I serve as a consultant. If you're working with vets and their families, are interested in doing so, or know someone who is, you might be interested in this event. It's being held at the New York Open Center, 22 East 30th Street, NYC on Sunday, November 8, from 10-5:30. You can find out more at

This event is for mental health professionals, clergy, creative arts therapists, holistic healers and practitioners, nurse practitioners and anyone else who wants to provide healing services to our returning veterans and their families.

If you would like a detailed description of the program's content, write me at

Friday, March 6, 2009


Like almost everyone else, my life has been affected by the recession and I sometimes feel like I'm swimming upstream against the worst part of it -- the psychology of fear that keeps drumming into my head that things will get worse, that I'd better pull back and shut down until it's "over."

But I choose not to participate in this story. Insead, I'm choosing to go within myself, face the feelings triggered by this time head-on, and and find a new story. I can't do much to change external events, but I have all the power in the world to change my inner landscape and experience.

That's what this New Story series is all about: breaking through to abundance. Joseph Campbell wrote that in the ancient world, shrines and churches were built on places of conflict or disaster where someone transcended crisis to break through to the Abundance of the Universe, in Campbell's words, "to see the face of God" and to change the destiny of their people.

So today I'm announcing the second workshop in my series, "Create a New Story." I invite you to join me and others who are changing their stories in the workshops and through weekly writing exercises and sharings on the Create a New Story listserv.

The Call to Adventure: Heralds, Mentors, and Warriors
Making the Commitment to Change

Monday, March 30, 2009
5:45-7:45 p.m.
83 Spring St., 2A
New York, NY 10012

Teleseminar version:
Thursday, April 2
7-8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

$20 (includes membership in Create a New Story Yahoo forum)

Why do we love movies like Slumdog Millionaire? Why did millions of people jam the Federal Mall to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama, and millions upon millions more sit glued to their t.v. to be part of that transcendent moment?

Because we are starved for hope, new vision, and inspiration in our lives! Because their stories feed us emotionally, spiritually, and energetically.

The heroes of Slumdog and our new president have captured the collective imagination as seekers of dreams who refuse to believe in the limits of what's possible, who have answered a call to adventure, and who have taken the hero's path to a larger life than ever seemed possible.

Good news: This audacious seeker is within all of us, needing only the energy of imagination and outside support to be activated in our daily lives.

Combining education with personal healing and collective transformation, this workshop breaks down the process of commitment into imaginative scenes, characters, and actions that can be translated into new identities, beliefs, and actions in the material world. Using my transformational story process, myth, and the poetry of Mary Oliver, this workshop will help you:

-- Give structure and clarity to a challenge you or someone you know may be facing,

-- Reveal internal and external strengths with which to meet it;

-- Expand your vision of what's possible; and

-- Gather energy for the next right action.

This is the second in a 6-session series devoted to transforming the fear-based stories circulating all around us. It also stands alone as a creative and strengthening experience. The entire series will span the thresholds of change. After the first cycle ends in August, it will begin again in September with the first session. Fee for the entire 6 sessions -- $100. For 3 sessions - $60.

Space is limited. You must register to attend. Please reply here, indicating which version you're choosing:

For more information about this series or to inquire about working with me privately (in person or by phone and e-mail), please call my office at 212.947.7111, ext. 341. I'll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Juliet Bruce, Ph.D.
Living Story @ Arts for Life
writer, counselor, and story coach for people in transition and for artists in all media
19 West 34th Street, Penthouse
New York, NY 10001
212.947.7111, ext. 341

Comments from the first workshop:

"This is the most incredible experience I've ever had! Where is this stuff coming from in me? I'm very excited about this process. I can already feel the shift of energy."

"I'm so fascinated by the archetypes -- the characters who are a part of me. I feel really inspired. It felt so good to hear others' stories and to have other people listen to mine."

"It was a beautiful experience. I had several light bulbs go off in my head about the orphan-seeker characters I'm playing out."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dragon Mind

"Water Dragon," Deviant Art
Have you seen those Chinese prints that show a dragon bursting forth from a tsunami-like wave? This image represents the Taoist belief that chaos is the wellspring of creative power, good fortune, and prosperity.

To learn more about the Creative, Hexagram I, click on

What a perfect image for these times!

The wave can be understood as the implosion of all the old, violent, and corrupt structures that have created such dark times and the dragon as an image of the inscrutable new reality that is bursting to break through in our country, across the globe, and in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

We each have a role to play in the restoration -- to live with integrity, passion, and purpose; to hold faith in a more perfect vision; and to do our part to create families and communities built upon caring and compassion.