Love (red outside violet inside) by Robert Indiana | New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden
| Photo by Rocky Jaeger | 

Hello Wonder Friends!

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

The one self-care practice that makes all the difference? Gratitude. I’ve heard this before and I’ll confess, a part of me rejected the idea. “How can that be?” I thought. “Things are what they are. How does my perception of something really change it?” And I kept trying to do a gratitude practice, but would stop after a few days. Finally, this past month, I promised myself that I was going to write down what I was grateful for. (Walk the walk so to speak, since we mention it in our trainings!)

I’m on the 24th consecutive day now and I really do see the benefits discovered by UC Davis researchers Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough when studying the impact of gratitude. As explained in The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude by Marc Reklau, the researchers found that “people who wrote down five things they were grateful for every night before going to bed were more optimistic, happier, healthier, more generous, more benevolent and much more likely to achieve their goals than those who didn’t write anything down, wrote down five hassles, or wrote down five things they were better at than others.”

To be grateful is to…

…practice gratitude.  This may seem obvious, but on difficult days or when stressful things happen at work or home, it can be easy to think, “What can I possibly be happy about or grateful for when people can be so awful to each other?”

Sometimes it requires looking at the ordinary things. As Brené Brown said: “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness –it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”

Exactly! We can write down those simple things to be grateful for: I’m alive; I ate a delicious blueberry this morning; a bird is chirping outside my window; my cat purred today (or my dog snuggled up to me); and I have clean drinking water coming out of the faucet. In The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude, the author recommends have a running list of things that we are grateful for and continually adding to that list, so we can always refer to it no matter what happens in the day. Things like those I mentioned above and: being you, breathing, nature, having clothes and shoes that protect you, your individual skills or gifts, books, funny shows and movies, laughing…just as a start.  You can refer to that list as part of your gratitude practice and keep adding to it.

In the spirit of gratitude…

…we wanted to express some gratitude here on this page, as we have lots to be grateful for when it comes to Healing the Healer workshops and trainings. This year, more than 1,400 social workers and helping professionals throughout California and Oregon have joined us in our trainings.

Why I mention this-and what I love about this- is knowing there are more than 1,400 people we’ve worked with this year who are going to work each day specifically because they (you!) want to help others help themselves. I mean, that’s truly magnificent. And provides hope. It reminds me of that quote from Mr. Rogers, who said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

So thank you!

Self-Care & Stress Relief Corner:

We created a new, free video entitled Self-Care Cards with Rachel & Rocky.  During this Intentional Creativity® session, we demonstrate how to create personalized self-care flags for display to support self-care for the Mind, Body, Heart, & Spirit.   

This is a gift for our subscribers, so sign up to receive access to this fun art process, along with other free offerings, including three original coloring books:  

Sign Up HERE for access to the Free Video and Coloring Book Library!

What’s Up With Rachel & Rocky Corner:

In the past two months, we had the honor of teaching day-long painting workshops in Mendocino, Marin and Calaveras counties.  (The session in Calaveras County occurred during one of the power outages, so we had only natural light for most of the training!)  We also met wonderful child welfare workers in Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial and Los Angeles counties teaching six half-day sessions through the Academy for Professional Excellence/Child Welfare Development Services. 

Sharing The Gratitude…

Interested in what some of our workshop participants think of our trainings and workshops?  Read on here, as participants have kindly shared some of the reasons they love our workshops, in their own words:

“Spending time with Rachel and Rocky is good medicine for the heart … they are kind and generous souls who create depth and connection through creativity in an easy way.”
“Rachel and Rocky are fabulous workshop facilitators! Their Healing the Healer self-care workshops are empowering, rejuvenating and inspiring! They create a safe space and all of the tools & materials needed for the guided creative process they so beautifully facilitate! It is truly a healing and soulful experience! :)”
“The workshop was a gentle nurturing setting to get to know my process better. I had been feeling burned out and this provided the spark of hope that I needed to continue to serve others while making room for my own needs to be met. This was a good wake up call to tend to my emotional and spiritual needs that were being neglected.”
“Rachel and Rocky are fabulous! They know how to set the tone and mood for the workshop to be a calming, relaxing and healing experience even for us non-artistic people. By weaving painting in with training about self-care, the workshop is engaging, interactive and fun without a boring moment at all. I look forward to attending their workshops again and again!”
“I rarely take the time to create even though I know how much it feeds my soul. It felt great to slow down and take the time. Thank you Rachel and Rocky for holding the space and coaching us through the process of painting our spirit guides. I loved the process.”

Featured Healing the Healer Workshop

We are very fortunate that this was the fourth year we have had the opportunity to lead the staff retreat for the Human Services Agency/CFS in Mendocino County.  Above is the collaborative painting that was put together this October with the intention of celebrating the unique and creative qualities of each staff member. The focus of this all-day painting workshop was on rejuvenation, connection, and visioning for the future.

Last year for the staff retreat, we created a Wisdom Tree designed to identify the qualities and wisdom each staff member appreciated in peers.  Also included were words to honor the work they do together and want to celebrate.  Here is what the tree looked like before and after the staff retreat  in January, 2019 and then in October, 2019, after the painting was taken to numerous meetings throughout the year for people to add their leaves of wisdom.

Wisdom Tree Before the Retreat

The Wisdom Tree after the January, 2019 Staff Retreat.

The Wisdom Tree in October, 2019 after intentions were added by staff throughout the year. Beautiful!

And For Fun…

In October, we also took some time out for ourselves for self-care to relax and celebrate the significant birthdays of our good friend and Rocky’s aunt, including a Willy Wonka themed birthday party in Maui! Double rainbow, anyone? And we prioritized creating more art for fun and relaxation –including more painting for Rachel and sculpture for Rocky, who joined a cool clay studio here in Portland. We’ll share progress photos next month! cool

Every day we feel so incredibly grateful to have this Healing the Healer community and we are committed to supporting you to be inspired and motivated to make self-care an integral part of your daily lives. Throughout the year you can expect free gifts, helpful self-care tools and techniques, and opportunities to join future Healing the Healer events. Here’s to a year of healing and discovery!

We thank you for visiting the Wonder Blog.

May you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

– Rachel & Rocky