Posts Tagged ‘self-discovery’

CC CHRONICLES: Thick Skin & Lookin’ Within

Published by cctadmin on July 30th, 2015


I was walking home along the boardwalk yesterday; enjoying the sun on my face and in particular, time to think about and reflect on what it means to have ‘thick skin’. I’ve heard it said that to have thick skin is a ‘gift from God’; that it takes time and learning to acquire it, and finally, that in order to face life’s rejections, haters and obstacles, it’s all but essential to have it. The very definition of ‘thick-skinned’ is “insensitive to criticism or insults“.

Why the contemplation? Well, I can identify things I want in my life; like strong family connections, a healthy relationship with my partner, financial security, education, a home and a fulfillment from music. The list goes on. I’ve never expected any one of those things to come easy; and in fact, they never have. I continue putting time and effort into my life’s ambitions with a quiet confidence that there’s worth in that patience and dedication.  Hopefully that worth is the joy experienced along the way.

On the other hand, within our passioned pursuits there is also much opportunity for disappointment; the ‘nothing comes easy’ part existing in the form of obstacles like a door-slam to the face, criticisms or the many hoops we often have to jump through in order to succeed in our goals. There’s always an opportunity to give up. Rationally, I understand that ‘nothing comes easy’; stumbling blocks are a given; and it’s with this I contemplate how to acquire a hardened sense of logic.

I recall how scary it was in my youth when I was just forging out on my own and having to establish security; similarly, going to University in my 20’s and facing all sorts of intellectual pressures. Being an independent artist without management or a band to my credit also beholds tests of my inner strength. Given this and more I can acknowledge the ‘thick skin’ I had to personally attain in the face of these things yet, on my walk home, I still couldn’t help but feel briefly overwhelmed at the realization that ‘thick skin’ is not only a goal in itself; it’s an on-going process.  There is no end.   I may have some of it, and I’ve strengthened over the years but I could use some toughening up even still.

It can be discouraging; I certainly began that walk feeling daunted about some of my musical pursuits in particular. In fact I felt downright deflated; but it only took some time and reflection on route home to consider that like anything else worth having, I was, and I am going to have to remain patient; I’m going to have to keep my head up and trust in the process of my future pursuits. Regardless of weather things in our lives turn out exactly as we want them to or not, I’d really rather keep trying, keep getting back up on the horse and giving it another go – than opting to fall to my knees in defeat. With that in mind I found a way to turn around my inner doubts and see them all as part of this process. It didn’t necessarily take away all my discouragement however it did just enough to have me feeling less defeated.

What do you guys think about the thickness of your own skin?




CC CHRONICLES: The art of letting go vs. pushing away

Published by cctadmin on June 29th, 2015


Sometimes I get ‘letting go’ confused with ‘pushing away’. Do you know what I mean?
Life seems to be a series of lessons in learning the art of ‘letting go’; be it from the small scale of releaseing your soother as a baby or sharing toys with siblings as a child – to larger scale of learning how to to say goodbye to someone who passes away or surrendering to the expectations you have on the people or world around you … maybe even washing your hands of anger or pain. Certainly existence presents us all with times where we truly do have to ‘let go’ verses holding on to the emotions, presumptions or the people who it would serve us better to separate from.

I’m still discovering that art; ever considering if there is in fact a sure fire formula in which to ‘let go’. I used to hold on to childhood confusion (perhaps there’s residue even still) but years away from home provided opportunities to ‘grow up’ and experience life completely separate from boyhood, resulting in time to broaden my life perspective. Blessed with a newfound understanding that life and people can evolve, as could I –  I feel gratitude and peace with that.  Nothing is ever completely black or white.

Experiencing the feeling of letting go is liberating, if you know you’ve done it.  Personally I want to live life with as little baggage as possible and instead live it with as much joy and love as is avaliable; but joy and love are difficult to achieve when you are attached to old wounds, right? Or new bruises you don’t know how to communicate much less heal.

As someone who understands this much, I’ve not found it any easier to let go per se, but I have gotten better at spotting those things which I cling onto; like expectations I put on others without knowing it, or flawed thoughts. Life has always presented me people and places in which my error-ed beliefs are directly challenged.

On the other hand, because I’m no expert on the art of ‘letting go’, and given I’m still learning that dance – I recognize my  own ability to potentially drive people away.  Put up walls and push people away in confusion.  My intention may be to come from a place of ‘letting go’ and yet I can still wind up sending people away – leading me to wonder – what gives?  How do I learn this complicated dance between letting go and pushing away?

It had me thinking:

If ‘letting go’ is waving goodbye, giving a hug or coming from peace…
Pushing away is turning your back, putting a hand up in protection or coming from fear…

In the end – all I can do is keep dancing, figuring things out trial and error; knowing nothing is black or white, we’re all allowed to make mistakes and grow –  and that the ultimate goal is to learn and live with love and joy.



NEW DiRECTiONS / ARTSWELL & Envisioning the world where the arts are recognized as essential to the well being and health of everyone

Published by cctadmin on February 15th, 2012

Although I have a big interest in the creative arts, rarely do I get the opportunity to speak specifically about my interest in art as a form of therapy.  Personally, I’ve used the arts as a coping device for years; music, film, creative writing, have all been a great source of support through my youth, and even today.  A lot of the photography and music I do is connected to the use of arts as a form of self-exploration and discovery.

Over the course of time I have achieved my education in social work, getting my Social Service Diploma from Algonquin College and my BSW at Carleton University.  At the time of these educational chapters, I did not fully make the connection of the arts as a form of therapy – I believe I gradually pieced this together – in the end, determining that if I continue my professional career as a social worker – I would have to do so while connected to the arts.  This makes more sense to me now than ever; after all, I still utilize arts as a form of self-discovery and support – why not transition my career towards art and/or music therapy?

Since graduating nearly two years ago with my BSW I’ve spent a great deal of time nurturing the artistic side of me – submerging myself in writing, music, photography – at the same time developing my own sense of who I am as both an artist and social worker.  These exploratory years have been beneficial; not only have I accomplished a few things but I have also developed a clearer sense of how to move forward with this aspiration of mine to connect with people via the arts.

While a longer term goal is to eventually get a Masters in Art/Music Therapy – a shorter term goal is to gain hands-on experience in the art therapy world.  I believe I have a lot to learn but I am very excited at a new opportunity on the horizon.  ARTSWELL, a non-profit charitable organization here in Ottawa, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and well being of individuals living with the effects of age, illness or injury.  Over the past year I have volunteered with ARTSWELL as a means of staying connected to the helping profession – and what appeals to me about ARTSWELL is that they carry innovative, interactive art programs, workshops and projects for the benefit of people all ages.  The professional artists and therapists that work at ARTSWELL use various mediums that allow participants to discover the creative process in a safe and friendly environment.  I’m all about that, and how ARTSWELL’S intent is to provide a vehicle to develop communication, validate feelings and encourage social interaction.  I know that when I was a youth and struggling to connect, this is a program I would have been very curious about.


ARTSWELL has graciously invited me in on the wonderful action – I will be volunteering and doing some facilitating with MOTiONS & POTiONS, a series of ten expressive arts workshops for young people struggling with distorted body image, low self-esteem, social anxiety and depression.  These workshops will increase self-esteem, encourage social interaction and group participation, combat isolation (I’m all about that) and develop new skills and healthy habits.  I, along with ARTSWELL’S professional artists/therapists will explore the concept of self-worth through story-telling, art-making, photography, journaling, drama and dance.

I know that this program will positively impact the young Canadian participants involved, and I am incredibly excited to see it kick off beginning in at the end of this month.  This is an experience I’ve been waiting for, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as more than ever I feel ready to put my education and experience into practice.  I’ve also received a big vote of confidence from ARTSWELL as I will also be running one of these ten expressive art workshops, specifically focusing on SELF-iMAGE and PHOTOGRAPHY.  This will give me a chance to speak to my own use of photography, meanwhile working with youth to facilitate their own self-discovery and exploration.  It’s really an honor when I think about it.

As these workshops begin, I will likely spend time reflecting and journaling my experiences – so for anyone interested, stay tuned and check out ARTSWELL’S website for further information on this charitable organizations programs and goals.


For more on MOTiONS and POTiONS –