This workshop offers participants an opportunity to listen to their hearts, and express their heart story. Using a simple watercolor technique, along with meditation and journaling, participants will connect and honor themselves exactly where they are.
- 4″ x 6″ watercolor paper (up to 3 pieces per participant)
- Masking tape
- Watercolor sets with brush
- Cups of water (2 per participant)
- Paper towels
- Journaling Page: “What is your Heart Story?”
- Pens (one per participant)
- Relaxing music
Opening Circle: 10 minutes
Introduction: 5 minutes
Materials Demo 10 minutes
Relaxation: 5 minutes
Creation: 20 minutes
Journaling: 5 minutes
Paired Sharing: 5 minutes
Closing: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
You might want to try out this watercolor technique beforehand so you are comfortable when demonstrating it. Also, if you create a sample prior to the workshop and leave the tape on, during the demonstration, you can remove the tape and show participants the border that is created.
Depending on the time you have, you may want to tape the watercolor paper down prior to the workshop or have the participants tape their own. (See Fig. 1 below)
Before you begin our Heart Story workshop, you can start with a “heart circle” check-in. Invite anyone, who wants to: “Please share a word about how your heart is feeling today:
Light? Heavy? Foggy? Clear? Full? Strong? Happy? Sad?”
After each participant has a chance to share, you can say: “Thank you for honoring what’s in your heart, and exactly where you are!”
“Today we are going to share our Heart Stories. Each of us has a story to tell! Sometimes we think ‘our’ story is the narrative of what is happening all around us, or to us. But actually, our Heart Stories are something different. Our heart stories are created in our hearts; they are the feelings, experiences, hopes and colors that live inside of each of us. If we listen -pause- we can notice the learning, the wisdom and value that guides and shapes our lives and who we are, and inspires our life stories. Today we’ll have a chance to listen to our hearts and tell their stories.
“Our stories can be expressed in many different ways, though voice, movement and many art forms.Today we are going to use watercolors. I’ll guide you through a process that lets your story emerge by listening to your heart and expressing it through colors, shapes and flowing imagination.
“I’ll show you a simple watercolor “wash” technique. Or feel free to play and explore if that is what feels right to you. Remember this is your window of time, to honor your thoughts, feelings, visions and needs. What you choose to do is completely up to you. If you want to just sit quietly with your hand on your heart, that’s okay. There is no right or wrong way!
“The way the colors move and blend can express so much. We will each choose a simple shape to tell our story. It can be as simple as a circle or line or triangle. You don’t have to think of the shape right now. We’ll be doing a relaxation, and you can just let it come to you.
“You can use one, two, three, or more pages to tell your story. The page(s) can represent whatever you want them to represent. They can represent how you feel on the inside, and how the world feels around you. They can represent your transformation and healing. They can represent your past, your present and your future. Or moving from I Can’t to I CAN.”
Show how to tape down the paper if you haven’t taped it prior to the workshop (Fig.1). Let participants know the reasons for taping the paper down: 1) When the tape is removed, after the watercolor is dry, there will be a frame around the art like a window. 2) The tape helps to contain the water so it stays on the page.
Explain the various supplies, especially the reason for the two cups of water (one is to rinse the brush, and one is a source of clear water to paint with).
To demonstrate the use of the water wash, paint a shape with pure water on the paper (Fig. 2). Use plenty of water so that the shape remains wet like a lake on the page.
Begin to drop color into the shapes (Fig. 3). Notice how the beauty of watercolor comes from what the color does by itself as it is carried through the water. When the paint is dropped into it, the magic begins effortlessly.
Show what it’s like to drop the color near the edge. Show what it’s like as the color spreads and runs into other colors (Fig. 4).
Show what it’s like to paint the area outside the shape with color, leaving a space of dry paper between the shape and the background (Fig. 5).
Show what it’s like if you join the two wet spaces (Fig. 6). You can work the all your papers at the same time, or one at a time.
“This is an opportunity to look inward, to connect with our hearts, and ourselves exactly where we are. Get yourself comfortable in your chair and gently place both your hands over your heart. Take a moment to relax and release some of the tension your body carries. Let your eyes close if you feel like closing them, and take a deep breath in. As you let it go, picture letting go of any more tension in your body… and take another nice deep breath in… and let it go. As you breathe deeply, bring your attention to your hands resting on your heart. Notice that this is a special time to care for your heart-all the good things, all the challenging things, all that your heart carries inside. If you remain still, can you hear any special message your heart has? As you listen to your heart you might hear difficult things, and you might also hear wonderful things. Begin to breathe in love and compassion for yourself; if expectations or doubts come up, listen to the strength in the beats of your heart and breathe. You might hear strength, hope, courage, or pain… you may hear words, songs or see shapes and colors in your minds eye. Trust your heart and take a moment to listen…. Is it something personal? Is it a change you want to make in the world? No story is too big or too small. Whenever you are ready, you can open your eyes and begin to create what your heart tells you.”
Each participant can go ahead and create their shapes in water on the pages and then begin to add color as they wish.
If participants finish early, encourage them to start the journaling process.
Note: When participants are finished, leave the papers taped down until later. This will give the water washes a chance to dry.
After participants have created their heart stories, you can give them 5 minutes to journal or reflect on what they’ve created. You can offer the following prompt, “What is the story you see in front of you?” Or they are free to write whatever feels right or good to them in this moment.
Ask participants to choose a partner, and give each person 2 minutes to share about their heart story, the process, or anything else that is coming up for them. Remind the listener to listen with their heart and not with their words!
“Thank you for taking this time to connect and listen to your hearts, to honor yourselves and your stories exactly where you are. You are worth it! Each of your hearts are beautiful and unique in their own way, and each heart has an important story that deserves to be heard.”
After the circle, participants can go ahead and carefully take the tape off their art. If the paint is still wet, they may want to wait longer.