Healing Arts

Much has changed over the last couple of months but to make a long story short I, Maria, have added a healing arts component to my life and will be following through with Expressive Art Therapy training in the new year. I am still building the site up and will be an ongoing work in progress but in the meantime you can see the project here:


The Death of Twyla Roscovich

I feel compelled to write this down and share it. It’s a bit tough for me to do so, as I am hanging my soul out on the line, but I’m hoping it might also help someone else. Because someone else did the same and it helped me.

On Sept 15th, Canadian filmmaker and environmentalist Twyla Roscovich perished. She was a dedicated activist who served her greatest love – the pacific coast surrounding Vancouver Island. I came upon her work years ago and admired her beautifully crafted footage of the pacific coast that many of us, including myself, are in love with. Her beautiful narrative voice was deep and soothing, not just in tone, but in feeling. She made people feel good while educating about important environmental causes. One didn’t need to know her personally to be affected by her life or her death. I have several good friends who were close to her, I cannot imagine the pain they must be feeling.

21077732_10154785770860841_4785964183152775967_nI met Twyla in person briefly, in 2015 when I was visiting Malcolm Island. Fittingly, I was walking on a path, I have been walking on for years. We came across her and her little daughter Ruby on that path (pictured to the right). I remember her saying she needed to come out to the point more often. A mutual friend quickly introduced me to her as “orcagirl” who worked with Luna (the solitary killer whale). I remember quickly replying with my real name and that I had suffered PTSD following my experience with Luna. After the fact I felt stupid. Why on earth would I blurt something out like that to a complete stranger? I felt embarrassed and shy about it but I quickly let it go. With mutual friends and interests, we befriended one another on Facebook. There, I came to understand a bit more about her, beyond her work. And it’s that perspective that affected me on a deeper level.

An interesting synchronicity occurred. On Facebook, she offered extensive information for treating anxiety and PTSD with a technique called “tapping”. This is not something I had heard of before, and I had tried everything to end my anxiety naturally, throughout the course of my life. Long threads entailed with content, events, workshops, conversations and sessions involving Twyla. She made a huge effort to help end other peoples suffering, and clearly stated that doing so would give us the freedom to better serve our planet. I get it. I’ve been highjacked for some time due to anxiety. My physical body isn’t stable most of the time and am plagued by equilibrium disorders (after contracting a virus in 2004) and can’t work. Essentially living like a captive. The anxiety that follows behind such an experience feels like an out of control storm that never ends. It’s a rollercoaster ride I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I have wanted nothing more than to be free of this so that I can pursue my dreams further, the way she did – she was an incredible inspiration. Either way, I have pushed onwards the best I can, doing what I can in the best way possible, but it’s never felt quite enough, and i’ve never felt adequate. But when she put it out there, this information about treating anxiety, I observed with new eyes. I started to listen to the bigger message. And as we went along, in our lives, and on Facebook, cross posting this and that, perhaps I took it a bit for granted that more information might become available, or perhaps that I might attend a workshop in person someday. I have since gone back and saved every post for future reference as motivation to get on with it, which I am now doing. Life is just too damn short, even with vertigo and anxiety disorders.

I took up jewellery making as a rehabilitative therapy (aka art therapy) to strengthen my hand-eye coordination and to offset from the intensive digital work I had been doing as a freelancer and a scholar. The inspiration also came heavily from a place on Malcolm Island (where I ran into Twyla on the path), where rather magnificent things occur in nature. There, I realized my passion for making things with found objects and that when doing so, I was at peace. I am rarely OK. So the fact that anything has made me feel OK was a breakthrough. Living with anxiety has robbed my confidence. Living with vertigo has robbed my confidence. Double header, which plays off one another. I have forgotten who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.

On Facebook earlier this year, I shared my own work, as unnoticed as it might seem, where I gather some support, momentum and clues from others around me. With a crippled self esteem problem (impacts from long term vertigo and anxiety), I have been unable to accelerate in my creativity and in my life. I really didn’t know what it was going to take to move this process through. On a couple of posts where I shared my jewellery creations, Twyla commented, that my work was “beautiful” and that she “loved my work”. Now looking back, I realized that it made her feel good, and that’s all I ever wanted to do, is to make others feel good. I value her as a vibrant and successful artist who also faced anxiety and wanted to help others heal. Perhaps this is a clue for me to continue down that path, of making people feel good.

With her death, I feel a shift in myself to push harder, out of fear, into love and to believe in myself. It’s like learning to grow up all over again. She gave her life to her greatest love for the better of our planet. I must relearn to do the same, as I once did, to serve for the greater good. I need to thank her for setting this most difficult example. Thank you, Twyla for all you were and all you have done, my regret is that I didn’t get to know you better. You will be missed.

Please donate to the GoFund me campaign to help support her daughter, Ruby.

Visit her work at CoastCast

Learn about Tapping

Anxiety / PTSD & Vertigo

Beach Litter; Crows with Cigarettes

A short stroll at Willows beach the other day revealed some disturbing views. I witnessed and photographed a juvenile seagull playing with plastic in the water and a juvenile crow digging up and flying off with a discarded cigarette. The crow flew off with it to a beach log where it persisted to peck at it, for possible consumption. I chased after it, hoping it would drop the cigarette, but it flew off with it. While on the beach I also picked up some freeze packages. Please put your trash in the garbage.

It’s been a while …

Well it’s been a while since my last post. Many things are a changing around here. We’ve moved within the city but still have our hearts set on a simpler life in a more natural setting. To offset, this summer we took several road trips up Island and fell in love with the ocean side area, i’ll try to follow up with a post about that. We became rather attached to Coombs and have returned several times for the amazing Mexican food found at the Taqueria; the fish tacos and Mexican tortilla soup are amazing and the setting reminds us of being in Mexico. Ah Mexico, I miss you.

Markus at the Water's edge
Contemplating life at the water’s edge

Over this past year, I have been struggling with the concept of “home”. While living in a city, my nervous system feels like it’s constantly highjacked. My vertigo condition is heightened and the adrenal fatigue I battle on a daily basis feels like it’s constantly beaten down. At the end of the summer, we took a road trip to one of our favourite places, pretty much as far away from Victoria as you can get, where we hunkered down in a tent for a week. I have been returning to this place since first discovering it in 2003. While up there, I slept in rhythm with the sun, didn’t have electrical outlets or cables around my head, and spend my whole day moving; hiking in the fresh air and working on behalf of survival. Many of the symptoms I battle on a daily basis in the city started to reduce, with the exception of one day, where I’d experienced some intense vertigo symptoms, probably from a weather system.

When I first arrived up there, my face was inflamed and bloated – this is pretty typical for me. But after a week, my face started to show the effects of being healthier. I felt completely content and whole when I was in this place. For the time being, we are in the city but we have our sights set on heading north, hopefully between now and the next couple of years. I can’t get down with city life anymore. I dream of a tiny house (which has pretty much been banned in the city), set upon a piece of land where we can grown our own food. Is that a tall order? It seems so when the job that sustains you exists within a setting that is opposite of that. But a transfer request has been submitted, and for now we wait. In the meantime, it is my challenge to make the best of this.

I’m a creative being and find refuge in that, no matter where I am. I never leave the house without my iPhone, and look for every opportunity to capture beauty, even when it’s ugly. I feel most content and in the moment when I am making something, which is why I started beach combing and making stuff. I got into jewellery making as a therapy, not a business. In my life, I used to think that I had to “be” someone in order to count in the world. But as I get older I am starting realize it’s about being “ok” and if it’s possible that, what I make – makes someone else happy, or makes any difference, then that is a bonus. So with that, here are some of the iPhone photos I captured of my respite on the north island – I hope they make you feel good!


Picking up Beach Garbage

I’m vowing to make a change, especially now that I’ve launched this site. In the past, I’ve made my focus on finding sea glass. Although I plan to continue picking up sea glass (yes it’s garbage), I will turn my focus to all beach garbage. Yes, I’ve been that person who didn’t pick up beach garbage because I wasn’t prepared with a disposal method, especially important for picking up certain items such as tampon applicators and condoms. And although I’ve picked it up in the past and taken some photos, I never made beach garbage (other than sea glass) a main focus of our beach excursions, nor have I really talked much about it. I am going to hold myself accountable now, for as long as we live near a body of water, and each time we head out to a beach, to always leave the house prepared so that I can make a difference. For starters, I will always keep one fabric bag in my pod slinger, designated just for beach garbage. I am also happy to report that there have been many times where we’ve not come across beach garbage on a beach. Let’s all help to keep it that way.

marine-debrisInfographic by Oliver Lüde, Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich Switzerland