Exquisite Level of Care

How are you

at balancing

other-care with self-care?

Is it a bit of a challenge?

A lot of a challenge?

A Dementia Australia counsellor told me that I offer an ‘exquisite level of care’.

I breathed in the fine compliment. I breathed out a delicately complex response, including a watercolour-plus-collage artwork – a paintage.

I’m showing you the pretty bits and leaving out the grisly ones. Ah yes well. Sometimes it’s a grisly process, this caring palaver.

Exquisite Level of Care
art fragment
Sally Swain

Here’s the question of the day (or year or lifetime):

How might we apply

an Exquisite Level of Care

to ourselves!?

Last weekend I led ‘Nourish and Flourish – the Art of Self-Care’. It was my first Art and Soul playshop in a while. Why? Because I’ve been caught up in eldercare.

Nourish and Flourish was delicious.

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
playshop participants
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
playshop participants
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

What sorts of things happened in the playshop?

I invited participants to consider…if their care for OTHERS had a colour, shape, texture, sound, title … for this moment … what might it be?

If their SELF care for this moment had a colour, shape, texture, sound, title, how would that look and feel?

Participants wrote or made art in response to this contemplation.

What else?

They each chose a miniature from the sandplay collection to represent their ally or companion on the journey.

We heard different individual self-care strategies. We pooled them. They range from dancing to reading with a cat on your lap; surfing to spending time with friends; saying No to having a massage.

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

We did a walking sensory awareness meditation. We sipped tea. We ate chocolate. Or healthy stuff, as the case may be.

The dear participants

each made art, art and more art.

They found ways to nourish themselves

in the process of making art about self-care. 

It was a treat for me to host these splendid Art and Soulies; exploring, playing, being authentic, expressing joys and difficulties, beautifully showing kindness and insight as they offered positive feedback to one another.

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Nourish and Flourish
the Art of Self-Care
a playshop participant
making heartfelt, gorgeous, authentic art

Gratitude. I feel gratitude.


I do believe the next Art and Soul offering

is probably Saturday 13th July.

Most likely it’ll be

the annual ‘Creative Flame’ playshop.

Maybe see you there.

with love, art and soul

from Sally

Exquisite Level of Care
art fragment
Sally Swain

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10 thoughts on “Exquisite Level of Care

  1. Delicious is a good word to describe your Nourish and Flourish workshop Sally. The images of the day–the colours, the textures, the abundance–made me literally salivate.

    Creativity that’s good enough to eat.

    xx Lovely to have checked back into the art and soul space xx

    Thanks, as always, for all your inspiring work, sally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gallivanta – How lovely to hear from you. Hope you are well and thriving. Good question about the folded papers… by the way, each participant gave permission for her hands-making-art photo to be included here. This amazingly always-creative, innovative person was making a ‘curtain’. Not any ordinary curtain, but one expressing different aspects of her life. She presented it to the group almost as a unique, one-off performance, where you can open up one area of the concertina care curtain at a time to look at it, then fold it up again and open the next section.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a lovely concept. I have been with extended family at my nephew’s wedding. It was lovely but coming home to mid-winter Christchurch was not. It was a destination wedding in Fiji and the weather was exquisite (and everything else as well.)

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  2. That sounds amazing…a concerted concentrated concertina concert of care curtains xxx

    Even from this distance I am feeling the vibe of the playshop…lol

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  3. It was so wonderful to reconnect with you Sally and spend the time nourishing myself in the safe space you created. Thankyou.

    Liked by 1 person

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