So it has been over a year since I have posted in this space.  There has been a lot going on since then and I tend to hang out on instagram more, but since some of the work I am/will be doing will be more written as well as visual, I decided that being in this space is one way to get at it.  Besides there are so many of you who are still following this space and I appreciate you “hanging in there” as a result.  I can also say more than what I can say on other platforms.  So I will try to have more of a presence back here.

Writing is really a way of thinking–not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.” – Toni Morrison

The biggest announcement that as of last month (July 2019), I have made the decision to write my first chapbook of poetry.  I started writing last spring and found myself writing more and more and more….until I realized that I was writing through a story that began over 40 some years ago which culmulated last January of 2018.   I have never officially written poetry before, I wrote song lyrics that came to me when I was child and a teen, but never shared them in a public space.  Heck, I don’t know what I have been writing is even considered “poetry” by the literary experts.  But alas, whatever it is and showing up as will be a  chapbook, tentatively titled “Moon Rising in Capricorn”.  I  expected to publish it  by Christmas of this year.  Watch this space to see some of the work and I will share more of the story as I go

If one has courage, nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou

As we are experiencing so much strife and division in the last few years, I have been looking into the past for answers. As a GenXer, I am finding ways to deal with some of my own emotions over what I am seeing and hearing as well as opening myself up to others for some honest, real dialogue. It’s not easy…at all. I am also searching for answers to how to cope…as an empath who is sensitive to other’s energy, it can be especially difficult.

One way is to look to my ancestors and family members as well as others, and ask myself, what did resilience look like for them, in even darker times? What did joy and preserverance look like for them? How can that inform me and others today?

My new mixed media and collage series will take a look at what I loosely call “joy as resilience”…..with the focus that people of color did not take “joy” of being in what many of us consider an “oppressive” condition but actually experienced it as a way to cope and protect themselves from forces that could be described under extreme circumstances as violent and deadly. I also will be adding more to the ongoing Legacy series, the wooden church fans I begun a few years ago.

No matter what…..keep going with your creative expression….we have a lot to share as artists as well as learn from each other. I look forward to sharing my self expression more here with these and other projects in the future. -sjb




This episode of The Mindfully Creative Podcast spotlights creativity and the aging process with guest, Wendy L. Miller, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Sky Above Clouds: Finding Our Way Through Creativity, Aging and Illness (Oxford University Press, 2016).  In this interview, we talk about key concepts from the book and specifically how creativity can benefit all of us as we age.

About the Book:

Through their scientific research, clinical practice, and a remarkable life together, husband and wife team Gene Cohen and Wendy Miller uncover new clues about how the aging mind can expand awareness, build resilience, and continue growth, even during times of grave illness, upending long-held assumptions about the aging brain. Cohen, considered one of the founding fathers of geriatric psychiatry, shares from decades of research and personal journals detailing his exploration of the aging brain and the vast potential that is often overlooked. Miller, an expressive arts therapist and educator, highlights stories of creative growth in the midst of illness and loss encountered through her personal life and her clinical practice. Together, Cohen and Miller show how resources that naturally reside within us remain our most valuable tools as we navigate the uncharted territory of aging and illness.

Sky Above Clouds traces the path that Cohen and Miller traveled together as the foremost expert on creativity and aging confronted his own aging process and a metastatic disease that threatened to cut his life short. Cohen’s distinguished work led to breakthroughs in science and society as, for more than a decade, despite his illness, he continued to pioneer geriatric research and advance the public conversation about aging well.

Sky Above Clouds draws deeply from the couple’s merged wisdom and new lessons learned in a struggle through illness and loss within their extended family, eventually including Cohen’s own untimely death. The book blends both authors’ perspectives and voices, incorporating journal entries they wrote together in the years before Cohen’s death.

What happens when the expert on aging is confronted with his own in the context of a grave illness? What happens when the therapist who helps others cope with illness and loss is forced to confront her own responses to these experiences? With Miller’s insights and expressive psychological writing, Sky Above Clouds shows how attitude, community, creativity, and love shape a life through health, illness, and even death. The result is a richly informative and emotional journey of growth.

-Source: Oxford University Press

About Wendy L. Miller, Ph.D.

Wendy Miller, Ph.D. ATR-BC, LCPAT, REAT, LPC, BCPC is an expressive arts therapist, writer, sculptor, and educator. She taught for over fifteen years in various universities throughout the country, including JFK University, San Francisco State University, Southwestern College, Lesley College, California Institute of Integral Studies, and The George Washington University. She is the co-founder of Create Therapy Institute, which offers clinical services in arts-based psychotherapy and trainings in the expressive arts. She is a founding member, and first elected (past) executive co-chair of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, where she continues to be on their Advisory Council. Her current work is evolving as she continues the legacy of her late husband’s work, pioneer of creative aging, Gene Cohen, and his Washington DC Center on Aging, where she is guiding it into projects on intergenerational communication. She continues to research the relationships among the arts, creativity and health, and recently published her book from the writings she and Gene did together, entitled: Sky Above Clouds: Finding our way through creativity, aging and illness, released in March 2016 from Oxford University Press.

During this episode we discuss:

  • How did the idea of Sky Above Clouds come about?

  • As the Baby Boomer Generation ages, how are they engaging in more creative pursuits than other generations?

  • What are, if any correlation between wellness and creativity for older adults?

You can currently find Mindfully Creative podcast on Sound Cloud, Stitch and Google Play.  Check out current and archived episodes here:

Listen to Episode 10 below: