On July 21st, I turned 44 years old. I love that number! I am quite excited to see what this year will bring. In this youth-obsessed society, so many women hide their age and dread what the aging process will do to their appearance. I was very lucky to have many role-models of positive aging in my family while growing up. My grandmother lived to be 100. She wore jeans, high heels and red nail polish well into her 90s. When something made her laugh, she kicked her legs up in the air and let out a deep guttural laugh. Her sister, Mary, wore a tall, red beehive hairdo, bright red lipstick and blue eye shadow. She called everyone sweetheart, smoked cigarettes (ribbons of ash hanging off her fingertips) and wore bikinis, tanning her body, slathered in baby oil (I didn’t say they were beaming with good health). Every time we spent a day at the beach, she bought KFC salads which she ate after leaving them out in the sun for far too long. Still, she never got sick. Must have been the liquor. My grandmother and her siblings were enjoying life: playing cards, joking around, drinking, teasing each other, playing horse shoe and bean bag toss.

I met many older adults through my work in long term care. There were residents who declined any invitation to participate in recreation programs because they were too old or tired. Other residents said yes to every offer even before they heard what you had in mind. One lady, aged 92, welcomed me into her room for weekly art therapy sessions even though she was blind and deaf. She spoke, mostly reminiscing about what she had and how much she had lost and, I listened. She drew, painted and healed.

How are you aging? Are you living in fear? “What if I have a stroke, heart attack, breast cancer”? Are you living your own life or someone else’s? It’s never too late to claim it. Are you fighting the wrinkles, white hairs, aging spots? Are you grateful for your strong body, the one that has carried you through thick and thin, enduring much abuse (too much work, too little sleep)?

Stop for a moment and think about the way people described you as a baby. “You were so quiet, easiest baby ever” or “you were full of beans, always busy, you hated sleep”. What were you like as a child? Where was your favorite spot to hang out? What activity did you do that made time fly? How did you express yourself as a teenager? Were you athletic, artistic, hard-working, lonely? What have been the main challenges in your life and how have you handled them? Can you see your essence, the parts of yourself that were always there? Your essence is going to be the same as you age. Your strength, sense of humor, love of nature, compassionate heart will forever be a part of you.

So what are we afraid of as we get old? Being ill and dependent on others, feeling useless and vulnerable, losing our attractiveness and sex appeal, approaching our mortality. We can’t see into the future or prevent negative events from influencing our lives but, in each moment, we can choose to be present, alive, engaged, joyful and grateful. Say yes to life and, regardless of how many years you have left, life will feel full.

Activity: This is more fun if you do it with a partner. Get a roll of craft paper. Draw each other’s body outline on the paper. Use markers to draw and write on your paper outline. Draw your body’s scars (acne from when you were a teenager, cysts on your ovaries that caused infertility, physical or sexual abuse), write the messages you or others have given your body over time (too fat, too hairy, too flat, too pale), acknowledge the way you have abused your body (diets, crazy exercise regimen, drinking, lack of sleep, saying yes to sex when you wanted to say no, exertion from overdoing it). When you are done designing your body outline, put it aside, still within view.

Get a piece of lined paper and a pen. Write a love letter to your body. Tell your body how much you love it down to every cell. Ask for its forgiveness. Thank it for its patience, strength and endurance. Promise to take good care of it from this day forward. Write three steps you can take this month to move toward more self-care and a healthier body: drinking more water, going to bed at a reasonable time, preparing healthier snacks, making an appointment with your doctor for that check-up you keep putting off, whatever is meaningful to you.

Give yourself a hug, breathe deep into yourself and be grateful for this moment.

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May, A Month of Pampering



I am sad to see this month come to an end. I always enjoy the month of May due to its Spring weather and the celebration of Mother’s Day. This Mother’s Day felt all the more significant thanks to the many moms who shared their stories for my upcoming book, The Mommy Monologues.

In April, I saw an ad on Facebook for a “Feminar” offered near Brockville by Shelli Warren at Sheconnex ( on May 12th. The title, Fempowered by Purpose-Fearless Public Speaking, caught my eye. I usually don’t sign up for this kind of seminar. Instead, I wonder who will put the kids on the bus? Who will be there when they get home? Can I really afford to pay for this considering I am not reaching my financial career goals? However, something took over and I purchased a ticket, right then and there. I ironed out the details later. My husband was super supportive and agreed to put the kids on the bus in the morning and get them off the bus in the afternoon, even though he was already working a 12 hour day. I was grateful for his support and I am so glad I attended the workshop.

It was a sunny day as I drove up to Maplehurst Manor. Shelli had a full agenda, aimed at creating signature speeches, practising our speaking skills in a supportive environment and helping us expand our network. There were lots of neat women there and our healthy, delicious lunch was catered by Josie from the Brockberry Cafe (

I left there energized with a list of signature speeches to flesh out. I had created a brief speech to introduce my book thanks to the workbook we completed during the Feminar. Emboldened, I recorded my intro over the weekend and posted it on Facebook. To my amazement, over 600 people viewed it. I have since written two LinkedIn articles, just another idea I got from Shelli at the Feminar. Shelli has sent some tips to all of us to keep us thinking about expanding our businesses. One of those tips is to include testimonials on your website. I am too shy to request testimonials but I decided to type up the positive feedback from my workshop evaluation forms and add them to my website.

As if all this wasn’t enough, I won the Mother’s Day gift basket at the Feminar. This initiated a whole other level of receiving, not just useful, practical information for my business but, beauty products for the following weeks. I have washed with soaps that smell divine and worn my new cozy slippers while inhaling diffused essential oils. My skin has been treated to a mix of products from three companies.

Chris Clapp from Rodan & Fields provided a sample of Enhancements facial scrub, Redefine Night Renewing Serum and Lip Renewing Serum. These products smelled clean and left my face feeling plump with moisture, soft and nourished. (

Jennifer Phillips shared samples of Rejuvity by Isagenix which includes a purifying cleanser, toner, essential youth serum, SPF day cream and moisturizing night cream. This was a gentle product. It smelled slightly orangey and my skin felt baby soft ( I would love to combine items from both Rodan & Fields and Isagenix. I am hooked!

I had already purchased Magnet Wash, an active charcoal wash from 1890 prior to the Feminar. I have been using it alternatively with the other products. It pulls dirt and oil from your face, helping with blackheads and/or enlarged pores ( It may seem odd for an art therapist to write about cosmetics but, for me, this month was about a willingness to receive and a focus on self-care.

When you work in a helping profession and, you happen to be a mom as well, you spend a great deal of time giving. You don’t say yes to opportunities to receive because you are too busy. You don’t buy luxurious skin care products because you have a budget and these items can seem superficial. However, there is a lesson to be learned here. I saw an opportunity. I said yes to myself, made time, spent the money and received so much in return.

The receiving isn’t even over. I am still learning from Shelli Warren and the wonderful women in her network. I haven’t yet used my gift card for a health consultation with Vickie Dickson (, included in my Mother’s Day gift bag. I have been eating healthier, working out with Bikini Belly, an exercise program for women over 40 who suffer from menopause belly, ( and I am working away on my signature speeches. The Mommy Monologues will be published by the end of the summer, opening a brand new chapter in my life. I’m not sure what the next month will hold but I am so very grateful for the opportunities for growth and self-care that this month represented for me.

Anne Walsh,

Thank you Pixabay for the awesome image for this post!


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The Mommy Monologues-An Overview

I can’t believe tomorrow is March 1st, 2017. It feels like we should be six months into the year by now. We are enjoying mild weather. I am busy offering workshops to children in elementary schools as far east as Rockland, Ontario. I am now an Adult Advisor in the Sources of Strength program at Saint Michael High School in Kemptville and, above all else, I have been busy interviewing mothers for my upcoming book, The Mommy Monologues.

The last post I published hinted at this project but I was waiting for funding. The funding never manifested. However, as I talked about the project to women through work as well as in my social circles, it became apparent that the book needed to be written. I decided to take the leap and write it anyways. I am now halfway through the creation of this book.

I have met so many interesting women from all walks of life. They get to tell their story which has proven to be therapeutic. I learn about women in general, relationships, resilience, healing and, myself, in the process. We can be so powerful when we share our pain, our fears and our knowledge. Our strength lies in our connection. Women these days often lack adequate support, we have lost our community. Parenting is not a one-woman job. We need a village of women and that is what I hope this book will create, a safe space for healthy dialogue.

Here is an overview of the book.

The Mommy Monologues: Bridging the gap, one story at a time

What is The Mommy Monologues?

The Mommy Monologues is a book about motherhood, a collection of stories told by mothers from many walks of life.

What Is The Purpose Of This Book?

I aim to break down the cliques of motherhood and replace them with compassion, connection and mutual support.

Why Do We Need This Book?

Most books are focused on teaching us how to birth, feed and discipline our children. We read these books and listen to the advice of friends, family and strangers. Often, we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We assume everyone else has it all figured out. Mothering has become a competitive sport. We are busy being strong and this leaves no room for vulnerability.

From Monologues To Dialogues

I see my book as a bridge from the painful monologues of mothers who think, “This is hard. I don’t know what I’m doing. I shouldn’t be feeling this way” to a supportive dialogue which includes, “I know, it is hard. I felt that way too. I got through it. Here is what helped me” or “Oh I am so glad to hear you say that, I thought I was the only one who felt that way.”

Diversity Is Key

I sought out diversity in the mothers I interviewed because I want every mom to be able to find her voice in this book whether she is a teenager, a recovering drug addict, a victim of domestic violence, gay, paraplegic, depressed, homeless, black or white, catholic or jewish, married or single. I think its good for women who are different to read each other’s stories. It fosters compassion, insight and awareness.

Who Is Writing This Book?

Anne Walsh is an art therapist working with families in Kemptville, Ontario. She offers monthly Divorce Diva workshops. She teaches Mental Health skills to elementary school children. She has authored two books for children. Her new book, The Mommy Monologues, was inspired by her work with women and her own experience as a mother.

What Have You Learned?

Women undervalue their experiences. Most moms prefaced our interview with, “My story isn’t that interesting but I wanted to share it with you. Don’t feel that you need to use it.” The 24/7 demands of motherhood are more challenging for introverted moms who need time alone to recharge. More men struggle with postpartum depression than we think. Mothers have more in common than they expect.

How Can I get Involved?

If you would like to share your story, you can contact Anne Walsh at (613) 863-7685 or You can speak over the phone or meet in person. Anne will interview you, type up her notes and e-mail them to you. You can add or delete information, working together until you are satisfied with your story. Anne will not be naming the mothers in her book in order to protect their privacy.


The blog that go it all started:

An interview with The Kemptville Advance:

For More Information
Please visit Anne’s website:

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Starving Artists

Thank you to all of you who read and follow my blog. You may have noticed that it has been a while since my last post. On January 1st, 2016, I started a new blog on, Ramblings of a 45 year old Woman. I used Blogger because I couldn’t figure out how to add a second blog on WordPress. I started a new blog because I realized that my soul was thirsty for writing and I thought I should challenge myself to write every day.

The premise behind my new blog,, was that I would write about a topic that interests me every day. I am curious and I love to learn so I figured I could write a blog every day. I wrote about art, agriculture, books and other women. It was all very exciting. I have always journaled so this was sort of an extension of journaling. I wrote pretty consistently until I realized that my blog was creating tension in my life over the weekends. My mother visits me and the girls every weekend and she wants to talk to me and hang out. My daughters who have been in school all week also want to spend time with me, playing with dolls, creating art and enjoying the outdoors. I decided to adjust my goal to writing every day of the week. This made it easier to balance my personal life from my creative endeavours.

I also decided to abstain from writing during holidays. Otherwise, instead of enjoying our time together, I would be wondering when I’ll have a chance to write my blog. Initially, I tried to rotate the topics in a structured way but I eventually just learned to write about whatever topic presented itself. Committing to the new blog was a first step toward creating space for my inner artist.

I work as an art therapist, encouraging adult clients to experiment and play with art materials and, surrender emotions that have been buried for far too long. I challenge school children to acknowledge their inner artists and express their individuality through art materials. Then I examine my own life and realize that I am not making time for my own personal expression.

The term, “Starving Artist” is connected to the perceived lack of financial remuneration associated with a career in the arts. However, what I see in my clients and, to a certain extent, in my own life, is the resistance to create. We are all creative yet we don’t see it. It may be the way you dress, your make-up, the meals you lovingly prepare for your family, the solutions you find to everyday problems, or an actual artistic pursuit such as writing, painting, sculpting, drawing, photography, dancing, acting etc.

I love hearing groups of children hum. They always hum when they are creating. Adults also relax and enjoy the process once they finally take that first step-a dab of paint on paper, words hastily penciled onto a folded napkin. Creative expression is so undervalued. We don’t set aside the time to create. We are busy at our jobs then with responsibilities at home and other activities. However, I don’t know of any other endeavour that rewards us in such a big way, consistently.

Earlier this year, I noticed that my inner artist was starving. I was busily looking after the business side of my work- advertising my workshops for adults, filling paperwork to get funding for my workshops in schools, documenting my work and organizing my receipts for tax purposes. Where was the “art” in “art therapist”? I needed to take my own advice and devote some time and energy to feeding my hunger for self-expression.

Yesterday, I applied for funding to pursue a writing project that I have wanted to take on for some time. I am registered for a writer’s conference in Ottawa in just over a week. I have some courses lined up which include paper-mache sculpting, palette knife painting, mosaic tile work and ink calligraphy. Balance is crucial in my life between my roles as a wife and mother, as well as my career and personal growth goals. There is also a balancing act between my workshops where I encourage people to be creative and my personal life where I challenge myself to keep learning and creating.

I look forward to another year of Have You Hugged Your Alien? workshops in elementary schools as well as Stress Management workshops in high schools and the completion of my art therapy workbook for teens. If my funding is approved, I will also be starting a new project, collecting stories about motherhood from marginalized and mainstream moms for a book, The Mommy Monologues.

I hope you’ll have a chance to visit my other blog (see link above). Feel free to suggest any topics of interest to you. I am open to all comments and suggestions.

Anne Walsh

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Exciting, Creative Projects 4 Children, Youth and Women

What a rush! It feels like just yesterday my girls were getting on the bus for their first day back at school. My head was flooded with ideas for projects in my lovely community of Kemptville, Ontario.

I approached Robin Heald at the Kemptville Youth Centre and suggested we try out weekly stress management art therapy groups. Robin promoted the group and we were able to reach out to local youth. They expressed their struggle with anxiety. They voiced their frustration that stress management strategies are not taught in school. We discussed sources of stress, thoughts that fuel anxiety, the impact of tension in the body and ramifications of stress on relationships.

I spoke to Moira Law, local artist and photographer about documenting the family businesses of Kemptville. We started with B&H Your Community Grocer and Howard Wilson Automotive, next, we are planning an interview with Grahame’s Bakery. Moira provides her exceptional skills as a photographer and I have the privilege of hearing and recording the stories of these local families.

I reached out to local translator Joseph Mathieu who graciously accepted the task of translating “Have You Hugged Your Alien?”. We fully expect it to be ready in time for the Christmas season.

Meredith Luce is currently busy, illustrating our third collaboration, “The Story of Poobum and Pompom”, a children’s book addressing the issue of sibling rivalry in a light and fun way through the relationship between a dog, Poobum, and the new family kitten, Pompom. Again, we are striving to release this book by Christmas.

My ongoing workshops, Divorce Divas and Survivors of Sexual Abuse are thriving, as group members bond, grow and create. I learn so much from these gutsy ladies and enjoy our monthly groups.

They inspired me to offer a Sassy Ladies workshop in the community room at Jonsson’s Your Independent Grocer on November 29th 2015 from 10am to noon. We will explore the common experience of women in their forties who feel lost, like they took a wrong turn and don’t quite recall where they were going. The workshop engages their creativity, encourages discussion and provides clarity.

As the days grow darker and cooler, many feel the urge to hibernate. In this climate, all too often, seasonal depression rears its ugly head. I was brainstorming ways to reach out to people struggling with depression. It can be challenging to support this population because of the lack of energy and motivation inherent to depression. This influenced my decision to create, Write Out of the Gutter, a closed Facebook group and e-mail program for people living with depression. I will launch this in early December as we head into the holiday season, a time that can be particularly difficult for people prone to depression.

One last project in progress is a series of video workshops for elementary school teachers, covering pro social behaviors such as healthy emotional expression, stress management, creativity, friendship, self-care and community involvement. The workshops are user-friendly and designed to speak directly to children. Teachers press play and enjoy the workshop along with their students.

I am loving this flow of creativity and feel so grateful for all the talented professionals who are helping to turn these project ideas into reality.

Continue reading

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Summer Fun for Parents and Children

Are you looking for something fun to do with your children this summer? Keep reading. Every year, I fantasize about exposing my children to a variety of activities over the summer, spending quality time together and making memories. I start off on a treasure hunt, looking for opportunities on the internet, in local recreation brochures and talking to friends. What I find is that there are many programs offering to keep my children busy for the day, actually for weeks at a time. The problem is I want to be having fun with my girls. I also don’t want to commit them to a week of programs. I am simply trying to expose them to new activities.

So, we settle into a routine of playing in the yard, going to the beach, visiting museums, driving to nearby parks or going as far as Saunders Farm for the day. We do have fun but it gets a bit repetitive. The girls start to get on each other’s nerves. I call around to organize play dates but their friends are out of town or registered in summer camps. I wondered if I’m the only parent in this situation. If there were activities for a few hours every week aimed at parents and their children wanting to have fun together, would people sign up?

I decided to do an experiment. This summer, every Tuesday at 10am, there will be activities for parents and their children. Most cost money but the first one is offered to us for free. The program is aimed at children ages 6-12. This is important because some of the activities are not safe for little ones and would cost more due to the need for extra staff if smaller children were present. Here is what I have lined up:

June 30th-Lone Wolf Ranch-Free but need to e-mail me to register as helpers are required
July 7th-Rock My House-exploring instruments and rhythm $10 per child
July 14th-Academy of Expressive Dance-$20 per child, date to be confirmed
July 21st-My birthday, join us at the beach and decorate your own cupcake
July 28th-Baxter’s Beach, learn about animals and their habitats, $15 per child
Aug 4th-Family Yoga with Tricya from Bodhi Tree, $10 per child
Aug 11th-Tie dye Tuesday, bring an old t-shirt, $10 per child
Aug 18th-Drumfit, get ready to sweat, price to be announced
Aug 25th-Jamberry Party, explore jamberries and buy a sheet of nails if you’d like, $15 per sheet (does two manis and two pedis)

These prices are based on 10-15 children participating. Prices for the dance class and Baxter’s program will go down as groups get bigger. Please note that the programs will be cancelled if there are less than 10 participants so please e-mail me with your name, number of children with their ages and names of programs you wish to join.

I must provide a list of names asap for the FREE Lone Wolf Ranch program coming up June 30th so they know how many helpers to book.

This includes:
– 30 min demonstration of some of our students/coaches riding
– Grooming session with one of the school ponies
– Question and Answer period with a small tour of the facility
Snack and Refreshments

Interested? Let me know at I look forward to enjoying the summer with you and your children.
Anne Walsh

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Have You Hugged Your Alien? Worksheet

On February 6th 2015, I received 50 copies of my book from Maggie Boyer at The North Grenville Times. I was so excited to finally hold a copy in my hands. The book was written on my ipad years ago along with several others. I had approached illustrators but it never led anywhere. When I saw Meredith’s art on a friend’s computer, I contacted her immediately. Working with Meredith Luce from Luce Ends was effortless. I loved her illustrations! I started my search for a publisher. I was an unpublished person and it seemed that my book would never get beyond the status of a beautiful file on my computer. I flirted with the idea of self-publishing but I would need to order hundreds of copies and I couldn’t afford it. Furthermore, I had no idea if anyone would even like my book. I approached Maggie Boyer about printing one copy of the book for me so I could use it at a workshop. She agreed to print one copy for me and seeing it printed in color gave me goosebumps. Maggie proceeded to cost out the fee of getting 50 copies printed from The Brandon Press. It was within my price range. I was thrilled. My dream was within reach. So, on February 6th, as I held my book in my hands, I felt tremendously grateful for the many synchronicities that helped bring it to life,

Since that day in February, my books sold out in just over nine days. I was interviewed by Diana Fisher on Juice FM. I launched my book with a workshop at Oxford-on-Rideau Public School where students were asked to create their own aliens with a variety of materials. The Kemptville Advance reported on my workshop. I am scheduled for an interview on CTV this coming Monday. I could never have anticipated the impact of releasing this book.

I started a Facebook page to collect all the information related to the book. I was looking for a way to share the worksheets I created to help teachers, parents and therapists use the book to discuss healthy self-expression with children. I couldn’t find a way to enter my worksheets on the Facebook page so I decided to paste them into this blog. Hope this works!

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to get my work published and to all of you who purchased a copy of the book. Long live the alien!


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Creativity and Mindfulness for Art & Soul in 2015

Creativity and mindfulness, those two topics have been on my mind, weaving in and out of conversations over the past months. I wish to promote and cultivate them both in myself and others throughout the new year. I’d like to change my title from “art therapist” to “creative connector”.

In my work, I encounter children who are excited but cautious. They think I expect them to do something specific. They worry about making a mess in my space. Once they are assured that they are free to express themselves with any of the mediums available and create whatever comes to mind, they relax and reconnect with their playful nature.

Teenagers are also cautious for different reasons. They need the space and materials but they seek to protect their creations. They don’t always want someone else to witness their art or their pain. They share bits and pieces at a time. As I earn their trust and respect, they can go inward, dig deep and bring up material that is too scary to face alone. Their darkness turns to beauty as they reconnect with their essence through creativity.

Moms come into the space overwhelmed. They have been running, multi-tasking, caring for everyone but neglecting themselves. They tell me they are not artistic, they don’t want to waste material, they clean up after themselves. As they become familiar with the space and get to know me, they relax, breathe, create and fall into themselves once again. It’s like finding a long lost friend…another connection is made.

The boomers mostly come into group sessions: Sassy Ladies or Divorce Divas. They are unsure whether or not they belong until they hear the others speak and realize they are all going through similar transitions. The hesitant, quiet group becomes loud and festive as each woman finds herself, her place and her path. Each member recognizes the beauty and strength in other participants. As the others mirror what they see in her, she is reconnected to her own wisdom, strength and beauty.

For older adults expecting an art lesson or basic arts and crafts, the process of embracing creativity can be frightening, especially if they have always been identified as “not-artistic”. As they spend time contemplating the materials and taking risks, a youthfulness, a vigor and an excitement emerge. There are tears, laughter, lessons shared and integrated. They enjoy the freedom to create just for the joy of it. A connection is made to their youthful spirit.

All of these experiences show me how painful it is to feel alone with one’s pain. I also see how powerful it is for people to connect, create and communicate their darkest fears only to find that these are universal and quite acceptable. The nine year old boy who is embarrassed that he sometimes loses his temper and gets in trouble. The teenager who thinks she is different from anyone else because she doesn’t know what she wants to do “when she grows up”. The mom who feels guilty because she yelled at her children, again. The boomers who realize they have forgotten who they are, wondering: “Am I the only one who feels so lost?”. The elderly feeling frail and forgotten.

Participants start to feel compassion for themselves and others. That is where mindfulness comes into play. They can use the art to release thoughts, feelings, patterns or relationships which no longer suit them to make room for new experiences. They can embrace situations and emotions (positive and negative) as they come up, no longer stuck in the storyline. They can focus on the present moment and savor it. They can fully participate in their therapy, gathering all the fragments and messy bits together to create something beautiful, embracing it all as part of their learning. It is what has brought them to this point in their life.

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