I get this ways sometimes.

Ever get this way? Staring at your to do list, and not moving?

Feels like a slow bleed, but the blood is flowing backwards causing a brain sting.


I get this ways sometimes. Trying to figure out too many things and struggling with feeling useless and unproductive, even strangely irresponsible, yet knowing I deserve just some time to stop.  Especially at this stage in my life.

It’s ok.

My overactive, stinging mind and my weary heart compete for who can most distract me from simply celebrating self.  Being responsible for just myself.

Tonight, I sit a little stunned, knowing I need to make some seemingly big shifts.

But maybe the shifts can be big through small steps?

If I am not going to catch up on reporting tonight, I can at least answer one email from an anxious student.

If I am not working research materials tonight, I can at least watch Escape from Dannemora.

If I am not going to work on the screenplay tonight, then I should simply just write something, anything.  Like this blog entry.

If I am not going to work on the illustration project that I need to get finished this week, I must at least sew on a drawing.


If I am not setting up inquiry meetings about career shifts, I can check in with my vision boards.



And trust.





Mind mapping this month’s Power Path as personal therapy.

When I read something that really needs to sink in- I mind map it out.  My whole brain is engaged and I can then look at the mind map throughout the month and be instantly reminded of the lessons.

This morning was all about the Power Path- taking some quiet personal time for a coffee, house to myself (except the ladies of course) and a therapeutic check-in.

 Thank you to my soul sister, Patti Henderson, who first connected me to this powerful resource.

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Evaluate all the structures that have formed your foundation and restructure what is needed.

My biggest takeaway from this month’s forecast:

Allow a new project to fit you rather than you trying to fit the project.

“As you approach your life with creative pragmatism, you may need to cut something loose that has been holding you back. Attachments to patterns that keep you small and hold you hostage to old ways of thinking as well as outdated perceptions about what is possible will only get in the way of you moving forward. If you find yourself saying “I can’t possibly do that”, question this belief. Practice saying “I could do that”. This gives you the choice and the possibility of something new instead of shutting the door before you give yourself the chance to see what is on the other side.” – The Power Path August 2018 Forecast

WORKSHOP: YOUR VISION for 2018 through creative process

WORKSHOP: YOUR VISION for 2018 through creative process



LOCATION: West End Vancouver BC



ONLY $40 per person until January 31, 2018! 

Contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com for CUSTOMIZED CLASSES 

Start this new year on a creative note by creating your own evolving vision for 2018 using creativity.

In an intimate setting in my art studio, I will guide you through multiple exercises to enable you to focus on YOUR SELF– and to come away with a unique very personal vision board. This vision board will be YOUR SAFE PLACE.

We will use processes such as:

• Journaling

• Drawing

• Collaging

• Mindmapping and Action Planning

• Big Vision Visualization

• Right Brain Tools

• Whole Brain Engagement

In order to bring my creative adventure to fruition, I will visit this fortress, this safe house, many, many times. Gradually I will assemble the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle I have stored here. Finished, it will provide the ideas, moods, and ingredients that will feed my dream.

– Phillipe Petit




Some pre-work will be encouraged.

Love, Katarina

Contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com for CUSTOMIZED CLASSES 


Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way.

– Jennifer Lee



Joyful Living: Relaxation and Creativity with Michele Lilyanna


Unfortunately due to personal issues, I am unable to facilitate at the Aug 22/23 workshops.  Sincerest apologies.  But I am happy to write that Michele will be facilitating! 

Love, Kat



with Michele Lilyanna



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1549 Ocean Beach Esplanade, GIBSONS

ADULTS*: AUGUST 22, 2017 7:30-9:30 PM $60.00/participant

TWEENS: AUGUST 23, 2017 1:00-3:30 PM $50.00/participant

CHILDREN: AUGUST 23, 2017 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM $40.00/participant

Each session begins with a guided meditation. We then move on to joyful creativity and round out the session with a healing practice. Nourishment and fun at its finest!


* Teachers may use this class for Professional development. Check with your district as it will give you practices to share in your classrooms as well as provide you with ideas for wellbeing.

 Class size limited so please sign up early!

To register and pay course fee contact Michele at: Email


About the Workshops:

ADULTS: AUGUST 22, 2017 7:30-9:30 PM 


TWEENS: AUGUST 23, 2017 1:00-3:30 PM


CHILDREN: AUGUST 23, 2017 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM


About the Facilitator:

Michele Lilyanna:


Michele Lilyanna taught in the Canadian public education system for over thirty years. Her teaching focused on social and emotional learning and artistic expression.   She is the co-author, with James Baraz of Awakening Joy For Kids, awarded the 2016 Nautilus Gold medal. She is a featured parenting writer for Dr. Rick Hanson on both his website and in his Ten Pillars of Happiness course. When Michele is not teaching parents, educators, or children, she is awakening joy on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia with her partner, Peter, and her two sons.

Michele’s Website: awakeningjoyforkids.com



Mind mapping creates, hears, discovers, gathers, teaches… #graphicrecording

What is mind mapping?

A Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. It harnesses the full range of cortical skills – word, image, number, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness – in a single, uniquely powerful manner. In so doing, it gives you the freedom to roam the infinite expanses of your brain. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance. – TONY BUZAN

I use mind mapping in all my facilitation work (one-on-one, in group, with youth, in organizational meetings), in my work with cultureofcare.ca, or in my creative projects in order to:

create participant engagement, capture dialogue, make discovery, educate, gather data in order to write reports, address needs, develop customized workshops, deliver tools, and plan projects.



Beverley Pomeroy’s Living Grief Workshop, cultureofcare.ca



Big Draw Vancouver

Big Draw Vancouver









Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way. – Jennifer Lee


For more information on my services



Check out:






That is a step on which… #creativeprocess

I was working on my Molly project today— contemplating a slightly new format, to reconstruct the prologue.  The idea came out of the first weekly mini writer’s retreat that I started last Monday with my soul-sister, Patti Henderson:


Patti encouraged me to attack the material in a new way.

I love how collaborative dialogue can push, pull, inspire.  Afterwards, perseverating on the ideas that were brought up, the magic begins as one idea flows into the next, and the creative process leads as opposed to being led.  The dots connect and coincidences become more than coincidences…

For example,

I was on the ferry headed to a wedding on Friday when suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I saw the prologue unfold in a series on visuals with a particular focus on the character’s eyes.  We see the children see…


I wrote some notes and continued to mind map when I got home today.


I put an episode of Charlie Rose on in the background…


I heard Kenneth Branagh quote a moment in Macbeth… That is a step. On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap… He emphasized and mused on the word o’oerleap and how in the context it meant the choice of murder.  I was intrigued by the word, by his take on it and how it worked well in the context of Molly.  So I looked further and searched for the moment it appears in the play:

The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. (1.4.55-60)


Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see… how wonderful!  By seeking more on o’erleap, I find a quote related to my new vision for the prologue.  Coincidence?


And so, that is a step on which… I build.

Ingesting information using mind mapping.

I use mind mapping when I plan a project.

E.g. as in Molly, a true crime analysis:


I also use mind mapping when I ingest information.  It is a way to take non-linear notes, engage the whole brain and create one easy visual that allows me to remember what I read with a single glance at the completed map.

“Normal linear note taking and writing will put you into a semi-hypnotic trance, while mind mapping will greatly enhance your left and right brain cognitive skills.” – Tony Buzan

For example, reading the Power Path’s August Forecast

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As I start to read, I write down main points and let them interact with each other, one leads to the next, one might direct you to another area etc.

Once I get the overall main points, then I add more detailed notes (this can evolve overtime), and though from your point of view, the result may look chaotic… for me, the map makes sense to me as I remember physically creating the whole map.  In one glance, I can recall ALL the material that I read.


Then I gather related material to develop and enhance.

Keeping the mind maps for future reference is useful!  For example the business plan mind map I created in 2013, which helped my daughter and I produce a highly praised  business plan, is being pulled out this week to utilize it on another project.  IT ALL RELATES and EVOLVES.


Mind map tutorial:

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Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Part 1: Preparation

Recall Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Preview:

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I’m keeping a diary and will try to post at the end of each day. Today in Part 1, it is about preparation:


As much as art and connection are part of the 3-day intensive, I also want to incorporate life skills in a natural way.  One of those life skills is project planning.  On Day 1 we will be mind mapping an action plan as a group.  I want this to be youth-led, so my role as facilitator is to create a safe and dynamic space/environment.  Of course, I have a plan and agenda in case there needs to be a nudging in order to achieve the goal, but as much as possible, this is the overall vision is that of the participants.  By mind mapping together, the participants will experience project planning in a tangible way, and my goal (part of the longevity piece) is that they put that experience into their personal tool kit.  .

I practice what I preach.  I am spending this weekend preparing for the trip.  Making checklists, packing, mind mapping out some curriculum and action plan, researching, and looking to other creatives for inspiration.  For example:

Thomas Kail of Hamilton Joins Prof. Dolly Chugh’s Managerial Skills Course:

As a facilitator, I have to have a plan, an agenda-free agenda if you will.  I also have to be flexible and in the moment, ready to throw plans over the shoulder and let the experience and group dynamics lead.  Plan, be ready, RELAX, have FUN!

“Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.”
― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life


Williams Lake/Punky Lake Summer 2016 Diary- Preview

I leave on Monday for a new adventure!  I’ll be facilitating a 3-day art immersion camp in Williams Lake with Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society.

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Though I have a plan laid out and we have a goal- this will be a youth-led project, and no doubt the results will be surprising and magical!


I’ll be keeping a diary and will try to post at the end of each day.  For now, here is a preview:

3-day intensive therapeutic art camp and mural project, Old Training and Recreation Complex 

Lessons include:

Journaling, drawing lessons, portraiture, mind mapping, project planning, street art history, cultural exploration (imagery and identity), and wheatpasting!

Kevin wheatpasting in Gastown, 2012

Lifeskills covered:

Project planning, creative expression, problem solving, team building, self-esteem, personal exploration, cultural identity

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Art by Hannah Pettinato
Photo by Kali Banner


Day 1

  • Opening circle
  • Introduction to Kat
  • Intro to drawing techniques
  • Journaling
  • Choose location for mural
  • Mind mapping
  • Project planning
  • Begin project
  • Closing circle
  • Kat draws participant portraits


Day 2

  • Opening circle
  • Drawing warmup
  • Intro to the portrait techniques
  • Intro to street art
  • Make wheatpaste
  • Project process underway
  • Closing circle
  • Kat continues to draw participant portraits
Day 3

  • Opening circle
  • Drawing warmup
  • Full portrait drawing techniques
  • Add portraits to wall
  • Mural project completion
  • Celebration
  • Closing circle
Ernst wheatpasting in Gastown, 2012
Parmida. Photo by Megan Quigley

The Social Weaver and collaborative practice

During a prep session today for an upcoming World Café on collaborative practice, the three of us wanted to identify an animal that represents the theme of collaborative living.  The plan is that I will then add drawings of this animal to the large mind map I will be creating during the World Café session (as I capture dialogue from 22 participants).

My colleague went on a Google search and found the PERFECT animal (and being that it is a bird, my heart skipped a beat, for some of you may already know, I AM OBSESSED)-


The Philetairus socius is closely related to the Sparrow, one of my all time favorite birds.

Located generally in South Africa, social weaver birds “build large compound community nests, a rarity among birds. These nests are perhaps the most spectacular structure built by any bird.” [source]

“Weaverbirds present an ideal model for the study of group living, because their colonies occupy a space with discrete boundaries: a single tree.” [source]

The nest building techniques of social weavers are a wonderful metaphor for collaborative practice within an organization and for illustrating the power of collaborative leadership.

“Collaborative leaders create an environment where people can unite behind a common purpose, vision and set of values.” [source]


Creative engagement to energize and foster growth

Why do I  love utilizing creative engagement so much?  Well, let’s be honest, I don’t think I really know any other way to engage participants!  But seriously, what I truly love about it is that it creates an “active workspace dedicated to real-time creative activity to energize observers and encourage a different take on problem-solving.” (Lynda Barry)

For participants, creative engagement encourages “being present and seeing what’s there.” (Marilyn Frasca)

And I love that it equalizes everyone in the room and fosters safe dialogue and dynamic brainstorming.

“What happens when students from different disciplines get together to work intensely using both drawing and writing to bring about the unthinkable?” – Lynda Barry

I asked them to draw themselves as a superhero…

I was doing graphic recording and co-facilitating a workshop for frontline staff at a residential living facility in Toronto last week.


The focus of the workshop was Interdependence of Community Engagement in Residential Livingwith key facilitator Beverley Pomeroy.

We mind mapped so much with this group that we had to double/triple layer the large wall mind map!  I love and live for this!  Capturing the staff dialogue through visual recording.  The room was HEART-FULL.

To lighten the mood and to celebrate the incredible work that the frontline staff do, I asked them to draw themselves as superheroes.

This exercise is inspired by the pedagogy of Lynda Barry and her book: Syllabus.


Initially the staff was nervous and unsure.  Celebrate self?  What superhero?  Draw?  Eyes darted back and forth.  Fear, hesitation, confusion.

But a little encouragement to just go with it really helped…and the results are magical!

And remember that, in a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman. – Hippolyta

Group mind mapping: RJ as a pedagogical tool @SFU


On March 30, 2016, I took the  Criminology 315 (CRIM 315) students at the Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus (teacher: Associate Professor and director of the Center for Restorative Justice, Brenda Morrison) through an in depths mind mapping process as they reflected on their understanding and learning during the course.

CRIM 315 is designed to contrast restorative justice with the dominant adversarial/retributive/punitive model of justice through a critical analysis of these two paradigms of justice. Several key principles, assumptions, and concepts necessary for understanding the foundation and practice of restorative justice are explored during the course.

This particular group of students has been focusing on restorative justice within the educational setting (from theory to practice to social echo). My role as  guest teacher was to engage the students creatively and to discuss my restorative art-based practices with at-risk youth, young offenders and fragile populations.

I was delighted to have my former student, now colleague, Miko Philip participate as co-facilitator during my session.  I shared my own restorative practices and successes within the secondary school setting through the lens of  Miko’s personal experiences. Miko spoke openly about her time Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School, her personal struggles, her transformative experience in the summer of 2015 in the Inside Out Project at Mountainside Secondary, and her current powerful and life-changing studies at Rhodes Wellness College.

But before we began the mind mapping segment (outside in the sun), Brenda discussed delicious items for the students to keep in mind:

Pedagogy– how do you achieve educational outcome?

• Discipline of the circle 

Declare mission (versus declaring major)

• What does the circle add to higher learning?

• What is your discipline beyond criminology?

• Theory/Praxis/Practice

• Social Echo

• Justice/identity/belonging

Spiral of Inquiry: Scanning, Focusing, Developing a Hunch, Learning, Taking Action, Checking.

Capturing dialogue and participant voices is such a treat and I love how the whole brain is engaged by the group.  Students can see the process unfold and gain new insights and perspectives as a result.

At the beginning and part way through the afternoon, I utilized a couple of my favorite Lynda Barry exercises to cleanse our brains!

To really start the process, Miko asked the students the big question: What is Restorative Justice?  Not so easy to answer it turns out!

We started with one word reflection per participant, then the students broke off into groups to create a sentence answer.


What is Restorative Justice?

An opportunity to grow as a person when you have done something wrong in a way that is rehabilitative rather than punitive.

A value based philosophical framework guiding a rehabilitation process.

An inclusive approach to learning that emphasizes passion, respect, empathy, positivity, and acceptance in a safe and productive environment.

A values based approach to building community by empowering stakeholders.

We then discussed what identity and belonging means to each participant to enrich the exploration:


Relationship based, learning from each other, growth, supportive community, different way of learning, listening skills, equal opportunity to talk, accepted and not judged, having a place, empowerment, voice, equality, spend time in a place despite being uncomfortable, inclusivity, understanding (less about knowing), safety, community (actions affect others), non judgmental, ontological security, transparency.

Groups then shared their reflections on the mind map on social echo:


The effects of stereotypes and perceptions; igniting your inner passion to make a change; being an agent of change; individual and collective; whatever you take from it; expanding knowledge; being a voice through which knowledge can be carried to a broader audience.

We ended with a circle reflection!

Huge thank you to Miko Philip for being so open and enriching our day so much.  And thank you to Brenda Morrison, Cristina Serverius and the students who participated to willingly!

Check out Brenda’s recommendations:


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Visual facilitation is #visualstorytelling w. felts and paper

Many of you know, I love mind mapping.

If you say, can I talk to you?

…you know that I will first pull out felt pens and paper before saying- talk to me.

I usually work either one-on-one or with small groups, in order to facilitate deeper dialogue and connection, as well as help with personal and project planning.


It is the best way to engage right and left brain to create the big picture.

Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way. – Jennifer Lee


I find myself lately visually facilitating much larger group discussions and workshops!  And I have to say, it feels like home!

For example:

• Community Engagement in Retirement Living

Large mind map created live during workshop facilitated by Beverley Pomeroy

The graphic recording/visually storytelling/mind map process engages participants in a friendly and whole-brain way and, most importantly, allows all voices in the room to be heard and visually recorded.

Whole-Brain thinking provides you with a strategic road map for creativity, problem-solving, innovation and transformation. These processes can be used to develop creativity and innovation capabilities within the individual and organization. – Linda Naiman


There is something absolutely profound and magical that happens when participants feel heard, visually!  The process creates an overview of the big ideas; themes and key phrases naturally form in real time.  Mind mapping facilitates dialogue and reflection.   The resulting map also serves as a guide for subsequent reporting and recommendations.


The process itself feels like a dance between the key facilitator, the graphic recorder/visual storyteller and the participants.


It is such an honor (and a blast) working with author and community engagement strategist, Beverley Pomeroy.

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And during our first workshop, we were joined by artist, Emily Cowan, who enriched the experience for participants by drawing a portrait of the group during the event:

Emily's drawing

Bev and Kat by Emily Cowan
Kat and Bev by Emily Cowan

What a delight for everyone involved to be captured by Emily!!!

• Think!Well

A little less than 2 weeks ago, I was asked to visually record youth voices during:  Think!Well– an evening to explore youth mental wellness, get connected with youth and community resources, and talk about the importance of taking care of our minds.

What a treat to spend 5 hours visually storytelling and developing a large mind map for the youth as a take away!  This map serves as a real-time art piece, celebrating the profound dialogue during the evening and all the hard work and leadership exhibited by the youth facilitators and support staff.  The art will hopefully now act as a springboard to further youth-run workshops around mental wellness.

Large mind map created live during Think!Well youth conference on mental wellness at Burnaby Neighborhood House




This visual storytelling is not new.  Nor unique.  It’s been going on for a long time by many practitioners.  But there is so much of it happening in the world of graphic recording, visual facilitation and visual storytelling right now.  I am LOVING being part of the current movement!!!

And I am also excited about the opportunities that are unfolding!  Cheers to the power of felts and paper!!!  Cheers to what lies ahead.


Check out:


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Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way. – Jennifer Lee


Mind maps are essentially visual diagrams.  They can act as a type of journal or personal exploration, or a tool for strategic inquiry or project planning.  The possibilities are vast and endless.  You will find that mind maps are a way to envision and put into practice your intention.  This intention is thereby transformed into fruition.  The process is not just an idealistic visualization but an actualization.

Mind mapping is about strategic inquiry.



For me, mind mapping is a tool to move all the churning ideas and voices out of my head onto paper in order to organize my thoughts and to quiet my mind.  I gain perspective; I can start to strategize and prioritize or make new realizations and connections.  I can develop, or pare down.  I gain new insight on what direction works, what direction doesn’t, what I can cross off, what I can add.


I love the visual.  I love the tangible.  I love the evolving mind map.  I love looking at old ones and seeing what worked and what didn’t.  Mind maps allow me to create a mission and a vision statement more easily.

MIND MAPPING is how I formulated my personal mission statement:

My mission is to awaken creative expression through local and global art initiatives.”


I use mind maps for:

• emotional exploration

• project planning

• priority assessment

• anxiety processing

• gathering support

• story structure

• character development

• journaling

• mission and vision building

• creative strategic inquiry

• graphic recording

• meeting notes

• deep listening




Mind maps can help you become more creative, remember more, and solve problems more effectively. – Melanie Pinola