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:

Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise: Series Part 1 of 8- Future and Present



Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Series

Part 1 of 8

Future and Present

Inspired by Caroline Myss’s book, SACRED CONTRACTS- awakening your divine potential, I am exploring/developing journaling exercises around awakening creative expression and tapping into the magic that makes you flow– that passion that fuels you, that call to action to step up and truly live a fulfilling life.

Have you ever wondered what your mission in life is supposed to be?  … Your Sacred Contract allows you countless chances to grow and change, dependent only on your willingness to pick up the subtle clues and cues that appear along the way.  Dreams, intuitions, apparent coincidences, and “chance” encounters are just a few of the cues that will lead you on the path to genuine transformation.

– Caroline Myss

Some of you may call BULLSHIT.  But hey- does a little magical thinking hurt?  Bullshit can be fertilizer, right?  Fertilizer to encourage growth.

As my sister-friend, Patti, would say- sometimes you have to sit in your own shit to move forward.


Inspired by Jennifer Lee’s The Right Brain Business Plan, let’s re-explore big-vision visualization and mindmapping.

For 10-15 minutes, write freely about your vision of your fully abundant future and success.  Don’t censor or hold back!  Follow  Jennifer Lee’s BIG-VISION VISUALIZATION SCRIPT (p. 34-36)

This used to be hard for me.  The anxious little girl in me would challenge any positive thoughts I had.  But with practice, I have found it easier and easier.  Now the words flow freely.  Hell, I’m not even embarrassed by it anymore.  TRY IT.

This time I wrote (unedited):

Where do I see myself the future?  Now?  Is it here?  I am fully successful having integrated my facets (my multi-faceted interests and talents) into one vision- awakening creative expression.  This awakening is both in myself and all those around me.  My curriculum development is a huge success locally and globally, bringing in revenue that allows me to live fully and freely and abundantly.  I no longer worry about money as all my ideas, projects and mission/vision have been implemented locally and globally in a sustainable business model that keeps me energized.  I illustrate books.  Molly is a huge success and her story engages the audience fully.  Her story expands into a full colour book at [dream publisher] and I am honoured with speaking engagements, exhibits and awards.  My next books flow easily.  2084 is fully illustrated and a huge success, reawakening the world to the illustrated book.  Anna works globally to engage cities in the BPS vision and we are sought after globally for our curriculum events and art.  We expand easily, keeping the model simple and manageable and sustainable.  I thrive in my airy light gorgeous apartment and work from home.  I wake worry free every morning and love life.  The hard work I have done all my life has led to my current success.  It just expands on itself.  All my bills are paid, my savings account builds rapidly each month, my entire family is thriving and I travel as I like and need and reconnect fully with my roots in Sweden.  I implement and oversee and enjoy watching people expand their lives with my program.


Now create a mindmap– start with yourself in the centre and without hesitation write in bubbles as you contemplate where you are right now.  It could mean where you are at this very moment or where you are this year and this place in your life.  Write and draw freely, allowing the connections to happen easily.  See where your facets and aspects relate into ONE YOU.




Stay tuned for Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Series, Part 2 of 8: where are your energy leaks?



Responsibility garden… #journalexercise

I am taking charge of my own life.  All the seeds have been planted.  The shoots are healthy.  And growing.  It’s time for me to tend my own garden.








In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. 
― Eleanor Roosevelt


This weekend, I plan to create a new type of mindmap- a responsibility garden drawing where each flower is an item to be dealt with or a goal to be reached.  To embrace the beauty of self-responsibility.

Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking. And you know me- I LOVE them!

Impromptu session mind-mapping with my dear friends, Evelyn and Reem today.  So healing.  I just love starting in the centre and working our way out.  We don’t necessarily know what we are focusing on, but letting it evolve.




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

I thought I was going to process my issues around money, but I ended up really focusing of self-care and my tender heart.


“[Mind map]!  It’s for your health, dummy.” – Dr. Steve Brule

Journal Series Part 1: INSPECTION/PRESENT DAY #mindmap

I am working on a new journal series to connect with my book Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art.


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I am a great believer in sharing my creative process!  That is how Drawn Together was created in the first place- through journals and blogposts.

I am inspired by Austin Kleon‘s call to SHOW YOUR WORK!

As I build the journal series, I will be sharing my notes and process here and welcome your feedback and your photos!   Your contribution is invaluable and may find its way to my book! Contact me at Email.



We look at where we are now using mindmaps.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information.  A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added.  Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches.  Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea.   source

1. Take 10-15 minutes first to write in your journal.  Just stream of consciousness- whatever comes to mind.

2. Now create a mindmap- start with yourself in the centre and without hesitation write in bubbles as you contemplate where you are right now.  It could mean where you are at this very moment or where you are this year and this place in your life.


It is an art to be where you are, and see happiness in life’s ever changing landscape. Today look with new eyes, and treasure all you can.  – Rita Ghatourey

Brianna finds mindmapping useful for helping her plan next steps.
Shiraya shaped her teen guide using mindmapping

Make sure you keep your mindmap as we’ll be adding to it during subsequent exercises!

Jennifer takes her mindmap to a whole new level.

Enjoy the process!

Mindmap 1

“Do you ever stop? I mean truly just stop?” How the #RightBrainBusinessPlan is helping me quiet my mind.

Kat, do you ever stop?  I mean truly just stop? Just taking a day and doing nothing, just drinking tea in pjs and doing nothing?

– Maryellen to me


I have to say the answer is no.  Or more accurately, yes- sometimes– but when I do, I feel my body reacting.  I feel the migraines come on- migraines that can start in the chest and move down to the stomach.  I get the doubled over mom-stomach.  Or it starts in the shoulders and moves up the back of the neck.  That’s my genetics.

Many migraine sufferers complain of headaches on weekends, vacations, or after a period of stress. Researchers at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx… found that patients had 20% higher chance of developing a migraine 12 to 24 hours after their mood changed from “sad” or “nervous” to “happy” or “relaxed”.


So hmmm. It’s weird for me to stop.  And as a single mom trying to keep up with debt, as an artist following her passion, as a self-employed and as a youth coordinator navigating the needs of an at-risk population, and as someone who always needs to feel productive… I can say my mind never does stop.


I am driven to follow my artistic vision and passion, but I am crippled sometimes by overwhelming anxiety and the need to stay on task, to keep at it.  I use my journaling and anxiety tools and when I am in the creative process, I flow.  I find peace .  A reprieve from the debts and anxiety.


But since finding the right brain business plan, I find my wake-ups easier, my mind on task, my directions making sense, my confidence increasing– despite the continuous debts and hurdles.  The toolbox is streamlining.

Chaos, control… you like, you like?

[Six Degrees of Separation]


I started using the right brain business plan book with my daughter as we created our business plan for by post street.  Life-changing.  There is a new sense of confidence and excitement that lifts me above the chaos of financial anxiety.

Now I am doing a new business plan as I work on my DRAWN TOGETHER workbook/workshop series that builds on my belief in the healing power of art and its ability to build connections.  I am going deeper into the right brain business plan book by doing the online course and the process helps not only the project but my entire life.


So DO I STOP?  No.  But I can release.  And decrease the stress.  So that those moments where I may find myself in my fantasy cottage and just sitting, I may actually breathe in the springtime and allow the stillness to soothe me, and my stomach is quiet, my belly soft, my heart gentle, my neck flexible, and my mind still.


I think of [rest and sleep] as one big ball of goodness. The most important ingredient for either is to apply without guilt or shame. So many people rest or sleep secretly, or feel like they need to explain or justify it! Think of sleep and rest as pure goodness multipliers, and don’t let anyone else’s opinions in.


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My previous posts re my right brain business plan adventure:

For I dipped into the future…

Who looks outside, dreams.  Who looks inside, awakes.

Making the task more me

Big vision visualization


Big-vision visualization #mindmaps inspired by #rightbrainbusinessplan

Recall my journey with visionboards, mindmaps using:

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My previous posts:

For I dipped into the future…

Who looks outside, dreams.  Who looks inside, awakes.

Making the task more me

Right-brain entrepreneur Jennifer Lee is a certified coach, writer, artist, yogini, and the founder of Artizen Coaching. Before pursuing her own passions full-time, she consulted for ten years for companies such as Accenture, Gap, Sony, and HP, helping leaders and organizations manage change. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and her website is


Last Thursday, I led a group through the process of mindmapping using my usual techniques and incorporating tips from the right brain business plan.  

[I look forward to actualizing a to-do on my current mindmap: taking the right brain business plan online course and then hopefully taking it even a step further and becoming a licensed facilitator!]


I shared mindmaps made by my previous students and also relayed how mindmaps have helped me for years to organize my life.  I keep all my mindmaps as they are reminders of how far I’ve come and reminders for where I need to focus.  They make everything relate to everything.


Mindmapping and the right brain business plan helped my daughter and I create the ultimate and ever-evolving business plan for our new business, by post street.  It helps us stay sane as we maintain vision and keep moving forward on a miniscule budget.


Inspired by Jennifer Lee’s BIG-VISION VISUALIZATION SCRIPT (p. 34-36), I encouraged the group to write about their ideal future, to think big, to see abundance and success in work, in relationships, in spirit.










Personally, I found it very empowering to write about an abundant future.  It’s a LIGHTENING experience and a good balance as I tend to write during dark and anxious times.

Despite my default setting of envisioning myself in a magical little cottage down by a little lake, what do I actually envision for myself when I really concentrate?  My stream of consciousness writing shows:

  • a beautiful workspace
  • intimate corners
  • cozy couches and blankets
  • a library of books
  • supplies
  • airy and sunny
  • hardwood floors
  • garden, outdoor patio
  • kitchen, open space
  • coffee and fresh pie smells and fresh fruit
  • the pets
  • easy to have visitors and family over
  • but also private
  • a place to store my art
  • more income than expenses
  • time for me
  • time to enjoy
  • ease of mind
  • mortgage fully paid
  • lots of savings
  • blissful and at peace
  • the smell of fresh basil
  • flowers in vases
  • candles
  • online presence
  • ease of blogging and lots of followers
  • my art has a distinct vision and people are responding with ease and delight
  • I keep pushing the envelope and make new groundbreaking work
  • I have time to craft and explore new ways of manipulating art
  • there is an ease to waking up in the AM with a sense of acceptance and accomplishment
  • my books are best sellers and I mainly work on my own art which the world is hungry for

I found the process of envisioning an ideal future a cleansing experience.  It is the opposite of processing the now or the processing of yesterday.  It is a way to ease the heart and soften the belly.

And mindmaps (and visionboards) are a way to envision and put into practice [that cliché of] intention.  This intention is thereby transformed into fruition.  The process is not just an idealistic visualization but an actualization.

Right now I am organizing the massive amount of info in my graphic novel research using charts and mindmaps and magic markers.




Making the task more ME… #mindmaps #visionboards #projecteverything

On this rainy Saturday, it’s time to re-focus on the projects I am working on by using:

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I am getting clearer as to the multiple directions in my life and how they actually all relate nicely to each other and feed each other into A LIFE OF ART.   Each category needs full attention to come to fruition, but by relating them all to each other through imagery, connection and layout, I keep it simple.

To make the task more ME and to make me energized, I tend to collect images I love and draw them out.



For a visual learner and do-er like me, it’s the perfect way to stay on task and to have a check in and to ease anxiety.



Then I add notes and analyze and type out… It’s just SO MUCH MORE FUN doing it as a piece of art…  Plus I practice drawing at the same time!


I keep all the boards and check in on all of them daily.  Just a glance is enough to remind, to create inner dialogue, to stay on course, to trust.