Inspiring creativity and connection for wellbeingSubscribe Now

Creativity and Wellness Conference 2014

Thank you for an amazing first annual Creativity and Wellness Conference!  We enjoyed a very full day of IMG_1701workshops for professionals, an opportunity to network and collaborate with other local professionals, and a chance to rest, relax and rejuvenate for our own wellness.  We are making plans for next year’s conference, including a new location, returning speakers and new speakers, free family activities and another opportunity to collaborate with other professionals.  We also raised over $600 to benefit Free Arts NW!

Upcoming events:

Brain25 Conference April 15

If you would like to contribute to next year’s conference as a donor or volunteer, please contact Monique.


“Everyone I met was so engaged and sincere.”

“The presenters were welcoming and full of knowledge.”

“Models of loving presence. Powerful performers (Marc & Melanya).”

“Quality speakers/workshops, great time to connect with other professionals.”

“Connecting with inspired practitioners from so many disciplines all of whom hold a passion for creativity as a whole life resource.”

“Beautiful experience! I am counting down the days until I can see the second half of their performance (Eternally Present Past).”

“Yoga and Social Emotional Learning was fantastic and the presenter was full of awesome & inspiring techniques to teach children! This was my favorite part of the day. Wow, super impressed and inspired.”

“Embodying Creativity. This workshop was intimate and welcoming. The instructor was knowledgable and supportive in creating and safe environment as we explored our inner- creative selves.”

“The quality of content and people who were there was amazing. I look forward to you doing it again and have already talked to many other coworkers/professionals that would enjoy it as well.”



On October 18, 2014 we were joined by professionals from the Greater Portland Metro area, Vancouver WA and Salem at Marylhurst for an experiential workshop on Creativity and Wellness. Professionals included:

Keynote:  Marc Otto and Melanya Helene of The Brooklyn Bay

“Embodied Relational Healing: Re-Weaving The Patterns That Limit Our Lives”MarcMelanya

Our patterns of relating and the unconscious expectations of what will or won’t happen in our lives are woven into our brains, bodies and hearts from the very earliest part of our lives. We learn them implicitly from our families and our culture. They are so basic to our way of viewing the world that we are mostly unaware of them and how strongly they affect our lives now.

When you can access your most basic relational patterns in an embodied way and get support to loosen their hold on your life, new neural pathways are literally created in your mind and body. And these old patterns no longer have the power to run your life.

Melanya and Marc will perform a portion of their acclaimed show “The Eternally Present Past” — which explores implicit memory and the neurobiology of relationship through story, song, and poetry.

Melanya is an award winning performer and director, and the lineage holder for the mindfulness based performance process passed down from Scott Kelman. She has been leading groups, individuals and families through deep healing creative processes for many years. Marc has an MA in Somatic Psychology from The Naropa University and 20 years experience in the mental health and addictions field.

Together they have been developing embodied relational practices involving play (gentle movement and sounding) and mindfulness. They have been studying Interpersonal Neurobiology in depth with Bonnie Badenoch, PhD for over four years. Through the integration of these two elements, a process for genuine healing has emerged that is both effective and gentle.

 10:15-11:15 – Workshops A:

Creativity & Brain Science  Jesse Payne, Ed.D.JessePayne

Building off of the success of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25), Dr. Payne will tap specifically into the idea of creativity and wellness and how it relates to practical brain science and the developing brain.  Ideas about how to nurture the brain towards creativity, and how allowing for creativity impacts brain development will be addressed.  Similarly, topics of wellness (nutrition, physical exercise, brain games, stress reduction, fighting negative thoughts, etc.) will be addressed, and attendees will see how each of these topics can influence overall brain function.

Yoga and Social Emotional Learning:  An Integrated Approach  Lynea Gillen, M.S., LPC, E-RYT200lynea Book shot

Learn how to combine mindfulness, simple yoga practices, and effective counseling techniques to help children develop skills for social and emotional well being. This whole-client approach supports the development of wellness habits and addresses some of the most persistent physical symptoms that accompany anxiety, depression, ADHD, loss, and trauma.

Yoga Calm® activities are effective for a wide range of ages, settings, and populations. Yoga techniques taught in this session are very simple and can be used by anyone, including those who have physical limitations and/or no prior yoga experience.

Restoration and Rejuvenation – Keeping Your Own Cup Full  Elsbeth Martindale, PhDFacebookHeadshot

This is an experiential workshop offering discussion and play around the importance of restoration and rejuvenation, especially for healers and care providers. To be effective in helping others be whole and healthy, practitioners need to keep their personal cup full. Workshop participants will identify their own means for restoration and will creatively engage in claiming restorative actions in which they can partake. Everyone will leave with a dose of rejuvenation, hope, and a plan of action.

Mandalas – A Creative Journey in Time  Melanie Gurley, MAMelanieGurley

Learn how mandalas have provided opportunity for reflection, connection, contemplation and creative expression through the centuries.  This experiential workshop will offer participants a unique opportunity to explore the wellness benefits of mandalas.

11:30am-12:30pm – Workshops B:

Family Wellness – Ruth Matinko-Wald,  Parenting CoachWaldMatinko-Wald3x5

Learn about the six touchstones of family wellness:  Empathy, Play & Creativity, Take the Time, Safe Havens, Walk the Talk, and Connection.  Consider the challenges facing families today and leave with new ideas to support the families you work with, as well as your own.

Creativity and Social Change  Kristine Bella, MA, ATR-BC, CADC1KrisBellaPhoto

Being involved in a community art project can be a highly dynamic rewarding experience that allows for people to have a place to express through visual means.  When working with disenfranchised populations, this process has the power to unite individuals and create positive lasting change for the individuals themselves or for the community as a whole.  Kristine Bella will engaged participants in a creative group process which will allow for a deeper understanding regarding arts catalytic power for community bonding, creative placemaking, and social advocacy.

Collage for Wellness – Deanna EllerbeDeandra Ellerbe

Collage is a wonderful tool for accessing the subconscious and allowing the pictures to speak to a deeper truth. I have worked with teen girls exploring issues of femaleness and body image, as well as with spiritual groups exploring issues of faith. I also found collage to have been a vital tool in recovery after I had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. The mini-deck I created around my breast cancer experience helped to sort my thoughts and feelings and to acknowledge the many ways cancer impacted my life.

Creativity in Motion – Aaron Wheeler Kay of Do Jump & Echo Theater!aaron-001

An engaging and humorous lecture, sharing stories, discoveries, and lessons from my experience as a professional performer of 35 years, and teacher of 18 years in circus, movement and performing arts.  Central to my presentation is the theory that creative problem solving, personal confidence, and collaboration are part of a recipe for healing and wellness for communities and individuals.  Some of the material is based on my experiences as an ensemble member of the physical theater group Do Jump! and teacher in the Do Jump School, and some as a director and creator of original physical theater with amateurs and professionals.

1:30-2:30 – Workshops C:

Embodying Creativity  Pearl Waldorf, M.S., M.A.PearlPhoto

Drop beneath everyday consciousness where creativity lives in your full time. The Embodied Muse offers participants an opportunity to tune in experientially to the often ignored or overlooked messages and connections our body offers us all the time. Using writing as our tool, we will trust these intuitive messages to point us toward the next right creative expression in an inspired exploration that feels both more free and more focused at the same time.

Mindful Fun With Food – Dawnn McWatters, Psy.D.DawnMcWattersPhoto

“Mindful fun with food:” Engage in playful, interactive mindfulness exercises as participants explore their relationship with food and their bodies through the various sensory doorways. Learn to savor your food, and have more fun at mealtimes!

Music for the Body, Mind, and Spirit  Jodi Winnwalker, LCSW, MT-BC20130320_Earthtones_187 - Copy

Join us as we explore the application of music listening and music making for body, mind and spirit.  Workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage in music for relaxation as well as music for energizing.  Jodi will share the latest research on music and the brain, show short video clips of music therapy sessions, and provide information on local resources.  In the workshop Jodi will also:  trace the fascinating history of music and healing, learn about the latest research on Music and the Brain,  illustrate the amazing manner in which music affects an individual (cognitively, emotionally, physiologically, socially), and demonstrate applications for using music to promote health and wellness.

Creativity and Leadership  Paul Elmore, MS, MAPE-headshot2

Explore how to navigate difficult personal, professional and high stakes group communications using creative problem solving tools. Through the use of interactive initiatives, learn about communication, team work, conflict resolution, trust, problem solving, and personal self confidence.

Through the use of interactive initiatives, I helped leadership teams, corporate and student groups, ministry teams, and recovery groups learn about communication, team work, conflict resolution, trust, problem solving, and personal self confidence. I continue to facilitate multiple groups each year. – See more at:

2:45-3:45 – Workshop D

Creative Writing and Wellness  Katherine Factor, MFAImage 10

In this writing workshop, participants will be prompted to explore ways of exploring the creative process through Creative Writing.  What are the ways that a writing process can help one understand the self? How do we free possible blocks or old habits through writing and reflection? How can creative writing operate as a tool for knowing one’s inner life and a deeper understanding? Using Where I am From Poems and selections from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, we will spend time writing, discussing the creative process, and engaging in “non-thinking.” Bring your friends, pens, and a love of language!

Sand Trays and the Creative Process  MereAnn Reid, M.A.MereAnn_headshot_2x3

Dig in! Build… bury… uncover… create an entire world in miniature. We’ll explore the sensory experience of the sandtray as a tool for non-verbal expression, symbolic meaning-making, and kinesthetic processing. The beauty of this medium is the power to give form to our inner landscapes and build left-right brain connections through narrative illustrations, playful experiments, and dreamlike combinations. The workshop will include discussion of interpersonal neurobiology concepts, gentle prompts and materials for building your own stories in the sand, and a take-home miniature sandtray.

Exploring Creative Flow – Pearl Waldorf, M.S., M.A.PearlPhoto

Exploring Creative Flow offers participants a model for assessing their own creative process and the blocks that might hinder free expression of the gifts they have to offer. Following an introduction of the 4 stages: Clarity, Action, Satisfaction and Completion, via discussion and guided mindfulness,  participants will gain a clearer understanding of their unique creative process map.

The Creative Healing Benefits of Art Therapy  Molly McDavitt, ATR, LPC & Pat Jenkins, MAMollyPhoto

This workshop will be led by two art therapists who will share a brief introduction to the professional discipline of art therapy and discuss the healing properties of art therapy through different art media and methods. Participants will be able to engage in art making during the workshop to experience the intrinsic healing properties in creating art.

We want to thank the vendors and auction donors for their generosity during the conference.


Creative RootsCreative Roots Logo

At Creative Roots, we inspire kids and adults to express their creativity and enhance their learning for optimal growth and development. Kids and adults alike enjoy programs including yoga, art classes, academic classes for homeschoolers, one-to-one tutoring and coaching, and many other offerings  related to creativity, learning and wellness.  We offer innovative programs to every member of the family – kids, teens and parents – incorporating an inspiring blend of alternative education, creativity, art, music and FUN!

Free Arts NWPrint

Free Arts NW provides arts experiences that empower underserved youth to find their creativity, passion, and voice. Through arts education, collaborative projects, and ongoing mentorship, Free Arts NW cultivates individual artistic exploration while strengthening youth participants’ connections to their community.

As facilitators of artistic exploration and expression, Free Arts NW highly values four principals that motive and shape our process with youth:

Belonging, Interdependency, Accomplishment


Brain25 has amassed a collection of practical brain science materials geared towards students, educators, counselors, and parents. This includes posters and books meant to help young people understand the developing brain.

Bridges Middle SchoolBMSLogo

Bridges provides a highly creative and focused school setting for students who benefit from small class sizes and individualized instruction. Our goal is to give students with learning differences the academic foundation, social skills and confidence to successfully transition into, and graduate from, traditional high school settings or other specialized academic endeavors.

The Brooklyn Bay TheaterBrooklynBayLogo

Supporting people who want their most important relationships to be more nourishing.  Helping you re-wire the patterns that are limiting your life.

Tickets available for the November 7 & 8 showing of The Eternally Present Past:  Our patterns of relating and the unconscious expectations of what will or won’t happen in our lives are woven into our brains, bodies and hearts from the very earliest part of our lives. We learn them implicitly from our families and our culture. They are so basic to our way of viewing the world that we are mostly unaware of them and how strongly they affect our lives now.

When you can access your most basic relational patterns in an embodied way and get support to loosen their hold on your life, new neural pathways are literally created in your mind and body. And these old patterns no longer have the power to run your life.

Companion Art Studio Image

The Companion Art Studio is a 501(c)3, non-profit program supporting adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the tri-county area surrounding Portland, OR and Yamhill county. We strive to create a unique environment where our artists can imagine, create and welcome art into their lives.

Courage to BloomCouragetoBloom_logo

Courage to Bloom offers therapists and educators creative tools for psycho-education. Through card decks and handouts psychological concepts can be explored and integrated.

Creative Arts Therapies AssociationCATALogo

Portland’s Creative Arts Therapies  Association (CATA) is a voluntary group and welcomes creative arts therapists, health workers, and others who use creative arts for healing and are interested in seeing creative arts therapies become more entrenched locally in professional health services.

Earth Tonesimage002

Earthtones Music Therapy Services has used music to make a notable difference in people’s lives for more than twenty years. Music is an art form for expression and connection that transcends individual, generational and cultural restrictions to connect our life experiences.

Echo Theater and Do Jump! SchoolImage 4

The Echo Theater Company is a community of performers, aerialists, acrobats, and educators exploring the intersection of ensemble theater and circus arts. Through playfulness, collaboration, creative problem-solving, and physical discipline we celebrate the potential in all of us.  The Do Jump School encourages physical confidence, freedom, and grace in a creative, non-competitive atmosphere. Students develop  strength, balance, flexibility, and their imaginations while working together with peers to explore the intersection of ensemble physical theater and circus arts.


Family Empowerment Network

Family Empowerment Network understands that parents, given the information and support they need and deserve, are the “experts” in knowing what is the best solution for their unique situation.

Family Empowerment Network’s Parenting Guides support parents in connecting with their children as they grow and in creating a caring network for themselves and their children.

The Family ExperienceFamily_Exp_Logo_Color

The Family Experience is a three day interactive family coaching weekend where we provide families with tools in an experiential way that helps them to stick together when the world’s pressures, such as limited time, are pulling them a part.


pdxvox_b:w_sq_logoPDX Vox is a cross between a chorus and a voice band, where pop songs are performed with voices only, and many voices sing the parts of instruments.There are no voice auditions for PDX Vox. Any previous singing experience qualifies you to join, so long as you have an appreciation for a variety of pop songs. As a participant of PDX Vox, you will improve your singing, learn a bit about the history of a cappella music, and have a great time meeting and harmonizing with other music lovers.

Yoga CalmPrint

Yoga Calm® engages heart, mind and body through its unique blend of physical yoga, social skills games, mindfulness activities, and counseling techniques. It helps kids develop emotional intelligence, communication skills, trust and empathy. It nurtures teamwork and leadership. It provides for a calmer home and more productive school environment.

Silent Auction Donors



Creative Roots







WCB logo








wine glasses


Hilton Garden Inn Logo