Full disclosure: Amanda and David are friends of mine, and I’m already a huge fan of their mental health startup CreateBeing.
However, they represent one of the many amazing mental health organizations and resources that are available across town. Part of what I’m working to do with FitIn is to help people find any kind of health and wellness class near them quickly and easily…mental health included. CreateBeing is a perfect example of one of those that you don’t know about yet, but should.
Found on Femmebought
I met Amanda through the female-founder platform femmebought, when I was searching for other businesses in the health and wellness space. We linked up, met for coffee, hit it off and THEN realized that we’d already met – at Celeste Shirley’s book launch over at The Yoga House.
Amanda and David created this event as an exclusive invite-only for folks in the mental health arena who are trying to make a difference, trying to help others find profound, holistic wellness, with the hopes that bringing everyone together might help the community grow stronger.
Let the Magic Begin
David and Amanda hosted us in party room on the roof of their downtown condo, where the views were absolutely jaw-dropping (I posted pics on my Instagram – @fitinfounder). They thoughtfully had refreshments and the BEST homemade kale chips!
They allowed us time to meet, get to know each other, network a little and also check out their table of resources. Amongst them were:
- Stella’s Place
- The Yoga House
- Mindful MCs
- Heart of a Man
- Inkblot Therapy
- Full Circle Art Therapy Center Toronto
- Other independent mental health workers and advocates
Down to Business
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this session, but I knew they were going to be walking us through a new type of mindfulness exercise.
They started by having us draw a little diagram or illustration of ourselves when we’re feeling confident, and one for when we’re feeling defeated or challenged. The pictures of the participants really varied – some more detailed, some very simplistic.
Then they had us put that aside! My curiosity was truly piqued.
They had us take four index cards next, and add something onto each of them.
The four sections represented a challenge we were facing and through a collaborative illustration we came together to illuminate our strengths and where we need support.
This exercise was designed to demonstrate our ability to work through challenges with a different perspective.
Next they had us draw a shape – any shape. I drew a big squiggle…if you know me, you know I like to push the limits of the instructions I’m given, and this was no exception! But I was really glad I did.
The next part was such wholesome fun.
They asked us to set down our shapes-on-a-page. They introduced that monsters can be fearful or friendly. These ones are our friendly monsters, but they needed to be completed. So they invited us to move around the room and add to everyone else’s monsters.
People drew smiles, accessories, hearts, limbs and all manner of other fun additions. You could hear giggles and chuckles from all over as people thought up creative things to draw, and it was really interesting to walk over to a friendly monster with a hat, an umbrella and a wavy arm and try to figure out what else they needed in order to be complete.
Lastly, we exchanged our monsters back and forth until we settled on one – someone else’s. I was disappointed to lose my friendly monster, but I ended up with one that I felt drawn to… so not TOO disappointed.
Putting things all together, they had us take another piece of paper and divide it into four quadrants. Then we had to transpose our drawings; both the confident/defeated pictures, plus our friendly monster and our adopted monster.
Next we added the text from our four index cards into the four quadrants…and that’s when the magic settled on all of us. We had created a poignant 4-panel story about how we handle challenges, forcing us to consider our problems – and how we overcome them – from a new perspective.
I was almost brought to tears with how mine turned out – my adopted monster fit my story so perfectly that it made me realize the truth in it. I’m not the only one who felt that way.
What I loved about CreateBeing’s Changemakers Gathering
I loved the magic of the exercise.
I loved the nurturing environment.
I loved the assembling of such compassionate people, most of whom were strangers, but who became community by the end.
I loved hearing about other people’s businesses, their passion for helping others, their motivations and their success over adversity.
I loved how people shared openly, and how gratefully that sharing was received.
Check out CreateBeing
CreateBeing is running interesting discussions and workshops all the time. They often work out of The Workman Arts Building in Toronto’s west end, so if you’re in that neighbourhood, make a point of checking out their next one.
As a society, we’re all just trying to be heard, seen and understood. CreateBeing is a great step to feeling the impact of those for yourself.
Catherine Chan is the Founder & CEO of FitIn.io, a new fitness platform connecting Canadians with personal trainers/instructors, fitness, exercise or movement classes near them in mere minutes. A mental health advocate, she has dedicated a part of her platform to mental health and wellness classes, promoting movement + mindfulness in order to help people find profound, sustainable health.