Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to be an artist, or be good at making art in order to participate?

Absolutely not. Most people who enjoy our workshops and retreats are not artists, and some haven't made art since grade school.

The creative exercises are about expressing yourself without words, having fun with different materials, discovering how texture, colour and shape can speak for you. The final piece is then explored and we talk about the creative process that you experienced- it isn't something to be judged or compared to with others, and doesn't have to look like anything. We get around the most common block, which is the perception that you need to know how to draw something 'to look just right', by making available user friendly collage, clay, plasticine, finger paint and found objects. There is no wrong way to do these exercises and there is always something valuable to discover. Most people are surprised to find out they are more creative than they previously thought.

Is this Art Therapy?

No. We've coined what we do as art & therapy; specifically, Expressive Art and Gestalt Therapy. Expressive Art includes visual art like painting,as well as music, writing, dance and drama. Although our primary modality is visual art, the other arts are included to varying degrees whenever appropriate. Gestalt therapy is a psychotherapy whose principles are beautifully conducive to affectively exploring creative endeavors. Our retreats are about personal growth and living more fully and authentically in the world.

What is Gestalt Therapy?

Gestalt means whole in German. Gestalt therapy came about in the 1950's as part of the Human Potential Movement. It is an accessible, practical psychotherapy that encourages self-acceptance and self-support. At its core is an interest in how, not why, we choose to limit our awareness. It demonstrates ways to work towards expanding our observations of the world and ourselves, and acknowledges the individual as connected and responsive to the immediate environment.

By exploring the emotions, feelings and perceptions of the present moment, Gestalt therapy heightens awareness to behavior patterns. This is the first step in therapeutic change. Those who practice Gestalt therapy develop an awareness of the excitement and immediacy of being fully present in the moment, which fosters an ability to respond authentically. This leads to being open to more appropriate choices previously unconsidered, rather than continuing with habitual behavior. The result is an evolution towards living a more meaningful and authentic life.

What if I've never paddled in a Sea Kayak before?

Don't worry, the kayak retreats are geared for beginners. We have qualified instructors to teach strokes and safety techniques. We also have double kayaks for those who prefer to kayak with a friend on board.

Sea Kayaking is our favored activity because it is an extraordinary way to spend meditative time outdoors. It provides the sublime experience of feeling at one with the water while offering the heady liberation of self-propulsion with the vessel's quick and elegant responsiveness to the gentle stoke of your paddle.

Sea Kayaking is an easy activity to learn and doesn't require a high level of physical strength or fitness. So don't be deterred if you've never imagined yourself gliding under the sun in a sea kayak before. Once you have tasted the pure pleasure of this sport you'll be ignited in a way that you'll never forget!


What risk is the West Nile Virus on the Ontario retreats?

This answer comes courtesy of Black Feather May 2003 Newsletter

Good News - the risk of West Nile Virus is extremely slight for wilderness adventurers. For the last 2 summers Black Feather has organized and led an expedition for a group of scientists to Nunavut and the NWT where they are studying Black Flies. Last Saturday, the Toronto Star ran a very interesting article on the virus, interviewing one of these experts, Doug Currie. Doug is the Curator of Entomology at the Royal Ontario Museum.
West Nile Virus is sometimes transfered to humans by mosquitoes that have bitten an infected bird. Although 80% of infected humans will have no symptoms and not know they were infected, 20% will experience mild flue-like symptoms. A very small number of people over 50 or with weakened immune systems may develop a serious infection.

Fortunately only a few species of mosquito carry the virus. The main carrier is the Culex pipiens mosquito. It primarily feeds on birds as opposed to people. This species is quite rare especially outside cities. It does not breed well in the swampy areas or large bodies of water that support the mosquitoes found outside urban areas. Doug Currie says their small numbers, limited range and preference for birds make the Culex pipien a fairly minor threat. "I would't panic if I was up in Algonquin Park this spring getting chewed up by the mosquitoes," he adds. For defence he recommends long sleeves and pants in the early morning and at dusk, and using insect repellent containing DEET. "Other than that," he says, "I'm going to go out and enjoy the summer."

Will my food allergies or dietary considerations be accommodated?

Absolutely! On our registration forms you'll find places designated for these important details. We then let the cooks know so they can work their culinary magic. Please forward your forms quickly in order to give us plenty of time to address your needs. Delicious meals are never a problem to create as alternative diets are in high demand. With severe and prevalent allergy cases, however, when menu options become too limited to be easily accommodated to satisfy a group, you may be asked to bring your own meals to ensure that your specific dietary needs are met.

If I have a group with a special interest, will Aziza custom design a private retreat or workshop for us?

Yes! Aziza Healing Adventures will happily fulfill a specific vision when a group or organization desires its very own retreat or workshop. These private gatherings can be designed to run for a day, weekend, week or longer. We also create continuing programs for ongoing groups. Specific themes can include; team building, self esteem, grief work, spirituality, creative blocks, self-empowerment, conflict resolution and other related personal growth topics.

Exploring themes with art activities and Gestalt therapy principles is a proven way to inspire and promote awareness and insight. Respectful small group discussions enable participants to be heard, seen and understood, while similarities and differences between group members become more clearly defined. In addition to making art, suitable outdoor activities such as labyrinth walks, hikes and sea kayaking enhance the collective experience

Beautiful locations host these retreats and workshops, making it a pleasurable, relaxing time of self-discovery. We arrange comfortable accommodations and we also gladly collaborate with the retreat center of your choice.

To arrange an appointment, please contact us at info@aziza.ca or call 416-696-0086.

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