“I do not know what is going on, but it seems Alzheimer’s stops where creativity begins.” -Person living with Alzheimer’s disease, after creating art
I wanted to do a quick spiritual practice that was aligned with art and I asked artist, art therapist, counselor, and teacher Shelley Klammer for advice.
“Every day, you can simply draw a mandala, a circle, and color it any way you want,” she said.
I liked her idea and began drawing a circle almost daily. Then I have fun filling the inside with crayons, paints, markers, colored pencils, chalk, and pens. Sometimes I create bright designs; other times I draw childlike images—a bunny, a tree, an elephant. With each creation, I feel like I am reclaiming my love of drawing that I had set aside years ago because I “wasn’t very good at it.”
The repetition of the circle gives form to whatever art drifts out of me, just as the repetition inherent in the role of care partner holds a space for creativity.
How are you adding creativity to your every day life?
For more about Shelley and her work, please visit
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” ― Martha Graham
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.