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Healing is loving the worst version of yourself

Healing is loving the worst version of yourself 1810 2560 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

Healing is not becoming the best version of yourself, healing is letting the worst version of you be loved.

One of the worst things I know is when I’ve been in crisis and someone has tried to coach me out of it by telling me to be strong, pull myself together or see the positive. Not that it’s not all necessary to change difficult patterns and times. I’ve just always felt a deeper longing to first feel met and loved right where I am. I’m guessing you do too.

It’s as if we can only feel whole when the absolute most unlovable side of us is allowed to peek out and be seen and met by ourselves or others.

It’s hard to love the parts of us that are the most hurt and painful. This is because our psyche, from our earliest years, protects us from acknowledging and being with those sides. Being rejected there is simply too painful and risky. Therefore, we protect against it by becoming very self-critical of the traits that belong to it or by passing on its qualities to others.

No, I’m not lazy/weak/aggressive/greedy/manipulative/dishonest, etc. and neither are you, right? It takes a lot of energy to keep that side of us down by judging ourselves or engaging in conflict with others.

In my experience, creativity has something special to offer when it comes to getting to know the most unlovable parts of ourselves and slowly learning to dare to love them and show them to others so that we can experience being met and even loved right there.

There are endless opportunities to work with what we call the shadow, the version of ourselves that we wouldn’t want to be. For example, you can

Dance/move like it, thus exploring it and releasing some of its energy

Write a story about how this unlovable side of you would behave if you let it

Sing as it would sing, or sing to it

Do a role play where you play that side of you.

Always make sure you’re grounded before you start and know that emotions may come up that you’ll need help with. It’s also important that you plan how you will be there for yourself when you’re done with an exercise like this. And that you have compassion for yourself and know that it takes time to integrate such an unloved side.

In the HEL cards and The Art of Self-HEaling cards, there are a lot of great exercises you can do to help you work safely and effectively on becoming more whole.

I’m also coming soon with a course that supports the learning in the cards – I’ve been delayed by some health issues that I’m getting good help with. And then I can take my own medicine and work lovingly on loving the side of me that gets delayed, sick, or doesn’t quite perform as I think I should. I know that always brings renewed strength and healing, even when things feel difficult and chaotic.

Art and words by Karin von Daler © Please feel free to share with credentials.

Find light in the fertile darkness

Find light in the fertile darkness 1800 1200 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” (Rumi)

In ancient times, at the darkest night, the midpoint of winter, people celebrated the rebirth of the sun and the light it would bring to the Earth.

In the embrace of the winter solstice, we can honor the dance between light and darkness, recognizing it as a reflection of the human experience. In the depths of winter’s longest night, we find a symbolic celebration of the birth of light, an acknowledgment that even in the darkest moments, the potential for illumination resides within us, in our hearts. As we navigate the complexities of our world, plagued by personal and collective wars and struggles, the solstice becomes a poignant reminder—an invitation to delve into our inner darkness, to explore the shadows that challenge us.

Through the creative arts, we can transform these struggles into beacons of resilience, inviting in the light of hope, compassion, and healing. This season beckons us to embrace the transformative power of creativity, using it as a vessel to navigate through the gloom, ultimately birthing our own metaphorical light in the face of adversity.

In the middle of a dark night when we lie awake and depressed and can’t find our way,  a new clarity and decision can be born and illuminate our path ― like a bright shining star in a deep black sky.

From this clarity what we need or desire can grow forth into our daily lives. Think of a budding seed in the deep, dark soil or a growing fetus in the womb.

Here’s a simple meditation to support the birth of light within

As you find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing the stillness of the moment to envelop you. Picture yourself surrounded by a velvety darkness, a nurturing ground for the seed of light within your soul.

Visualize this seed at the core of your being inside your heart, a tiny spark waiting to sprout. As you breathe in, imagine drawing in the rich nutrients of the darkness, allowing it to cradle the potential within. With each exhale, release any tension or doubt, creating a fertile ground for the seed to take root.

Now, turn your attention inward and observe the subtle movements within this seed of light. Notice its gentle expansion, like the delicate unfurling of petals. As it grows, envision the vibrant colors that emanate—each hue carrying a message from the depths of your soul. Let these colors guide you, revealing the potential and dreams wanting to be realized through you.

Feel the movement of this inner light, a dance that mirrors the rhythm of your breath. Allow it to express itself in graceful swirls and undulating patterns, a reflection of the unique essence that resides within you. As the light expands, notice any scents or images that accompany its growth—a fragrant symphony of possibilities and potentials.

In this quiet space, acknowledge the messages that arise from the evolving seed of light. What truths does it unveil? What aspirations whisper from its center? Embrace these messengers with an open heart, accepting the wisdom that emerges from the depths of your being.

As you conclude this meditation, carry the awareness of your growing inner light with you into the world. Let it guide your actions, inspire your creativity, and serve as a constant reminder that even in the darkest moments, the radiant potential within you is always there as longing – your soul seeking to bloom.

Happy solstice and thank you so much for following me, reading my blog, and just generally being wonderful.

Art and words by Karin von Daler ©

New body/soul-nourishing course for tired healers

New body/soul-nourishing course for tired healers 2560 2560 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

Create, play, and rest yourself WHOLE

A creative, nurturing, and playful stress and trauma-sensitive personal growth and supervision program for tired caregivers.

  • Are you a therapist, teacher, healer, educator, social or health professional and want to feel less stressed, empty, and burnt out? Would you like to feel safer, more alive, and energized – more whole and at home in yourself?
  • Do you struggle to set boundaries? Do you forget to give yourself the care and attention you give others? Do you tend to avoid conflict and instead smile/rage or withdraw?
  • Do you find it easy to help others and hard to find or receive good help for yourself?
  • Are you overwhelmed and trying to manage a lot of never-ending tasks that are neither satisfying nor meaningful to you? Are you still unsure about what you want from your work life? Do you always fail to prioritize what’s most important for your body and soul because it’s last on your list?
  • Have you been stressed or burnt out and struggling to find your rhythm and path again?
  • Are you open to learning and changing by looking at yourself and your patterns and shifting them, but maybe you’re not sure how? Have you tried many different therapies and treatments, but never really integrated what you learned?

If this sounds a bit like you, my guess is that your relationship with yourself is in need of some healing.

Perhaps you’ve lost – or never fully developed – true and self-loving confidence in yourself and thus your connection to your own body-soul, your gifts and calling – and to others.

In this brand new course, made especially for our times, you will have the opportunity to create, play, and learn how to have a better relationship with yourself, so you can begin to heal, and help others in a healthier way.

About the course

Through play, creativity, and safe contact with yourself and others, activate the most highly developed and “healthiest” function of your nervous system, the social engagement system. From here, you can better take care of yourself when interacting with others and enjoy it. Specifically, you can learn to love yourself more and give yourself care and compassion. You will also learn tools to get out of the fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses.

Using self-loving inner dialogues and role-playing, you will become more confidently connected to yourself and others and, according to research, secrete more oxytocin, the love hormone that controls or influences all your other hormones, making you healthier and happier. By using breathing, singing, and humming, you stimulate your nervous system and organism to regenerate and rest.

Through movement and meditative “dancing,” you’ll learn how to create a deep and safe connection with others and learn to be seen and see others.

Plus find out how to rest your way to a better life. Yes, you read that right, We will rest together, in safe contact, with guided and musical meditations and drawing/mini paintings. Create small self-care rituals that work and fit in your everyday life.

We will work with three learning methods. Your personal development will be at the center and serve as the basis for learning and supervision.

  1. Self-development and creative work on your relationship with yourself.
  2. Short and concise teaching presentations on the best trauma and stress theories and methods that I have learned through years of work as a trauma therapist and educator, and the art therapy methods that I have developed to work with stress and trauma. This includes Expressive Arts Therapeutic Integral Trauma Healing, Creative Mindfulness, Embodied Imaging, and not least The Art of Self-Healing Cards, which are included in the course.
  3. Supervision of your work with clients, pupils, students, users, citizens, etc. There will be a special focus on your role, and your countertransference. How your own insecurity and stress affect the themes you struggle with the most in your encounters with others, and how you can become a better and healthier helper by working with these aspects. There will be no case studies.

If you help others and want to draw, play, sing, and grow yourself more safely, healthily, and in a friendly group, this course may be for you.

We start with a pilot group that meets physically in the Copenhagen area, and later there will be an opportunity for something similar online.

The practical details:

We will meet approximately once a month for four hours from January 2024 in my office in Copenhagen or online, depending on what you would prefer. The program will run for 6 sessions over the course of about six months. Dates and times will be chosen based on what suits most people: either Thursdays from 15-19, Saturdays from 10-14, or Fridays from 13-17.

The price is 1399 DKK per session, paid in monthly installments, or 7900 DKK for full payment of the entire course. The program is a coherent whole, and you commit to the entire program and to be present for all four hours when we are together. Cancellation due to illness and the like is of course perfectly acceptable.

If this sounds interesting to you, feel free to reach out to me here. I look forward to hearing from you.



© Art by Karin von Daler

How to heal your thoughts with creativity

How to heal your thoughts with creativity 2560 2560 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

Hey there and welcome to the first blog post of the summer!

Can you heal and transform your thoughts with creativity? It might sound a bit strange. Isn’t working with thoughts more of a cognitive therapy thing?

Well, my thoughts aren’t always creative or cool either. They tend to repeat themselves and can be overly critical. I’m sure you can relate. Our thoughts can bring a lot of suffering, both to ourselves and others.

But thoughts come from our minds. And our minds are also where our imagination and ability to dream up new ideas for a better future can sprout. It is where we can take journeys into our dreams.

I think that good therapy and self-healing should cover all aspects of our human experience—body, mind, soul, and spirit. And I think creativity can play a big role in all those areas, including our thoughts.

Picture this: you have this thought, “I have to do X right now (insert whatever task you’re struggling with), and it has to be perfect so that everyone loves it.” How does that thought make you feel? Probably tired, stressed, and far from creative?

But what if we give that thought a little creative twist? Let’s rewrite it to be more honest, objective, relaxed, logical, and helpful.

How about something like: “I’m allowing myself to enjoy doing X at my own pace, having fun with it, so that I can genuinely enjoy the process and maybe even inspire some of the folks who see/hear/read it.” How does that thought make you feel? Personally, it makes me feel more relaxed (my shoulders drop a bit), more playful, and lighter.

With a simple and creative shift in perspective, we can transform our entire experience. By playing creatively with our thoughts, we can liberate ourselves from unnecessary suffering right here, right now.

I’ve made a few new videos where I share the techniques I use with my clients and students (and on myself too!) to work with creativity in body, mind, soul, and spirit. I hope they inspire you to explore your own creative and innovative mind.

Let your most creative thoughts guide you toward a more meaningful and inspired life.

With love and creativity,


How to feel safe and why it matters (a whole lot)!

How to feel safe and why it matters (a whole lot)! 1810 2560 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

Did you know that a sense of safety is the foundation for you to learn, develop and be creative in your life? When you feel unsafe, a large part of your energy and attention goes into survival. It is tiring and hard on your body and soul and it slows down your growth.

The good news is that you are designed to create safety within yourself and with others. The most highly developed part of your nervous system, the social engagement system, ensures that the first thing we naturally do in a crisis or under stress is to seek help by contacting other people. When we don’t, it’s often because we’re too stressed or traumatized to do it. But it is possible – even in stressful or unsafe situations – to create small moments of micro safety for yourself.

We can actually also use our creativity, imagination, imagination, and playfulness to get out of stress and trauma and strengthen our social engagement system. Through creating, especially with others, we can become good at feeling safe again – even if just for a moment.

Safety and creativity are connected in a circular system that is absolutely central to our survival and well-being as a species.

Here are a few simple things you can do to strengthen your sense of security – and therefore your creativity:

  1. Notice who you feel comfortable and safe with. Make time to be with them if you can. Put your screens away (unless you are connecting online), make eye contact, and pay attention to the other person’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and breathing. Play with mirroring it or changing your own and the feeling between you.
  2. Use movement to feel out a room. Look around you – pretend you are an animal that sniffs and smells or listens quietly. Orient yourself up and down, look behind you and to the sides. Look for colors and shapes – feel what that does. If you are in a space you don’t particularly feel safe in, maybe it is possible to find one thing to notice and look at. Even if it is your own hand.
  3. Sing alone or with others – use your voice in many different ways – this stimulates your vagus nerve, which is the core of your social engagement system.
  4. Be sure to choose therapists, teachers, mentors, friends, partners, collaborators, etc. with safety in mind. Notice how you feel with other people or in a given room. Are you comfortable with them? Or you become more so through play/contact and cooperation?

If you want to know more about my approach to healing and creativity, you are always welcome to visit my website at www.karinvondaler.com where I often add new articles and my latest news. Just click the button below and join me on a journey into healing creativity.

Thank you for reading my newsletters – it makes me so happy. And I would love to hear from you.

I wish you safety and lots of healing creativity,


Paintings and words by Karin von Daler 2023 ©

The Soul Nourishing Ritual for Your New Year

The Soul Nourishing Ritual for Your New Year 2048 2560 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

Oh, how I’ve been looking forward to writing this blog. I’ve been working hard on something you’ll see down below. But doing this New Year’s ritual for you and for myself is something I don’t want to miss!

This is:

The New Year ritual that gives your life direction and feeds your soul:

Our culture has forgotten that we need rites of passage in order to mark and help us through life’s many changes. One exception is our various holidays, such as the New Year, when people sing, kiss, and drink champagne, or as the Danes do: jump into the new year from a chair

This is a ritual you can do whenever you feel confused about your direction or need to start fresh. The ritual has four steps.

It’s simple and takes about half an hour to do.

It allows you to reap the lessons from the past year and let them go as you get in touch with what you long to create in the coming one.

You will need: Paper to draw and write on a pen, crayons, or maybe some fabric, stones, or meaningful symbols from your home or nature.

First step: Take all the good with you:

First, write down everything you’re happy to have created and experienced in the past year. You can also doodle it. Give yourself time to feel your excitement and pride about these accomplishments ― big or small.

Second step: Learn from what was hard and let go of what you don’t need:

Write or draw about what’s been hard and challenging in the past year. For each experience reflect on what you can learn from it. Make room for your emotions here ― forget about grammar and aesthetics.

Then look at what you have and decide what you no longer want or need. Now let it go: tear the paper, burn it (in a safe way) or throw it out for recycling. Hopefully, you’ll feel some relief from this step.

Third step: Create the new:

Write down what you desire to create in the coming year. Be honest and specific: Feel your body, and notice any inner images or words that come up. Make room for your dreams.

Write about or draw everything you want to create. As you do it, imagine it’s already happening. Enjoy it with all your senses.

Fourth step: Plant the new in time and space:

Imagine your life on a visual timeline right where you are. Decide where the past, present and future are. Take your writing or drawings from step three and lay them physically on the floor in the “future” on the timeline. If you’d like, decorate it with symbols, stones, fabric, or symbols. This should feel like a sacred and loving act that makes your vision of the future compelling.

Stand in the future and experience each of the new goals, intentions, and experiences as if they have already happened. Let all your senses get involved so you can see, hear, smell, taste, and sense what it’s like to live there. Notice how you’re breathing, moving, and standing. Notice who you are here.

I hope you had a wonderful time and found a beautiful vision of your new year ahead.

I wish you a peaceful and magical holiday!

With love & creativity,


PS. If you’d like MANY more rituals and creative inspiration, stories, and wisdom from around the world, illustrated with my paintings you can get it all in a gift-sized box, now!

The Art of Self-Healing Cards are here!

They make a wonderful gift for yourself or someone you love who would love some inspiration and soul care.

Click on the link and I will ship them quickly to you today!

How to prevent trauma in yourself and others

How to prevent trauma in yourself and others 2560 1808 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

This beautiful summer of sun and warmth is also a time of wars, tragedies, crises, and change. I have heard from so many people that they’re feeling scared and alone and feel like they’ve lost touch with themselves and others – and with nature.

But I’m also hearing that more and more people are standing up for what’s good, for healing, and for what we can create together. That gives me hope.

I’ve been working with the wonderful expressive arts-based organization, First Aid of the Soul, which provides mental health support for people who are affected by the war in Ukraine. It’s been beyond inspiring to see the mutual connecting, giving, and support that happens in the workshops and meetings there.

The other day I went to a very moving online workshop with drama therapist and art therapist Dr. Steven Durost to learn about how to prevent chronic trauma reactions in war, tragedies, and crises.

Steven taught us how creating safety in a group, between two people or inside ourselves, can help prevent trauma. He showed us that healing is about feeling seen, witnessed, and met.

It turns out that research has found what you already know intuitively, that if someone really sees you, and has your back when something difficult happens, the risk of your being traumatized is vastly reduced.

But how do you get someone to really see you, and understand you, you might be thinking. You can help make this happen by being present and being a loving witness for yourself and others.

Here are some good ways to do this alone or with others:

Put one hand on your heart, breathe calmly and really feel what you’re feeling.

Ask yourself lovingly how you are feeling and listen appreciatively. Inwardly, ask yourself what you need.

Do the butterfly hug, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGGJrqscvtU

Paint, dance or write about where you are right now, and curiously and lovingly engage with what comes out of you. Play with it and dialogue with it.

And most importantly, next time you’re with another human being, notice if you could be just a bit more present: look at them and listen to them from your heart. Respond to what they are sharing with warmth and creativity.

I hope one of these suggestions can support you right now.

I will write to you a little later in the summer after taking some vacation time. In the meantime, you can find more free tips, support, inspiration, videos, plus healing and creative meditations on this page.

Take good care of yourself and those around you. May we heal and create a better world together.

With love and creativity,


P.S.: My new creative self-healing cards in English will be published by Wonderland Publishing in later this summer! If you’d like to be the first to know about how to get a deck of your own, sign up for my free, creative newsletter. Can’t wait to share them with you!

10 creative ways to reduce stress for intense times

10 creative ways to reduce stress for intense times 2560 1810 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

I hope you are doing ok given the intensity of our times. I have some inspiration and tips for you today.

It’s about balance in body and mind and how to find it.

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. That’s because I’ve been working with an organization called First Aid of the Soul.

First Aid of the Soul is an expressive arts therapy-based non-profit organization that helps people affected by the war in Ukraine. 

I’ve learned a lot about stress and trauma and how to prevent them from the people I’ve been privileged to work with there as a volunteer.

We work with people of all ages and from all over the world. We do it with sensory-oriented, embodied, and creative methods that reduce stress immediately.  Our goal is to prevent trauma and PTSD in all the people we work with.

What we are already seeing now is that while many are close to a breaking point, others are growing both personally and spiritually as a result of the crisis. For most, it’s a bit of both.

But what is true for everyone is that they can be helped.

We’re realizing that the creative and bodily methods we use in expressive arts therapy work better and are more stress-reducing than purely cognitive approaches. 

Did you know that you can prevent trauma during crises by being less stressed and maintaining a balance on a daily basis? And did you know that your stress and your healthy balance can “infect” others around you? As I’m sure you already know, there are many good reasons to reduce stress.

But how do you find a healthy balance and avoid unhealthy levels of stress at a time of immense world crises and an everyday life that may be full of work, screen time, duties, and too little nature, play, and contact with other living beings?

Would you like 10 simple, creative methods for quick stress management, self-healing, and growth? Most of them are also part of my upcoming Art of Self-Healing Cards, which will also be used in our work with the victims of war.

I’d like to give you ten exercises from the cards and book in advance. Here they are:

(Feel free to do the exercises outdoors. Do only what feels good and take care of yourself. If something is uncomfortable, stop and seek help. The methods here are for self-help and are not therapy or a replacement for professional help.)

  1. Put on music that you enjoy and dance to it. Get your heart rate up (gently) and then lie down and rest and let it come all the way down again.
  2. Feel your buttocks in the seat and your feet on the floor – or directly on the ground. Look around and see where you are.  Name a few of the things you can see.
  3. Do the same as in exercise 2, but now look around for a specific color. See how many places you can find it. Notice your breathing.
  4. Set aside a few minutes and move as you like in silence. Make sure you are in a safe place and have enough space around you
  5. Imagine the safest and most nourishing, beautiful place where you can just be and rest. Draw it or write a little story about it.
  6. Stretch. Notice what your body wants – follow it. Cross your arms on your chest and hug yourself. Pat alternately on your right and left sides for even more calm and balance.
  7. Feel your body and your breathing, just as it is. Follow it and notice what happens if you put a little more emphasis on your exhalation and sigh loudly a few times. Feel your body and your breathing again.
  8. Take a piece of clay, paper, or anything else you can shape or color. Let all your emotions flow into it as if they could come out. Now, look at what you’ve created. Is there anything that surprises you or that is new here? Focus on that and create something more.
  9. Place your hand in the center of your chest and notice your breathing. Imagine that you could breathe in and out through your heart.
  10. Notice a thought that’s stressing you out. Write it down and see if it could be rewritten into something more true, loving – or just the opposite – even if it sounds silly.

Did you like one or more of these exercises? Please let me know if you want to be among the first to know when the new Art of Self-Healing Cards are ready. 

You can support First Aid of the Soul here

With love and creativity,


How to work creatively with your shadow side

How to work creatively with your shadow side 1536 2048 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

November is full of darkness and shadows – and that’s actually good news …

I like to go into nature to receive healing and answers. Recently a magpie has been coming to me. “I don’t like magpies,” I’ll say to myself, “they’re ugly, aggressive, and greedy. What does it want?” I pulled one of my HEAL cards (I’ll tell you more about those down below) to get an answer.

This is what the card said:

Carl Jung, who invented depth psychology, called the aspects of the personality that we humans don’t want to own about ourselves the shadow. The shadow is everything you don’t want and are not aware of in yourself.

The shadow appears concretely in your life when you attribute to others those negative qualities you are not willing or able to own.

Right now in our world, we have the opportunity to project our shadow on others and go to “war” with them, or at long last to take it home.

When you get to know your own shadow, you become stronger and more whole – owning yourself as a complex human being with selfishness and altruism, hatred and love, weaknesses and strengths. It will be easier for you to like and be close to others because you no longer feel the urge to battle with your own shadow in others.

“To deny the so-called dark side of existence is to accumulate even more darkness.”

– Lars Muhl, musician, author, spiritual teacher, and mystic.

A story about the shadow from the Danish Islands:

In the little village on the island, behind the small fishermen’s houses, in a small yellow hut, the old woman lived alone. She was strange, and people said she “fell about” in broad daylight when she had hurt someone the night before. They also said that she had The Black Book, a kind of witch-manual and that it had been passed down through generations in her family.

Actually, the woman was very sweet, and therefore the children would often agree to go to her with the extra rhubarb porridge or liver pate their mother had made. They just did not like to touch the old tarred half-door when they had to knock, so they drew lots to decide who should do it. They ran away before she could open her door – shivering with fear and excitement.

If you want to work with the shadow in yourself and set yourself free, you can do this creative exercise:

Think of a conflict you often get into with your best friend, partner, parent, or boss. Notice what you always think the other person is doing wrong. Write it down. Afterward, write down all the examples you can think of where you have acted exactly like that yourself – even when only you know about it deep inside yourself.

Now let go of the idea of ​​right and wrong and explore your shadow side:

Write a story about the part of you that acts in the way you don’t like as if it were an independent person. Let your shadow live and come out into the light. Understand it as an important part of you that you can get to know and that can help you become whole.

“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. … Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.”
– Debbie Ford, author, teacher.

The story, quotes, and exercise come from the HEL CARDS in Danish. If you are interested in being the first to know when they come out in English next year please let me know!

With love and creativity,


Finding your core self – free creative meditation

Finding your core self – free creative meditation 2560 1808 Karin von Daler Healing Arts

What matters most in all therapy, personal development, spiritual work, and when you want to find your calling, your path in life?

It is very simple: that the wisest, most loving, deepest part of you becomes the center of your psyche.

When you think, feel and act from your Self, your soul, your core, you come out of victim dynamics, you can solve difficult situations with wisdom and you make wiser and more holistic decisions. You feel at home in yourself and your life. Your relationships with other people improve.

Pretty important, right?

It can take years in therapy to find your core and strengthen it. But there is a shortcut through your own inner creativity: your imagination.

Click and listen to this short meditation below. I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.