by Nicole Stottlemyer

The journey of becoming my best self is not always easy-peasy-pumpkin-squeezie. It has its ups and downs—“the vicissitudes of life,” as Tal Ben-Shahar would say.

In CiPP, we learn about and are encouraged to use reminders to help us move through life’s inevitable distractions and hardships. During a gathering of CiPP students and alumni in New York City in July, I rediscovered how useful this tool can be.

Fourteen of us were comfortably gathered in Syd Hap’s eighth-floor studio, which she typically uses for her art therapy clients. Syd (CiPP4) co-facilitated the group with Phoebe Atkinson, TA Mentor for CiPP. This gave me an opportunity to experience the Tour from the attendee perspective as opposed to the facilitator, and I loved every second of sitting at these two masterful women’s feet.

Current students and alumni of the program had gathered for three reasons: to connect with each other, to connect with the CiPP material, and to connect with our own authentic selves.

During the course of the evening, we breathed life into the elements of Wholebeing’s SPIRE methodology through activities provided by Phoebe, who is an expert in group dynamics. She wove in cutting-edge material that she had gleaned at the IPPA conference not long before. Connection was firing on all cylinders.

Then Syd took the wheel, with an activity that drew on her strengths as an artist. She gave us easy-to-follow instructions on how to create a piece of art that would serve as a reminder. In just 30 minutes—voila! We had each created a visual reminder for ourselves on a two-inch square canvas.

We went around the circle to share about our pieces and their significance. In my piece, the blue represents WBI (it’s the color of the logo), the yellow represents the light that positive psychology practitioners are bringing and will bring to the world, and I am the green. The role I play in this community it to keep people connected—to each other, to the material, and to themselves. I also serve as a connection between WBI and the graduates/practitioners, represented by the two hands touching.

My creation sits in a place where I see it multiple times a day. It reminds me of the value of this work, and of who I am when I am at my best. It inspires me to stay focused and continue to strive, even in the midst of those vicissitudes of life.

Turns out a simple, two-inch object, made of canvas, glue, and tissue paper, is all I need to remind myself of who I am and where I’m going.

Click here to learn more about the Certificate in Positive Psychology.


Nicole Stottlemyer is a coach, facilitator, and senior teaching assistant with Wholebeing Institute, and holds Wholebeing certificates in Positive Psychology and Positive Psychology Coaching.