I envision "Awakening...at the Refuge" as a sacred space to gather, a place to "accept the present moment and find the perfection that is deeper than any form and untouched by time." Eckhart Tolle
To provide creative, healing and spiritual opportunities for Self discovery through direct experiences in circles, workshops, retreats and trainings.
"Don't turn away! Keep you gaze on the bandaged place. That is where the light enters you. Rumi
To consider our choices...
"The choice of fear if you want to struggle and barely survive. The choice of power if you want to compete and achieve. The choice of inner reflection if you want peace. The choice to know yourself if you want insight. The choice to create if you want to discover the workings of nature. The choice to love if you want to heal others and yourself. The choice to be if you want to appreciate the infinite scope of God's creation." Deepak Chopra
Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR is an Art Therapist with twenty-five years of clinical experience with children, adolescents and adults in both group and individual settings. During those years Sharon studied with Sheila Foster, M.A. at the Temenos Center. This community was a spiritual container for awakening and initiation. It offered experiences of quieting the mind and opening the heart. Sharon's willingness to meet life as it is, ultimately sustained her during the most heart-breaking event of her life. Sharon became a survivor of suicide on October 11, 2001, when her seventeen year old daughter Kristin Rita Strouse ended her own life. This loss became a portal into the depths of grief and self discovery. As a health care provider she was determined to find her way through in the aftermath of her daughter's suicide. She embraced both traditional and alternative modalities of healing. She joined a Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Group. She also joined a Spiritual Development Circle and sat weekly with Janet Cyford, a Traditional British Medium, for seven years. A year after Kristin's death she immersed herself in a creative process, creating one collage after another over a nine year period. She amassed a large body of work that became the foundation for her book, Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing /Balboa Press 2013.
Her meditation and collage practices eventually evolved into a template for work with others. In 2003 Sharon was invited to share her collage images at a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, (TCF) a world wide organization for parents who have lost children. She moved quickly onto the national stage for TCF, presenting meditation and collage workshops in Boston 2005, Dearborn 2006, Oklahoma City 2007, Nashville, 2008, Portland 2009, Arlington 2010, Minneapolis 2011, Costa Mesa 2012, and Boston 2013. In addition, Sharon is a workshop presenter for The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, (TAPS) an organization that offers immediate and long term emotional help, hope and healing to anyone grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America. She has presented at the TAPS: National Militray Survivors Seminar 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. and the TAPS: National Suicide Survivors Conference 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Sharon presented Artful Grief: A Case Study of Image Making and Meaning: Poster Presentation at the Association for Death Education and Counseling in 2012, and will present Artful Grief: Collage...transforming identity in 2013.
Currently Sharon offers weekly spiritual and intuitive development circles: Soul gatherings...at the Refuge and a monthly artmaking circle: Artmaking...at the Refuge. Her workshops, shaped by her personal and professional experiences, are in demand and sought out by those working through issues of loss. Her workshops are a culmination of a life time of heart opening experiences and a devotion to the unfolding process of awakening.
Her personal growth has been supported by Sheila Foster at the Temenos Center, Meredith Young-Sowers at the Stillpoint School for Integrative Life Healing and by Seena B. Frost, founder of SoulCollage (R). Most reciently Sharon studied with Eric Pearl, world-renowned healer and international bestselling author of, The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself.
Sharon and her husband Douglas share 39 years of marriage. They have three wonderful children Kimberly, Kevin and Kristin in spirit. They serve on the Board of Advisors for the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. They support the Johns Hopkins: Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP), The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Survivors of Suicide (SOS), The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), and Rita Project. They are co-founders of the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation for Mental Health Awareness, Education and Suicide Prevention.