Patricia Varga is not a Taos resident, but as Robert Mirabal says, “all roads lead to Taos,” and so for the time being, she finds herself here.
Patricia is a creativity coach recognized for her ability to engage people in their healing process. Her work is taught in hospitals and cancer centers across the country, as well as domestic violence shelters worldwide.
She is the founder of The Women with Wings Foundation, a teaching non-profit organization that attempts to bridge the gap between the science and technology of medicine and patient care by offering healing arts programs that can easily be integrated into a provider’s existing protocol.
Our products and services use all forms of art to inspire cancer patients, their families and others, to heal emotionally, spiritually and physically. Discovering one’s creative instincts brings Joy, Faith and Hope to the healing process.
Our extended mission includes supporting the efforts of chaplains, hospice and oncology nurses and staff. Stress reduction for the provider is as important as it is for the patient.
Our goal is to offer the highest respect and compassion to providers and caregivers on the front lines of healthcare and to their patients and families who are dealing with the enormity of a diagnosis that is often challenging, overwhelming and life-threatening. So reads part of the Foundation’s Mission Statement.
Patricia grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of parents who worked in the Medical arena their entire lives, so her foray into that world is not too shocking even though she came to it in a roundabout manner.
With a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University (other degrees followed in time), her career trajectory led her into Publishing, where she discovered she had administrative skills and became a publishing and media executive, She worked for a wide range of companies and their brands, including Hearst, Hachette, Mariah Media, Rodale, Times-Mirror, Tribune Company, Imagine Media, Conde Nast and The Economist Group.
After a bout with Cancer, Patricia’s personal healing journey brought her to a new awareness about the impact of stress on dis-ease, whereupon she journeyed inward for a time, discovering her own formidable healing powers,
She started her foundation, Women With Wings, to share what she had discovered with other women battling Cancer and other chronic illness, and found herself coming full circle in that she was not only able to execute all of her administrative and executive skills, but she found herself writing creatively for the first time in years.
After being introduced to the Ebru painting technique she has used since, in her own healing process, and shares in her new book, Create To Heal, her past and present came together effortlessly to create a path for her future.
A move to Portland Oregon, where fate intervened and an introduction to James Nave’, proved serendipitous beyond her wildest expectations – soon after she found herself not only working with Nave’ on her book, but here in Taos, which is how I came to meet her.
I was visiting my old friend Kevin Cannon one afternoon with another friend (William Coupon), who had recently moved to Nambe from NYC. William had come up for the day and after checking in with David Mapes at DAFA, where William shows his work here in Taos, we walked up Morada Lane to Kevin’s house.
Shortly after we arrived, a knock on the door announced another visitor. A tall striking blond woman, accompanied by her little Bichon Frise, Edgar, entered. After being introduced, we all spent a little time looking at Kevin’s amazing work (leather sculpture and graphite drawings), before taking our leave.
A couple of weeks later, while I interviewed Zoe Zimmerman outside Manzanita Market, for a piece on the Work by Women show at the Harwood, Kevin arrived and sat with us for a bit while he waited for Patricia to join him for lunch.
When I left, I stopped by their table to say hello and goodbye, and Patricia and I made plans to meet and discuss her book.
“We are born creative,” Patricia told me when we met at the World Cup a week or so later. “Creativity gets us out of our heads and into our hearts, where healing begins.”
“For those going through serious illness, loss or chronic pain, many studies show that tapping into the healing power of creativity provides amazing relief (from pain), along with tremendous insight into the nature of illness itself.” She explained.
The book itself is cleverly designed as a work book/journal, and is visually captivating with the addition of the Ebru art illustrating its pages. A pack of note cards with the same images is included with the book.
With pages left blank for your own notes and doodles, Create To Heal reminded me somewhat of Julia Cameron’s Artist Way series, with its writing exercises, guided meditation and visualization techniques along with mandalas for coloring.
I was not at all surprised then, to learn that James Nave’ and his long time partner in facilitating Creative Writing Workshops, Allegra Huston were involved with the book. Nave’ of course worked with Julia helping to facilitate her (Artist Way), workshops, here in Taos, for years.
With her book, “Create to Heal: A Pathway to Insight, A Journey to Peace”, Patricia has not only returned to her own Creative Source, but she has gifted so many in need of healing with an inspiring, interactive book that presents practical ways to access one’s own creativity, enhancing the ability to heal.
All of these things are among the tools that can break stress and pain cycles, according to Patricia, and from my own experience with Cancer, I tend to agree that Creativity itself, is a powerful instrument for healing.
As we sat and talked a couple with a Bichon came into the cafe. Patricia petted him for a bit, reminding herself that she had one at home, who was waiting patiently for her as we talked.
Our coffee cups drained, it was time to head back out into the weak, wintery sunshine, a dusting of snow fhat had fallen the night before, a welcome nod to the season.
Along with the book, an app is available also. For more information on Patricia ( who has fallen in love with the Land of Enchantment, and plans to move to Santa Fe), and her book, please visit the site linked below this post.
All images thanks to Patricia Varga