- Associated Press - Saturday, July 23, 2016

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Molly Pace holds the cards of fate in her hands with as much ease as one might handle a pen in the crook of their finger.

How?

She found a way to harness her passions into something that not only feeds her family, but fulfills her.

The Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/2ajs67E ) reports that 29-year-old Pace combines her love for art with her degree in therapy as an art therapist at Plains Area Mental Health Center. Her guidance helps people deal with everything from childhood trauma to chronic mental health disorders.

“Trauma is stored in the body,” Pace said. “And art is a safe place.”

She says the biggest inspiration for her own personal art is self-inquiry. “I’m always trying to know who I am and what my place is in this world,” she said. “Other people inspire me, too - like my daughter, my husband and my clients.”

Caroline Rivera, owner of Kindred Spirit Doula Services based in Sioux City and a mother of four, practices at the business Pace owns, Soul Painting. Inspired in part by Rosalind McKnight’s 2004 book “Soul Journeys,” the business marries meditation with art.

“(McKnight) had these really cool meditation journeys where she met her spirit guides,” Pace said. “I wish that when I closed my eyes and tried to meditate that that’s what happened. But I was like, ‘How can I have an experience like this?’”

Soul Painting involves groups of people, guided by Pace, and usually takes place at various locations around town, typically yoga studios.

Rivera is a big advocate of Soul Painting, having first heard of the business about a year ago via a Facebook event.

“I’ve always been somebody that was drawn to art for feeling purposes, and when I saw Soul Painting, that particular name really stuck out to me and differentiated it,” said Rivera.

“(Soul Painting) allows me some quiet, reflective time without interruption from everyday life,” said Rivera. “So if I’m at home and journaling, I’m interrupted by children, husband and home duties. And when I go to Soul Painting, Molly holds such a beautiful, peaceful, sacred space for us to investigate what brought us there.”

Pace asks participants to pick four colors they like and one they don’t, and to paint aimlessly on a wet canvas until the paint is all used up. Before the paint can dry, a layer of plastic wrap is pressed on top, and the soul painters then use their hands to mash together the colors.

“I ask people to move their hands kind of like you would with a Ouija board,” Pace explained.

Once the plastic wrap is removed, the piece of art underneath leaves behind a statement.

“It’s like looking in the clouds and trying to find whatever image is there,” Pace said. “It’s not about being good - it’s about the message.”

With two small children (one is three, the other six months old), a full time job, a husband, and her own business, she has enough on her plate to feed a crowd. However, she said doing soul paintings refocuses her, reminds her of what’s important, and helps to illuminate her life.

“If you love what you do, and if it’s true to you, and it’s authentic to you, then that’s good enough, I think,” Pace said.

___

Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com


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