I’m three weeks into the Expressive Arts program here in Haliburton. It’s been a fascinating journey so far. Buttons both pushed and soothed. Perceptions both challenged and affirmed. Mostly from within. Experiential learning it is after all.
Though many people seem to know this approach from a ‘therapeutic’ perspective…I see it through an educational and self awareness lens. For me utilizing the creative process through the use of images, sound, movement – in relationship with our questions – is an ancient and long practised learning tool. Like a walk in the woods, participating may offer a therapeutic outcome but that’s not necessarily the intention.
For me this isn’t about making pretty art. It’s about using the materials, your body, sound….to get in touch with yourself, allowing the process to tell you the story. Letting the telling unfold of its own accord.
Finding innovative ways to bring the unconscious to a level of consciousness was first introduced to me (thirty some years ago!) through use of popular education in the social justice community. Later life skills coaching taught me other ways to further explore problem solving and ourselves, often with folks in a social service setting. Then I took my facilitation and wilderness skills and got involved with corporate groups using the experiential outdoor education approach. On going academics further made visible the links between these different approaches and offered a few more.
All these innovative and juicy ways of exploring and getting to know ourselves and our relationship with the world! What richness!
With the expressive arts we accent the creative mind, body, and spirit angle. I am connecting and integrating more dots – this time reaching back to my childhood, where my love of art making, dance and nature was spontaneous. These were the ways I naturally expressed myself, without a trace of self consciousness. This was simply who I was and how I shared myself with the world.
I want more of that way of being, that self acceptance. It’s always been here, I’m just noticing anew. I like that I am learning to trust again the innate wisdom carried in my body.
The answers we seek are there waiting to be asked and shared. All we need is a safe space to express and be listened to with an open, empathetic, non-judging heart. Our own and, when possible, at least one other witnessing heart. What a gift it is to be seen and heard while on this journey of self discovery!
I am looking forward to the next five weeks. I am looking forward to bringing the Expressive Arts more fully into my life and my work! And when the weather warms up again I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time letting things flow along side this river.
Breathe Big…and do mess around with art!