The stuff of learning is to be had as we engage fully with life and the path we
have chosen to follow; and it does appear to be that the more painful the experience
the deeper the learning. It is from this understanding - from my personal experience
of loss and grief and an acceptance of the work I needed to do to survive, to learn
and to move on - that my drawing and painting programme, “Created in Meditation”,
Many of us are angry, full of guilt and grief, conditioned to suffer as if this is
our birthright. Past life experience, the behaviour of our predecessors, the pain
and suffering of our brothers and sisters, the plight of the beautiful earth that
sustains us all - we are weighed down by it all, choking to death.
We are repressed, held in, imprisoned by mental conditioning since the beginning
of our lives. We are told how to dress, how to behave, what is expected of us at
each stage of our lives. We are told to hide our emotions; our lives are half-lived
and experienced in part. We live within bodies which are rarely fully enjoyed and
are controlled by minds which enslave us to patterns of behaviour forced upon us
by external expectations. We live in fear in a state of mental, physical and spiritual
stagnation - and this is the way society wants us to be. Repression through fear
is control and being blind we can so easily be lead.
For many of us our creativity in all its potential manifestations is stifled, dormant
and unexpressed. We carry it around with us like some dead weight unaware of its
potential. When it is expressed it will often fail to be in totality, fully, completely.
Our fear holds us back from going too far into the process of letting go of the masks
behind which we hide and which prevent us from discovering who we really are.
Creativity is freedom; creativity is grounded in love; creativity is a pathway to
discovering ourselves. Creativity is our birthright and becomes a way of life, a
way to health and wellbeing. Creativity is a universal language open to all.
For this programme to succeed for each participant all expectations are to be dropped.
Expect nothing - there is total openness. The facilitator sets no theme, no limits,
has no expectations and sets no conditions but one - that each participant agrees
to enter fully into the process of exploring and expressing his/her creativity. The
facilitator remains aware throughout the session of the importance of each word,
nuance and gesture in his/her delivery and presentation of the programme. There is
this understanding -
The right way is the way of each participant - “My way is the right way.”
There is no judgement - this is better than that, your work is better than mine,
this is the way to do it. There are none of these things. There is no judgement of
others work or of your own. We work in a totally non-judgemental space.
A place of meditation is established. A quietness. Music is used and chosen with
care - meditative or high energy; candles, incense. A sacred space is created, a
space that feels safe in which it is ok to travel deeply within, to express WHAT
IS knowing that we will not be judged, criticised or laughed at. All effort will
be honoured no matter how seemingly humble it may appear - this is the seed, the
first step, the beginning.
Materials are prepared and laid out ready to be used. All is established before the
participants enter the space - there is an order and quietness before catharsis and
expression, before the journey can begin.
The facilitator will encourage, support, advise of possible further steps. Gentle
support with no pressure encouraging participants to journey as they choose and as
far as they wish to go. See what happens, play as children with the materials, have
fun, let go of everything that has held you back in the past.
The facilitator carries a great responsibility. One misplaced word or gesture suggesting
judgement or criticism can undermine the confidence of the participant and hinder
them in their personal journey. Herein for the facilitator is the greatest required
skill - the ability to encourage others to explore their potential creativity in
a way that is right for them without any imposition whatsoever of what the facilitator
thinks ought to be. This requires great sensitivity, intuition and a constant awareness
- remaining totally focussed throughout the session is indeed a great responsibility
but fundamental to the success of this programme.
Catharsis has happened, expression complete. For now the journey has ended. There
is a tiredness and sense of fulfilment. Deep peace. Anger, fear, grief, joy, celebration,
dreams - all are now embodied in a visual form externalised for us to see and others
if we so choose.
This is the special power of visual art. Once we have danced our dance the dance
is no more, the song once sung vanishes. In visual art the image, once expressed,
remains for as long as we choose it to. In catharsis we may not wish the image to
remain - here is our anger externalised no more to fester within us. Our anger is
expressed and released from deep within. In this process of release and letting go
we can travel a step further - we can destroy it, tear it to pieces or, better still,
burn it! Release, let go - this is powerful stuff with the potential to transform
how we feel, how we are - to change the very nature of our Being.
In expression we will also produce beautiful images that we may wish to share with
others. Show them, exhibit them, and celebrate! Once the anger, the resentment, the
grief are gone we open ourselves to happiness, joy, bliss and love - our birthright.
All is expressed and embodied in a visual form.
This is but the beginning of our creative journey. We have begun, we have come to
realise the potential, we have opened the door and moved into the light. The chains
fall away and we are free! We now understand that there is so much more to find within
ourselves, to explore and to express, and now we are confident to continue on our
way. Our creativity, grounded in love, is ours to celebrate. What freedom, joy and
liberation as we discover a new way of Being, a new way to live! Creativity IS freedom
- a freedom to fly, a freedom to be who we are and not what others expect us to be.
This journey could end here or it could last a lifetime becoming an integral part
of the way we live our lives. It is for us to discover. The choice is ours.
Michael Vincent January 2006