Since creating and launching our new course: Creative Wisdom: Introductory Online Training this past summer, we have been challenged to more deeply articulate, in writing, our approach to Expressive Arts. It has been a birthing, of sorts, and the publication of the course brings us closer to the eventual, inevitable publication of our book!
When we set out to create our Certificate Training Program in 2010, we wrote our Guiding Principles. The first one is:
We believe in the positive power of creativity in every person.
In considering these words today, nine years later, we still stand by them. The growth trajectories of our students, clients, and workshop participants keep affirming this truth. Not to mention our own growth!
Sometimes the creative spark is hidden, and may seem inaccessible, or even gone. That is often an indicator of how sacred it is. When threatened, or questioned, or diminished, it hides a little deeper within us. We protect it, like we do anything valuable. It is possible, though, that we bury it so deeply that we can’t even locate it ourselves. We may believe that we are not creative or we may believe that our creativity is not to be trusted.
What does it take to re-discover our creative spark and bring it into our lives, and into the world?
Some of the words that rise up for me are: courage, a safe place, trust, acceptance, witnessing, compassion, encouragement, understanding, community. These are qualities that we must give ourselves, as well as receive from outside sources.
I (Kathleen) grew up in an environment that didn’t entirely trust creativity. There was a largely unspoken, yet pervasive belief that creativity and instability went hand in hand. I buried my creativity deep inside, and almost forgot about it. It’s a long story, but when I was approaching midlife, and the unpredictable twists and turns of life had brought me into a training in Expressive Arts, the image of a “tiny ember” showed up. Since then, I have been nurturing that tiny ember and allowing it to become a flame – lighting my own life, and, in turn, the lives of others – as a guide, a therapist, a teacher. I must say that now, I totally trust that flame. Of course, whenever I step out of my comfort zone, I may notice the flame wavering a bit, as I question myself. I expect that, as it reminds me that I am in new territory.
What about you? Do you trust the positive power of your own creativity?
In our model, personal practice is integrated in to professional practice. We don’t ask anyone else to do what we haven’t already done ourselves. Because entering into the arts and imagination can take us to deep places, we want to be sure that we have traveled the territory and know it well. We ask our students to do the same. That is one of the reasons why our teaching is experiential. First, we engage in the process, and then we reflect, consider, and discuss applications – when might we use that process and when might we not – in working with others.
When we were planning Creative Wisdom online training, we decided we wanted a visual image to use as a logo. As we usually do, we began looking through photos from our classes, as well as through our journals and our own visual images. I found this image in my journal from early 2018. I had created it quickly, as part of a workshop I was facilitating at the time, and now, more than a year later, it seemed just right for the theme of this training.
The image is titled: Ember to Flame
We often invite our images to “speak”, in their own voice.
This image said:
I am a seed of fire, fed by the ground of all my experiences.
Protectively nurtured for many years, safely, yet hidden.
I have grown from tiny ember to flame, and I find new ways to spread, to scatter, to fling, to dance that fiery energy out into the world – landing in the lives and hearts of others, while still nourishing me.
What is the seed, or the ember, that you are ready to nourish, to nurture, to take into the world?
Meditate on that question. Make an image. Give it a voice. Let it guide you. Join our FB group and post there.
Your creativity is so needed in the world!
We will have some exciting news about Creative Wisdom soon. We are working on some additional supporting material to supplement the course itself. Whether you are in the course, considering registering, or already have your Certificate of Completion, we hope this will be good news for you.
In a few days we will be sending an email focusing on another one of our Guiding Principles, and we will have more information to share.
Kathleen, Tamara, Victoria