A few days have passed since my first weekend at the new course and I think I haven’t quite yet processed everything that was set on the table. It does amaze me how it felt like some big revelation, although it was a revelation that I’ve set myself to. Expectations were met and scrambled, tossed and set again, in a kinder way.
By the end of my first day, I had my mind set on the words “disconnecting to connect”. Which I think it can be quite clichê nowadays, but I experienced it in a completely unexpected way.
During the morning we learned about art therapy in some of the practical aspects of it, about its history and evolution. It was quite interesting, in the sense of being something that I was aware of, from studying art history. But sometimes you just need someone to connect the dots.
While this part of the class was happening, and amongst introductions, it was quite established the idea of minding ourselves within the sharing process. To be careful and aware of how much we wanted to share, since this is about therapy but not therapy. This did give me a feeling of safety. I think it made me more aware of how to share instead of just the need to share. What I mean is, I was a bit scared of having to actually share in such a setting, but this gave some kind of insurance that yes, to fully experience, it was important to share, but I would only share what I wanted. And I would have the space to curate that quantity and quality of sharing when the time to do it comes. Instead of having to be prepared beforehand about what to and not to say. I don’t know if this makes any sense, sure, we all experience situations in different ways. But I can now recognize that this was one of the key points during the weekend that was most important for my own reading of what was being presented to me.
In the afternoon we did a workshop on journaling since we need to do one as part of the course. And after a day of so much information, this felt like a good culmination of the day. It’s also with this in mind that I wrote before about experiencing the clichê in such an unexpected way. The journaling workshop gave me two major points that did carve deep my experience for the next day and I hope for the rest of the course.
Just for context, during this workshop we would come out of it with the first two pages of our personal journals. But we also did some exercises to understand how to get in the mood to journaling. About these exercises and “getting in the mood for”, a part of me was quite skeptical of its methods. Then again I guess that is part of the process as well. Breathing and disconnecting to connect in the challenge presented to us. Using materials that I wouldn’t instinctively use and still trying to “say” something with them, feel with them, still trying to process with them. I remember specifically thinking “This is something that I would never do. Aesthetically, this wouldn’t call for me. And somehow I am quite content and happy with the result!” Which was quite overwhelming, to be honest, and brings me to my second point of the workshop: the non-judging aspect of it. Obviously, we talked largely during the morning about the importance of not judging to be able to create a safe space for sharing and healing, whether in the present class or even as Art Therapy in the future, in whatever form that would be on. But to me, the enlightenment of the workshop (that once again we all know this but maybe I just needed to experience it in another way) was the fact that the moment that I stopped judging the materials for being something that I would never use, I felt safe in using them. I started to think to myself that other people would probably be in the same boat as me. So I needed to stop judging ME, I needed to create a safe space for ME, to fully enjoy and experience this workshop and this course. And this was something that, later on, when I started to think about the day and started rationalizing what had happened, was quite mindblowing. Nothing hugely surprising, but so surprising to actually put to action what we pray the most.
I got home and I was in such need of talking the day through. Like I’ve just watched a really good movie and needed to verbally process it, exhaustively chat about it. I was warm and fuzzy with that feeling. And I was happy because this was a feeling that I’d missed so much and that I was looking for when I decided to go back to college.
So, for the first day, I felt like it was such an accomplishment of a day. Truly!