Monday, April 11, 2011

This spring's resilience workshop tour

Morning collage inspired by Natasha Reilly and Gretchen Miller at the 21 Secrets marvelous workshops!  Textures by FlyPaper Textures.

So my spring tour is finished, bags are unpacked, clothes washed, dogs walked, cat scratched, hubby hugged and life is good!

As promised here are some useful links and ideas for the folks who attended my workshops (and anyone else interested in the topics discussed).   Most of the workshops had to do with taking power in your life, becoming your own resilient hero or heroine.  How did we give up our own power?  There are many ways.

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any."
Alice Walker

Try this, think of your art making experience from the workshop (or if you didn't attend one, then think of the last time you attended an art party with friends and lots of materials to play with), think about how colorful and hopefully inclusive your experience was.  Now compare this with the Jane Elliott ‘Brown eyes, blue eyes' exercise.  See the video for that experience here. Look for the point where the children started agreeing with Jane Elliott's premise that one or the other eye color is superior.

I truly believe what Glassman wrote:  "...Diversity is...the world of form in all its infinite variety of textures, colors, contrasts, and differences."  Glassman, B. (1998).  Bearing witness New York: Bell Tower, p.53.   

I believe as artists we need diversity; it helps us grow, it keeps our work surprising, and it can bring us joy.   

In some of the workshops we talked about anomic depression, which is culturally based and occurs when a traditional cultural structure disappears, when an individual's group experiences deprivation while seeing others' abundance, and when there is confusion about socio-cultural identity.  If you want to read more about anomic depression see Wolfgang Jilek and  Mathieu Deflem.

We reviewed compassion fatigue, which occurs when we are in a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, when we have a lessening of our ability to cope with our environment, and when we have high levels of stress in our daily lives (something that can happen to art therapy students very easily at the end of a semester and program).  For more on this topic see Christina Maslach and Charles Figley.

To counter both of these situations we need resilience.  Here are "Lani's Fourteen Secrets for a Resilient and Happy Artist's Life:"

1. Connect with others, take care of your relationships.
2. Take charge of something in your life.  
3. Pay attention to your goals, wishes and dreams.
4. Look for the good things in your life and in the world.  (As problem solvers we may be practicing looking for what is wrong.  This is fine, but make sure you have some balance)
5.  Believe in yourself.
6. Take time for insight.
7. Be generous and kind.  Notice how you feel when you are kind to someone who wasn't expecting it.
8. Take time for creativity. Make more art, it will feed you!
9. Practice your sense of humor.
10. Develop your moral compass.  This will help you make decisions for yourself.  If you don't make decisions for yourself, then someone else will and you will have given up your power to that person.
11. Take care of yourself as much as possible; mind, body, and spirit.
12. Keep a journal (an art journal if you are an artist).
13. Take time for meditation or some other spiritual practice.
14. Study resilience and well being.  The more you study the better you will feel.

This list was mostly compiled from Figley, C. R. (2005), Five Ways to Well-Being, Lyubomirsky, S. (2010), and The Road To Resilience (from the APA).  

Do you feel as though you would like more creativity and resilience in your life?  There's a new round of the eCourse "Resilience, Transformation, and Art" starting May 2.  For information look at the column to the right of this text.

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