In this world of ours so broken by misuse of power, I find such relief and HOPE in raising artful expression through teaching Expressive Arts Therapy and Community Art. The work itself leans everyone into equanimity as teacher and student lean in to our responsibilities and our innate abilities in service of artful expressions emerging. Whether in Nepal, the US, Central America, or Europe, teaching for me is a work of humble attentiveness to the artists, the process and the energy of art emerging. Most important for me is finding way to teach which frees everyone to stand in equal dignity and ability in the art-making. In multi-cultural settings, where diverse understandings and experiences of power, privilege and hierarchical authority are present I practice letting go of power, by transferring ascribed power of position to the energy of the art arriving. My hope is that in modeling standing in just my space of responsibility for empowering the sense based process of art making, students can fully present themselves as diverse artists with distinct giftings of forming art. While teaching in Nepal recently, it was the art emerging through Isabelle which helped us all stay in tune with our diverse abilities and responsibilities for bringing forth the art arriving in the room.
I share with you Isabelle!
Yes Isabelle is flute presence, setting the tone of the place and shared presence of our Expressive Arts Therapy course. It is the voice of Isabelle that called us to the work as we began each morning and session. When I have sunken into the deepest listening place with students it is also Isabelle who is given space to hold us in liminality, the magical, imaginal space of time away from ordinary time, where our senses lead. It is Isabelle who encourages the flow between the art which comes and the senses of the students to receive it. As the teacher/witness in the room, I listen for Isabelle's artful way moment by moment as we, Isabelle and I, hold the space and guide the process within the frame of the EXA session. We are a team Isabelle and I, opening up the space for "what art may come".
When working in multi-cultural, highly diverse settings, it is the "lifting" of innate qualities of our humanity that bring us into ease. In western traditions of psychology and the academia hierarchy of the expert over the one in need is deeply entombed as the grounding expectation of the work of healing and learning. In the liminal space of Expressive Arts Therapy, it is our shared humanity which is the foundational expectation of sharing space, and the inspiration of the art arriving in the presence of relationship.
Isabelle knows somehow, even when I don't, a way to speak to the heart and ease the strain of being open, vulnerable, and trusting of the process. In liminal space we leave behind the soci-cultural landscape of habituated, systemic, intersecting oppression's and bring forth our art differently, remaining supportive of each other and the diversity present in our artful renderings. In this world divided by race, class, religion, gender, sexual identity, age and anything else people can find to bully one another through, YES the liminal space of teaching and providing Expressive Arts Therapy is opportunity for reprieve and resurrection of our common humanity. Yes, the art of Isabelle in the lead, levels us into our humanity as common ground for being in and bringing forth, artful expression.
I am so grateful, so grateful indeed for my Isabelle.