In last week’s post, I shared with you a process for embodiment. It is a process I use to find the impulse within my body that informs my art making. It is also a process that leads me to a deeper sense of self connection and understanding, to new self-discovery.
Today, I would like to tell you about an experience I had of using this process, the context in which I used it, and where the process led me in my own self-discovery and in my art making. This process has been so helpful for me. Before I began using it, I was rarely connected to my inner self. If I was feeling some emotion, I could not name it or them without struggling to find words. Even though I was committed to doing my inner work, my personal reflections, this lack of connection made it difficult.
The social healing work I do with my community begins within my community of sisters. We invite our clients, individuals or groups, to do only processes that we have done ourselves or are willing to doing ourselves if appropriate. We believe social healing only happens when personal healing or transformation takes place. Therefore, my work and my community life involve inner work, group processing, and planning and organization. Last March was a particularly heavy time in all these areas of life. At one point, I wanted to just crawl in a hole. I was frustrated but did not know what the underlying feelings were. I knew I had to do an embodiment process.
I went to my room, sat in a comfortable chair and closed my eyes. I began to scan my body for sensations. There was a lot of pressure in my chest, but it eased off after a minute or so. There was tension in my arms and shoulders. As I paid attention to that tension, energy also grew in my throat. I felt an urge to yell. The image that formulated from that energy was me as a young girl with her hands up to push everyone away while yelling “NO!” As soon as the image came to me, I felt the impulse to paint it. That image is shown here, entitled “No! Stop!”
After creating the painting, I felt relief from the frustration, and able to attend to the work at hand. Later that day, I was reflecting on this painting. I was pushing people away. I recalled another painting of the young girl I had done two years ago, an image I entitled “Separation.”
I placed the paintings side by side. In one instant, I feel separated from others, disconnected. In another instant, I feel like pushing people away. This question immediately came to mind, Do I create the separation I feel by pushing others away? These paintings came from two different time periods, two different feelings, but both feelings are expressed in me. The paintings can stand alone on their own, and they can together lead me to explore my deeper impulses to relate to others.
Embodiment is exploring the impulses within our bodies to lead us to creativity and self-discovery.