Movement medicine inspired artmaking 

Over the weekend I participated at a movement medicine workshop. It was called ‘This being human’ and was facilitated by Catherine Wright. 

http://catherinewright.co.uk/

During a meditation about the tree of life I had this really clear image in my head of a human figure as a tree trunk with a black heart or hole where the heart should be. I have had a tight chest recently and palpitations as menopausal symptoms. I danced the feeling out. I am aware of being in touch with my head and my stomach – but there is a numbness where my heart is. 

During the workshop we worked with a poem by  Rumi called ‘ The Guest House’ 

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 

some momentary awareness comes 

as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 

who violently sweep your house 

empty of its furniture, 

still, treat each guest honourably. 

He may be clearing you out 

for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 

meet them at the door laughing, 

and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 

because each has been sent 

as a guide from beyond.

We did an exercise on Saturday where we welcomed a ‘guest’  and worked with a partner – talking, witnessing and using dance. I chose the idea of ‘disappointment’.  As I danced I became aware that I was relieving ‘something’  but it wasn’t disappointment. So I chose to revisit my confusion on Sunday. 

I am still unable to verbalise what is exactly present but I realised with relief that the hole is not black or vacant but a conduit that is not to be frightened or scared of. 

I needed to revisit this experience today through art making. 

Sketches for  ‘a black heart’ – I wrote in my journal ‘ figure rooted but with a hole where the heart should be’ 

 As I was dancing , holding my heart or the feeling of my hands up to my chest was important – drawing hands that don’t look like claws or sausages is always a stretch of my ability – I also needed the tree/body to be a real rounded shaped woman  

Conduit / portal heart sketch – there was such a sense of relief at the realisation that what was going on felt like a portal. As I was at a dance session it was important that I tried to convey movement. 

Black heart – in my head the tree trunk / body was red – the background is newspaper that I used as  protection paper. It is advertising a film and it has amused me that my figure could also look a bit like an ‘Oscar’ there is no way I would offer to be the mouldy for any figurine 😂😂😂😂 


Conduit/portal heart 


My mandalas seem to need to be in everything I do at the moment. The conduit doesn’t feel draining and the energy feels like it is not restricted by time and space. 

During the dance workshop we did a session where working in groups of 3 we witnessed , danced and or meditated , wrote or drew. During my first role as ‘meditator’ I doodled , the portal was very strong in my head and I produced this 

Self Doubt 

Wed 31 May

Over the last couple of years I have been meditating and working( art journalling )  with Tara Brach podcasts. My friend Deb instigates which podcast we listen to each week. Every time something shifts. Today  we listened to ‘Healing Self Doubt’ from 9th April 2016

 I regularly feel that I cannot be trusted , that I let people down, Not in a moral sense but ,because I make mistakes, struggle with boundaries, am dyslexic and  have migraines 

Notes from listening to Tara Brach’s podcast will appear in bold italic through out this post 

Self doubt, shadow side, who do you think you are? Final challenge of the Buddha. Universal problem. Do I have the capacity to be free? ‘Wee being’ with a badness at its core, definining feature of who I am. Identity can solidify become a cluster of repeating beliefs that catch us. Need to unpick, investigate, weaken hold, release thickness. Belief has power , identity is wrapped up in sticky beliefs , a vulnerable seperate self. Primaries , core identity, false self, 

I have been manically doodling this week – making zine fold books 


I like this format because you can see the inside and outside of the Zine  inbetween stage E and F above 


It’s necessary to shift doubt , find the authentic self and release the not good enough syndrome. There can be an endless hunger for affirmation, imposter syndrome. The ego doesn’t like itself for seeking affirmation. Ask your self – who are you really? What could happen if you let your negative belief go? Veil of belief . Take back your own listening. RAIN* . The beliefs might feel real. How has this squeezed your life? 

The podcast feels very relevant because it talks about unpicking self doubt  – ‘lifting the veil , looking at identity, releasing a thickness in oneself , and sticky beliefs’. I find listening to the podcast , making notes and then collaging a physical release. Cutting out images , layering ,waiting for things to dry , repetition, all help with healing (though this can be quite transient and momentarily) a sense of self . I am having tummy migraines, my head hurts and my  perception feels displaced. This art making feels embodied

Making my ‘Zine’ I have lots of layers – doodling , tea dipping , paint , black marker. It’s like exposing stratum or a map 

After working with Deb/ Tara and thinking about how my self doubt limits me.  I went to work. I am a receptionist and I have to check data. I went through a pile of papers 3 times and then devised  a different way of verifying  so that it got checked again – I didn’t trust my self …….. I needed to tell my manager that my findings were correct, That I could be trusted , the irony of the  repetitive checking today after working on self doubt this morning was not lost on me. 

What would it be like to live without that belief? Liberated, space, relax , trust enough . Not my will but my hearts will, real but not true. 

Thursday 1st of June 

This morning I felt ill, but wanted to keep working on my ‘Zine’  making the pretty patterns is  a relief in it self , but the finished resultsdon’t seem to  articulating any meaning. 

 Yesterday Deb reminded me of a technique we have used in the past caledl ‘veiling’ . This requires  dragging  white paint with a credit card over imagery to knock back or hide sections .This time we used a stencil to add texture 


I found this very powerful and added it over my patterns and text throughout my Zine ( for some reason I really dislike that term) 


I still needed more – more text , more images, more scrawl.  (I am back into my black mail typography at the moment. It feels cathartic to search for individual letters , cutting them out as I work and I don’t make so many spelling mistakes) 



I highlighted the eyes because I felt it was important  highlight the fact sea of looking inward, to be seen , ‘to investigate, to unpack my core identity ‘ ( Brach 2016) 

I am frustrated by fashion magazines lack of diversity of shape and age in the models they use. But I did find a picture of Vanessa Redgrave (who is still very thin) but has nice wrinkles. What is funny is that I still managed to obscure them.


 Using the Zine  layout is that it is possible ( by not making a cover) to confuse the reader. To not have a definite beginning or end, one can go round and round not stopping , revisiting the pages  ( which is what it can feel like when I worry things like the stack of data). 


There is also the possibility of turning it inside out so that all the painful navel gazing is on inside and  a bit less exposed. 

I do like art therapy journalling. 

*RAIN – http://www.tarabrach.com/books-cds/

R – Recognize what is happening

A – Allow life to be just as it is

I – Investigate inner experience with kindness

N – Non-Identification.

Working with stripes – artjournalling 

One of my favourite way of making backgrounds for journal work is using stripes. The Edinburgh Art festival Guide this year is some fab yellow and blue stripes. The paper is matt and fab for doodling all over 

I have so many pieces like this which are my go to relaxation doodling so I decided to rip them up to make backgrounds – I am having  a chill out day and making right mess of my living roomlayering stripes in lots of different altered books that I am preparing 


I wanted to do something bigger than normal so I used a double page spread in an A4 sketch book . I doodles all over the stripes but I didn’t like my design – I have been making split mandalas which work on as small  scale , but the spiral ring down the middle disrupted my flow too much. 


I was a bit disappointed because I had  liked the blue and yellow grids. The fab thing about collage/ mixed media is that you can just keep adding layers until it works 


I persevered adding a pale teal stripe – I wasn’t quite sure about this either but it was a bit different. 


I decided to change up the scale of the foreground with a megaphone – I am feeling a bit sensitive at the moment – the Edinburgh Festival is on and it is very busy and noisey. 

I mixed this up with a large spiral and some text 

I felt it needed a bit more – balancing up with a title , a figure, and some sound marks. I wanted something that was a bit of fun , but represented me now in situ 

Weeping  woman 

  My journal prompt today was to do an expressive self portrait. I have always liked Picasso’s weeping  woman. 

http://www.abcgallery.com/P/picasso/picasso204.html

  I love the way the hands and the face are shown behind the handkerchief and the strong colours 

  

I wanted to do something that used elements of this but made it my own – I am still sad inside about my mum dying 10 years ago and more recently about my son moving to America. 

I drew a line drawing and used blue tones and  added a flat  layer of colour. I quite like the energy but it was too derivative   

  
      I added pieces of faces from magazines – ideas about burning bridges, travel – the mouth feels a bit like a heart in my hand  
   
I added the saddest face I could find – which could represent my daughter or a younger version of my self and then scribbled some more details to accentuate features and add more layers   
I had wanted to add white hair so that it looked more like mine but I couldn’t find any in my magazines. I may paint it 

I decided that I needed to manipulate it in my iPhone apps instead  

 
Layered with Picasso’s original in the Diana App 

  
Layered and manipulated in Image blender 

  
More Diana App – I like how these turned out more than my original – the more manipulation a and layers added seem to make it grimmer and more unhappy 

  

Quantum Physics/art journalling

My prompt was ‘Everything can be our teacher’ I was struggling with what imagery to use – the last few pages I have done just fell into place really easily.

I have been wanting to do something more , may be linked in with my MA work. This seemed a good opportunity .

In thinking about my journal page I was influenced by several disparate experiences and memories

I spent the afternoon teaching – it was a lovely experience- It was one to one, the interaction with the student and seeing her confidence grow was great – I enjoyed my self.

At the beginning of the month Jon and I went to a beautiful beach with a friend and photographed wave patterns on the sand – I remembered Karen Barad and her particle Physics in ‘Meeting the Universe half way ‘

I felt that my teaching and the idea of my interaction with the student felt like we were a Deluzian Assemblage – some how we intermingled during the lesson – I learnt about her and she became more confident in the skills I was imparting – it feels similar when I learn.

I found an example of wave patterns and an explanation of quantum wave/ particle theory
http://www.wired.com/2012/03/particle-wave-duality-physics/

The image that the waves mades on the beach looked a lot like this

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This is what I wrote on my Instagram post
‘I was trying to create a quantum
physics wave / particle pattern ( lol) the idea was we are fluid- interacting all the time and becoming something different by learning stuff ‘

Here are the journal pages I came up with – the first 2 are the image manipulated in my Iphone Apps

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2015/01/img_6356.jpg

I played with the ideas a bit more in a series of doodles

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