From Victimhood to Empowerment

We all are searching for a sense of control in our lives in order to have a feeling of safety and freedom.Losing control of life, one’s body and emotions can be a fear inducing experience. Any kind of trauma is experienced in that way and we all carry various degrees of it in some form.

I like to explore it here from a more shared existential point of view.

The sense of having to prepare and defend ourselves to unforeseen outside circumstances are at the core of what motivates most of our activities (even our spiritual search is often a getting away from what we don’t like). It is at the core of our survival instinct as human beings. This major existential fact gets mostly overlooked. Most of us are  too busy keeping life under control to explore these existential questions. Though it is exactly the fact of not having the time to look which keeps us on a merry go around. We just keep running, and it is not hard to see how this manifests all around us. What this mind set does is keeping us consistently in a fear induced, victimized position even if we aren’t quite aware of its undercurrent influence. So how can we jump of this merry-go-around of feeling at the mercy of circumstances?

I have experienced three kinds of stages of development moving from disempowerment to true empowerment. At first we are seeing no choices, then we are discovering choices and finally we are moving naturally to a kind of choiclessness.

So the first step obviously keeps us unaware and victimized, a place of feeling totally disempowered. As we are growing older and hopefully wiser and more aware of  our beleive system, we are starting to look for other ways of being and discover that we have choices in how we respond to life’s circumstances. Our responses are colored by our belief system and they create the way we perceive the world around us. We start more consciously to decide what is best for us, moving from goal to goal, realizing that ‘we get better at it’ as we focus more on our inner states.

We learn now even through quantum physics and hopefully through our own experience, that the power of thought effects our inner and outer circumstances. Some of these discoveries (like the movie “the secret”) are quite radical and hard to comprehend for some of us, but I think most people experience a sense of relief by knowing that perhaps we can wish for what we want and manifest it. We can change circumstances, by paying attention to our ‘inner’ world.

Both first two stages hold some kind of fear in its core, even though the second stage greatly enhances our life experience.

Within the third stage we move towards a kind of choicelessness. The enjoyment of the moment has moved to the foreground so that the outcomes are not the main focus anymore, but the quality of life in each moment has become central. As we are finding more joy within we naturally are loosing interest to continuously manipulate the outside world.  And strangely enough by truly not needing to change, change is happening in a more perfect way than we can imagine.

Therapy, mindfulness and meditation have a few things in common, some of them are that they are self-reflective and paradoxical.

Richard Hicner, a psychotherapist writes about the paradox in therapy:

“The only way to get to where you want to be is accepting where you are even if where you are is not where you want to be.”

In my life, changing outer circumstances never created a long lasting solution for peace.I don’t have the answers of how long it takes to ‘change one’s mind’ but I am passionate to explore ways for myself and with people in therapy to minimizing trauma and fear and maximizing peace within. It is a rewarding journey towards a greater sense of freedom and joy.

School holiday workshops for children

Monday 27th   10am-2pm

Create your own special treasure box

(children need to bring photos of people, animal or objects which are important to them.

Tuesday 28th   10am-2pm

Mask painting. Create an animal or character you would like to be.

Groups are held in Brunswick @ mycrayonheart. Directions will be forwarded after enrolement.

More school holidays activities and information @ www.mycrayonheart.com


Mindfulness and Somatic Experiencing

For most of us peace and happiness seem to be dependent on certain circumstances. It takes a lot of effort trying to change and manipulate situations and people around us. I would even say that most of us are busy all day doing just that, and when things don’t turn out the way we want them to we feel upset and disempowered.

However, there are ways in which we can experience some peace within ourselves despite what happens around us. Our bodies and nervous systems do respond pretty immediately to the thoughts and images we hold in our minds.

Sometimes we seem to get stuck in negative thought patterns and we can’t see the choices open to us. We do have a choice in moments of self-reflection and mindfulness practices. The choice to go either with thoughts and images which give us peace, or go with thoughts that keep us imprisoned, is ours in each moment, if we cultivate awareness of those choices.

I know from my own experience that this simple fact seems at times out of one’s reach, especially in the rushed times we live in. So yes it does take practice but the good thing is that these moments of peace can be felt immediately to some degree and have an cumulative effect on our brain patterns (as did the negative ones). Since the old habits have been there for a while they have a gravitational pull, so it is about introducing new more desirable habits, which we can experience directly.

Our body is a fine instrument with which we can feel, sense and therefore monitor what we hold in our minds and observe how that affects our state of well-being. As we become more aware of this fact we tend to follow what feels good more often quite naturally.

You can test this immediately for yourself, right now, because I am sure that you are tired of more theories and promises of becoming happier further down the track.

Take a minute and think and imagine something that really nurtures you- a place or a person, which makes you feel good. Or perhaps it is something you do or are good at. Try out a few things and give your body time to absorb the thoughts and images, or smells and sensations, which come with this experience. (The body needs time to respond). Let it really sink in and notice the response, the sensations and little shifts in your body. You may feel the effects only in a small area so really let it permeate spread to other areas of the body and let yourself enjoy it. It is important to work with tangible things and really feel and sense the effect in one’s body. The more you do it the more you will feel calm and relaxed, enjoying who you are. I have found that as little as 10 minutes in the morning can have a big positive impact on my day.

Therapist and writer, Peter Levine calls this kind of process ‘resourcing’ and he explains that it is a way we can support our nervous system to naturally deeply relax (down regulate the nervous system). Peter Levine specializes in Trauma Resolution and explains that from this resourced place can we cope better with any life challenges and can actually slowly discharge and complete frozen trauma patterns and integrate new experiences. (for more details refer to his book “Waking the Tiger”.)

I believe that this kind of body-centered approach (often called a somatic approach) is absolutely vital in our journey to integrate body and mind.

I am grateful for all teachings that have influenced my work and my own inner journey, which include various ways of self reflection; mindfulness, somatic approaches, creative imagination and the creative arts.

Nature and Secret Places

Unfortunately there are more and more children spending less time in nature and more time in front of their computers.

Here an interview about the importance of being in touch with nature combined with an other talk about children’s special and secret places.

Schools kill creativity

I have had this link sent to me which may be of interest to anyone supporting children’s creativity. Ken Robinson is talking about the values of most educational systems and how it effects our development.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Introduction to Creative Arts Therapy

This course is offered through Byron Region Community College.

This six week course will give you a taste of how to use the creative arts as ways of knowing, encouraging self-awareness and creativity. It will give you a little background and understanding of this form of self inquiry and  understanding of its uses in therapy. Please contact the college for enrollment on 02 66 843374.

Dates 27th of May to 1st of July 9:30-1pm, Thursdays in the Byron Arts and Industry Estate. Cost Consession $199 Full fee $221

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Parent and Child Group

  • Strengthen your relationship through interactive, playful, creative activities.
  • Explore new creative activities you can share with your child.
  • Gain deeper understanding and respect for each others inner worlds.
  • Expanding your knowledge about emotional literacy.

Absolutely no artistic skills required

This group is for children aged 6-8 and their parents

Held once a month either Saturday or Sunday from 10am-2pm

Cost $70 total (for parent and child)

Bookings are essential.

Interactive Art Exploration Groups for Children

Interactive Art Exploration Groups for Children

In our society there is such an emphasis on our thinking process that we can loose touch with our bodies, senses and experiences, in short, lose touch with big parts of ourselves. This can greatly impair our emotional well being.
As it is important to develop awareness of all our senses, I use various modes of expression and different materials and techniques
e.g. painting, drawing, sculpting, movements and dialogue.

The groups offer a supportive and caring space for children to explore and express themselves in a playful and creative way.

The focus is on:

  • Experimenting with different materials and techniques
  • Process rather than goal oriented
  • Sharpen the senses, and learn about emotions
  • Gaining confidence and trust to create and express
  • Encourage creative imagination and thinking
  • Improving relational skills
  • The importance of being seen and heard

This group has grown out of a passion to encourage children’s natural curiosity and assisting them in developing a healthy, creative sense of self.

The groups are kept small so children get the attention they need.

Sundays or Saturdays 10am- 2pm Cost $50

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Interactive Art Exploration Groups for Adults

Interactive Art Exploration Groups for Adults

Regular groups held every two weeks from 10am-2pm.

This is a small adult support group, which is a place to touch base with yourself and explore your inner world creatively. The essence of this group is exploring the joy of play and expanding your trust in your own creativity and ‘respond-ability’.

We engage in interactive processes, exploring experiential creative exercises, working in pairs and individually, providing a balance between sharing and painting.

We play mainly with paint and crayons, but also use other modalities like movement and somatic experiencing to deepen body awareness.

You will be invited to loosen what you think you know and connect to what you know you feel.

The focus is on the process and the enjoyment of it, not the end product.

Absolutely no artistic skills are needed.

The approach is playful, experimental, organic and non analytical, though this process can bring personal sensitive issues to the surface.

Cost $50/ Consession $40 (materials and tea provided) Bring your own lunch.

Bookings are essential. Phone Claudia on 66 846 543 or email using form in contact.