The winds of spring are kicking up, the snow melting, and the light changing. The earth, long dormant, will soon sprout new growth. My practice is swelling with individuals seeking their own growth – to improve relationships, create more happiness, experience more love in their lives, actualize their dormant potential. It’s an exciting, but challenging, time on planet earth and whereas the negativity seems to have increased of late, I’ve also witnessed that people’s threshold to wake up, heal, and embrace life has been lowered. In my office, that often translates into people “getting,” and feeling “better” faster. The stakes, but also the opportunities for awakening seem to be high during these turbulent times.
Recently I came across an article saying that the future King of England, William, along with his wife, Kate Middleton, and his brother Prince Harry have created a non-profit in England called “Heads Together,” to explore mental health issues in England. Raised in a culture of stoicism, these modern-day members of the royal family are using their own personal experience of tragedy and triumph to look directly at the costs of unprocessed feelings on society. William states: “I know that if I hadn’t taken the action that I did then, I would have definitely gone down a slippery slope and I would have been dealing with mental illness on a different level.” In a recent interview, Harry shared: “I can safely say that losing my mum at age 12 and therefore shutting down my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a serious effect on not only my personal life, but my work life as well. I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions. “When I read this article, I KNEW we are indeed in different times. Rather than seeing “mental” health issues through a lens of stigma and shame, we MUST get more comfortable with witnessing our own and each other’s pain and releasing stuck feelings.
Too often unprocessed trauma and loss as well as the busyness of life cause us to leave our bodies (also called dissociation) and with that experience we lose power, presence, and purpose. The video below shares a way of coming back into the body that we can do daily for ourselves to offset the imbalance of mental activity we engage in our modern technological age. Let’s all get grounded in our bodies, behind our eyes, and connected to our authentic power.
Client Success Story
DRAWING IT OUT
“Approaching life from the inside-out has felt like shifting from a state of constant instability to being grounded in my truth and my inner vision. I have been able to know gratitude on the experiential level, not just the intellectual. This healing process has supported me in continually returning to the present moment to feel deeply connected to myself and life.”
Molly began our work together looking outside herself for validation, approval, and direction (image 1). She had experienced a life threatening physical injury at age nine that ruptured her experience of feeling safe in her body. With this estrangement from herself along with her unprocessed feelings of fear, sadness, and hurt, she constantly projected rejection and criticism from the outside world. As she has learned to release her emotions and ground herself back in her body, she now knows what it is like to live from the “inside out”, rather than from the “outside in”(image 2, 3, and 4). By coming home to herself, she now feels more connected, more present, and more able to nourish rather than punish herself. She is learning to listen closely to the sensations of her body, and rather than reject it, she tunes in to what her body needs, respecting its’ amazing intelligence (image 5). What had once been a battleground, she is now embracing her body as a sacred vessel of wisdom, insight and power.
What does Locus of Control mean and how is it related to healing?
In my work as an art therapist and life coach, as I witness clients take responsibility for their feelings and their journeys towards wholeness, I often introduce the concept of “locus of control.” A term originally coined by Julian Rotter in the 1950’s, LOC refers to an individual’s perception about the underlying causes of events in their lives such as whether a person believes their destiny is controlled by oneself or by external forces. Research shows that it is a sign of psychological health to perceive that one has control over those things which one is capable of influencing. Here in lies a challenging place in healing work. For people to really get better and embrace their lives, even if they were victims of abuse, they must choose to get better, learn skills for higher functioning and exert influence over their lives.
The Serenity Prayer is relevant for understanding the process of exerting influence where you can and letting go of the rest: “Grant me to courage to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My job as a facilitator of growth is to help people identify where they CAN make changes, focus on those areas of possible empowerment while learning to let go, grieve, and forgive those people and events they cannot control. Fortunately, as an art therapist I can always refer people back to their ability to create, through images, a new way of being. With this process people see where they are creating more negativity for themselves, work on transforming those areas, and focus on themselves and their ability to create. This is a pivotal moment in the work where people make the shift from VICTIM to CREATOR.