Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy

Transcribed voice recordings February 2014 ©Catherine Meeson of Creative Therapeutic Encounters

We live in an age where ‘globalization’ is becoming the norm, and we are calling ourselves ‘global citizens’. Yet amongst this amazing sense of expansion, we have dissolution of relation because barriers, values and boarders have changed. We can now travel the seas from land to land, migrate, co-mingle, and live in other countries. While we are benefitting from the great diversity of species, practices, cultures and ways, at the same time we are losing aspects of both our personal and collective histories as we move. We are also being affected in our body bio-magnetically, as our roots sever is in one place and needs to be re-established. Our roots and needs are influenced by what we ingest as far as food types that come from specific geographical regions, that the people have evolved with over thousands of years. This poses short term and intergenerational concern for migration.

Of course these things always change with migrations. We’ve got people from Africa moving to Australia, England to America, China to Canada, Alaska going to Europe and so on. We take our foods with us, we import/export. What once contributed the stability of our foundation to our planet, our knowing and our place in relation to the plants, the animals, the water, minerals and ores, the lay of the lands, all the old lores and ways of knowing what to do, is in danger of being lost completely as the elders are dying out who possess this knowledge. Much of the knowledge of the ancient ways has been lost to the progress of the technological era. But we fool ourselves if we think this age old knowledge is no longer revenant. We are but humans living in a larger domain of relations.

The old lore is being replaced by Industrialization, high science and abstraction, virtual reality and so forth. We are becoming increasingly disengaged from the body, disengaged from the senses and our ways of knowing. We are five minute microwavers and genetic modifiers. I am not saying that technology is bad and all of Industrialization is bad, it’s that we need to re-evaluate and take action on all the issues related with a great immediacy in light of what we now have come to know. And that is the relationship between all things are very delicately bound and that Indigenous people and all wisdom traditions teach us about the fragility of relationships and the sacredness of relationships.

The workshops that I hold are nurturing and an open arena of questioning, of discovery, and of reflection and realization. Where processes are provided and prompts given to explore this intrinsic relation and the answers aren’t simply given. We explore symbolic and symbiotic relations through resonance, through empathy and through relation to and through contemplation using all of our senses and the physicality of the body through movement and touch. We are using our sense of knowing and tapping ancient instinctual knowing through hearing and listening, exploring at deep levels. And then we are expressing vocally our inner worlds through pictures and words and how we feel about these things.

So ‘Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy’ is one that explores the relationship between all things, between person and place, how the health and state of one affects the others via the arts, via the Creative process work or therapeutic practice. Vie embodied practice; we look at how and what resources we are using. We look at the whole concept of reduce, reuse, recycle and how we can be more ecologically aware. And developing an innovative practice that goes beyond the medical paradigm of a sick person in a normal society. Looking at persons within cultures and within society and places, because you can’t extract a human being from the context that they come from. If you take a person out of the place, the place is still going to travel with the person in the form of customs, biology (i.e. DNA) cultural memory and associations. If you put them in a new place they have to learn to relate. They don’t know ‘its ways and means’.

We adapt, but we don’t recognize the loss. We don’t take the time to acknowledge what it is from where we come from that helps to make us who we are. This loss includes the relation between a community, and a community of life on all levels i.e. the human, the animal, the plant, and the mineral. Our definition of community has regressed in ‘concept and being’. It does not embody totality at all. We think loosely the community is the place where we live and the social structures available to our consumer mindset or a community of interest.

We need to bring those four kingdoms back into alignment with the natural order as far as conducting ourselves within them. Unless we do conduct ourselves in a more appropriate manner, all the castles are going to fall down and there won’t be a kingdom to support us. The foundation Yesod will not support us. Yesod will not support life because we have debased it. We fail to recognize the importance of foundation earth. And we fail to recognize that we are part of the earth. We are still embodied on form on the earth. We are a watery mass. We are air consumers, dependent upon the right atmosphere.

Our spirit is the spark of Creator’s fire within, (the elusive Creator). We have a role here as caretakers, and we have a role here as incarnate beings to develop our souls, to yearn towards the greater path of enlightenment always in thoughts, words and deeds. What if this were taught in schools? Earth Ethics 101 in equal measure with math, English, the arts and sciences. We would grow a culture of care, wisdom, and relation. Such a culture would return the balance of life and restore the sanctity of all things. Sadly we are said to be living in the 6th great extinction event right now. (See http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/28/the-sixth-great-extinction-a-silent-extermination/ )

So an Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy is a forum for exploring intrinsic relation, via creative process 21.2.2014, end voice transcript.

Transcript 2.

Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy’ is one in which the relation between person and place is understood, because the people are part of a place and the place provides us with food, with the raw materials necessary to live a life, the ores, with the animals that we eat, the plants, and the medicines. All these things are part of this place. The landmarks that inform our histories and mythologies of our events are intertwined. And now in this age of mass migration, we don’t have our familiars anymore. Those things that act as symbols, as conveyors of information and wisdom, and that have been a staple for hundreds and also thousands of years. We create suburb names like Endeavour Springs where no watercourse lay. Without familiars we become lost in a foreign sea. So what we need to do is to re-establish that link between person and place. To rebuild and re-recognize and evolve our relationships.

Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy takes elements of the natural world around us and uses them as a guide to process, as a guide into those symbolic worlds, into the instinctive, and into the genetic and ancestral memories that we all carry. It illuminates those areas of knowledge which are forbidden in the shadow and shines light. Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy considers our mode of living and then questions this and the social norms. Do I need these things? We aim to consider their life beyond ourselves. What will happen to them? What happens to my tools and resources after I have used them? Is there a way I can do my journey and explore my process while minimizing my impact? So what tools and resources can I use to achieve these goals? We do not have all the answers, we are endeavouring as well. This work and this exploration are born out of the reflections of that endeavouring, or bringing this to conscious awareness. If we do not ask, it is merely an unconscious practice and it is ‘a norm’. But does the norm serve? How can it better be applied?

As we are finding out through many current fields of study, of both the arts/humanities and sciences, the links between the many levels of social environmental and economic functioning, and the links between cultures and places are both growing and diminishing at the same time. New fields are growing and old ones are becoming barren. Yet what is becoming barren is the statistically high probability of the loss of thousands of years of ecological relation and symbiosis. The product of aeons of growth. Whilst things can change, ecology books, history books etc. that inform us about what was here, what we are losing is really not beyond our control and our ability to intervene and create change. We can reflect and take action upon it, but it must be immediate. So my aim is to convey this stream of thought and to encourage as much conscious reflection in therapeutic practice as possible. Both site specifically using elements of place to aid process work and using those materials generated by humanity which we use in service of growth and healing.

This is of course ‘an ideal level’. Unless one can make ones paper, or paints, the cost effectiveness and practicalities will be a challenge at this time. So what we can do is look to where and how things were produced that we use and their point of origin and their origins’ sources. Raw materials such as acrylics are synthetics and paper is largely non sustainable forestry etc. ‘Creative Arts Therapies are supreme in adaptation, improvisation, and making do with what is available.’ It taps into our instinctual tool making ingenuity and our problem solving creative response. We all have these skills, but for many they just lay dormant. The aim is to generate awareness and do what we can, and not evoke guilt to expand our caring, our therapeutic practice for the circle of life considering what will come after.

‘Environmentally Aware Creative Arts Therapy’ also recognizes that in healing, the role of the healer is not just to work with people at the micro cosmic level. We have community, communities of interest and of all life. People within family, family within culture, culture within nation. All of those levels are made up of complex relationships, the grand tapestry of earthly life, yet not confined to earth. They are also solar systemic for the moon and sun and gravitational pull of the planets that governs life on earth. All of these relationships must be addressed. We are not going to get results on a holistic scale, when we talk about a person’s being mentally ill, bla bal, projecting “it’s her, it’s him, it’s not us. Whereas, what is really going on is within the whole. We can no longer be isolationists and reductionists. It’s the whole that needs healing. The cultures of denial broken so progress can be made. It’s the whole that has problems, and we are aiming to heal this separation and aiming to heal the hurt of the collective. The hurt of the collective manifests as symptomatology in the individual. So by working on the individual we heal the collective. By working on the environment, the foundation, and the structures inherent within it, we heal the circle. But in that, we must come to recognize that we are facets of brilliance that is an individuated soul essence, and that there are forces of collectivism that are the bedrock of civilization. And without dealing with each of those areas, there will be no healing. We need to take a global holistic look.