09. 09. 2018

Art&Soul – Workshop, Session 1

My intention in writing this blog is to share my experiences, my journey to re-discovering and growing my creative self. The workshops that I will be writing about, are based on the teachings of the ASTAR process. My first contact with the ASTAR process was in October 2016, then again in October 2017, and now at last I´m able to fulfill this dream of mine, to engage and submerge in this process. And so it is only fitting that this terms theme is EMERGENCE.

Michelle is my step sister, she has trained as a teacher and has been involved in studying and teaching the ASTAR process for a number of years. She has agreed to teach and guide me through the process this term via email/ skype and other modern technology available today. The idea of teaching “online” is an experiment for both of us, and I feel so blessed to have her guiding me on my journey (http://www.art-and-soul.co.za/about-michelle.html )

My first session took place on Friday 27th July, the day of the total lunar eclipse, red moon. It could not have been a more fitting start to a journey connecting spirit through art. This is my home – this is where I want to be, to explore my soul, to teach others to connect to their soul through creativity. But before I get carried away, perhaps I need to just explain what ASTAR – Awakening Spirit through Art (http://www.astar.co.za) is.

ASTAR is a Healing Art which draws on the transformative power of artmaking for health and well-being.

The ASTAR approach is non-judgemental. The process is guided by a skilled facilitator who provides the group with inspirational exercises to overcome fear and to bypass the inner critic. The art process engages the “don’t think mind” and encourages finding intuitive solutions and experimenting with a wide variety of art materials, found objects and natural materials. While the entry point is not technical, many art skills and techniques are learnt along the way.

Participants are encouraged to work without any planned outcomes or expectations, to trust the creative process and to honour all that is made with acceptance. The studio is quiet and undisturbed by the outside world and the process is essentially non-verbal.

The process can be light and playful, or meditative or, at times, deeply moving and powerful. In today’s stressful world, a non-judgemental creative space is a sanctuary for free expression, self-reflection, and restoration. For all of us, rediscovering and honouring the creative self is essential in our journey towards wholeness.

The conditions for my first session were not ideal – ”space that is quiet and undisturbed by the outside world” it´s summer holidays in Hamburg, we are experiencing unheard of heat and drought, 34 degrees plus. My apartment is not made for these temperatures. My son is upstairs, plugged into his PS, I have clients emails still in my head even though the laptop is closed, the doorbell rings, the neighbours baby is crying…

But this is my time, and it is extremely important to me, so I focus on the briefing lying in front of me and I read it, one step at a time, making sure to cover the next step with a paper so as not to take a peek. I start with breathing & meditation and when I feel calm, I open my eyes and light a candle. This is a ritual at the beginning of each session, which helps to guide attention inwards. Rituals are important, supporting the mind in connecting back to this feeling of calm and centeredness.

I then look at my cards* which Michelle has pulled for me, as I didn't have access to the decks. It did not surprise me, that the cards she pulled, resonate with me. Everything is connected, all our energies, and so it was, that during the entire process on Friday, I did not feel alone, I was held – by this universal energy. The cards inspire me on many levels and I have immediately ordered my own set online. * (Soul Cards – Deborah Koff-Chapin; Medicine Cards – Jamie Sams; Archetype Cards – Caroline Myss)

I surprised myself, at how easily & quickly, I was able to connect to the creative process, to myself. Once again the result of my image search & collage intrigued me – in a positive way, it means that I´m learning to connect to my soul, let go of judgment and self-criticism.

My biggest challenge - I found it difficult not to judge or evaluate during the collage creation. I use the poem and the cards to help me focus and get back into the connected state (that´s why the ritual at the beginning is so important – the mind learns to connect back to this feeling). But I constantly have to (gently) remind myself, as the mind is so used to wandering back into a behaviour of judging and evaluating. I watch a ladybird sitting on my paintbrushes, perhaps a spirit guide, a reminder to me, to stay in the now.

Throughout the process I felt safe and supported, the process of breathing, connecting, writing, searching, creating is like someone holding my hand. I feel safe. The workshop set energies free, reminding me of stars falling from the sky – the next day I was able to finalise and record my business vision…

Namasté

Did you enjoy reading my blog, do you have comments or feedback? I would love to hear from you, please send me an email. Contact