An Introduction to the Arts as a Modality for Growth
Since 2018, I have been studying the field of Expressive Arts Therapy, a slight misnomer, as the “field” is a sphere of realization available to us all. The “expressive arts” refer to energy in the heart, mind, and body — catalyzed by artistic modes such as painting or dance. One principle of the work is that tiny doors lead to wide spaces, and so the title, Expressive Arts Therapy, is an entrance-point to a world of experience and critical theory. It begins by asking, “What do I notice, what do I know?” Take that little sparkle, move it through the studio and through life, and illuminate more than you could imagine. Until I entered the study of Expressive Arts Therapy, did I know how closely it reflects my view of life.
“Truly, thoughts are things, and very powerful things at that,” wrote Napoleon Hill, 63 years ago, “when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches.” What a volcanic truth! The slightest movement of awareness flows into life, for better or worse, bringing “poverty or riches.” These riches are not only physical, but fill us and the air we breathe. I realized this, for example, in calisthenics, resistance training by body weight. The contents of my mind fueled movement. Exercise became more “soul building” than “bodybuilding.”
Before I knew anything about Expressive Arts Therapy, I knew that “thoughts were things:” they energize my body, shape relationships and my life. However, I knew other things too – forms of spirit and love that glow beneath the mind. These are a world in themselves, perhaps the only one that matters. I experience the inner world meeting that of physical experiences, roads, bicycles, trees, and water. When I become an open door for these worlds to interplay, life really happens.
The interplay creates art. Art fuels the interplay – a cycle of creation that is a way of life.
Expressive Arts Therapy is a conscious participation in that cycle, as we open up to goodness and allow what is inside to come out. We are in creation, and by appreciating that our every move translates into another, we can create consciously, evolving our minds, hearts, relationships and communities.
Thank you to Markus Alexander and World Arts Organization for your ongoing education in Expressive Arts Therapy.
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