Creative Quantum Leaping
Accessing authentic expression through simple creative exercises
by Fiona Almeleh
Every breath we take links us into this incredible, shared story of Life; a story where we are part of an ecosystem that pulses creativity and whose every aspect is interrelated and intertwined; where all life is striving to thrive at every level!
This is a time during which Humankind appears to be swept almost helplessly on a relentless tide of new technological advancement and innovation. Many are finding themselves feeling lost, unable to keep up or maintain balance at the speed of this change. The sense of being disassociated from direct, visceral connecting and social interaction is resulting in a distancing from our authentic nature. Even though the internet is making it possible to connect in previously unimagined ways, unless we use this experience in a balanced way, it has the potential to swing us into an extreme and unnatural dependency. We can now, more than ever, benefit, both collectively and consciously, from accessing and tapping into the greater mind with all its aspects and flow and the wisdom of our higher hearts.
Nature constantly offers herself as our panacea, informing us of ways of living that are congruent with the whole. Each one of us has the opportunity to engage and create purposefully and responsibly. Our creative input now requires us to use our insight and forethought so that we can raise the bar of our inventiveness, repairing any harm and damage we have caused and preparing fertile and healthy ground for future generations. This approach can be done in ways that feel natural to us individually and below I include very simple, exercises which are aimed at inviting back our creative, childlike wonder with peace in the heart.
Creativity would remain dormant and unexpressed, like a seed without water, unless a third factor was present. This vital, intervening force is passion, and when combined with the necessary life nutrients, this alchemical marriage invites creative, self-exploration, resulting in an awakened, embodied soul. Curiosity, adventure, and surrender team together to reveal broader, inner horizons where we may experience not only our multi-dimensional selves but the connective, radiant filaments that link us. So it is, that with every creative endeavour, our perceptions offer themselves up for change, and this process enhances what may have appeared as life lacking in dimensionality, to life revealing itself anew in extraordinary coherence, elegance, complexity, and beauty.
Our creative expression is always about a personal journey and is unique to each soul’s experience. Whatever the images, words, mediums or colours we choose to use, these enable the expansion of our communication and primarily of those emotions and insights that exist beyond the scope of our reasoning. This free expression of the Soul offers us the opportunity to heal and affirm life. Everything we say about ourselves creatively speaks first-hand with authenticity about the movement of our soul. The images and choices we make are deeply significant and may usually be identified with universal, archetypal relevance. The work reveals itself in its uncensored honesty and this in itself becomes a remedy. The key to any work like this is to allow an instinctive spontaneity without wishing to be correct in any way or desiring approval. It is not available for grading, judgment, criticism or validation.
Everything we engage with creatively is in a way profound, and its ultimate purpose is to break down outmoded ideas and replace them with radically, life-changing paradigms. This is a transformational process and has a great impact not only at an individual level but also when the expression becomes transpersonal. Often we speak for others at a time when they are unable to themselves. Creativity, by its very nature, needs freedom, and when given that, it liberates us from the need to explain.
Creation is a sentient and instinctual flow that determines where to go and what to change or omit– Shaun McNiff
The main premise for any facilitator has always been that one can only support and encourage another’s exploration, through a commitment to one’s own. In many ways, this has to be an affirming of the individual’s freedom of expression and inquiry, whatever the variety of mediums or method of practice. Facilitating is then primarily about assisting others to gain access to their unrealized potentialities.
The following small series of written and painting exercises are ones that I have found to be the simplest and most effective in opening doorways to authentic self-expression, not only for myself but others too. They invite a simplicity of creative engagement helping to locate one in the Now.
What you’ll need –
The tools needed include a small soft sponge, a jar of water, masking tape, absorbent kitchen paper, a set of inexpensive wax crayons, watercolours, acrylic paints in small tubs and an A3 cartridge or watercolour pad. You can purchase this all inexpensively at any retail outlet that sells school and office equipment or alternatively from an art supplier.
To begin –
Make a space for yourself that you can always return to. In this place, you can build the energy as you rededicate yourself on a daily basis to a new journey of healing and meeting with your highest potential. Lighting a candle before you work links you symbolically to the greater light of who you are. It also allows you to focus on what you are doing.
It’s good to meditate before starting and if you are not familiar with this practice just try connecting into the deep silence where you can experience peace and non-judgment. Give yourself at least 10 minutes for this. If this amount of time is not possible, just remember why you are meeting with yourself before you begin with an exercise. Always ask that you be guided for the highest good.
If something comes up that doesn’t feel too comfortable experientially, try not to linger when working as this allows your left brain to kick in and distract you. And trust me it always will! Just keep going.
For all processing exercises, it is important to drink as much water as possible, particularly during and after as the process can be tiring and always detoxifying and the water will help to flush the toxins out. I also recommend that when one works in this way that there is a little time after the exercises to be quiet and just re-group before going into the rest of the day.
These exercises are designed to be worked with principally at home, but the choice of place is up to the individual. Nature also is a good place to do this. These exercises have been used in larger group contexts very successfully and in these situations its necessary to give quiet time after, in order to digest and let go of any residual feelings in order to move to the next process freely. Children can easily be included in these explorations. There are obviously instances when one feels drawn to working more deeply with the symbols and images that emerge, and in these cases, one can seek further insight from professional guidance and support.
EXERCISE 1 – Peace in the Heart
You will need watercolour paper a sponge, water in a jar and watercolour paints.
Sit quietly and with your eyes closed, imagine yourself standing in front of a large building. You feel drawn to entering through the main doorway and as you do so you see a door to your right. Open this and as you enter you close the door behind you to find that there’s a seat in the middle of an empty room. When you sit down you begin to remember someone whom you need to forgive or be forgiven by. This very thought brings them in through the door and you beckon them to your side. Holding their hands in yours you look compassionately into their eyes saying you forgive them or alternatively that you need forgiveness. This releases them from any further difficulty between you. This may also include someone who has passed on.
Now gently open your eyes and wet the paper with the sponge and begin painting immediately, not losing the emotion you have from the visualization. Don’t judge or criticise what you do and simply let your feelings describe themselves through the colour. Again, don’t stop to ponder or review what you have done and once you have finished just put down the paintbrush. You may also choose to use your fingers and the sponge – whatever calls to you in the moment.
Take a short while to sit quietly and just observe your breath.
I suggest repeating this exercise daily until you have met with all those with whom you feel a need to connect. You may experience anger, frustration etc. just let it be and keep painting. Journal your feelings if this feels appropriate. Sometimes you may need to write on the painting as well. It is not important what you write but that you do so spontaneously and without censoring the words that need to find expression. Allow yourself the freedom to also write with your left hand if you are right-handed and alternatively with your right if you are left-handed.
EXERCISE 2 – Breathing Love
You will require watercolour paper and paints, sponge and water.
Begin again with quiet time, focus on your belly area and bring in thoughts of softness and peace with each in-breath With each out-breath imagine letting go of all difficulty and blockages. Allow nothing to distract you and keep bringing your attention back to the belly. Continue this for at least ten in and out breaths.
Gradually imagine that you are being surrounded and infused with the most delicate pale pink light and with each in-breath you become more and more radiant. This fills you with the most beautiful sense of lightness and gratitude and offers you a glimpse and awareness of the greater You. Stay connected to this sensation in the way of surrendering to it rather than wanting to control it.
Gently, and without any inner expectation open your eyes and begin to paint. Allow the brush to move where it will and the colours to choose you. Don’t hesitate or stop at all till it feels right.
You may now write on a separate piece of paper with coloured crayons, the feelings you are experiencing. Again simply date and sign both works and put them away.
Understanding what the colours mean is not necessary as they always speak for themselves and are a true reflection of exactly how one is at that given moment. One can get lost in the left brain trying to decipher the choice of colour. There are obviously situations where it is very helpful to decode colour, but in this instance, creative expression through spontaneous colour choice is essentially cathartic.
EXERCISE 3 – Seeing with Child’s Eyes
You will need watercolour paints and paper, paintbrush, sponge and a little water in a jar and a relatively recent photograph of yourself.
This is a wonderful exercise in letting go of preconceived notions and ideas of yourself and the way you would like to be seen.
Having found a photo that you enjoy looking at, tape it upside-down at the very top left-hand corner of the page. Resist the temptation to turn it the correct way till the exercise is completely finished. Also please don’t scrutinize the details of the picture and rather paint as if you were a child given the freedom to use any colours they choose in any way that feels right. Play!
Sit quietly and follow your breathing till it becomes regular and your body feels relaxed. Remind yourself that this is time for you alone and within this space, you are safe and protected. Consciously let go of the need to do anything in a certain way and when you are ready, begin to paint quite loosely what you see in front of you. The child in you may well want to use an interesting combination of colours and exaggerate shapes, let it. Allow your hand to move quickly and don’t stop till there is an inner directive to do so.
I always suggest walking away for a little while, once the work is complete, just to distance yourself from its energy. When the time is right, turn your painting around and place it where you can easily view it. This picture can be very evocative and you may laugh or for that matter cry when you look at the image. Usually, I find that what has been depicted so innocently is an energy print at the time.
EXERCISE 4 – Energy Boost
You will need a set of acrylic paints, sponge, masking tape, cartridge pad, kitchen paper towel, and water. In this exercise, you will need to put paint into a palette or onto some paper so that you can dip your fingers directly into the colours. If you have little tubs of colour all the better.
Begin by centering yourself. Simply observe your breath as it passes through your nostrils to your lungs and back again; the way it is cool when breathed in and warm when breathed out. Go more deeply and become aware of its life-giving properties as it flows through you and then become aware of the toxins that are carried and then released as it passes out of you. When you feel relaxed and ready it is important that you just start to paint with your fingers.
As in the previous exercises allow the colours to choose you and listen to where the energy wants to go as you move your hand across the paper. Here you are free to do whatever feels right, whether it’s smudging, scratching, blending, building up texture etc. You will probably begin to notice that as you handle the paint it begins to warm on your fingers and a special dance begins to find expression.
This exercise can be very energizing as well as releasing, and I would encourage you to do this whenever you feel blocked, frustrated, angry or low in energy. As mentioned before it’s good to drink water after these exercises as it helps to eliminate toxins that may have been released during the process.
NB. Let go, see the world through soft eyes and keep returning to Love.
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