During my studies at Hayward State University, I was introduced to Authentic Movement, a specific form of dance therapy, by one of my professors, Neala Haze. A remarkable aspect of this movement form is that it does not follow a structured movement pattern, but uses the natural movement impulses that arise from within.
As one moves with closed eyes and a focused inward gaze in the presence of a witness, a series of movements appear reveiling what had been previously unseen and not consciously perceived.
In this context, it is essential to have a non-evaluating, non-analyzing understanding of movement and all that is witnessed. This is true both for the mover as well as for the witness. The extent to which this represents a challenge becomes apparent only when we are willing to recognize the multitude of self-criticisms and self-limiting beliefs we all carry within. Likewise, this applies to the “mover” as well as the “witness”. I have been practicing Authentic Movement in both individual and group settings for many years, and I have used this specific approach to further my own personal growth. My practice of this movement method provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my inner and external experiences as well as to develop new ways of looking at myself and connecting with the greater whole. It is through both „seeing“ and „being seen“ that the relationship field forms a protective container for the emotions of the people involved – this is where healing can truly take place, which I continue to be grateful for to this day. Over an endless stream of movement impulses and their accompanying emotions, I had the opportunity to discover, recognize, and appreciate myself on a piece-by-piece basis.
At about the same time, I was introduced to Michele Cassous’ Point-Zero Painting Method, formerly known as Painting Experience. Once again, it was a process without any set guidelines, without any specific technical requirements, and, most importantly, without any expectation whatsoever with respect to the end product; this method of artistic expression fascinated me for quite some time, and continues to do so.
The experiences that accompany the process of painting – self-criticism, judgement, expectations, etc. – serve like a mirror for all the other experiences that we have throughout life. A creative blockage is inevitable when the image cannot be generated to the level of perfection it supposedly deserves. In order to stay with the painting process, I had to continually overcome my own inner critic and expectations of what was beautiful. It was surprising, however, to find that I had ample energy to work with once I had overcome the tabus and unconsciously unrecognized limitations. After all, it wasn’t about creating an image for an exhibition, but allowing myself to fall into the process of painting. Even though this sounds simple, it was sometimes difficult to stay in the flow and remain focused on the painting process. As I became increasingly interested in what or who else was contained within me, I had to question the extent to which my early behavioral and emotional imprints were limiting my ability to stay and expand creative flow. Artistic expression is not a means to an end but allows for the exploration of the infinite realms of the spirit. Through the process of painting, we can discover the spiritual mysteries in our own lives. Slowly but surely, a little more freedom and authenticity made its way into my heart.
Sometime in 2009, a friend of mine brought my attention to Caroline Myss’ book “Sacred Contracts.” What an intriguing title! Archetypes should help me figure out what my life’s all about? Over the following weeks, I immersed myself in this book and found a new promising path towards deeper self-reflection. As a result of my feelings and experiences with the different archetypes and elements of my psyche, my life began to come together as a sort of hologram, a reflection of my life experiences and knowledge as a whole.. Through this process, I dug deeper into the world of archetypes, a world full of light and shadow, darkness and light, and so many questions and answers.
After that, in May 2011, I was introduced to another creative method allowing me to make inner experiences visible. SoulCollage® was one of the workshops offered at the “Seelen-Heil-Kunst” Congress at the Klinik Heiligenfeld. I was curious about the title and ultimately very surprised by how much insight surfaced in this short workshop.
Through the intuitive creation of SoulCollages®, we can once again tap into our own intuition and shed light on our own inner images. Using this intuitive approach, a connection is made between conscious and unconscious dimensions, similar to how, in Authentic Movement, the inner self is made visible through movement, so here, our inner self is presented through following our creative intuition. Every collage is a part of our identity – so priceless!
Often, the secret lies in the fine details and in the willingness to integrate the pieces of separate live sequences into one whole, – into some kind of holistic understanding of who we are. It is sometimes necessary to have assistance, so as not to lose sight of our path, and sometimes it will take a little while before we are finally able to focus on ourselves. Once we have begun to turn to our underlying motives and moving forces, we have opened a crucial doorway to the true Self. I view self-exploration as a lifelong process that can help us gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and a greater appreciation of the world in and around us.