Change of Perspective
Having recently discovered a colored pencil drawing I did in 1985, I can recall it as the first time my creative work explored perceptional shifts and the influences of my family of origin. When I created the drawing, I called it “Within the frame of the past”. Looking at the drawing today, I see a woman moving on different levels from different perspectives. This perfectly reflects my own perceptional shifts over the years.
Taking a retrospective look, I can see that it is not always enough to consider the past, to process it, and to integrate it within a therapeutic setting. Individual transformation and growth spiral and recur on a constant basis. With the depth of our ability to reflect ourselves, the perspective of what we can see regarding the early imprints of our families of origin is shifting.
Our family of origin is the first container within which we develop our identity and personality. It acts as the first window through which we observe the world, the first filter that shapes our perception and our experiences. We might try to destroy this container, we might question it, we might fight it or we might decide to leave it. Could this mean that early imprints are no longer defining who we are? How can we find out?
Creative approaches provide us with an avenue to leave our habitual patterns of thinking, feelings, and physical responses behind. In the same way that a painting or collage may reflect our inner world, our body also reflects it in movement patterns, posture, and body language. The physical manifestations of chronic tension and illnesses can also provide insight into the inner story. Creative methods and alternative solutions vary according to individual circumstances and options. First and foremost, however, a genuine curiosity about our innermost selves is the key to personal growth. The writer James Baldwin (1924-1987) said, “Not all that is confronted can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is confronted.” This can apply to social, political, or ecological systems as well as metaphorically to every individual’s inner system.
As I look at this colored pencil drawing today, more than 30 years later, I know there are still many more perspectives to explore. There are infinite ways to raise self awareness, but finding some sort of stillness is vital. Creative flow and cognitive reflection are my favorite ways to get in touch with my own soul. Once we actively turn inward, the call of the soul becomes more distinct and clear. Sometimes, we are surprised by sounds and images arising from within. Through stillness we find movement again, through emptiness abundance returns to our lives.
Getting into the flow of life with, or maybe despite, past experiences, focusing on the present and allowing room for future changes is a challenge that – if we want to meet this challenge – can allow us to gain a more authentic experience and understanding of who we are. Could there possibly be a better experience than that?