Written by CLUTCH Vol. 7 Participant: Elysse Cloma
Our very first CLUTCH workshop was all about fostering empowerment and creativity through movement. The workshop took place at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies, a studio with a lot of natural light. Dressed in our most comfortable clothes, myself and the other CLUTCH girls went barefoot through a number of exercises that involved the practice of mindfulness and body awareness. Andrea Mapili, the workshop facilitator, does work in movement-based creative arts. Using her expertise, she led us through different mindful movements, which helped us “harvest” some wisdom and feel empowered.
We began the workshop by “grounding” ourselves and practicing mindful breath. Mindful breathing requires a lot of intention, which was quite a challenge for me. As a beginner to meditation, I felt that trying to clear distractions out of my head actually took more focus than I imagined it would.
My favourite portion of the workshop came next. We spent 10 minutes free drawing, and 10 minutes writing down words from our stream of consciousness. We were told that the drawings would “reveal” themselves to us. Although the product of the exercise looked like a series of scribbles and non-sense words on a page, I was able to make sense of all of it as the workshop went on.
Once we made our drawings, we experienced each other’s artwork and responded to it. This exercise taught me the difference between a reaction and a response. Reacting seems to involve projecting your own ideas onto art, whereas responding is a way to describe your personal experience of art. Andrea used the example of how a red painting might represent love for one person, and to another, it could represent blood. These are both individual responses to art, and the difference in interpretation is more about the perspective of the interpreter than it is about the art. So to witness each other’s work, we used “I” statements, like “I feel hopeful”, or “I see red”. This was to practice sharing our art with one another and speaking from our own experiences – two really important aspects of the creative process!
Once the exercise of responding to each other’s artwork was done, we did some movement. We performed movements based off of an element in our drawings. I fixated on a small blue circle on my page, and I embodied what the blue circle represented to me by moving my body in a particular way. The “wisdom” brought to me by the blue circle was that “a diversity of experiences leads to a diversity of perspectives”.
It was fun, scary, and empowering to share my unlocked wisdom with the CLUTCH girls. Early on in the afternoon, Andrea encouraged us to enter into our practice with the mind of a beginner, and to approach the experience without judgment. Since we’re all still getting to know each other, it was really powerful to be vulnerable enough to share our movements with each other. I can’t wait to see how our different perspectives will shape the experience we’re having together.