‘Creative Heaven’ Reflections from the IEATA Conference 2009

The conference offered opportunities for us to hear from other expressive therapists around the world, and to link in a way that made the world itself feel a different place for me. I am so grateful for all those memories, and look forward very much to meeting up again and building on our community feeling. Most importantly, it gave Anna and I a chance to put our niche into a bigger picture, and define the way we train others and run our Play Team Association with a broader , more informed sense of relevance and vision. Hope is alive and well and living in some brave, creative hearts.
I went to the workshop run by Expressive Arts Florida, who had used the ‘Flower of Life’ geometric design as a plan to establish a limited company as a partnership between them. This was one of the most inspiring experiences I had, because once the penny dropped, I began designing business plans for two organisations with whom I worked closely. I used the Flower of Life, and began designing my own arrangements, with spiral development plans as images of growth upon which to put budgets for the year ahead. My own business, Creative Literacy, began taking off as I visualised by own developing ideas in this way, and I am now developing a side of it that deals with group management, using geometric designs. I began talking to the trustees and management personnel of the two organisations, and wrote down the practical as well as the intuitive visions they held. I then drafted up a Flower of Life plan, with spiral pathways and blank circles as possible ways of directing the administration and budgeting. In my one-on-one coaching, I use their example of the ‘mandorla’ design with two circles, representing our gift, our challenge and the resolution at the overlap. It is a very powerful, non verbal way of working with conflicting feelings in a safe place, and every time I use it I have a picture of Expressive Arts Florida team, in that room at Lesley University, quietly and confidently building the sacred space for us to learn their new discoveries.
My experiences of other groups were equally inspiring, in particular the Story of Hiawatha as an archetype of personal pathways to peace, the Peace that I Am, looking at myself through another’s eyes. This was very powerful. Another group used the psychological archetypes as a guide to reflecting on the archetypes within, which grew into the most wonderful improvised joint poem created in pairs, and motivated through exploring different expressive arts media.
It was wonderful to share my idea of creative heaven with so many others, and focusing it strongly on vivid pictures of our meeting at the conference: exploring different media, putting them together in an improvised way, and discovering a quality or an insight from within, and in a matter of minutes I am transformed by a new, lively, dawning experience. My life is full of these ‘creative heaven’ moments now. More profoundly inspired, I use different props for my thinking: mandala, journal, drum, music, cooking, to generate new insights throughout the day. What is different now, since the conference, is that I feel part of a moving, growing group, consolidating with a European branch, and consolidating in England with international tendrils, spiralling into the future…. a lovely thousand petalled, flower of life that is digging its roots deeper into my home soil.

Charlotte Yonge, Devon, England, September 2009  

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