A Nested Story: Transformative Healing

The following article was recently published in Psychologica Magazine’s special edition on Trauma.  I’ve included a link to the full magazine, lots of great articles on trauma treatments, both from a clinical perspective as well as personal.  Hope you might find something that resonates.

http://www.oaccpp.ca/assets/Psychologica%20Vol.%2041%20Final%20(DIGITAL)%20compressed.pdf
Trauma and Art Therapy Article copy (dragged)Trauma and Art Therapy Article copy (dragged) 1

when there are no words

when there are no words

silent spaces…pause between words…shaping time…making art.

There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

Billy Collins (2007).
The trouble with poetry: And other poems. Random House Trade Paperbacks.

tree of life

collage illustrationOur modern and hectic daily life

is usually far removed

from the cycles and forces

of the natural world

and it can often seem empty

of any real purpose.

The ash is a key to healing the loneliness

of the human spirit

out of touch

with its origins

it can provide a sense of being grounded

and of belonging.

The ash reminded the Celts of the interlinking

of the Three Cycles of Being.

Likewise we are encouraged to consider

the role of the past in creating the present,

so that we can better appreciate

the many ways

in which positive thought and action today

can help to create a brighter tomorrow.

Through a constant process

of balancing and marrying opposites,

we, like the ash,

can achieve harmony

within ourselves.

from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford

 

if this were a map

collage illustration

In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand

there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see

or the child’s older self, a poet,

a woman dreaming when she should be typing

the last report of the day. If this were a map,

she thinks, a map laid down to memorize

because she might be walking it, it shows

ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert

here and there a sign of aquifers

and one possible watering‐hole. If this were a map

it would be the map of the last age of her life,

not a map of choices but a map of variations

on the one great choice. It would be the map by which

she could see the end of touristic choices,

of distances blued and purpled by romance,

by which she would recognize that poetry

isn’t revolution but a way of knowing

why it must come. If this cheap,

mass‐produced wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,

mass‐produced yet durable, being here now,

is what it is yet a dream‐map

so obdurate, so plain,

she thinks, the material and the dream can join

and that is the poem and that is the late report.

Dreamwood

a poem by Adrienne Rich

October/November 1987

Bird Time

Slippery Elm

a children’s book…

3 young sisters

plant a small elm tree

in their backyard.

Through the years…

the three sisters begin to realize

that the elm tree,

is their home.

The sisters see…

that the elm tree

remains with them…

watching over the 3 sisters

marking milestones

and holding time…

a tree of life…

As the 3 sisters grow

old…

with their tree.

a synopsis of a story by Nora Sommerdorf

“An Elm Tree and Three Sisters”

Time to go

time to gosilence

.is
a
looking

bird:the

turn
ing;edge, of
life

(inquiry before snow

E.E. Cummings

worth knowing

illustration collage

Black

Above

Scribbled trees.

Shiningly silver…

A mercurial balloon.

Inside Oval’s home

wait 2…

speaking in silence.

One Eye Knows…

what’s worth

Protecting.

Days Inn

back in the day

Days

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin

“Days” from Collected Poems.

Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Philip Larkin.

Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)

treelife

knowing trees

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

from “House of Belonging” by David Whyte

“We think by feeling. What is there to know?”

collage illustration

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.


We think by feeling.  What is there to know?

I hear my being dance from ear to ear.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow


Of those so close beside me, which are you?

God bless the Ground!  I shall walk softly there,

And learn by going where I have to go.


Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?

The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.


Great Nature has another thing to do

To you and me; so take the lively air,

And, lovely, learn by going where to go.


This shaking keeps me steady.  I should know.

What falls away is always.  And is near.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I learn by going where I have to go.


exerpt from Theodore Roethke’s, “The Waking” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Doubleday, 1951).

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