• MBA

I use everything as a resource, including.

One of my most favourite activities is collage, but only AFTER the vacuuming has been done and kitchen duties are finished. I took this photo on the weekend after trying to find a place on my walls (the kitchen bench had to do) for my latest collage: when I collage my intention is not to create art. It is to create a landscape for meaning making. Here I have enlarged the collage score (what I will work with) by taking the photo of the surroundings, those things that impact my life when I am not in the studio. We all have to look after a home. It takes time. We want to live in nurturing surroundings and unless we have the joy of a housekeeper or a regular cleaner, we can't take a day off...but once that is done, it is not difficult to carve out half an hour of what I call "rip and stick" time...ripping up magazines (the images that impact you). Create your own collection of magazines, gathering them throughout the year: clutter is good for artists and don't you forget it. Without too much regard, stick them on a large piece of cartridge paper. And there is your score. Now you can have conversations between your chosen images; notice the colours, shapes, textures, lines; what is missing, what do you love about it? What takes you out of the collage? The questions are endless and you can make them up as well as I. All the questions do is deepen your understanding of what your 'unknown'is trying to tell you.

But there are other very simple ways of revealing new meaning in our lives. One way I do it is take a random book off my bookshelf. I have collected, over the years, thousands of books. It only takes a small amount of your imagination to shift any exercise you come across, and morph it into a self exploration. For example, I purchased, not long ago, Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli's "I Am a Rebel Girl: A Journal to Start Revolutions". This book is aimed at teenagers but it doesn't take more than a second to apply the tasks to any age group. I randomly opened a page "Things I Can Lift" and I am immediately thrown into lifting expectations, both of self and others; lifting my values (heightening my values), moods, ideas...

I then apply the rules we use in our 4change workshops: when working with stream of consciousness writing, jot down "what I really want to say is..." (many years ago I participated in a workshop by Natalie Goldberg in NYC where she used this, and now I use it in most of my classes). To this I add "what I mean by that is" which I borrowed from Proprioceptive Writing (Metcalf and Simon). The first idea moves us 'horizontally' through the landscape, and the second one moves us 'vertically' down into deeper why's and wherefore's.

So next time you are needing a boost. Reach for a book. Morph the lines you read to suit your need. The book may be suggesting you go for a walk, cook a chocolate cake, nap, draw, dream. Whatever and wherever it takes you, it will take you out of the hump that may be trying to take hold. It all comes down to "Notice what you notice", one of the group norms we embrace in the rehearsal room. Notice, and also notice that you noticed, and see where that takes you.