When we delve deeper into the process of body awareness and felt sense we become present, to possible feelings and states of mind. The body’s imagery reveals a dialogue while present. The information comes from deep in our soul to shed light on our present situation. Staying present you ask the body intelligence questions as you journey into timelessness and everything slows right down. You can see everything being revealed almost in a trance like way. You observe feelings, emotion and thought, as it is.
The aim of active imagination is to explore you by metaphor to develop a spontaneous, personal narrative to enhance understanding, insight and growth.
A4 piece of paper
Material to draw and paint with pens, crayons, pastels, paints and pencils.
Clay for sculpturing/moulding
Notebook for writing
Close your eyes and take three deep, cleansing breaths and you do, allow yourself to become present in your body. Become aware of your breathing, feel your chest moving up and down and breathe in and out 3 times…
Allow yourself to become relaxed, breathe gently and slowly for a few minutes, relax into the chair you are sitting and bring your attention to your feet on the floor are they relaxed. Now feel your hands gently resting in your lap with both thumbs touching each other. Take a big breathe in and out and be mindful of them just touching each other, how do they feel? Now bring your awareness to your posture and breathe as you relax taking your awareness deeper and deeper into yourself. Visualise a beautiful beacon of light radiating about the crown of your head. This light is a beacon that shines your soul and conscious self to anywhere in your body. Visualise filling the entire body and aura with golden white light and as you do sense your inner most being of conscious love rising within you. You sense your soul and inner most being expanding into one body connecting your spirit and heart merging till you are one body of light.
You feel yourself start to float and feeling larger than life and you are connected to the beautiful love of your soul in a loving and safe place in the body. Take your awareness to the place in the body where you feel the most tension, emotion, a knot or a block. Tune into tension, the knot or the block to sense what is resonating? Where is the tension? What does it look like? How does it feel? What is the overall feeling or emotion? Sense/ feel into it? Do you get a sense of what it is? Is it vague or hard, soft or perhaps fussy just sit with it. What is the emotion how do you feel?…………Stay here for a bit to get a gist of what you are feeling.
Now begin to explore the emotion go deeper into the emotion; observe what do you see? What else is there? Be present and observe sense, feel and listen to what your body tells you. Is there an obstacle take your awareness deeper into it what do you sense/see. You are observing like a fly on the wall. Feel/sense and listen to what the body tells you, you will see images in your mind’s eye. Your body will respond with signals called shifts as body felt sensations like twinges, tingling, tightness, pain, gurgles sounds, nudges, aha, sense of relief and other sensations. Do any colours, shapes, or images come to mind? What is the story unfolding? Does anything else come to mind?
When you know what the emotion or situation feels like begin to draw it. It is possible you might not. Start to draw anyway, anything, don’t think about it, let what you need to draw or paint or make come to you, imagine you are flowing down a river and what is coming your way it is going to appear. Allow the shapes, depth of colours, intensity and shades of the lines, symbols and pictures come into play. Let yourself flow.
Stay in the space of your conscious awareness while having a conversation with your body intelligence with the following the questions below
Stay in the place where you find the most tension/ emotion or state of mind and breathe into it? Stay with it and let it reveal what you need to know. Ask the questions in your mind? As you draw ask these questions like what’s it all about? Just stay with it for a bit to get a gist of what comes up for you. You are having a conversation with the picture you are creating from your subconscious and being.
Listen, sense what the body feels, is it tight, where is it tight?
What does the tightness mean, tune into it, stay with it?
Is there something needing to get out? Get off your chest?
What’s there, tell me?
Is there anything else there? Stay there until you have got to the bottom of it? The all of it? How is it?
What can it tell you?
Keep your focus on sensing and feeling into the body
Observe keep going deeper, watch what’s unfolding?
What’s the emotion coming up for you?
What do you feel? How does that make you feel?
What is it telling you?
Ask what do you need to process this information?
Be patient as you allow the images, colours, shapes and forms to emerge within your inner vision or ideas in your sense of knowing. When you feel that you know how to express these painful, uncomfortable emotions open your eyes and draw, paint, mould or collage, build that best expresses these thoughts and emotions.
Have yourself step back out of where you are when done and always remember to exit when you have drawn and bring yourself back to the room you are in. The dialogue questions are a process called felt sense (focusing by Eugene T. Gendlin) you can tune back to the place any time by dialling up a connection. You are acting as the observer because it is your body and conscious mind telling you the story. It’s very empowering to know you have the ability to not only know yourself but have the answers to many questions that arise for you.
I came by the last exercise by accident while going through unsettling change in my life that I felt I had no control over. Over the course of 2020 I studied art therapy and was looking for confirmation of what I had experienced through plant spirit communication. The felt sense learned as a perquisite to plant communication gave me hidden insight during studying of art therapy.
So while I was doodling one day I decided to ask myself questions while I was in the zone about a journey of disappointment. This led me into the realm of insignificance where I felt I didn’t exist. My body, mind, imagination was going gang busters and the pictures I was seeing were being developed so fast in my mind’s eye. In fact much faster than what I could draw. So I wrote really fast to get all the information down. A feeling of so much pent up controlled anger came up for me because as a child i were not allowed to express my feelings as a child and would always fall into a kind of depression for a time and that was my way of coping. The drawing and the dialogue delved into this repressed part and took me back to I was 6 years old. I felt an uncontrollable anger that was directed into physical exertion and was relived when I had finished.
As you look at the work you created expressing the emotions or situation what does this piece tell you about this?
How do you feel when you look at the art work?
Sense into what the art work, what is it saying to you?
What do the colours tells you about the emotions expressed?
How did it feel expressing your feelings through this piece?
Which part of the body was your attention drawn to?
Around what age were you when felt the emotion?
The original circumstance that triggered these feelings.
Does your art work hold any special meaning or messages around the emotions expressed?
Transformation doesn’t mean denying or pretending the problem doesn’t exist. It means looking at the challenge from a different perspective. It means replacing the negative belief with a new empowering vision that uplifts and changes focus. You take a moment to bring up the old visualisation and ask your conscious self how you can change the reaction to the situation and what would help you to move forward.
What would help you see your situation or emotion in an empowered focus? Take your attention to what would be help to pull you through and how you would like things to be mended or improved. Take a moment to reveal what this intention would be, strong, courageous, capable, full of hope, powerful and uplifting
Recreate the picture in your mind of the situation that has risen and ask yourself what you need for this to change?
Step into your body and ask your conscious awareness to bring to light what would transform this situation for you. Ask for the words and images to bring this intention to light?
Delve into the body or the emotion that you would like transformed asking what would help?
Breathing gently for a few moments take your awareness back into the picture or feeling you wish to transform. Allowing the breath to draw you deeper into the body, feel yourself becoming deeply relaxed Now focus your attention on the image or feeling you had experienced and let your awareness guide you while you ask your intention of what you need to move forward in your healing. Ask for a symbol that feels right and is meaningful so that it engages you to take positive steps in your life. Stay in the awareness of the present moment and observe through your mind’s eye and sensory awareness of what would help you to feel better and empowered about this situation? Observe what colours, symbols, words, or pictures best express the transformation in your body.
4. Now recreate the picture that will heal or transform the past.
When ready draws, paint, collage, sculpt, carve or make your empowering piece
Place on the fridge or somewhere where it is noticeable
What has changed?
How did it feel to move forward from how you were feeling?
What does the symbol represent?
What do the colours and forms represent to you now?
What qualities do you need make room for in your current day to day life?
How are you going to make those changes?
List 3 actions to make this happen?
What change has taken place from feeling disempowered to being empowered?
When you have completed this new drawing, close your eyes and visualise the place within your body where you felt the emotion that you were displeased with and imagine replacing the image or symbol that represents a more positive and empowering way of moving forward in this situation.
Each time you view the improved image/symbol it encourages you to keep going, uplifts and reenergises you.
Place the image replacement exercise somewhere like on the fridge or wall of your office to view often each time the feeling or emotion comes into view. Stay and reconnect taking the necessary action steps in regards to your situation. Please seek extra help if required.
Visual Journaling going deeper than words by Barbara Ganim & Susan Fox
Art & Healing, using expressive art to heal your body, mind and spirit by Barbara Ganim 2013