Last week, I went to a training conference I go to every year for addiction professionals. I used vacation time and paid the registration fee myself, so I didn’t feel guilty at all about picking fun elective sessions.
Some of the sessions were about addiction. I learned about methylation, in which certain chemical compounds attach to genes and change them, for example, when a person is traumatized, but they can also detach over time for healing to take place. It reminds me of how we used to think the mind and body were separate, but they aren’t so much. The mind and body are in constant communication, at many levels. I also learned about story listening, something I already knew intuitively. I was intrigued by how we listen from the frame of reference of our own stories. We need to be aware of that to help us listen objectively, using the speaker’s own words. No wonder being a counselor can be so tiring. We’ve got our own stories going on, and our old stories brought up by clients as we listen to their stories, and, as the old 90s punk rock lyrics go,”you gotta keep ’em separated.” It’s important to do our own personal “work” to keep the stories from getting mixed up. Because our own stories will try to mingle. We are human, after all.
The best part of the conference was the Soul Collage workshop taught by Margaret Wyche .
First, we got some history about Soul Collage developed by Seena B. Frost, MA, M.Div., and the process. We were asked to write down a question or concern we wanted to know more about.
I’ve made lots of collages and used collage making in my groups with clients. This was different in that the pictures are already torn out of magazines. We each went through a big stack of pictures with the direction to not think at all, to not look for pictures, but let the images choose us. Several chose me. We were encouraged to use one picture for the 5 x 7 background, and then to add 3 to 5 smaller images on top. Two images pulled me stronger than the others: the rock arch and the elephant couple.
(If these images belong to you, thank you! Please let me know, so I can give you credit, etc.)
Though it was suggested that we use 3 to 5 images on top of the background, I honored my instincts and only used the elephants on top of the rocky background with the blue sky.
After we created our soul collages, we paired up and asked each other a list of questions about our collage. The creator of the collage was to answer as if they were the card/collage. Here are the questions and the answers from my collage:
Who are you?
I am your deepest truth….I am the one who can heal your family….I am the one who loves you, walks with you, answers questions….believes in you.
What do you have to give me?
I give you peace, understanding, confidence,…. strength.
What do you want from me?
I want you to have faith. I want you to remember who walks beside you.
Is there anything else you want to tell me?
Don’t be so serious. Let go. Let go of fear. Be brave. You are strong.
How will I remember?
You will remember when you are challenged.
This powerful experience reminded me to be aware of my own strength, and to trust in the relationship with my loving partner as we walk through the challenges presented to us.
Thanks for sharing my soul collage initiation!