Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cycle of Change

Change has a pattern. We each move through this pattern in a familiar and unique way. First, there is ascent. If we want to change a pattern in our life this is the exciting period, filled with fear and excitement. At this stage, we focus on what changes we want to make, we create the intent or action plan, and we form a vision or desire of what we want. In art classes I see people making a commitment to act on becoming an artist or develop their art further. In the therapy room I see clients commit to act on moving into change and/or healing. At this stage, people need support, information, encouragement, and a plan of action.
The next stage is descent. This is the period of hard work where people face and heal fears and wounding, learn to work with and lessen their anxiety, and learn how to take action towards the desired goal, even when it feels like nothing is happening.
The final state is integration. This is a time of acceptance and manifestation of your dream and/or change. These three stages take time, different states of mind/body and need different resources and support.
I just finished teaching a weeklong art course and I watched people working in all three stages. The people in their ascent stage were discovering who they are as artists, taking the risk to explore, dream and dive into their creative realm. Those working at the descent stage were trying to push their work further into a deeper development. Those artists who were working in their integration period were enjoying the process and exploring the relationship they want to have with their artist side at this moment.

Ascent: risk, passion, acceptance, excitement, and fear of unknown
Descent: reflection, transition, sacrifices, struggle
Integration: understanding, equanimity, gratitude

Ascent: This is the stage when you build the fires. You need to feel very ready, passionate and open to embrace your dream in order to move ahead. Your vision will help sustain you when you are in the period of descent. You need to come out of this stage with a strong conviction, intent plan and image of what you want for yourself.
Therapist: helps by facilitating your process of creating an intent map or vision of where you want to go, be or manifest. She acts as a guide and provides you with resources, information and the means to move forward towards your goal. She helps you access your inner and outer resources that are already in your life [or that you may need to add to your life] that can support and nurture you through this change or growth period.

Descent: This is the stage where you work to change the pattern that you are already functioning in to allow for the newness that you want to embrace. Therapy intends to create association with the disconnected parts of the self. The autonomic nervous system can learn to self-regulate again through 'repairs' that transform the activation of the system. You learn to access your felt sense and release residual tension. This means that whatever was holding you back fear, loss, or shame can be understood and dealt with so you can move ahead in your life with more energy.
This is the time in an artist’s life when you have to work hard to develop your talent, study, work with other artists, learn patience and have faith that the hours that you spend in the studio will help develop your skill.
Therapist: helps by guiding you to work with felt sense to learn self-regulation and awareness. She helps you express freely in the moment what comes up, move into ‘not knowing’ in the murky stage and stay with loss, mourning or whatever the body/mind presents. She shows you how to hold the tension between working with the crisis and holding on to the vision that you had for yourself in the ascent stage.

Integration: This is the stage in therapy where you have made peace with your self. There has been a shift or movement from a feeling of being isolated from or repressing parts of self to a fuller appreciation, acceptance or awareness of the whole self. There is more awareness, energy and inner support and ability to move ahead in your life or relax, listen to your inner voice and feel peace and equanimity.
In the life of an artist, there may be a sense of finally believing that you are an artist, feeling that your work is good enough, and a decision to giving your work more exposure. This may mean having shows or a comment to yourself to having more time in your life for art making.
Therapist: helps by guiding the integration of the old/new self, provides ideas for the regeneration, supports the movement into deeper inner awareness, knowing, and presence. The client or artist moves into their way of ‘trusting the process”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.


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