Reach for the Scarves!


Friday was the first night of another class I’ve signed up for at JFK University. This time it’s an Introduction to Expressive Arts Therapy: A Jungian-Oriented Approach. Once again I found myself to be the only non-therapist/coach in the room (besides a new friend of mine, Laura, who is a therapist training to also be a coach).

When I entered the classroom, I was excited to see colorful scarves adorning a table. I had visions of colors swirling around the room in creative, playful expression throughout the weekend!

As we settled in, I started to noticed that there was a masculine-type energy in the room – a more staid, intellectual focus. Perhaps being in a classroom setting didn’t help me? I found myself having an adverse reaction and wanting to reject the information, the lecture, the questions as they didn’t speak to my heart or feed my soul… at least on the surface they didn’t, until I looked deeper. I started to get very curious about my reaction and began to look for the gift in it. What was it I couldn’t be with and what could I learn from that?

At the end of the evening, the instructor invited us to wander over to the table in the corner and pick up an object that spoke to us. I walked over and immediately grabbed a scarf. With my hand on the fabric, I looked over and saw that everyone else was going for the solid, tangible (“real”) objects in the center of the table – the rocks, crystals, shells. I suddenly doubted my choice and mouthed to the instructor, “Does this count?” She nodded gently.

As I played with the scarf, I was flooded with so many reasons why the scarf spoke to me. It’s fluid and flowing. It’s playful and beautiful. It’s bluish-green like water, which can be emotional and expressive. It’s expansive, able to hold a lot and I could wrap myself in it so it could be nurturing and integrating. It’s malleable, it could transform into other shapes – a flower, a small ball. It’s transparent and sheer – there’s nothing to hide. It’s soft and silky. So different from the other hard, small, rigid inanimate objects. It was something that was needed in the room – a touch of flair and femininity. A different perspective.

For me this was significant as it represents a journey I’ve been on of claiming the power of my own feminine style and leadership. As I shared some of that with the group, the instructor mentioned that in all the years she’s done this exercise, no one has picked the scarf! So, even though sometimes the feminine can be dismissed or overlooked (just like some might have thought the scarves were just decoration surrounding the objects) it’s important to know and own that it’s much needed in the world. And to take a stand for it! I now have another new motto to live by, “Reach for the scarves!”

[tags]Art visioning, masculine and feminine, expressive arts therapy, expressive arts coaching[/tags]

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