For many of us, these are days filled with inner and outer turbulence. We can tend to go into stress reactivity; we get anxious and upset and we look for people and things to blame. We are polarized. We are trying to find some stable ground again; a means of regaining a sense of certainty and security - an illusion of control. Charles Eisenstein calls this place "the space between stories". We do need to take action within a social consciousness - in our families, our workplace, our communities - so that we can move towards healing and change. Action must come from a more evolved consciousness; this can happen in our brain with compassion and mindfulness training. Compassion and presence can inform intelligent action when we can learn to pause and deepen attention in the space between stories. Gandhi said, "I need to make sure that my actions come from the deepest, most awake part of my Being."
The Dalai Lama, no stranger to suffering, maintains that when we cultivate self-compassion, connection and concern for the well-being of others comes more easily, and with it brings inner peace; the path to true joy and ultimate happiness. This view is shared by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Viktor Frankl, and Nelson Mandela - all of whom experienced unimaginable suffering themselves and within their communities - yet were able to find inner peace, resilience, and fulfillment despite the harshest of circumstances.
Visual journaling is a conduit to self-compassion, presence, inner peace, and has been an artistic tradition for centuries. Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci all kept visual journals in which they sketched or experimented and recorded their thoughts. Because of its history in art and psychiatry, visual/art journaling has also become one of the basic methods used in art therapy.
Creative self-expression is increasingly being validated as a potent mind-body approach with wide-ranging effects on cognitive, psychosocial and emotional health, as well as positive impact on medical conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, various forms of dementia, and cancer. Creative self-expression engages the image-based parts of our brain and raises awareness of our physical and mental states to build resilience and a sense of safety. The combination of written narratives and creative self-expression helps us to heal by detaching ourselves from intrusive thoughts and upsetting feelings by reducing stress, and by restoring emotional equilibrium. Our human capacity and need to create is where we begin to live more fully, experience transformation, and recover from personal crises and loss.
DISCLAIMER: Course content is for instructional purposes and should not be considered a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. Please see advice from a mental health professional if you are experiencing serious mental health challenges.