Transformational Learning

Through the transformational learning process at Southwestern College, I have begun the difficult self work of establishing boundaries, advocating for myself and others, cutting chords which no longer serve me, dismantling internalized biases, and increasing my mindfulness practice. In order to best serve others, I know I must continually develop my presence through education and experience throughout my career as an art therapist. I am mindful of the reality that I can only help others grow to the extent to which I have grown myself. 

Below are two projects that I created for Consciousness I and II. I began doing the inner work in these classes that I needed to prepare myself for my desired journey of motherhood. It became apparent that in order to do so, I must first learn to love and nurture my inner child, a part of me that I had neglected for a long time. The following projects helped me to acquire knowledge about many aspects of mothering, being an artist, stepping into myself and my own presence, and cultivating a strong voice and the inner resilience necessary for my growth as an artist, human, and potential mother. 

In my Hermeneutics of Self class, one of the transformational aspects that has been most meaningful to my growth is working with my shadows. I included a paper HERE that describes shadow work and how much of the inner work I have done at Southwestern has been a confrontation of these shadows. I have learned that to engage in shadow work is to face all that is within me with an open curiosity, not labeling any of it as good or bad. Shadows are parts of my self that I must integrate in order to transcend to deeper levels of knowing. 

Click HERE to read my Shadow Work Paper

 

Lineages of Mothering, video collage with voiceover by me, Lineages Project in Consciousness I.  

 

Mothering Lineages 

My Consciousness I lineage project was to explore various facets of the lineage of Mothering. This lineage research exploring representations of motherood in art throughout time is a quest to understand more of what mothering includes and to find examples of nurturing mother and child relationships. Click HERE to read conversations I had with art historians, artists and mothers that are the basis for the spoken word portion of this video.  

 

Alice Neel Scrapbook - The Artist Responds to Current Events Articles

Consciousness II: Cultivating the Healing Presence of Love. 

 

Alice Neel, Change Agent

The feminist painter Alice Neel was chosen as my Change Agent for Consciousness II. This was to be a person who I admired and felt a connection with from whom I believed I had a lot to learn. Working with Alice in this way empowered me to use my voice and my artwork to take up space in the world. She helped me gain confidence in myself for being exactly who I am, flaws and all. Alice also helped me to further dismantle the perfectionism that causes me to be critical of and shaming toward myself.

The above scrapbook was created with the intent of reading news articles of the current time through Alice Neel’s perspective. This practice aided me in understanding her artwork as well as her voice in a more nuanced way. Alice's artwork often responded to the zeitgeist of her time, so I used her artwork as responses to add depth to the words that I hypothesized she may say if she were to read these articles. 

My path toward art therapy began because I realized I was able to  understand things visually through painting that I wasn’t able to easily verbalize, and became passionate about helping others who have the same experience. Referring to Spanish Harlem in the 60s, Hilton Als (2021) writes about Alice, “She learned the place by observing and then painting what she saw and wanted to understand: a “new,” diverse America, populated by men of color, single mothers sitting on stoops, and children in repose.

Alice was an activist and a humanist, and was passionate about people, especially those that are marginalized and underserved.  Alice was tenacious, bright, often described as hypersensitive, and was able to catch vulnerable parts of the psyches of her painted subjects. Getting to know Alice has shown me new ways of diving within to attain a deeper sense of empathy for my fellow humans and helped me to realize that I have valuable thoughts and insight that I should never fear expressing. 

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