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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Expressing Self with SoulCollage: An Intersection of Creativity and Meditation

Dec 02, 2015 01:59AM ● By Zelie Pforzheimer

The New York Times published an article on the cover of their Sunday Review section titled “We’re All Artist’s Now”, accompanied by several unfinished line drawings. Numerous adult-oriented coloring books have been best sellers because it allows those who don’t consider themselves artists the child-like play of coloring. Apparently many are longing to use their creative sides.

“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain,” said Carl Jung. Recent studies confirm that minds that have had the time and space to be creative are able to solve problems previously considered impossible. Harvard has recently done studies about the effect of meditation and creative arts on the brain; they show that participating in a practice on a daily basis for 20 minutes a day can actually change an individual’s neuroplasticity in as little as eight weeks. An art form called SoulCollage melds the practice of creating art and meditation, creating opportunity for self-expression.

SoulCollage was developed by Seena Frost in the early 21st century as a vehicle for self-inquiry understanding and healing. It is now taught in 23 countries by over 2,500 facilitators. SoulCollage is a meditative creative process that mines your inner life to assist in creating a more productive and integrated outer life. The point of the exercise is not to create art—though this is accomplished—but to tune in and clarify what is going on inside the individual and work through current issues.

Small collages are created using images cut out of magazines, cards and books; the meditation part occurs when journaling using suggested questions is applied to the created collage. The method of creating art with existing images has been used in prisons, with at-risk youth, children, aging and assisted living communities, and the community at large. For example, a cancer patient felt that without her SoulCollage practice she would have gone into a deep, debilitating depression. She ended up writing a book about her experience and, to this day, credits her ability to express some of the fears and pain of this disease on her created cards as an integral part of her healing and remission.

As with yoga and meditation, SoulCollage as a practice can deepen over time and be used to create a more integrated life. The application of knowledge that can come from cards is ongoing, as is their creation. Once we have created a deck—which can be from 10 to 100 or more cards—we can use them to guide us through just about any issue before us.

With the fast pace of our lives, permitting inner rumination can sometimes seem a waste of valuable time. However, numerous studies at University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and Stanford concur that the very act of sitting down, listening to our intuition and allowing the luxury to create can, in the long run, make our lives more productive and fulfilling.

Zelie Pforzheimer, a performing artist, is a Wilton-based SoulCollage facilitator who offers classes and retreats. Contact her at PforZSoulCollage.com or [email protected]. See ad, page 9.