September 21, 2009

Reflection: To Be In Relationship

Untitled print (2005). Tempera on paper.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.
Help someone`s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.

- Rumi

There is one word that sums up many things for me: my way of experiencing art, my approach to art therapy, my understanding of spiritual purpose. That word is relationship.

Our experience of the world is individual. We can only know what we experience from within our singular mind/body sensory amalgam. We rely on others for additional input and new perspectives, as well as for comfort and belonging. In connection with other individuals, we create the world.

The phenomenological approach to art therapy allows therapist and client to enter together into the world of an artwork. There is no attempt to interpret, to attach definitions. Instead, the artist engages in relationship with his or her creation. What if we approached other human beings this way? Putting our bias aside and listening to what longs to be heard... One relationship, one moment at a time, you can change the world you share with others.

Rumi offers us simple and powerful ways to be in relationship. To be a lamp: shed light where we can. To be a ladder: give someone a leg up. To be a lifeboat: hold steady for someone who feels as if they are drowning.

With every open-hearted connection you make, your love buoys us all.

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