Witnessing

One of the greatest challenges that I have faced at my internship this year at Emmanuel is of an interpersonal nature and relates to a challenge that I am working with outside of the internship realm. It has to do with my tendency toward leadership, my need for being seen, and my addiction to creating intended results. I am someone who likes to enter a space and influence an outcome that I can imagine being positive in nature. I am a change agent and have been identified as someone who possesses leadership abilities for as far back as I can remember. (My first dream when I was a child was to be the president.) At Emmanuel this year one of the main things that I have gotten to practice is putting my tendency toward leadership on the shelf and, instead, showing up as just another member of the group or simply as a witness to what is happening to those around me. It has been through these experiences that I have been able to practice the dance of therapeutic presence. Continue reading

Attunement

As my time at Emmanuel is coming to an end, I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m in a place where I feel comfortable taking risks, stepping outside the box, and sharing my ideas. Over the course of the week I have been reminded that it is okay to try something new, no matter how far along in the process I am.

On Thursdays, I lead a movement group with the folks from Café Emmanuel. I have had so much fun with this group. The participants vary from week to week, and there is one person who has not missed a session. Each week we dance and move with multicolored scarves to different songs, most recently Broadway tunes. The returning participant is always trying to get others to stay and dance with him. I feel his desire to have more than just me and a volunteer. So, in an attempt to entice folks to participate I played the music earlier than normal, gathered a few scarves and placed them in people’s hands. I physically invited people and resisted the urge to be complacent and just accept that folks are not interested in movement. It worked! We added people to our group, and I think it was the most enjoyable session yet! Continue reading

Holding Space

While reflecting on the past three weeks working with common art, Café Emmanuel and the Art and Spirituality group at the Suffolk county corrections facility I noticed that I have been doing a lot of listening. Holding space is something we talk about often in my courses at Lesley. We talk about holding space in a therapeutic context yet I feel it is applicable in everyday life. For me holding space means engaging on a body level, using my posture to communicate attentiveness and support, and bringing myself into a group and participating cognitively through listening and responding when appropriate. I find that when I am holding space I am receiving so much from others who are given an opportunity to be and express themselves in an authentic way. Continue reading