I notice that whenever I am at turning points in my Life, I go through a process to get from one end to another. It could be something that I seek to accomplish for myself, or how I deal with something that has come upon me – into my Life.
The word process, in and of itself, suggests that it is something that occurs over time. As such, movement or progress is in increments and not likely to be visible. Yet, I am being carried along the way from some point to another.
Besides prayer, contemplation, and meditation, when faced with difficult times of transition, I also have used physical activity, walks in nature, art, music, dance, and self-expression in some form to assist me in getting through the period. I can remember enrolling in an art class some 20 years ago when I needed to gain clarity for a major decision affecting my Life. Imagine that…using a small group class in an artist’s studio on Saturday mornings, in the winter, to help me grow through the challenge of making a life altering decision! This was my first art class, so I was not an artist and the course did not bill itself as something in the realm of therapy or problem-solving, either. It was just an art class, a form of self-expression.
I am reminded of the days when I was nearing the end of doctoral studies and seeking clarity for creating a research project. Out of the blue, I began to make bread, week after week. Every aspect of the process brought me joy – from shopping for the whole grains, to trying recipes in The Tassajara Bread Book, (a gift from a former doctoral student). I especially liked kneading the bread with my hands. That was the therapy. I loved watching the dough rise in the cloth covered bowls on my window sill. That would put a smile on my face and bring me joy tinged with surprise as my eyes beheld the huge mound that rose under the cloth. It was like magic and it reminded me of my childhood delight in watching my grandmother uncover the dough for her dinner rolls and bread. It would be hours of a process for her and we couldn’t bother the dough during that process, but what magic to see it after the yeast made it rise. The smell of the dough rising and its baking was the best part.
In all cases, the hobby, creative activity, and physical activity allowed for reflection, contemplation, self-expression and appreciation as a process. In all cases, I came out on the other side and came out well.
© Drayton-Craig, 2011