A Window Between Worlds trauma-informed art workshop is just that (a workshop that uses art to address trauma, and empathically navigate through the nonverbal portals of love & pain)
…and from my experience as a participant, when AWBW says they empower individuals (& communities), impacted by violence and trauma (through a transformative healing arts program), they mean it. As my time spent with AWBW tapped into both my personally experienced wounds (aka my endo-genetics) & my collective intergenerational wounds, inherited energetically from those who came before me (aka epi-genetics).
I was able to heal intergenerational wounds, birth a new paradigm for how to be fellow members of team-humanity and feel the relief & hope that voices unheard were now visible.
As a group of about 30 we were gently (& mindfully) moved through materials, timeframes, set-ups, introductions & demonstrations. Then we warmed-up thoroughly (empathic visualization & breath meditation), before getting to the transformative magic of an AWBW creation.
The question in three-dimensional space (constellation style), was about moving away from something, and then moving towards something (which I interpreted as painful -> healing). The ask that followed was for symbolic imagery & transformative creativity. For me the image that came to mind was shackles (the specific picture was handcuffs). As an american of african-ancestry, shackles represented restraining african bodies, imprisoning dignity/self-worth/autonomy, locking up wisdom/genius/innovation and jailing generation after generation of trauma-activation. And what I mean by the latter is, thousands of young african-americans have been bombarded with less-than imagery, less-than ideology & a less-than identity. If they rebel they’re punished externally, if they buy-in they’re punished internally. And since punishment can lead to activation, the cycle perpetuates itself (with only a few people finding ways to interrupt the pattern). But had we been taught that african engineers, african scientists & african philosophers had been the original enslaved people (with their gifts & wisdom hijacked and credited to enslavers, legislated & bred out of existence), the self-worth & dignity would have returned more easily. And though healing reconciliation would have still been necessary, the recovery would’ve been exponentially different. I’m grateful to have discovered the history.
The ‘cuffs’ also reminded me of the words I wrote on November 4th, 2008 (‘from shackles and grief to commander in chief’). So as a participant, I started drawing. I surrendered to the pain, connected to the energy of the universe, and when I looked down I saw a beautiful three-dimensional infinity symbol. I immediately began to cry as I realized what I was birthing, what I was feeling and what I was healing. And the workshop’s encouragement to express creatively was a big reason I was able to heal intergenerational wounds, birth a new paradigm for how to be fellow members of team-humanity and feel the relief & hope that voices unheard were now visible.
The three-dimensional infinity symbol was the ONENESS of it all (team-humanity, our shades of brown, how when the right hand hits the left hand the whole body is hurt…meaning that we are part of a whole, and an injury to one of us is an injury to all of us). It represented the roadmap for moving forward (shifting our beliefs, language & mindset from separation to connection). And it empathically communicated infinite possibilities through UNITY! And since experiencing AWBW’s ‘Touchstone Art Workshop’, I’ve noticed a stronger resolve in my personal beliefs about empathy, healing & unity (along with additional ways to help others either resonate with my perspective, or find bridges to their own voice & recovery)
So yah, being a participant at an AWBW workshop (& creating art as a form of communication, un-constrained by language or skill), is pretty badass! And the way an AWBW workshop builds safety, trust, hope & resiliency (while transforming toxic-stress in our bodies, relationships, systems & communities), is truly a gift (a gift for which I am eternally grateful). And just for clarity when I talk about transforming toxic-stress, I mean using art to melt the pain that’s been frozen in time. Love on it, protect it, empathize with it…then allow the art to help us reconnect with ourselves & other members of team-humanity.
Whether it’s Vision Touchstones or any other art workshop, do your nervous-system a favor and get your AWBW playshop on. Because the same way that our amygdala screams ‘danger danger’ (but whispers, ‘am I safe? do I matter?’), your safety & mattering are just one AWBW workshop away.
Empathy Coach (NVC)
Windows Workshop Participant
Los Angeles, California
Utilize the Vision Touchstones worksheet to express your visions and wishes.
Want to utilize art to help people heal intergenerational wounds and other forms of trauma in their lives?
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A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) supports hundreds of direct service organizations across the country to incorporate creative expression into their work with trauma survivors. With this blog we uplift the voices of our art workshop facilitators and participants. We invite you to take in this perspective, notice what resonates and explore how it may fit into your life.