A Window Between Worlds recently received word from a survivor who participated in the Center of My Universe art workshop six years ago. She called to thank us for the profound impact this project has had on her life. The Center of My Universe art project gives survivors of abuse the opportunity to explore, often for the first time, what it means to place themselves at the center of their lives. Here’s what Toni found:
During one of my very first support group sessions, the Center of My Universe project was presented. I vividly remember how powerful it felt to trust my instincts and select the images I was drawn to. At the time I was so preoccupied with trying to get through each day; I was unable to see the infinite possibilities the future held. I viewed the process as “cutting out dreams.” Kept safely tucked away in my bedside table I examined my collage every once in a while, unaware of the effect it would have on my future.
One year later I made my second Center of My Universe collage. Having been out of the abusive relationship for some time, I allowed myself to include a picture of a bride. College graduation was another seemingly impossible endeavor that I included in both of my collages. Throughout my childhood my father was verbally abusive and told me that I was dumb. I said that never in a million years would someone like me go to college. Still feeling petrified by school I reluctantly began taking classes and looked to the graduation pictures on my collages for inspiration. I did eventually graduate, and afterwards looked at my collage and thought, “Oh my God, my dream came true.” On my wedding day, I thought about calling my AWBW leader because I realized that almost all of the seemingly impossible dreams I identified during the workshop came true.
Through AWBW I learned that even if you don’t believe something can happen, the simple act of identifying and acknowledging your dreams in artwork can help to make them come true. Simply put, AWBW allowed me to glimpse into my future. Currently, I live happily with my husband and my daughter, and continue to reference my latest collages daily.