In our last OSP facilitator training, we were asked to facilitate workshops for our fellow classmates. “Wands,” were the workshop facilitated by one of our pals in class. I haven’t mentioned that our process includes 5 steps, so let me share a little about that:
Step 1: We set intentions for our process. Intentions are active messages stated in a positive tense, “I am calm and invite the wisdom I gain from the creative source.” (This part is still a hard one for me, because it feels like an affirmation, and like I said in the about me page, I’m a belligerent affirmer—a euphemism for self-deprecator.) Step 2: The process, which is accompanied by rhythmic or soothing music. We create art with the materials provided and we follow creative impulse. Step 3: Witness. We sit before our work and write about the imagery that comes to mind as we observe/witness our piece. It isn’t about explaining the piece, rather allowing information and symbolic thoughts to surface and be expressed on paper. Step 4: Reading. Optional, we are invited to read all or parts of our witness in front of the group. Again, it isn’t to explain, or to perform in any way for the group. The purpose is to hear our own voice articulate our witness. It allows truths to be heard. Step 5: Closing the space; often following the lovely tone of a Tibetan singing bell, and without commenting on the work of others, we ask questions or share observations about the experience.
Here is my wand. It was a joyful process, wrapping and holding a beautiful birch branch and transforming it into a new creation. As I witnessed, I noted that Birch trees were in abundance on my grandparents’ property when I was little, which brought to mind the safety I felt in my grandmother’s charming home. I spent hours in her warm cottage, drinking tea, yapping endlessly. My grandmother, my “Meme” had abundant patience and never tired of anything I could lay on her. She was my safe-haven, my peace, the one who loved me unabashedly and unconditionally. I remember her hands, fingernails with the lightest ridges that made their surface funny to the touch; beautiful fingers that would run tirelessly through my hair, or gently caress my back as I lay my head across her lap.
My initial association with a wand was the Cinderella cliché of the fairy godmother who waves her wand and Bibity bobity boo! Your wishes all come true! Occasionally there are workshop projects that I resist at first and it was thus for the wand workshop–I didn’t really want to create a wand. In my day job, higher-ups come my way all of the time and have expectations that imply I really do have a magic wand that I can waive, thereby fixing the troubles of clientele—people who most often have mental illness and whose behavior doesn’t fit into our perfectionist, intolerant culture. Instead of the mythology coming up for me, it was the safety of my grandmother instead, that emerged. My wand is about safety, the haven that is needed when younger, less evolved parts are activated. My wand doesn’t waive anything away, make anything disappear or change. Holding it in my hand is soothing and wonderful, though. I immediately think of Meme, her laughter, her encouragement and love.