Creativity Gathering on 30th October 2021 – Self Portrait
By Mo Szulejewska: Pluralistic Counsellor
and Jennifer Ramsay: Art therapist, Gestalt therapist, Storyteller,
Perhaps one of the most exciting things about these gatherings is that there is no way to know
what direction the discussion and contributions will head off into and this proved no
different. The chosen topic for the day was “self-portrait”, a phrase which can conjure up all
kinds of images – from oil paintings in large ornate frames displayed on the walls of
prestigious museums and art galleries to enthusiastically messing around with vibrantly
coloured paints and life-sized paper silhouettes.
But the icebreaker at once shifted thinking into a common vibrant environment as people
shared the image they would choose to represent themselves. A cauldron where the magic of
transformation can take place; a candle held in the centre of a heart; a container or box with
the capacity to hold a range and quantity of objects; a profusion of living creatures such as
whale, fox, monkey and spider; river, woods, individual, specific and mythical trees; – these
are just some elements of the rich treasure trove of imagery shared by the participants.
As usual, the main part of the Gathering offered the opportunity to share knowledge of tools
that can be used to enrich our toolbox and resource both our clients and ourselves. Working
with timelines; journeying and creative visualisation; the six-part story method; drawing,
painting, journaling; working with masks and shadow puppets: – these were some of the ideas
put forward for consideration. On reflection, it is interesting to note that much of the
discussion was around our ideal self with little or no focus on how we perceived our actual
self or on working with unifying the light and dark aspects of self.
Our gathering coincided with Samhain in the Celtic Wheel of the Year, and inevitably self-
image and ancestors made their way into the discussion space. As we look in the mirror do
we see the wisdom of our ancestors or perhaps see reflected this phrase by Oliver Wendell
Holmes: “Heredity: An omnibus in which all our ancestors ride, and every now and then one
of them puts his head out and embarrasses us”.
Much of the discussion revolved around the physical self but in the closing part of the
gathering we were offered the following quote from Rumer Godden. In her book A House
with Four Rooms; she relates an Indian proverb that says that “everyone is a house with four
rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room
most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired,
we are not a complete person.” Food for thought for us all.