I am not a writer. I’ve hated writing since school and all the way through university. I was always getting told off for scruffy writing and untidy presentation (this was pre-computers); and I found it took a huge amount of energy to get my ideas down in a logical and coherent way. And yet here I am writing my first blog post. So what on earth has driven me to put pen to paper – or in truth, but less romantically, hit the keyboard?
I’m about to run a series of seasonal workshops using creativity and nature for inspiration and I think I feel compelled to say something about my own relationship with nature. Maybe it’s because I want to demonstrate my credentials, apart from being a dramatherapist, to run these workshops. And that need has overruled my deepest need to not write!
As you can imagine, I am not a journal writer. However, I am very often a journal drawer, which is my own inelegant way of expressing that I draw regularly as way of recording what is going on for me in my life and trying to make sense of it. And please don’t think that I am a talented artist. My talent in drawing is just as bad as my ability to write. The difference is that I don’t care, because nobody else sees my journals and the act of drawing as a way of reflecting is a deeply satisfying and meaningful process for me.
I often turn to nature when I am journaling. When I’m out walking the dog, I allow myself to switch off my thinking brain and just enjoy being in the moment. It is my way of meditating. If I have my journal with me and the weather is conducive to sitting awhile on a tree stump or even on the ground, I will stop and sketch. At this point the dog stops foraging around and sits contentedly by my side so I can fully concentrate on the task in hand. I take the time to just ‘be’ for the moment and then I look around me to see what catches my eye. It might be a flower, buds on a tree, a muddy puddle, the bark of a tree, a tangle of brambles or some animal tracks. I can be attracted by any aspect of an object – its location, texture, shape, colour, movement, etc and this is what I will initially focus on as I transfer what I see in front of me onto paper (after a fashion!). And often I will add words (but not sentences) which add to the quality of what I am seeing.
I usually find myself asking what is important for me about this object and why was I drawn to it. What aspect of me or my life does it represent? And what does it say about that aspect of me or my life? Usually, the answer comes quite clearly to me. And generally it is not in the least bit profound. Or complicated. Nature has simply given me a nudge to think about and reflect on something specific and relevant to my life at that time. By allowing my unconscious, creative mind to engage intensely with the object and ‘recreate’ and make sense of it in its own way, I am able to give focus to aspects of my psyche that are in need of attention.
It is exactly this same process that my clients in my dramatherapy practice use to explore their pain and difficulties, and find their own solutions. And that is why I love dramatherapy – it is powerful, positive and empowering for the client.
So next time you plan to walk in nature, you might consider taking a notepad and a pencil and drawing – or writing, if writing is your thing – and seeing what personal wisdom nature offers up to you.
PS. That’s my first blog done! On to number 2!