~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

Art and Creativity as Mediums for Empowerment , Connection and Change…

Posts Tagged ‘Patterns’

Drama Detox Unit open for Business…

Posted by carolom on October 19, 2017

DRAMA DE-TOX UNIT

A Cautionary Tale Dedicated to the recovering Dramaholic in all of us….well many of us. This is a fictionally true transcript from Dramaholics Anonymous, held at a venue ~ and a venyou ~ nearby.

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Trouble ~ “Hi my name is Trouble and I am a Dramaholic.

Person A ~ Hi Trouble”
Person B ~  “Welcome Trouble”
Person C ~ Just nods head slightly…doesn’t like to welcome Trouble anymore

Group Leader: “Welcome Trouble. It is so good you have decided to come along and we’d appreciate it if you would tell us a bit about yourself”

Trouble: “Well I was born into Trouble. My mama was a Drama Queen and my daddy was nowhere to be seen.
Mama modelled Drama to us kids very well.

She taught us to always pick the wrong kind of guy, make sure there was lots of chaos in our life before getting rid of him and then go out and find another one and get on with the whole dang thing again!. Now I look for trouble and draaama everywhere and in everything people say and do. And I sure am good at finding it!

Person A~ Praise the Lord I think we had the same mama
Person B~ Heavens above…I think I might be your mama
Person C~ silence….no longer even looks Trouble in the eye…

Group Leader:  “So what has made you decide to come to Dramaholics Anon and apply to stay in the Draaaama Detox Unit Trouble?”

Trouble:    “Well there I was in the midst of wagging my finger at yet another person who seemed to just want to make my life more complicated..my latest boyfriend who proved to be just like the last three …and all of a sudden I looked up and saw my mama standing there in front of me”

Group Leader:   “Why was this a problem”?

Trouble:   “Well she has been dead for ten years but I tell you when I looked up in that bathroom mirror and saw my mamas familiar weary face and angry brow and recognised that disappointed look in her eye, barely concealing those unshed tears…….I KNEW I was in big Trouble!
I stood there looking in the mirror and remembered all the times I had fleshed out arguments in my life.
How many times I found myself bickering with people cause they were so wrong and I was so right and I KNEW I needed to make them see my point of view. How many times  I tore peoples words apart so I could find the perfect one to be offended by…too many times to count over the years!

After all the Trouble in me had a very strong calling to point out to others their failings and how to correct their words and behaviors so they would be just like me.
Then I remembered how many times I would get to a peaceful place and it felt REALLLL uncomfortable so I would start looking around and find someone to make a bit of Trouble with or criticise someone near to me for letting me down or not acting how I thought they should be acting!

Group Leader:  “Well Trouble..you have come to the right place and the first thing we would like to do, after the big group hug , is give you a new name. So from now on we will all know you as:

“GrownUp”!

”We reckon you have had enough Trouble for one life time and with your new insight, because you have finally seen that you have been creating this Drama in your life for too long now, you earn your Brand New name…

Grown Up~ formerly known as Trouble (blinking modest tears of appreciation and realistion how lonely she had been for so long whilst she was Trouble):    “Well thankyou SO much for that. I am amazed that I only had to come here to Dramaholics once to finally really get the message that when I let go of looking for and creating Trouble then I really truly am all Grown Up!…

Group Leader:   Well the realisation is just the first step Grown up, that old draaaama addiction will still have a hold at times but at least you now have an understanding of your role in these things…

The End.

…and The BEginning of Trouble beginning to finally realise that we usually find what we are looking for and the wisdom of making sure we are looking to make a positive difference in the world rather than add to the tsunami of drama, gossip, irrelevant ‘news’ and media-machinations currently consuming the planet and the consciousness of its inhabitants with its currents of draaaama….

“Men occasionally stumble across the Truth but most pick themself up and hurry off as if nothing has happened”.

“The Magical Child in Exile – Why Does the Creative Well Being Run Dry? ” is related to the “Drama Detox unit” and can be read by clicking on the dots here…………

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Posted in Chaos, Creativity, Drama, Energy, Humor, Imagination, Laughter, law of attraction, Lifes Stories, Mind Power, Women | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

How Colouring is making a difference in Domestic Violence Shelters

Posted by carolom on June 21, 2016

I was recently invited to contribute to the newspaper article How Colouring-in heals the psychological scars of trauma ( <– see link) and as a result of the interview process I have a couple of pages of added information.

I thought it would be a good idea to blog some of  the questions and answers  that formed the basis of the article.

How did Coloring come into your domestic violence service?

Throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s I was publishing an in house newsletter for the staff and women at our shelter. I called it C.H.A.N.G.E. – an acronym for Creating Happiness And New Growth Everyday

The newsletter created an opportunity for residents of the  shelter and outreach programs to share poetry and stories and for staff to promote programs and provide information relevant to the groups they facilitated.

We had already undergone a cultural change in the shelter regarding the physical environment evolving from one of issue based posters and imagery, to a much more positive and uplifting setting.

*See this blog entry for further detail:

Domestic Violence Shelters as a place of possibility not pain

C.H.A.N.G.E. updated

I was aware that the written word as a form of personal expression and communication relies on being able to read and write English.

…and that it isn’t everyone’s preferred form of expression. Delivering information in written form was not always culturally relevant for Aboriginal women or for women from CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) backgrounds.

As the daughter of a very creative mother, I recognised that many of the programs and systems in place in shelters are developed within an academic, not a creative framework so with the support of our management team and my colleagues I began to create tools that tapped into women’s creativity and gave the hands something to do that was engaging and fun. “Fun” is not usually associated with domestic violence shelters.

In the late 90’s I read Carl Jung’s memoir, “Memories Dreams and Reflections” and was fascinated by the concept of the Mandala. I had seen how the young women at our shelter would get very involved in some of the playgroup activities that were designed for their children, including colouring in.

I drew a very rudimentary Mandala and put the words “Believe in Yourself” at the centre and from that very first colouring sheet the women let me know that sitting at the table and colouring while the personal development information was being delivered had changed the group from a class room setting where they were often bored to a much more dynamic and engaging setting.

Our group attendance and retention rate increased dramatically as a result of offering creativity and colouring groups to the women.

I Believe n Myself Poster
Over the next few years I developed creative tools to accompany most of our in house information. For skills training in the area of budgeting, I designed a colouring sheet with circles representing their different financial obligations, such as rent, groceries, electricity etc and we coloured the sheet as we explored topics like budgets, direct debits etc.
The completed poster became a visual tool for budgeting rather than a hand written form that is often left in drawers or left behind in the group room after the session.

A very common topic in dv shelters is how do I change negative patterns?

…especially if it is the 2nd or 3rd domestic violence relationship that a woman is experiencing or she has grown up with domestic violence and does not recognise the intergenerational cycle.

For those sessions I designed Mandalas that had affirmations such as “I release the patterns that no longer serve me” and “I love and accept myself”.

Within a couple of years I had created a master copy folder of colouring pages that were designed specifically for issues affecting women in domestic violence settings but also other pages that related to relaxation and goal setting.
Our staff team enjoyed the colouring process also so I occasionally designed Vision statement colouring sheets for our team building days.

Patterns

How does colouring-in help people touched by domestic violence?

Colouring in is a form of open eyed meditation.  The rhythmic movement of the pencil slows the mind, acting like a kind of mantra because of its repetitive nature. Colouring brings the consciousness into the present moment. Rather than worrying about past events and speculating about the uncertain future around court cases and hospital visits, the creative process is relaxing and soothing. It is a form of mindfulness that is very effective for women dealing with trauma, who are in recovery from domestic violence.

Colouring is not competitive and it engages the hands which are often excluded from learning and relaxation processes.

Breathing relaxes, the mind slows down and for many women the internal stress is transformed into creativity and focus while they are colouring in.

Breathe Deeply b:w
When a woman arrives at a domestic violence shelter she is often in a highly traumatised and distressed state. She may have physical pain, post-traumatic stress  issues and is finding  it difficult to concentrate and focus.
Along with dealing with court cases, hospital visits, financial issues and worry for pets who have been left behind, a woman will often be managing distressed children and in some cases extended family conflict relating to her decision to leave.

I created a Colouring Pack for the women who arrived at our shelter.

We added pencils and blank paper to the pack. Many of the residents said that although they hadn’t coloured in since they were young, they felt relaxed and peaceful as they coloured.

I reminded them that we all had colouring pencils for the first few years of our life, at kindergarten and in junior primary but as time went on our creativity was often left behind in preference to the academic processes and outcomes driven education system that places the “arts” on the bottom of academic prestige and sciences on the top. As a result it is often seen to be childish or unprofessional to engage colouring-in as a training tool.
At the shelter new arrivals were often shy or distressed and uncomfortable sitting in a group setting but once they sat at the colouring table and there was no pressure to speak or hold eye contact, they would often relax and begin to share their stories in a much more organic and relaxed manner than if they were sitting with hands on laps and expected to participate in the group dynamics.

Colouring-in creates something beautiful from a black and white page. It is a personal, unique interpretation of the image and that in itself can be very reassuring and nourishing during times of distress and uncertainty.

Labyrinth

Tell me a little about some of the people who have found solace (if that is a fitting word) through your work?

Colouring Mandalas and black and white pictures is a process that is relevant for women of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

When *E was colouring her Mandala she looked up after half an hour of colouring and said I think this Mandala just spoke to me I asked her what it ‘said’ to her and this was her reply:
“When I was young if I ever felt proud about something I had done at school, my step father (who was abusive) used to always say self praise is no recommendation.
I never felt good enough around him and he was always cristicising me, he still does, but this Mandala made me realise I am good enough and I don’t need to listen to what he said all the time.
The next week she arrived at the group glowing, with a piece of paper in her hand. She had created her own Mandala with the words Self praise. The best recommendation.

We made many copies of her Mandala over the ensuing years and long after she left our service and went to University, her colouring page was there in our group room for other women to colour and medARTate on the words she had written and the important message she left us all with.
Colouring has taken her to a deeper, more reflective place within herself and in that place where she had rarely visited, insights and a new level of resolve awaited her.

There was a young woman in the shelter from a refugee background. *L had lived in a camp in one of the African countries for most of her childhood.

She was married at a young age and had courageously left domestic violence with her young baby. *L did not speak English and the staff members did not speak her language. She was shy in the group settings but her colouring style was so bright and skilful that she drew many compliments from the rest of the shelter residents.

Although the colouring circles were not competitive as such and everyone’s unique style was celebrated it was obvious that *L was a gifted artist and the recognition of her art connected her to the women around her. She was proud of her work and generous in showing the other women her unique shading techniques.

In this scenario colouring raised her confidence and self esteem and enabled her to be the “expert” in the room rather than experience isolation because she did not speak the language and we did not have interpreters on site.

Big Girls Picnic copy

 Would you like to see Colouring and Conversation Circles  used across the country to help victims and survivors?

As a life coach and an advocate for equitable learning and embracing diversity I would like to see colouring circles in women’s prisons, homeless and domestic violence shelters and Community health and healing environments.
I would also like to see social workers trained in the process of engaging with creativity as a tool for case management as many of the students who come to our shelters are often very uncomfortable with their own creativity or using it as a tool for developing trusting relationships.
In settings where there are Aboriginal clients the colouring process draws on the cultural practices of art and creativity as central to community and learning through story and sharing creative practices.

Victims of domestic violence are entitled to heal and recover in their own time and colouring is a gentle, easy meditation and in that moment of colouring they can have respite from dealing with the vast array of pressing matters that fill every waking moment.

I would like to see front line staff and management and board members trained in the simple process of establishing colouring and conversation circles, this includes access to the colouring process as part of an organizations work-life balance policies.

As a community education and relationship building tool, colouring and the self reflection and creativity that it unleashes is  a fabulous, inexpensive way to build relationships and encourage creativity amongst women who are looking for new answers to old problems

Colouring circles are a creative way for women who have escaped domestic violence  to offer her knowledge and experience, to “give back” as one woman put it in the Talking Circle aspect of the colouring circle.

Healing Power of Nature b-w

Carol Omer is a Certified Life Coach and Artist, specialising in Women’s Personal Development and Empowerment programs.
The Big Girls Little Colouring Book is available on her website: CarolOmer.com

The Big Girls Little Coloring Book is also available on Amazon

Posted in ART of Change, Carol Omer, Community, Creativity, Domestic Violence, feminism, Healing, Patterns | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »