Case Study: What is the Experience of Mindful Movement and Expressive Art Like?

I’ve created this image over 4 sessions of mindful movement and expressive art with Julia.

Amy

Psychological freedom

Amy has been attending Mindful Movement and Expressive Art drop in since March 2020, attending the first one in person. She then switched to online when Covid-19 disrupted our lives. She chose to keep working on the same image at each session. Amy notes that she’s able to feel psychologically free to be creative during the sessions:

I’m a big planner, am by no means an artist and am very critical of myself. However, I’ve found these sessions extremely freeing and I’ve been able to let my hands create with no plans and no self-critiscm. Each session I’ve just picked up the materials and done whatever comes immediately to mind. No structure, no thinking, no judgement..

Amy

Mindful Noticing Can Create a Sense of Being in the Moment

During the movement section I offered many choice points so that Amy and the other attendees did not have to join in if they didn’t want to, or they could have done different movements to the ones I suggested. I invited them to notice sensations based on my authentic experience, whilst acknowledging that they may have been having a different experience. Mindful noticing can create a sense of being in the moment.

During the sessions I’ve found myself able to let go of whatever is on my mind and just be in the moment. Be that during the mindful movement or during the mark making. After the sessions I’ve felt a great sense of calm and stillness.

Amy

A Sense of Acceptance

I think this focus on mindful experiencing seems to have had an effect on the mark making. As facilitator, I found myself enjoying the sounds and feel of the materials rather than focusing on how the image looked. This has been Amy’s and other attendees’ experience too. There’s also a sense of acceptance of what’s been created:

I’m excited to see how my piece ‘finalises’ in upcoming sessions. But I also feel totally fine with how it looks now and I’m not anxious about it being ‘unfinished’ – which is a big thing for me ❤️. Also – the image in itself doesn’t make any sense. Like, it doesn’t represent anything in particular and it doesn’t really fit together with all its random parts – but that’s OK and feeling that that’s OK is also a big thing for me!

Amy

Holding the Space

During the optional sharing section near the end of the drop in I invited attendees to share their experience of the movement and mark making. I made no comments on whether their art expressions were ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because how can they be either? They were expressing something unique about themselves and that was neither good nor bad. Instead, I asked what it was like for them to mindfully move and make marks, and what meaning their image might have for them. I acknowledged and reflected their statements. In this way, I held space for them by being nonjudgmental, holding them in unconditional positive regard, and being empathetic.

I facilitate Mindful Movement and Expressive Art sessions online every week on a Tuesday evening at 7pm UK time. If you would like to come, you can find more information and tickets here.

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