To Begin

I think I am a life-long enquirer, although I have usually seen this as being a “seeker” or “traveller”.  Becoming a dramatherapist was part of the evolving journey, as was becoming a Buddhist.  Enquiry for me is about looking as deeply as I can, both within and without, waiting and wondering, digging around, opening doorways to see what will emerge or where I might step into – and finding ways to creatively express it all.  Always it is about questioning, questioning, questioning.  Enquiry is the thing, answers being not so important to me, feeling too close-ended, while resonances, patterns and connections are stimulating.

This blog arises out a previous self-generated enquiry that ran in various stages and formats between 2012 and 2017.  It started when Sandra Reeve invited me to take part in her first Project Group, a one year movement-based group where each participant would “bring into life a creative project” with her support and that of the other group members.  I still remember the rush of excitement when I received Sandra’s invitation and spontaneously knew I wanted to use the group to explore FEAR.  The project, which I named Working Creatively with Fear, took 5 years in all and found several expressions.  I created a performance of a series of my own poems based on the relationship some of the characters in Shakespeare’s The Tempest have with fear.  I ran a “therapeutic enquiry group” on the project’s theme with a group of therapists.  A book of my poetry and photos around the theme of vulnerability was published, and I wrote a chapter on my enquiry for the European Consortium of Arts Therapy Education.  Since the end of 2015, when the poetry book was published, I felt my desire to enquire was seeking out a new direction.

I like to write and am not so bad at it, poetry and essay being my favourite forms.  I am also now 68 years old and feel a bit behind those younger than me (and many older than me) in using the internet for creative purposes – so writing a blog seems like a good challenge.  This blog will not only contain my writing.  I am hoping there will be photography and video in it as well – and if I am feeling very brave, some visual artwork.  I will have to learn as I go.  I am not trying to promote anything, rather the aim is to share my enquiry.  I am curious about how others will respond to it – and what directions this might take me in.  But what am I enquiring into now?  Where do I want to start?  What do I want to explore?  What do I really want?  What is my desire?  Where will it take me?

The idea that came up, seemingly naturally, from my enquiries into fear and vulnerability was to enquire into DESIRE itself.  Why?  It first arose clearly when reading a book called Awakening the Dreamer, Clinical Journeys by Philip Bromberg towards the end of my research into trauma as part of my fear project.  Referring to H R Boris who wrote in the 1980s about working with anorexia, he states that “eating disorders arise when the dysregulation of desire is linked in infancy with the dysregulation of appetite.”  He goes on to say “that the essence of the human condition is having to recognise one’s insufficiency, and that the degree to which one draws satisfaction from human relatedness will keep one from seeking nonhuman solutions (e.g. food) as a means of compensating for the experience of loss.”  Further on he says, for some of us “what in adulthood might have developed into appetite and healthy, regulatable desire, instead, because it is denied the relational context on which that transformation depends, freezes the experience of being an affectively out-of-control infant within a dissociated self-state that takes on an imperious life of its own.”¹  This immediately and strongly resonated with my own early history and still unresolved issues around eating.  Inability to regulate emotionally is connected with early trauma, which I had been investigating during my fear enquiry.  But desire feels so much more than purely physiological urges and appetite.  What about the desire to create, the desire to explore, the desire to connect, the desire to enter deeply into life, the mind, the heart?  I WANT my desire – but I think it needs to be freed from the limitations of early trauma.

[1] Bromberg, Philip M (2011, p.119) Awakening the Dreamer, Clinical Journeys; Hove, East Sussex, New York; Routledge.

Author: MaryAb

Born in upstate New York. Moved to the UK in 1971. At home in Devon.

Author: MaryAb

Born in upstate New York. Moved to the UK in 1971. At home in Devon.

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