Net of Connectedness
will you hang in there with me while I tell you nodes of story? Even I don’t know how the nodes connect; but connect they do and some of them are sparkly.
It rains soft, sweet rain.
Not scary harsh uproot-the-tree crash-the-power-pole flood-the-town rain, but soft, sweet rain. Not scary harsh laceratingly dry fire-cooker pyrocumulus air, but soft, sweet rain. Not choking smoke to fill your lungs, eyes and heart with poison. Just soft, sweet rain.
I attend Carla van Laar’s Art Therapy First Aid training, designed to resource Arts Therapists to assist in bushfire recovery.
We make a mandala to honour losses and griefs.
We bring healing, nurturing wishes to the mandala.
We explore the five core elements of Psychological First Aid:
Safety, Calm, Connectedness, Self (or Group) Efficacy, Hope
And we conduct our explorations in collaborative, creative ways.
We work in small groups as if we are offering creative expressive stations at a community recovery and support event. My group of three is assigned Connectedness.
We organically, spontaneously, swiftly find ourselves creating a net.
We use thread, twine, wool, buttons, sparkly-bobbles. Our process is experiential, in-the-moment, relational, embodied, hands-on, alive, collaborative.
Indra’s net comes to mind. Indra’s net weaves itself from Hindu and Buddhist tradition into a bejewelled symbol of the interconnected universe.
Participants from other creative first aid stations join us.
We welcome them.
We sit, knot, tie, crochet, plait, yarn, remember, laugh, cry, exclaim,
make new and old connections.
The net that forms amongst us, between us, threads to, from and around time and place and across the universe.
We speak of the world in a grain of sand,
of micro and macro worlds.
One woman talks of braiding her young daughter’s hair being an intimate, bonding experience. Another recalls her European grandmother who taught her to crochet. Someone teaches me to finger-knit. Someone else makes a little nest of eggs to attach to the net. I hold the end of strands of wool while someone makes a multi-coloured plait. I speak of my friend in Alaska braiding pink seaweed.
Stories come forth. Help is at hand.
It’s a simple act,
this sitting together and making, even while we are expressing complexity.
We collaborate. We say yes to suggestions. Together, we make art with no rules; no right or wrong. Simply divine play with a purpose.
I am reminded of Art Heart Action – my initiative to bring together Arts Therapists to offer a recovery event to people affected by the 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires. We too had a range of creative expressive stations for people to experience at their own pace, in their own way. Those fires were devastating for so many. We didn’t quite know how exponentially awful it would become in the Australia-wide furnace grounds of this recent summer.
I wish soft, sweet rain of care and love to all those fire-scourged folk all around. And animals, the poor animals. And plants. The trees that are able to regenerate and the trees that aren’t.
I think of the What is Collaboration? event coming up in April that I’m part of co-creating. It’s hosted by Anthropocene Transition Network. It is to include a Warm Data Lab and a reflective, life-affirming response from my Out of the Box Playback troupe.
All these ideas, stories, threads, people, possibilities – interwoven.
Meanwhile, at this very moment, my colleague and Leaf-by-Leaf team member Clemency Doyle, is running an Art and Wellbeing program for the fire-impacted communities of Eurobodalla shire.
Meanwhile, I daily attempt to bring soft, sweet rain to the fires of distress that rage in the mind and heart of my primary care recipient.
Annie Kia writes in ‘Linkmore’, her allegory about the town of Lismore,
But all the long while, amongst the hard stuff and the good, a tissue grew between them, a warp of purpose, a weft of connection. It grew between them, invisible, threaded through the districts, woven everywhere, looped between their houses and their families……
And even now, on full moon nights, up on the hill behind the hospital, if you looked with a sidewise kind of look, you could see the silvery threads, the warp and weft, the tissue of connectedness still there threaded through Linkmore, shimmering.
….. The warp of purpose, and weft of connectivity.
Because the tissue that prevents harm will heal us from catastrophe.
Please feel free to respond to any of this Soft, Sweet Rain post.
Write in the comments box below if you wish. Let’s stay connected.
with love, art and soul