Bereavement Blog: Summer reflections

Struggling with the loss of a loved one can be difficult. Don’t go the journey alone, others can help through this great time of need. You can learn how to manage the stressors of loss through the creative arts process. This is a blog of that creative journey. 

Flowers growing in the detritus of my heart

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Meet up on occasion

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for some much needed connection

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and puzzling piecing back to together again-ness.

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Things unnecessary can be…

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until we can have just a little connective peace between each one another.

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in loving memory of those who have come before us

left too soon from this world to go

beyond

 

 

Bereavement group is a free non-discriminatory community support group for all ages which meets weekly to support each other through the process of loss. It is co facilitated by Ben Fox LCMHC and Jess Stout MSW. It is a confidential safe space which meets in the Artistree Farmhouse in South Pomfret,  Vermont. No artistic skills are required. All images/statements below have permission to be viewed/printed here only.  For more information, please contact Ben Fox LCMHC at 802 779 1524 or expressivetx@gmail.com

 

 

Thank you to all who take the time to share their process above. This blog was created in response to your request to be able to share your healing process with those who are unable to be present. I thank you and your families for your support and overwhelming kindness. - BWF

 

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Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Bereavement Blog: A teacher of death

Bereavement Blog: A teacher of death

4/25/17

Struggling with the loss of a loved one can be difficult. Don’t go the journey alone, others can help through this great time of need. You can learn how to manage the stressors of loss through the creative arts process. This is a blog of that creative journey. 

Bibliotherapy poem: “I have to attend a death class”

 

I am a teacher of Death

I am told.

 

Yet I sleep on the edge

all snaggled up.

 

How do you fix

that?

 

How do you fix- preparing to die

And dying

And dead?

 

I stare at sudden empty space

Shaking.

 

I remember a hug

And rushed alone-ness.

Then nothing.

 

 

There are ways

Many paths

Changing

Healing

Even destructive

Ones

When learning to grieve.

 

I prefer the unexpected garden.

A life garden of sorts:

A process of grieving

Sub-conscious landscaping

In between unnoticed spaces of bittersweet memories.

 

Our senses, our bodies, our connections to the earth and the plants and animals and-

creativity

Can lead the way.

 

Or not.

 

It begins out of control

Bits of growth

Where none has been before.

 

What’s more,

You’re not even sure if seeds planted will live or die.

 

Sometimes the best laid plans

Fail and flower anyway.

 

It feels ok

To feel,

Ok?

 

To develop a relationship

With the unknown.

Without judgement

Without telling me what to do

Or how to think

 

You walk and plant and create and cry and laugh and are quietly loud with me-

Being here-

Now.

 

And for that

I am grateful.

Bereavement group is a free non-discriminatory community support group for all ages which meets weekly to support each other through the process of loss. It is co facilitated by Ben Fox LCMHC and Jess Stout MSW. It is a confidential safe space which meets in the Artistree Farmhouse in South Pomfret,  Vermont. No artistic skills are required. All images/statements below have permission to be viewed/printed here only.  For more information, please contact Ben Fox LCMHC at 802 779 1524 or expressivetx@gmail.com

Thank you to all who take the time to share their process above. This blog was created in response to your request to be able to share your healing process with those who are unable to be present. I thank you and your families for your support and overwhelming kindness. - BWF

 

Comment

Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Bereavement Blog: Learning to trust in being you

Struggling with the loss of a loved one can be difficult. Don’t go the journey alone, others can help through this great time of need. You can learn how to manage the stressors of loss through the creative arts process. This is a blog of that creative journey. 

 “Finish each day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day.

You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit

to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bereavement group is a free non-discriminatory community support group for all ages which meets weekly to support each other through the process of loss. It is co facilitated by Ben Fox LCMHC and Jess Stout MSW. It is a confidential safe space which meets in the Artistree Farmhouse in South Pomfret,  Vermont. No artistic skills are required. All images/statements below have permission to be viewed/printed here only.  For more information, please contact Ben Fox LCMHC at 802 779 1524 or expressivetx@gmail.com

 

 

Thank you to all who take the time to share their process above. This blog was created in response to your request to be able to share your healing process with those who are unable to be present. I thank you and your families for your support and overwhelming kindness. - BWF

Comment

Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Bereavement Group: A fostered sense of healing through creative arts connections

Bereavement Blog

1/17/17

Struggling with the loss of a loved one can be difficult. Don’t go the journey alone, others can help through this great time of need. You can learn how to manage the stressors of loss through the creative arts process. This is a blog of that creative journey.  

Creative saunterings in a recent bereavement process which have been allowed to be shared are as follows:

Projects:

-mandala mosaics on up-cycled cake cardboard circles

-group readings and recreated poetry from Mary Oliver’s Blue Horse: Poems

Creative responses:

(participant work interspersed therein Mary Oliver's exerpted poems)

“When I walk on the beach, I gather a few;

I have a lot of edges called perhaps;
Pausing to carve a sudden curled space;
Too terrible it would be to be wrong,

You have to open your eyes to a kind of second level,
But it’s not really hard.”

Ending:

I am unglued

I am all glued up

I am only glued on the outside

I am partially glued on the inside.

This is the most fun I’ve had in all week!

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Bereavement group is a free non-discriminatory community support group for all ages which meets weekly to support each other through the process of loss. It is co facilitated by Ben Fox LCMHC and Jess Stout MSW. It is a confidential safe space which meets in the Artistree Farmhouse in South Pomfret,  Vermont. No artistic skills are required. All images/statements below have permission to be viewed/printed here only.  For more information, please contact Ben Fox LCMHC at 802 779 1524 or expressivetx@gmail.com

Thank you to all who take the time to share their process above. This blog was created in response to your request to be able to share your healing process with those who are unable to be present. I thank you and your families for your support and overwhelming kindness. - BWF

Comment

Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Harvest Time

It is time to harvest again. Fall.

It is a time to reflect, gather, and let go a little bit more. Of tension, of anger, of pain, of wounds which need healing and have been prevented in doing so.

It’s been a time to allow ourselves to be caught in the morning dew having worked all night.  Seeds of hope and change, and despair all tangled within, come out with the slag and friendship and fill in the gaps in between. 

There is a moment to rest, to breath, to be mindful of ourselves and the world around us. It is a time to reach the other side of those departed, but not forgotten. To come out of the darkness just a little bit more. 

There is chance to work on the inner hardware of our souls; with skinned knuckles and buckets of spare parts. 

There is chance to let the spirit, grown inside for so long, to be restored and set free - again.

For it is a time, for

Harvest. 

Synergy

Summer synergy, arrives with a few maquettes:

A ram's horn squid (white spiral shell in the center frame above): a rarely seen, deep sea, light emitting organism with has a distinctive buoyancy organ to right itself in the water column. 

Summer- a time of light, growth, and illumination. 

A time to of feeling safe and yet, exposed. A time to perhaps start facing your fears. They have been hungry too and need safe passage through life as well. 

It is about taking the time to turn corners in your life.

And see the potential in things, uncut; just as they are.

Summer. I thank you.

Comment

Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Sun Print Sauntering

Sun Print Poem

Sometimes it might help to stop.

Take a seat in a cool place

and breath.

Feel about with your senses,

Ambiguity and angst will come and go in time.

archetypes emerge-

Take shape-

And resonate.

Reflection:

In case you've never tried- sun prints can be easily done with all ages, even in the rain (first image of dots was rain). Any object might be applicable to making a print too as found out this past week while teaching outside. Students were encouraged to find space nearby the garden to expose the paper with interesting effect. There was at first that question of what will happen? I encourage others and myself to let go of the worry about end product and focus on the limitless creations within the process of artful discovery. Above is some of what came out of such a process in the past week or so.

One image (photo above composed of a series of lines) was created out of a squash leaf turned used as the lens for a long exposure pin hole camera in the community garden at work. That image too about three hours to expose on a very sunny day.  Other images therein are various exposures where the paper was placed carefully under or near growing plants. The triangle shots are a prism left on the page for various periods of time in addition to being in the garden. 

Not only was I enthused to be outside making art, but witnessing engagement between student and nature and art was astounding as usual. Some readily relaxed and could focus on the creative inquiry of the process; some were drawn to the project just being in the vicinity and then were able to take part therein.  Some were just interested in looking and playing around the garden space, investigating the plants and shaded design elements therein. 

Whatever the result, I am excited to push the process further. I had a student report back that using salt or vinegar in the process creates a very interesting effect. I have yet to try it, but when I do I will post the results.  If you have ever tried something new with this process, feel free to send them to me!

Until next time-

Ben 

 

 

1 Comment

Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Wellness part ii

Ramblings on wellness: part ii

Still thinking about my last blog and questions raised therein; I cannot rest until I lay down with my tattered and much loved & dog-eared copy of "Nature walking by Emerson and Thoreau. Let me share a more memorable excerpt therein which aides my mental wanderings:

 "I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la sainte terre" — to the holy land…for this is the secret of successful sauntering.

He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all, but the Saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea."(http://thoreau.eserver.org/walking1.html)

mental health wondering

sauntering in mental health.

taking a walk inside the mind-

 going on a scared journey inside the mind;

and body and spirit and emotional self.

creating a sacred journey of self in the environment of our lives

 reconnecting with the creative journey of the sacred self......

Above-a plain glass, fired more than several times on many different occasions as example of painting on the medium of glass; still has yet to be drunk out of as such. I found it again by the stove today, fired again with heavier paint encrusted there on and, instead, turned it up to look within; only to find a amazement of light and color and inspiration, leading me back outside.

"Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts (2) only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms." (http://thoreau.eserver.org/walking1.html)

 

like the snow which has changed to rain outside my window

I will let go of expectation of product

and let process unfurl into the swelling brook below the bridge I wait on at 3pm everyday.

I shall float that sacred of flies therein 

awaiting Nature's healing bite

to bring me home 

again.

 

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Ben Fox LCMHC

Ben Fox is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician in the state of Vermont, an Expressive Art Therapist, & an Community Minister associated with the North Universalist Chapel Society of Woodstock, VT

Wellness

 

 

 

Having had a slight hiatus this winter, my attention was redrawn to blogging by a musical colleague who asked me the following just as winter ice was breaking with the stirrings of spring politics and European migrations: how does one maintain a positive/optimistic world view in light of all the hatred being stirred up.

How to stay in focus……..how does one allow oneself to be refocused so that perspective can be changed and outlook can be improved?

This occurs for me through daily nature walks. Sometimes it is a special place where I can just sit and listen and watch the world.

up cycled snowboard bench by maple tree, Suicide Six overlook, Pomfret VT

up cycled snowboard bench by maple tree, Suicide Six overlook, Pomfret VT

The breath moves the mind, which at times refuses to move at all. Then I am aware of becoming focused on sound, such as the moving of the river (the Black River below); how it trickles and rushes and almost roars at times, then fades as cool wind comes down through the hemlocks and gets dampened therein. A Canada goose flaps her wings upstream, the white water crests below.

Black River, Cavendish VT

Black River, Cavendish VT

I become being aware of the sight of the color- moving green clear water over rocks, silts discoloring the water in blues and translucent greens. My eyes seek to see more clearly that color, to hear it, to see it, to sense it, to be it. And I might get lost in the synesthetic awareness therein.

The sound of peepers now permeates a noon time walk- even though at 8am they are dormant while the air is still cold and light ice covers a vernal pool up the hill from work.