Photo by Akiba Mermey
Expressive Arts Therapy and Spirituality was the name of the workshop I offered as part of the "Creative Health 3rd Annual Conference for therapists, medical professionals, and caregivers to learn about the uses of Creative Arts Therapies in healthcare" put on by Maine Music and Health. This is the first of a series of blogs on the Sacred Dances we shared in the workshop and their divine and healing qualities. Today's blog is designed to give an overview of the workshop. Each of the following blogs are dedicated to the particular divine quality offered by each dance and its contribution to the journey of healing. There is a Jewish story that after taking much time to earnestly search through the bounty of Jewish laws, the essence of Judaism can be expressed in these three laws: 1) Self~reverence, 2) A tender heart, and 3) Beneficent Deeds. These profound qualities also beautifully and powerfully express the goals of emotional and spiritual wholeness and the intention of the progression of Sacred Dances chosen for the Expressive Arts Therapy and Spirituality workshop.
I'm grateful to my husband for the use of the above photo, as it perfectly expresses the energy of exhilaration generated by the 29 people who participated in Sacred Dances from diverse spiritual traditions. The photo shows the illumination and awakening I saw in people's faces and countenances as they embodied the divine qualities in the series of dances and added their own spirited movement improvisations. The Sacred Dances come from the Dances of Universal Peace as a way to both honor and bring together people from different faith traditions through the universal language of dance. I can attest to the power of these dances to make soulful connections among people from religions which have a history of conflict. After I graduated from college, many moons ago, I went to Israel with a performing group called Pageants of Universal Peace and we did these dances at holy sites with Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druids, Sikhs, Shepherds as well as people from other beliefs and walks in life. The far reaching expressions of joy crossed the divide of distinctions and differences and there was peace in our Sacred Circle.
The following are some quotes from people who participated in the Expressive Arts Therapy and Spirituality workshop:
"Uplifting & energizing! A great way for this busy graduate student to reconnect with my body." Lisa Jade
"- A truly worthwhile experience - I liked your mix of different faiths. I got a lot out of the experience." Greg Stanen
The focus for the next blog is the Sacred Dance, Tis A Gift To Be Simple from the Shaker tradition and how it inspires the quality of Divine Innocence, the first step towards healing.