We recently got a historic snow storm here on the East Coast. In the Washington DC area, we are still digging out, and the kids have been home from school for a week. However, Gioia still had to get to work. She was scheduled to do an outdoor challenge group, a structured trust building exercise held outside. Mother Nature had already made it pretty “challenging” just to get to work, and now the challenge course-along with everything else-was under two feet of snow.
She and her brilliant colleague, expressive therapist Laura First, came up with the idea of using the snow as the challenge of the day-after all, the pristine white landscape was just like a blank canvas. They decided to lead the group in walking through the knee-high snow to create a beautiful Snow Spiral, as ambient trance music played. When it was finished, they gathered on the balcony to view the Spiral and wrote poetry to capture the beauty of the moment. Later that evening, after the sun went down, Laura added lights to the Spiral which gave it a magical glow.
Because Rebecca was in Tucson during the snowstorm, we couldn’t resist having her make her own spiral in the desert to contrast to the two landscapes. The spiral itself is an archetypical symbol, associated with transformation, growth, surrender, one’s inner and outer journey, centering and birth, the natural revolutions of time, the stars, energies, and even a connection to the Divine.
Delving into the natural world can often be inspiring. Artists like Robert Smithson, Andy Goldsworthy, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Agnes Denes and Red Earth Environmental Art Group all have utilized natural materials in the landscape in stunning ways. For inspiration, just Google image search any of the artists listed above.
Research shows being in nature is a surefire mood booster, providing healthy distractions that decrease anxiety and depression. Go Washington Post Research on Positive Effects of Environment to read more about this research.
We hope you too found beauty in the snow this week, or felt some connection to the natural world wherever you are. If not, go outside and take a few moments to let nature speak to you.
Positively yours, Gioia and Rebecca
Art Directive Go outside and take a moment to appreciate the natural world around you. Can you make artwork using simple shapes and salvaged natural materials? Try using materials which won’t mind becoming art, such as rocks, sticks, snow or sand, and let living plants stay intact. Take a picture of whatever you made or find-we’d love to see these posted on our Facebook page!