The recent terrorist attacks have left me feeling sad and heavy so my husband and I take to our bikes and head out onto a forest trail. Our first bike ride of the season. We dismount to take in the beauty of the forest and all it’s beings. Butterflies of all colours and size dance their way through the lush meadow. Snake trails can be seen in the sandy ground and birdsong fills the air with the most exquisite music – the purity breaks the heaviness in my heart and slowly I begin to relax and feel lighter. The sweet smell of pine envelopes us as we walk slowly, allowing every step to fill our hearts with the abundant love emanating (pulsating) from the forest, awakening every sense in our being.
Walking slowly, you become more observant, intune with your surroundings. This charming young Prince graced us with his enchanting beauty.
I may have encountered a thousand deer in my lifetime yet each encounter is magical and unique. Each meeting of souls is sacred and I feel priviledged, honored to be gifted these sacred moments with our friends of the forest.
The deer represents gentleness in the native culture. A reminder to be gentle with ourselves as well as others.
After munching on the fresh juicy new leaves of the saskatoon bush, the deer looks up at me. And we look into each others eyes and for a moment we feel each others spirit.
‘When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.’
Anthony Douglas Williams
I feel at peace, taking in a deep breath, I say thank you for this sacred communion.
“Most people are either awakened to or are strengthened in their spiritual journey by experiences in the natural world.” – Richard Louv
Carl Jung believed images are expressions of deep human experience and our authentic selves. They are the natural and primary language for the psyche and only secondarily do we move to conceptual thought. Jung saw images as clues to the unlived life that move toward some form of outward expression, and urged others to look at the images of their lives in a symbolic way so as to reveal deeper meanings and their fuller, more authentic selves. The arts help us to access this storehouse of images within ourselves and create a sense of meaning.
The focus in the expressive arts is on the process of art-making rather than the art product itself. In this way, art-making becomes accessible to anyone, because the creative process is central to the journey of discovery, rather than what the final product will look like. The focus of the expressive arts is not on a specific technique or the quality of the product itself. It is on the power and process of symbolic expression in any of the arts for healing and integration.
The spiritual life, like the expressive arts, is largely about process rather than product. A dominant metaphor for spirituality is the journey, which evokes a sense of constant movement and progression. We never fully arrive but are always unfolding and discovering. Spirituality is also about a process of integration – of slowly bringing the whole of our selves and our experiences to our crafting of meaning. – Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D
I have always had an intimate relationship with these beautiful beings, beginning way back in my early childhood adventures around the wilds of Scotland. These spirited beings continue to inspire me and appear in my art as a children’s illustrator…
…and feature frequently in my work as an nature art educator.
What can I do to help
I guess my art is my langauge, for me it is a spiritual experience and the way I communicate with the world and in my own small way, it can sometimes help others. Today I would like to gift you this simple nature art activitiy. NATURE ART: THE DEER SCULPTURE. If you would like to receive a FREE COPY of my Deer Sculpture PDF simply leave a comment below sharing with me why you love our beautiful friends, the deer.
Ellen Dissanayake, an anthropologist, suggests that the act of creating is actually a biological need that is basic to human nature and I wholeheartedly agree.
“The imagination is fundamental to all human activity; indeed, exercising imagination is the creative and critical, intuitive and integrative process central to human becoming. It gives us the power to remember the past, to shape our desires, and to project possibilities for the future. The scholar Wendy Wright aptly describes the imagination as: the crucial capacity of the human person to create a world – either the familiar world of the everyday or a world not yet visible. Our relentless human search for new ways of being and relating, our dreams of beauty, our longings for mercy and justice. . .(1)
As such, the imagination is the central faculty of creativity, allowing us to imagine the unseen and give form to the new. One way we can practice freeing the imagination is by engaging in the practice of art-making.”
The Relationship Between Spirituality and Artistic Expression: Cultivating the Capacity for Imagining – By Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D.
Nature art as therapy
When we create a piece of nature art, we are fully present in the moment, immersed in the creating. We are not thinking about the horrific events of the latest terrorist attack or the worries and stresses of the day. Our negative thoughts evaporate as we hunt for the perfect twigs and foliage for our nature art. We begin to feel calm as we concentrate on our creation.
Nature Play Makes us feel Good
When I play with nature – its a natural, organic exploration. What would make good antlers for my little deer sculpture?
What would make a good tail?
As I foriage through the natural items found in nature, I playfully experiment what will work and what won’t. It;s a joy-filled journey.
A daisy makes a perfect tail for the potato deer and a small white pebble will work for a clay deer.
Here we explore epheneral (momentary) state of our artwork. Just like the potato deer, we too will wrinkle, shrivel and die. And return to the earth to create new life. Again this is a gentle way to show students the life cycle.
FREE DEER SCULPTURE PDF
If you would like to receive a FREE COPY of my Deer Sculpture PDF simply leave a comment below sharing with me why you love our beautiful friends, the deer. (Please allow 5 working days for the PDF to arrive in your mailbox as I am travelling, thank you).
The power of nature
When we walk in nature, we can hear , see and feel the poetry of the earth, we can encounter the spirit of the beings – and these encounters leave us far richer than when we entered the forest.
- Wright, Wendy. “’A Wide and Fleshy Love’: Images, Imagination,Vol. 7, No. 1 Spring 1999: 6.