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Updated: Oct 11, 2020

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again. Thich Nhat Hanh

During my training and certification as a Spiritual Director, I attended a Touch Drawing workshop facilitated and founded by Deborah Koff-Chapin. Deborah spontaneously discovered the power of touch drawing. As an artist she was cleaning up her space and placed a paper towel over the wet paint. In a moment of exploration, she moved her fingers over the dry towel, lifted it from the wet paint and discovered childlike scrawls on the other side of the paper towel created by the pressure of her fingers. This spontaneous drawing invoked impressions and emotions within her. Hence, touch drawing was born.

I used this medium to heal many thoughts and images in my mind frozen in place by the pain I held inside. My childhood pain; images from my daughter’s transition; humiliating moments; painful breakups; I unlocked my freedom. With my pallet before me, I reframed my secrets of pain.

Reframing is a way to create a different way to look at a situation, person or relationship and changing its meaning. Using touch drawing, I reframed my fear. I reframed my pain. I reframed me into who I am today.

For the Love of the World by Charlotte Tall Mountain

"For the love of a tree.

She went out on a limb.

For the love of the sea.

She rocked the boat.

For the love of the earth.

She dug deeper.

For the love of community.

She mended fences.

For the love of the stars.

She let her light shine.

For the love of spirit.

She nurtured her soul.

For the love of a good time.

She sowed seeds of happiness.

For the love of the Goddess.

She drew down the moon.

For the love of nature.

She made compost.

For the love of a good meal.

She gave thanks.

For the love of family.

She reconciled differences.

For the love of creativity.

She entertained new possibilities.

For the love of her enemies.

She suspended judgment.

For the love of herself.

She acknowledged her worth.

And the world was richer for her."

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I am going through tough times right now, and it’s so comforting to have my dear “family” with me.

  • I did the touch drawing workshop as well. My paintings in the morning were all bright colors. After lunch, I used dark colors, and the paintings were sadder. I’ve had problems with my son. My last picture was of a clown’s face with a painted on smile and sad lips. I realized in my want for my son to be happy and healthy, I wanted him to paint on a happy face. But he couldn’t. I had to let go of that desire. I had to suspend judgement of one I love. The poem talks about suspending judgement of enemies which is even harder.

  • I first learned the term reframing in a workshop, of reframing painful memories and creating a better outcome. It helped me feel more in control of a better outcome.

  • I took that class as well when I was in the depths of chemotherapy. It was very hard to be there at that time. But I found it freeing: my hands were dancing at a time I was suffering. It was a transforming program. I love the reframing idea, having reframed experiences. I have more reframing to do.

  • I love the idea of reframing the bright colors and dark colors. Yesterday I was with a blind friend. I commented on the pretty objects on her porch, one of which was a three-dimensional plate. She said it was her favorite because it was so tactile. Her hands danced over the patterns; I could see the joy in her fingers. She’s the most positive person. I'd love to do that drawing.

  • Deborah Koff-Chapin is offering on-line touch drawing classes in the fall

  • I remember taking a workshop from Jean Houston who had us doing time travel, which is a form of reframing. I went back to a traumatic moment in my life when I was seven years old and changed what happened so that it had a different outcome. That experience helped me a lot.

  • I was quite struck by the words in the poem to “draw down the moon” and during the meditation I thought about the early woman pagan philosopher and astronomer Hypatia who was said to be able to draw down the moon. It is a pagan ritual.

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