Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creativity as a Compass

Norma, a lovely young social working, approached me one evening at Art Walk to give a presentation to a group of Foster Grandparents. “Ummm,” I mused, “what would you like me to present?” “Share with them what you do,” she replied with confidence. I believed in her believing in me and said, “Yes.”
Norma Berger, the Coordinator for the Alachua County Foster Grandparents program, works with over 100 low-income grandparents who help at-risk children at schools and day care. In exchange for a very modest stipend and lunch, these kind elders spend an average of 25 hours per week with one or more children whose problems start with loss of a parent and escalate from there. Norma wanted me to share how they could use creativity with their children.
I trusted the creative process and a delightful program unfolded. I had one-hour to work my magic. Powerpoint software allowed me to share my ideas and images in 20 minutes. Since mandalas are one of my favorite mediums to explore creativity, I created a simple compass mandala for them to color. I gave them the basic meanings of colors and had them focus on their foster grandchildren. I emphasized stretching outside the box of “normal” and to try their hand at using creativity as a form of bringing healing in the lives of their foster children.
These foster grandparents loved to color. They chirped and cooed as they passed the box of crayons back and forth along their tables. While mostly an understated group, there were lots of mmmhhmmms and unhuhs and they ALL colored a compass. Many of them colored two and many also took home a blank one to make copies and have their kids color it with them.
I set an idea in motion. When we think of a person in need and color an image with that person in our heart using colors intentionally – that is representing a healing wish – we can bring a blessing into that person’s life. And now it appears over 100 foster grandparents have colored compasses on their fridge. An idea that can only do good!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am grateful to Norma Berger for extending the invitation to me. I am grateful for the inspiration to use colors as a healing vehicle and to create a compass for these lovely elders to color. I am grateful to the 100 foster grandparents who colored along with me with love in their hearts for their foster grandchildren.
Creativity inspires. Creativity guides. Creativity heals.