Rooted in the garden is belonging to community

I like to multitask. I seem to get the most done when I’m working on many tasks at once. When I was asked to write a blog post for the art hives site, and also write about my experiences at a recent art therapy conference, and make a blog post for Groundswell, I sensed a multitasking opportunity. I was in the garden, preparing our community garden plot for the winter. As I was digging around, I encountered a lot of roots, some shallow and fine, and others spindly and deep. But nothing compared to what I discovered when trying to pull up the lemon balm. This plant was by far our most successful crop, and is HUGE. So, I couldn’t stand the thought of potentially leaving it behind. I started pulling, and digging, and pulling some more. It took a lot of sweating and a good 15 minutes to get this thing out of the ground. It had some deep roots!

Sarah blog photo

Did I mention I’m a weaver? I’m planning to weave all these stories together, just you wait.

I started thinking about all the communities I’m a part of, and my longtime search for community in general. I’ve been reluctant to put down roots, or fully commit to a community, and have always been someone who has a diverse group of friends, jobs and interests. There’s something about committing and focusing that enables you to actually be a part of the group in a real way, and finally be brave enough to enter the community you want to be a part of. I felt this when I decided to study art therapy. For the first time in my working life, I was on the path to pursuing something that really resonated. Then, last summer I studied community art at Concordia, and felt like I’d found another niche. Now, stepping into Groundswell, I’m going deeper with the work I want to be doing in the world and finding this amazing community in the process. Having the courage to step toward these spaces has made a big difference in my life.

So, roots...groundswell. Grounding. Going back to the roots. There’s something very important here for a bird like myself. Finding a place to ground the learning I’ve had so far feels very important. I was wondering if I’ve been moving away from art therapy, but I think what’s happening is that I’m finding a way to integrate parts of myself and my experience into a meaningful professional practice and fulfilling life. Working with our SWOT this week (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, all identified by your nearest and dearest) brought a lot of these seemingly diverse points and personality traits together in new ways.

In class this week, Gerry talked about chameleons not making good radicals. I’ve been trying to figure out a balance between fitting in with many different people, but also standing for what is important to me. Balancing the nurturing qualities of a therapist, and also advocating for creative rights in community feels like my life’s work. Our new classes, How Money Works and Ethics and Contemporary Capitalism, are definitely challenging for me to get my head around, but I’m excited about going into the experience with a beginners mind, remaining open to not knowing the answers and taking it all in.

That lemon balm in our garden developed strong roots in a short period of time. I feel that’s happened for me with Groundswell. Being part of a group of people who are committed to making change is very grounding and roots a lot of the ideas in my birdbrain. A lot of these ideas have gone very deep in a short period of time. I just need to find a way to embrace the chameleon, while keeping my true colours strong.

~ Sarah