To dream of warehouses…

After reading a book about following your passions to find the “work you love”, my daughter and I each pondered a question the book asked: ‘what is your ‘Biggest’ dream?’

Our answers are very similar:

In every major city, we would like to convert giant warehouses and fill them with musical instruments and writing tools (me) and every type of art and dance supplies (daughter) where people of all ages can reconnect with their expressive creative energy. The goal would be to provide the envrionment and tools for kids and adults to heal and inspire themselves.

Is that a big enough dream?

Imagine this space filled with easels and pottery wheels…and the rafters redone as a jungle ceiling…

Ongoing fMRI-based studies are confirming the physical and mental health benefits derived from creative expression, both musical [click here] and artistic [click here].

A quick Google search for ‘creative expression therapy’ [click here]’ reveals 6 million results — the concept is certainly not novel… Applications for these therapies are wide and many.

This Psychology Today article [click here] defines benefits of many different types of creative arts therapy and expression therapy, such as:

  1. “intervention, counseling, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation; it is use with individuals of all ages, families, and groups”(on Art therapy, Edwards, 2004; Malchiodi, 2012)
  2. “to effect positive changes in the psychological, physical, cognitive, or social functioning of individuals with health or educational problems” (on Music therapy, American Music Therapy Association, 2014; Wheeler, 2014).
  3. “to achieve the therapeutic goals of symptom relief, emotional and physical integration, and personal growth…” (on Drama therapy, National Association for Drama Therapy, 2014).
  4. “furthers the emotional, cognitive, and physical integration of the individual…effects changes in feelings, cognition, physical functioning, and behavior” (on Dance/movement therapy, American Dance Therapy Association, 2014).
  5. “for healing and personal growth.” (Poetry therapy and bibliotherapy)
  6. “to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development” (on Play therapy, Crenshaw & Stewart, 2014; Webb, 2007).
  7. “to explore the deeper layers of his or her psyche in a totally new format…(and help) to illustrate and integrate his or her psychological condition.” (Sandplgy therapy)
  8. “arts as therapy, arts psychotherapy, and the use of arts for traditional healing” (on Integrative approaches, Estrella, 2005; Knill, Levine, & Levine, 2005).

This NY Times article [click here] is a bit wordy, but it supports a notion I’ve had since my childhood days when delivering newspapers to seniors. It hints at how seniors might benefit from our Warehouse Retreat. Another PT article [click here] posits that “Our stereotypes about what it means to grow old contribute to our actual experiences of growing old.”

I can see this space divided into sound-proofed rooms for musical explorations…

When our warehouses are ready, I imagine a few of my own friends who might be interested in attending and/or leading these workshops…how about you?

Want to wean off of or curtail your need for mood meds? 
Want to reduce trips to psych docs? 
Want to sleep better, dream better, wake easier, feel better?
Want to attract positive people and experiences?
Want to purge yourself of social network addictions?
Want to inspire others with hope with a glimpse beyond the gloom?
Want to paint, dance, jam, write, act in a safe environment?
Want to test the theories against your own mood triggers?

Try not to think of this as a path to fame and fortune through the arts, look at it like a holistic medicine, a gym workout, a hike, or a session of counseling, yoga or meditation.

Can you see this as a haven for dance and drama therapy? I can…

Maybe our current culture puts too much focus on the ‘stars’ of each artistic discipline and maybe that pedestal-in-the-spotlight squelches the passion in the rest of the population? When we observe the best-of-the-best, it can inhibit some of us from even trying to sing, dance, paint or sculpt. Like, why even try if the bar is set so high? Why embarrass myself with amateurish exploits…

Why? Because creative self expression has nothing to do with public exhibition unless you want it to. You shouldn’t have to quit your day job just to have the freedom to make things. You shouldn’t have to lose moments of inspiration, visions of movement, the need to pound a drum, squish clay or play with words.

You shouldn’t be stopped from creative expression just because you can’t afford the supplies, or you can’t play loud music in your condo or apartment, or you don’t have the room to dance untethered or the space to leave art tools and works within sight, within reach.

In spite of the media conditioning that assualts us to the contrary, creative expression has nothing to do with fame or financial gain. It has nothing to do with YouTube view counts, Facebook likes, Reddit links or Twitter follows. It has nothing to do with talent contests, trophies or awards ceremonies.

It does have to do with growing your brain, tuning your body, releasing your own unique wisps of passion.