How does the mind relate to the body? – Sonoma Sun.


Published by Charlotte Hager on April 17, 2022

After emphasizing that they have been separate entities for at least a few thousand years, it seems that Western culture is finally moving towards the feeling that the two are connected. It’s really amazing how it took so long to get there: all you need to do is take a few slow, deep breaths – and see how your mind relaxes.

Creative expression is one of the ways we see this connection. Creativity is all about expressing yourself – whatever is on your mind – by creating something with your own hands; Sometimes even with your whole body. Ceramic discipline typically involves tactical type creativity. Here’s how Meg Billingham, the new director of ceramics at the Sonoma Community Center, explains:

“Touching the clay is touching both the present and the past at the same time. Working with an instantaneously responsive material, at the same time keeping in the midst of thousands of years of geological history and migration is a profoundly powerful experience; It allows us to place ourselves in space, both on a reasonable, physical level, as well as emotionally – and acknowledges that the two are interconnected and not mutually exclusive. “

This “terrestrial”, as Meg describes it, actually stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system – something you activate with this gastrointestinal respiration. It is a state of “relaxation and digestion” of the body, which can ignore the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response, and tell your brain that you are safe. In other words, working with mud is a way to get your head out and down your body, creating a feeling of physical and mental relaxation.

This capacity for “grounding” is one of the reasons why creativity can be so treatable. And although she is careful to make it clear that she is not a licensed art therapist, Meg focuses this sculptural experience both on her teaching and on her own artistic practice.

“My teaching practice is really about seeing and sharing exercises,” he says. “We are all involved in these emotional and physical organizational activities, but when we are able to bring a conscious and intentional mind while it is happening, it becomes very effective. During our artistic creation, we learn To concentrate and combine our energy with our technical skills, and to start a continuous exercise based on maintaining our health.

As part of her work, Meg teaches classes for adults in the autism spectrum at Sweetwater Spectrum. He makes lesson plans for a group that feels collaborative, but still caters to each participant’s specific tactical needs – to get each one a sensory engagement that suits them. “These variations create an exciting productive, creative space where people interact with a single material in many ways; creating interesting conversations about our different personal and individual experiences around the world.

Tonight when you’re sitting watching TV, roll your arms over your sofa. When you wash dishes, pay attention to the feeling of soap between your fingers. Or let’s take a ceramic class and wrap our hands around some clay. However – explore your sense of touch and see how it feels to place yourself in your body, connect with the physical world, and allow your brain to “relax and digest” for a while. Give.

Charlotte Hager is the executive director of the Sonoma Community Center.



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