This morning, Janice Sorensen and Andy Grant of Western Mass Recovery Learning Community presented their workshop, "The Artist First Approach to Peer Work in Mental Health Recovery: Finding, Engaging and Connecting The Artists in Our Communities." They discussed how they created an opportunity for peers to share their stories and express themselves through art, which each artist exhibited in their own show.
At the beginning of the workshop, each attendee stated what type of art they participate in and how it makes them feel. Repeatedly, participants mentioned that they could get lost in their art, taking a moment away from the stress and difficulties of life. Although the presentation focused on visual art, the art that I get lost in is dance. I have danced ever since I can remember and truly started taking ballet seriously at age 10. For me, dance has always been a time away from the stresses of life, a place to fully express myself, and a source of my nearest and dearest friends. Although ballet is strict in its rules and discipline, there is a freedom to interpret the music and movement and express your inner-most feelings.
I particularly love dancing on a sunny Sunday afternoon when I have no cares in the world. I can let my light heart leap and soar. But, when I have been having a bad day or a bad week, nothing can lift my spirits more than dance. I can go to the studio, stand at the barre, and know that the movements I am creating and perfecting are purely mine. All dancers know how to plie and pirouette, but nobody's looks exactly like mine. No body puts the same exact experience and feeling behind them. I can get lost in the intricacies of the movements and combinations; I can truly let my mind go. When I am dancing I don't have the opportunity to think about the laundry that needs to be done or the dishes that need cleaning. I only have the time to think about the position of my arms, whether my feet are pointed, and if I am balanced perfectly on my leg. It's a time when I am the center of my attention, and no one or nothing else is.
I truly believe that anything you are passionate about and allow yourself to become lost in — whether it be photography, water colors, collage, or dance — can help you to become a more expressive, happy, and content person. I've been lucky to find my passion in life, and I plan on continuing to indulge in it as long as my body lets me.