Healing Arts Intensive
A Healing Arts Intensive (HAI) is a group therapeutic process through the arts designed as a life-changing experience of transformation and healing in community. Healing Arts Intensives are based in the Life Force Arts Method (LFAM), a powerful psychological and spiritual tool for understanding life from our most inner world to our most outer world. Participants focus on a personal Transformational Goal which they manifest through observing and creating visual art, writing, dance, theater and music. Each Intensive is built around a performance of Life Force Arts Ensemble which Intensive participants attend. The Ensemble creates an energy healing performance based in archetypal stories with sound healing, dance, vocal and instrumental music, and shamanic journey meditation in the sacred space created by our art exhibits.
The Healing Arts Intensive participants do not perform in the LFAE performance, but they do contribute by
- doing creative writing and poetry based on their Transformational Goals, which the LFAE performers may use in the performance
- choosing music which the LFAE performers may sing or play in the performance
- choosing archetypal energies or helping spirits who the LFAE performers invoke to guide the performance
The purpose of the Intensive is for each participant to achieve or make progress toward their Transformational Goal within the six-week period of the HAI. This “aha” moment of transformation can come at anytime during the six weeks. Perhaps the transformation comes in a session while writing or drawing, or in a discussion with fellow participants and facilitator, or because of the sound healing in the LFAE performance. Or maybe it happens as the participant does self-reflection in between sessions. By the end of the six weeks, participants not only have made progress towards their Goal, but also have gained expertise in using the arts as a healing modality that they can use for the rest of their lives.
How it works
There are three components of the Healing Arts Intensive (HAI)
- Life Force Arts Method
- Transformational Goal
- The Arts
Life Force Arts Method (LFAM) teaches the Skills of being human. Through personal growth practices in the arts, participants learn the basics of LFAM, especially the 4 Skills, which are key to navigating smoothly through life.
The 4 Skills of the Life Force Arts Method
- Sentience (Perception – being conscious and present with your thoughts and feelings)
- Osmosis (Presence – leading and following)
- Dialogue (Process – interacting creatively)
- Crystallizing (Partnership – operating within a structured form)
Transformational Goal: Each participant formulates a Transformational Goal (intention) for the Intensive: something in their life that they want to create significant transformation regarding. The transformation may be framed in various ways, including:
- personal growth
- professional development
Fulfilling this Intention shapes the activities of each participant and of the group.
The Arts: Visual, literary and performing arts are woven into the Intensive, especially the Writing, LFAE performance and Artmaking sessions.
The Three Motivations for Action
There are three motivations for actions one takes in life: personal, vocational and business. Knowing these can help tremendously in achieving your Transformational Goal. The clearer you are about which one is the reason for you taking a particular action, the better off you’ll be, the less time, energy and money you will waste, the better relationships you will have, the happier and freer you will feel.
Understanding which of the Three Motivations you are acting on is a huge chunk of protecting your energy. People talk about protecting your energy by imagining you are surrounded by white light. But having clarity about why you are doing what you’re doing is a much bigger aspect of the picture of energetic protection.
You are doing the thing because you personally enjoy doing it, or it helps you personally in some way. It feels good to you here in your body to do it. You have a need to do it for private reasons. It’s not about serving someone else’s needs because you are expected for some reason to serve them.
You are doing the thing because it is how share your divinely given gifts/talents and fulfill your mission in life by serving the community. A vocation is a quality or gift that you possess as one member of a long history of human beings who have had this same talent as you and have served their communities with it. You would serve the community with this vocation even if it cost you money to do so. Your gifts or talents might be something “external”, such as being an artist, healer or teacher; or you may have a talent for something not as easily labeled, such as creating an atmosphere of joy or peace wherever you go. In other words, it’s not always a profession, and a person’s vocation is a profession, it’s not always what a particular person does as a profession.
You are doing the thing because it provides you with financial or material support. It makes you money. If it is no longer profitable, you stop doing it. You are clear that financial or material profitability is the reason you are doing the activity.
Format of the Healing Arts Intensive
Each Healing Arts Intensive has a Group of six to eight participants guided by a Facilitator, usually LFAE Artistic Director Joan Forest Mage. There are six sessions, usually meeting once per week for six weeks. The sessions are usually 2 hours each. The sessions are:
- Orientation – Intro to LFAM (practicing with fellow group members) and creation of Transformational Goals based on Keywords of the 4 Skills of LFAM. Discussion of the background of the LFAE Performance that the Group will be attending: its theme, Main Text, visuals/artwork, music and movement
- Issues & Goals – Discussion, writing, drawing, meditation and divination to examine the Issues related to each of the 4 Skills of LFAM, and how they interact with each participant’s Transformational Goal and the theme of the performance
- Writing – Participants create poetry and creative writing that embodies their Transformational Goal, and may be included in the LFAE performance.
- Artmaking – Participants take a class offered at LFAC in visual art, writing, dance, theater, music, storytelling or art history. There is sometimes a choice of classes to attend.
- LFAE performance – Participants observe Ensemble members in an interdisciplinary art performance which includes dance, singing (sound healing) instrumental music poetry and visual art. Part of the performance allows time for the audience to journal through writing or drawing their responses and insights, and a time for sharing.
- Closure – Participating in interdisciplinary arts and divination techniques to complete Transformational Goals and bring Closure to the Group. Each participant has the opportunity to reflect on and share the outcome of their experience and Transformation
Note: different Intensives have the sessions in a slightly different order. Orientation is always the first session and Closure is the last session. But the middle four sessions can change order, depending on the Intensive.
What happens in each session
Between the sessions, participants are guided in designing their own individual self-reflective and artistic practices as part of the process of accomplishing their Transformational Goal
Before Session 1: information given to participants on LFAM and on the Life Force Arts Ensemble (LFAE) Performance that the Group will attend
Session 1: Orientation – Intro to LFAM (practice and discussion of the 4 Skills) and begin creation of Transformational Goals based on Keywords of the 4 Skills of LFAM. Discussion of the background of the LFAE Performance that the Group will be attending: its theme, Main Text, visuals/artwork, music and movement
Between session 1 & 2: Exploring your Transformational Goal and how it relates to the Skill focused on in the LFAE Performance. What aspects of your Transformational Goal relate to that Skill? Which of the Keywords associated with that Skill most apply to your Transformational Goal, and which do not? Why? How can understanding the Skill(s) help you achieve your Transformational Goal? Practice the 4 Skills in daily life. Create individual projects in any of the arts to further Transformational Goal.
Session 2: Issues & Goals – Discussion, writing, drawing, meditation and divination to examine the Issues related to each of the 4 Skills of LFAM, and how they interact with each participant’s Transformational Goal and the theme of the performance. Suggestions taken for musical selections and dance/movement themes for LFAE performance
Session 3 or 4: Writing – This session has participants further discussing the theme of the performance and their own Transformational Goals. We take time to do creative writing and poetry to continue to process our understanding and expression of the theme and our Goals. This writing may be incorporated (with the participant’s permission) as part of the LFAE Performance.
Between sessions: If you wish, continue the writing you began in Writing, or produce other writing, drawing or art that furthers your Transformational Goal.
Session 3, 4 or 5: Artmaking – Participants take a class offered at LFAC in visual art, writing, dance, theater, music or storytelling. There is sometimes a choice of classes to attend. The purpose of this Artmaking is to create further change towards the Transformational Goal.
Between sessions: Exploring your Transformational Goal and how it relates to the LFAE Performance. What aspects of your Transformational Goal relates to the Performance? How can understanding the relation of the 4 Skills and the Performance help you with your Transformational Goal? What intention can you have for the performance to help further your Transformational Goal? Create individual projects in any of the arts to further your Transformational Goal
Session 4 or 5: Life Force Arts Ensemble (LFAE) Performance
Between sessions: Participants receive access to video of the LFAE Performance. Create individual projects in any of the arts to further Transformational Goal.
Session 6: Closure – Participating in the arts to complete Transformational Goal and bring Closure to the group. Each participant has the opportunity to reflect on and share the outcome of their experience and Transformational Goal.
“I could not have imagined the shift I underwent from the first session until the end. I shed the old identity to see what was below the surface. My focus shifted, my understanding of my gifts was clarified.” –Lisa Nomikos
“The Healing Arts Intensive with Life Force Arts Ensemble was truly life changing. Through the various exercises and modules, I could feel myself starting to let go of past traumas, and before I knew it, I was beginning to feel like my actual myself again…This class is deep, and if you are open to it, can get to the root of your suffering(s)…Through the tools I was given, I learned how to navigate my negative emotions without letting then ruin my entire day like they used to. By the end of the Intensive, I honestly felt lighter, and was left with this unexplainable sense of peace I haven’t felt in years since I was a young girl.” –Christina Gurtowsky
“Life Force Arts Ensemble’s performance is raw and vulnerable, and at the same time artful. The audience watches and listens to the performers express the energy of the moment; surrounded by witnesses, the performers are laid bare by the manifestation of Spirit. It’s the kind of vulnerability that might make some uncomfortable, which is exactly why it’s such a powerful thing to experience. Watch with your mind and you will feel unsettled. But the moment you open your heart to what’s happening before you, you may realize that what you are really seeing is a glimpse of what it means to be a spiritual being learning to be human.” –Shaan Souliere