All photographs were taken by Fiona. The narrative was written by Neil with the help of Carrie M. who recommended Neil for the group and provides weekly encouragement and support, to help Neil through his week.
This print shows the connection between family and life. The four corners represent each member of my family (me, mom, dad and brother) and shows how we are all connected to each other.
I called this print life because you cannot isolate yourself from anything. Living with an injury, you must live as normal a life as possible You have to stay connected to all things and fit in with the group.
Life means love. Loving everything that is possible and not being scared of trying things and fitting in. Caring for the place you are living in.
We are all connected to each other within nature and our environment. If you are connected with your family, you can understand their moods and what is needed to help them with their day and showing that you love them.
This print came to mind because of the relationship with my brother and how my parents have to interfere as opposed to us all being happy together as a family. This interrelationship within my family impacts my life. When my family is connected and happy, I am happy. –Neil
Have you ever felt so closed up that it became normal? Do you remember a time when you felt free? Have you asked yourself Why am I so guarded?
When it comes to art and expressing ourselves there is a conscious effort to connect with our heart and that takes courage to be vulnerable. The word vulnerable can have a negative edge to it. I have heard of people with an acquired brain injury being referred to as the vulnerable population.
There is truth in this, as many of the people who come to share their time with me are vulnerable, even tender, but with encouragement they are intensely brave to take on the task of looking at their barriers their blockage and express what is inside.
The barriers come to try and protect us because our past histories are occupied with pain, hurt, and disappointment and this can lead to the feeling of blockage, being closed up and guarded. To expand on the perception of blockage and vulnerability I’ve tried to explain this as black and white thoughts. We have black thoughts and we have white thoughts. During the Mindful Art Workshop, we meditate on the black and white perspectives and the participants created these eraser carvings (click here) to illustrate the two sides of the same coin.
We then printed the stamps on a black canvas, and it magnified the white art. Perhaps we need the barriers and the black thoughts to have a canvas where our vulnerability and white thoughts can shine. When we show ourselves love and kindness we accept our blockage and we accept our vulnerability; for without one the other would not glow so brightly.
Then we find ourselves starting to open up and the barriers perhaps are lowered slightly. Then perhaps our hearts beat a bit more mighty as we gather the courage to show ourselves love and kindness for all the parts, bit and pieces of ourselves. Then we are that much closer to freedom.