This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. She’s blogged since 2002 about the business side–and the spiritual inside–of art. She says, “I share my experiences so you won’t have to make ALL the same mistakes I did….” For ten years, Luann also wrote a column (“Craft Matters”) for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explored the funnier side of her life in craft. She’s a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry). Her work has appeared in books, magazines, and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.
Take advantage of new options for your meet-ups.
(5 minute read)
We’ve covered all the how-to’s and the why’s in this series. Now let’s loop back and pick up the tips, suggestions, and fine-tuning to make these meetings your own.
It’s a support group.
I’ve outlined the basics for maintaining privacy and safety. If you have even more privacy concerns, or need them met, research the tenets of other such groups. (Hint: The internet!) If you know something with experience about such groups, review what we’ve covered in this series, and ask them for suggestions specific to your concerns.
You get to add stuff to the mix.
We talked about affirmations. You can take a few minutes helping each other create an “action affirmation” after each person speaks.
Writing instead of speaking??
I love adding writing exercises to the mix!
A few timed minutes of free writing is a great way to warm up the brain. You simply blurt—pouring onto the page your stream of consciousness. No editing, no focusing on grammar, etc. Just let your inner lizard brain go to town.
It’s fun to add a more directed writing exercise from time to time, too. This one crossed my path today: “What have you told yourself you couldn’t do, because of a childhood story? What benefits have you received because of it? How has it served you?”
Perhaps take this opportunity to do your page of affirmations for the day, too.
But there’s a powerful psychological element in speaking/signing your truth. There are responses to the process you can witness, in real time, that show the power of telling what is in your heart. The more you practice the speaking/telling, the better you get at it!
Don’t give that up unless it simply won’t work with this group.
If this group fills other needs, great. But keep trying to create another!
Can it be a book group?
Some commenters shared their good experiences with art-related books to discuss. It sounds great! And it may be all the support you need, or gently evolve that way.
But after reading the outline, and the intended outcome with The Four Questions, I hope you see the differences in what can be achieved.
Why not do both??
Document your journey.
Susan Delphine Delaney https://www.facebook.com/susandelphinedelaney, a highly-trained professional therapist and speaker, wrote, “Love this post. The only thing that I would add is “document the journey.” Write down the goal, then write down every step you take to get there. This will encourage you about your progress during down moments, provide accountability and lift you up as you see how much you have done to get to your goal.
Luann does this through her blog, but the rest of us can do it in a spiral notebook or a beautiful blank book. You decide.”
And Susan again!
“My friend, Pamela Wible MD, was the commencement speaker at a medical school in Chicago (Loyola). She encouraged the nascent doctors, in their lunch celebrations with their families, to stand and make a video of their dreams for their lives as physicians, a video that they could come back to in down times.
I could see this stupendous idea happening two ways in the artist support groups Luann is showing us:
1. The video could be made with the speaker’s own phone while she spoke of her vision for her art by a third group member, not the questioner, not the scribe. The questioner would still question. The scribe would still scribe.
2. Alternatively, the video could be made, the scribe could scribe and the speaker could create a script for what she came up with after watching the first video and reading the scribe’s notes. Maybe the “video member” would come ten minutes early and video that polished statement on the speakers own phone. Maybe the speaker would make that video at home. The polished video would be a joy for the artist to come back to, since it contained her distilled thoughts.”
One commenter said, “I have been talking to a couple of friends about just what you have posted… starting a group that will be a support group, upholding each person in the group. In some ways we want it to also be an accountability group. We know sometimes it is just telling someone your plan will help you follow through with that plan… and that person can help with positive reinforcement… being a cheerleader and help in motivation, too.”
Can we socialize, too?
Of course! You can meet up at a friend’s house for a (potluck? Take-out??) dinner, or a private place in a favorite restaurant, and take up your business afterwards.
How do we end?
Many groups create a simple ceremony at the end, to wrap up all that good energy, and leave everyone in a happy place.
You can agree on a group blessing or prayer.
Or gather for a group hug.
Hold hands in a circle, and take turns saying something lovely to the person on your left. (Or right.)
You can sing a little song.
Share your faves in the comment section!