April 2021: It’s Spring, and the Green Goes Over and Over…
Spring enters with her 10,000 shades of green, and sweeps away the winter chill and last summer’s browns. Photo Wes Chester
BY:Judith Greer Essex Ph.D. LMFT, ADTR, REAT Founding Director, Expressive Arts Institute
The Green Goes Over and Over
It is irrepressible. The daffodils come springing out, green shoots and leaf buds appear overnight. I want to forestall spring and let winter’s cool moist, and gray blanket of fog stay a while longer. But the sweet and cheery faces of the jonquils insist that I look, listen and see the renewal of the earth. Other blossoms are daring to show me – life returns. The scent of the sweet lavender, the fiddleheads, nodes and sprouts emerge. Everywhere I look I see the green force defying winter’s last gasp. No wonder resurrection and renewal are universal themes of springtime. The Gold Finches have on their yellow waistcoats and eggs in the nest are visible. The wren sings full-throated from dawn till dusk. He is so ardent, he throws himself against his own reflection in the window – in a challenge for dominance. New life is coming. Get ready, new life is coming.
What is emerging in your spring, with the promise of a world literally reopening, just around the corner? What new hope, what surprising encounter will you welcome in? Is it time to learn new skills, apply yourself towards your own life’s goals?
Returning to Life and Growth: A Journaling Exercise
The enthusiasm of nature infects me. Amidst this display of renewal, the hidden becomes visible. This of course shows up in my journal. Here are a couple of journal prompts for you. First, open to a butterfly page, two facing pages, then:
Get every version of green mark maker you have; colored pencil, gouache, watercolor, markers of all sorts and make a page of green. Just make marks. thick and thin, long and short, straight and curvilinear. Make blobs and spots. Be inspired by the transition to green in your own life. Then contemplate this page and respond to it with words. Maybe tuck them into the corners and around the edges. I used several kinds of colored pencils, several kinds of markers, acrylic and watercolor paint, two kinds of pastels, gouache, and glitter glue. Around the edges I wrote two quotes from poets I love that have green in the line.
Alternatively, find green in your collage pile. Rip strips or cut circles and fill the pages that way. Add textured papers and other bits – like small buttons or swatches of fabric. Leave space to write a little bit about the “echoing green” as Blake calls it.
What does the green have to say to you? I found it very refreshing after having spent the last year on the screen. I have learned in that time that I can teach expressive arts therapy and coaching effectively online. By learning things that I didn’t want to learn and doing things I was’t sure would work, I have discovered how to connect in virtually in a honest and effective way. So the green for me reflects my own growth, as well as what’s outside. The student feedback is good, and I see their own “greening” in progress. Still , I am looking forward to this summer, when we will meet in person for those parts of the training that most need human contact.
I hope your Journaling leads you to to your own “greening moments”