Richness or significance, especially in evoking an association or strong emotion”definition provided by the Free dictionary
The first expressive arts therapy book I read in grad school was an essay book that sampled the many forms that artistic modalities could be used therapeutically. It was inspiring to read, and really resonated with who I had always been. I was excited to meet my tribe.
The chapter that truly caught my breath was about music therapy. The author talked about working with a client and re-creating the sonorous envelope from the in utero experience to facilitate emotional healing from the person’s earliest experiences. This blew me away, thinking about how powerful music and sound could be in the healing process. The notion of being tucked inside an envelope of music and sound… sounded so restorative to me.
From this chapter, I took away the importance of resonance, which in my mind is a deep reflective response that validates something your body, mind, and spirit needs to be witnessed. Resonance reminds me of how an animal, like a whale, will call out when they have been separated from their pack. The deep emotion, the deep need, is not one that they shy away from expressing, rather they view it as essential to their survival.
Unfortunately, for many of us human types, we have either long stifled the natural expression of pain, causing it to be deeply buried in our psyche, or overly immersed ourselves inside of it— hoping this time someone would notice. Either way, both create tension and suffering that call out for resonance.
Resonance happens when your mind and heart come into sync”Ravindra Shukla
It’s a beautiful thing when you find someone who is capable of responding to your pain in a way that makes you feel seen. It is also possible for you to develop this skill for yourself, which will either enhance the healing or supplement it if you don’t have a solid support system.
The reflective art making that I teach my clients is a form of providing resonance for oneself. The art becomes the mirror that captures the emotions and validates them. When this happens, it allows your whole system to relax as it no longer has to hold onto that which needs your attention.
Other small ways of finding resonance that come to my mind are: finding quotes that mirror your experience or match your tone, songs and lyrics that speak to how you’re feeling, reading stories of people who have gone through similar experiences. This one reason why we’re drawn to connect with one another.
How about your ways of finding resonance? Let’s share ideas and talk about it in the comments below!
-Stephanie McLeod-Estevez, LCPC, is an art therapist and breast cancer survivor, and a former oncology counselor at the Dempsey Center. She began Creative Transformations to help others who are healing emotionally from cancer. Through Creative Transformations, she works with people in person and online to offer the self assessment tool, cancer coaching, an Art as Therapy program,virtual workshops, and this weekly blog. Sign up today so you never miss a blog and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.