We had Art Therapy today. Must be Wednesday.

Three people from last week did not show up, two new people showed up. Except they are not new since the moderator and one of the participants know them. Hey, how are you, long time. And so on. This is a safe place after all. Five women and me. The ratio is right again.

Today’s challenge: represent your support network. Is it internal? External? Faith based? What does your armour look like? Armour? There is the battle cry again. A subject for a different day at the sessions. No armour here, though others do not appear to have any problems with the concept.

I had a lot of trouble with this one. Kept looking for the inner child to show itself. Damn child stayed well hidden. Probably behind its armour. No, no armour here, and none for the inner child.

I took a lot of notes again. The session started with people talking a bit about themselves and what they are feeling. I was quiet. Not sure if I am ready for that yet. Which, you have to admit is bizarre. Here I am laying myself bare in a very public blog, but have difficulty expressing myself in an atmosphere of trust and safety.

There is a lot of anger. Different people expressing it. Same discussion as last week. Anger at people who do not seem to understand. Anger at the inconsiderate nature of people. Anger at being abandoned by close friends who cannot handle the change.

There is also a certain amount of condescension. A safety blanket of sorts. It manifests itself in subtle ways. An interesting aspect of belonging to a private club. We are invited to go shopping, but we turn it down. We don’t need to go shopping, we are not materialistic. The same sentiments were expressed last week, by a different person. Again, no one objected to the sentiment, or even commented. There appeared to be tacit agreement. Some of us are more empathetic than others. People are mainly concerned about themselves. Life is too short for us to worry about others. Are we being patronizing to those who are unlucky enough to not have been enlightened by having cancer?

One person talked about losing long standing friendships. The relationship has changed. Shopping is of no interest. Life has changed, but the friends are still looking for the old relationship. They do not seem to come to terms with the changes and how they will affect things.

One friend wanted to talk about the view from the other side. It was not to be. I was disappointed. Wondering what that was. I will have to take it up with my friends and see what comes out. It should make for an interesting conversation. This participant did not have the energy to listen to the other side, or the patience, or anything else. She listens to her friends talk about things that are no longer important to her, but are still important to her friends. Frustrating.

How much accommodation should we accord our friends? How much should be accommodated by our friends?

People need to do some self-reflection without it being started by someone else. I am not sure I agree with that one. We all need prompting from something or someone to wake us up. Look at us, the enlightened ones. We are self-reflecting, but only because we have been forced into it. Life would have gone on as before otherwise.

Comparisons were made to the Wizard of Oz. We keep looking externally for confirmation that we have brains, hearts, courage. All are within us, if we were only to look. There are lots of parts in our insides which take a lifetime to know. I think that is way too optimistic.

The Paintings:

Healthy Cell

She used green in her painting, even though she does not like green. Never wears it. She radiates from the inside out, drawing a cell, or is it an amoeba, or  a jelly fish. She does not know why she drew what she drew. It looks like a vulnerable inside protected by a more hard core exterior. Green representing spring, rebirth, new life. After all the feedback, and there was lots all centered on the protective shell, which still allowed the inside to radiate outwards, the participant said that what it says to her is that “I am here for you”. It begged the question, who is you? Sorry, what she meant to say is, “I am here for me”. That is an interesting thought that goes back to the original discussion we had about it being about you, and how much accommodation should be given and so on.


Water makes a return appearance. In this case it represents the friends and relatives who are there to support you. Surrounding you with calm and serenity. The oyster is her protected by the shell that is open to accept the radiation that is coming from the sun and others. Allowing her to help others and give of herself. The oyster represents purity and happiness.

A connection between the oyster and having to look deep within yourself? The expression that was used, I think was diving deep. Probably the most interesting comment of the day was given by the oyster: Give yourself permission to ask for what you need.

Strength from Within

Strength comes from within, while we are still nurturing others. Should we be more careful when communicating with others? Do we risk upsetting the equilibrium of relationships by being too open? This participant seems to think so. She painted her need to look inside for her support. Finds it exhausting to look outside. Energy sucking at ts best when you have to look outside for your strength. She painted herself as the centre radiating inner strength while protected from the outside by a thick wall. An internal light that needs protection from the  outside.

6 Circles

Six circles. She does not want to talk about her painting. Could not get into it.But she is pushed just a bit to tell more. She talks about the colours:

  • Blue=loyalty
  • Green=being grounded
  • Purple=creativity
  • Yellow=assertiveness
  • Grey=reflectiveness

There was a lot of comment on this painting. Circles leaning into one another, the colours bleeding into each other. A relationship between all the characteristics that are important to her. This has less to do with strength and support, and more to do with expectations of others. The conversation turns to support for the participant. She has done well to express herself. better than she thought. She wanted to draw balloons, but did not feel she a good enough artist to pull that off. As it is, are these asteroids colliding, or flowers?

She has grown up with negative messages, struggling to find her voice. Railing against all the negative messages that are pointed in her direction, She sent an eMail to someone cutting off the relationship . Should we cut people off? At what point? For what reason?

One participant did not wish to participate She drew three pages, participated in the conversations, but nothing abut her paintings. I hope she comes around next week. She may be robing us from an experience.

Where does strength come from. I have written about this before. Inner strength, I feel, is fed from outside support and help. Faith is definitely a big player. As are conversations. this bog which gives me a venue for dealing with thoughts. I guess that means that comments from readers are also very valuable.

Faith, Friends and Internal

My painting represents me at the centre, fed by my Faith (the nine pointed star), and my friends and relatives surrounding me. How great an artist am I! The brown stuff at the bottom is me being grounded. There was a lot of conversation around this. Maybe because I went first. Does my Faith bring people in to support? It should make for an interesting conversation, the role of Faith in one’s life. Whether the Faith in you attracts others,  or others create the Faith in you. Another day.

I said  at the beginning that there is a lot of anger in the room. Not at each other. Another item that came up was the giving nature of some of the people in the room. I asked everyone in the room if they were givers. All saw themselves as being givers, a couple hesitated a bit saying only part of the time.

The book, AntiCancer talks about the C personality. Among other things, it mentions that one of its characteristics is that they are generally givers and not takers. I brought the book in. I had made reference to it the previous week. One of the participants was reading the section, which I had bookmarked, detailing our personalities. Interesting reaction,a s one person disagreed with this entirely. Not believable, she said My cousin Ruja said the same thing when I was first diagnosed. She says it makes us more vulnerable. In a room of six people who have cancer, 6 people are more or less givers.

One person said that people would probably not fess up to being takers. Does this make takers lesser people? No judgments here. I asked a free question, allowing people to answer any way they wished to. There is a negative connotation to being a taker, but really and truly, no judgments here.

I was discussing this with Leslie, who wondered if the giving is hiding those other emotions. Could it be hiding the anger that is already there? Is it masking some other feelings that are just waiting to get out and manifest themselves?

An interesting two hours.

© 2010 I Have Cancer Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha