create. heal. inspire. kara jones (mother henna).

So glad to have Kara Jones sharing her ideas here with you today. Kara is such a beautiful creative soul and I know you’re just going to appreciate her healing prompt and artistic vision. She is also including a giveaway here today for oue readers, so be sure to read through to the end of the post for the details. xo. ~Beryl

Body Map 
creative prompt from Coach & heARTist Kara LC Jones
inspired by Arts For Social Change by Beverly Naidus

When my son died at birth, I quickly checked out of my body.  There was so much disappointment, so much grief, and feelings of how my body betrayed me and him entirely.  Later on when talking with a local law maker about getting a state law changed for stillbirth documentation, I was told to my face that I did not give birth to a child.  I was told I had a fetus and *it* was dead.  The law makers were trying to intimidate and shame me — and other mothers like me — into being quiet, leaving them alone, to cease our efforts in the fight for women’s rights.  While I knew intellectually what they were doing, it was hard on me emotionally because I was still in a crisis of faith about how my body failed me.  With time, conscious processing, and art making, I’ve been able to explore these issues and try to find ways back into my Power.

So today’s prompt is a share for you to explore your relationship with body.  Of course this could work for anyone, but I’m also offering this specifically to women who’ve had pregnancy or infant death losses.  Just seems to me that this kind of loss complicates our relationships with our bodies, and however empowered we felt prior to the death, there is some shake up with our bodies in grief’s wake.  So here’s how you can creatively explore this:

  •     The first thing you need is the outline of your body or a body shape you feel represents you.  You can either:
    -Get large sheets of butcher paper on which you outline your real body, full size.  This can be a very powerful way to work because you are looking at your actual body shape.
    -OR you can do line drawings in a more representative shape — click the image at the top of this post to see full size version.  You’ll see that I used a very simple outline.  For me, this worked to show the plump, roundness of my body – and it also showed how dis-empowered I felt in my arms.  Empty arms idea.
  •     Once you have your body shape, duplicate it three times.
  •     Then consider how you feel/felt in your body
    1) at the moment of trauma,
    2) when in an unsafe environment, and
    3) when you feel like you are in a safe environment
  •     Ask yourself what color represents each of these times?  Consider how your body felt in each of these times?  Are there areas that felt achy or soothed?  Are there words to represent various parts of your body?  What did the areas surrounding your body feel like?

If you look at the full size version of the image I included at the top, you can see how I played with the areas of my body that felt most affected to me.  The head, the heart, the stomach, and the womb.  You can see how the story of each of those areas changed over time.  You can see how the coloring and lighting changes from version to version.  You could optionally do a fourth body version to explore intentions you’d like to set for your body relationship going into the future.  All of this is just a way to map the story of body with which you are living, to make conscious, the things you may not have realized are at play.

Just try it and see what you discover.

If you do blog post to show results, please feel free to post comment here to share with us!

——

GIVEAWAY

Kara has generously offered to giveaway a free registration for her workshop – Grief: Finding Our Way home. You can read more about this workshop here:

http://www.motherhenna.com/events/events_grieffindingourway.htm

To enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post: How has the relationship with your body changed since your loss?
  • You can gain additional entries by following Kara on facebook and/ or twitter ~ be sure to leave a separate comment for each one.

The contest closes January 10th and a winner will be announced January 11th on the facebook page!

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Comments

  1. I lost my baby at 11 weeks in September 2011. Immediately, I felt as if I wasn’t living in my body. I know now, that it’s normal to feel that was as I was dealing with shock and devestation from my loss. As time passed. I began feeling betrayed by my body. A woman’s body is designed to carry and deliver a baby. Why had mine failed me in every way? My body did not allow me to carry my precious baby to term. My body didn’t allow me to deliver. Why? Now, my husband and I are trying to conceive, but it’s extremely challenging in tracking ovulation so I can get pregnant. I still feel betrayed by my own body, but I hope and pray that as time goes on I will trust my body once again to carry and deliver a healthy, full-term baby.

  2. I have a very hard time with changes that started during pregnancy, I had broken a bone in my foot while pregnant with River. I was on bedrest from Dec 28-mid March because they couldn’t do surgery with the pregnancy. We took a huge hit to our income, my husband worked 50 hours and then had to come home and take care of me, clean, cook, he did everything and a dang good job of it too!
    The goal was to make the bone heal so I wouldn’t have to have surgery after he was born. Surgery would have meant 6 weeks (minimal) that I could not carry him or pick him up. We made it, I was released back to work by the end of March, finally got off of crutches and the CAM walker by the middle of April and he was born April 30th! What a relief!
    Little did we know we were only given 6 short days and he would be taken from us one day after a perfect check-up. He did not wake up the next morning, and our lives changed forever. I still feel cheated that we went through all of that to make sure I was healthy and my body would be healed in order to give him the best care I could only to end up with empty arms.

  3. I follow Kara on FB

  4. Here’s my blog post on this creative prompt (eek!)
    http://hopesjourneyblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-body-map-of-grief.html

  5. It took me some time (and not a few tears!) to get through this exercise, but I’m very glad I did. Thank you for posting it.

    My completed project is here: http://luckyredrabbit.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/my-body-map/

  6. Hope and Sara, thank you so much for sharing your experiments with this prompt on your blogs! So moved to know you both found the idea helpful!

    Kasie and Deanna, I share so many of the thoughts you both posted here. Just like the grief experience shattered everything else for me, it also shattered my relationship with my body for sure. It did take a lot of time — and exploring thru creative prompts like this — and doing mindfulness meditation — to get back to some sort of basic relationship with my body that was helpful and healthful. It’s very hard to live with the unanswerable questions like WHY?! Right? Sometimes, doing prompts like this helped me step outside the Why? and look at it all with a slightly different perspective — and sometimes that helped.

    Anyway, remembering all our children and sending supportive vibes to all of you!!
    Miracles,
    k-

  7. I did do an art piece a little while back that I posted on my blog here: http://www.darlingido.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/inbetweener.html
    I’m also keen to do the one you’ve suggested as well…and your entire course!
    My relationship has definately changed since the birth and death of my baby. My womanhood feels gone because my womb was taken the night he was born. Someone has suggested I still have my ‘spirit womb’ but it certainly doesn’t feel like that now, even almost 13 months later. I have suffered, by baby suffered, my body has suffered, my relationships and the intimacy in my relationship with my husband.
    Thankyou for this.

  8. My son was born at 23 weeks, 6 days as the result of my incompetent cervix. Gavin survived for 60 and 1/2 beautiful hours, but in the end the sweet little lungs that mustered a cry when he was born, took him out of this world. He literally had a chest full of air but nothing in his lungs. In the almost 5 months since his death, I have struggled with self confidence. I feel betrayed by my own body. My son was healthy, growing little boy. He was only born so early because my body was too weak to carry him full term. It continues to be a long, difficult journey to recovery. I have a hard time looking at a body full of literal and emotional scars. Any confidence in who and what I was before my son was born, is completely gone now that he’s dead.

    I absolutely love the ideas of painting something that symbolizes yourself at different stages in the grief. It’s beautiful and I thank you for the wonderful idea!

  9. Kate & Ashley, thank you so much for your comments, too.

    Kate, I soooo resonate with “I am lost. I am in between.” When Kota first died, my husband Hawk called it, “the space between the moments.” Thank you so much for sharing your post with us…and I’m so sorry…

    Ashley, “a body full of literal and emotional scars” — that is so visual. Again, I am so sorry. As always I wish we were all meeting for different reasons…

    So honored to know the prompt has resonated with so many.
    Remembering our kids and re-member-ing our community!
    k-

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  1. […] creative prompt comes from a post at Faces of Loss. The project is to create a body map of yoursef portraying the relationship with the body during a […]

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