As a psychotherapist, I help individuals come to terms with psychological insight and growth that tends to be fairly abstract; so much of it is conceptual and I longed to make our internal work more tangible. Over the years, I have developed a therapeutic modality to help clients get in touch with a deeper part of themselves, through an imaginal technique where they encounter what is at the center of their core. Existing in modern times is unfathomable to fully process, and getting in touch with our core helps us encounter a solid felt sense of self in the midst of chaos. The core is an internal essence of who you are — a collection of you, your values, and what matters to you in this lifetime. Although this is only the starting place, the real work comes in what we do with this practice of re-encountering our core.
A liquid hot ball of magma is what I encountered the first time I slowed down and meditated on what existed before I got called into this lifetime. As I sat down to watercolor the image, I found myself adding hues of blue water around the fiery orange center to represent the emotions I feel surrounding my core. On one side of the circular image, I layered in years of granite, the trauma once embedded in my core before I had psychic boundaries, that I worked to push out as I grew my newly re-established core. Later when I returned to continue the piece, I added a crust to give it a protective layer and made a conscious choice to add mountains above the layers of compacted granite, illustrating how some of the trauma was pushed so far out of the center of my core that it now became the high points I often stood atop, reflecting and savoring my growth.
This was the first of nearly 200 versions in the series of mixed media paintings and sculptures that comprise my major body of work, The Core’s Lure. Often, when I re-encountered my core in relation to my current psyche’s processing, I document it as a form of materializing and substantiating it’s imaginal expression. One of the most critical pieces to this therapeutic framework is embodying the felt sense of a core within the somatic experience. I began to birth a new organ within my nervous system. My liquid hot ball of magma became so hot it could hold the best and the worst of my life and still grow bigger; my core became a savoring storage unit. This imaginal-embodied-practice created a physical place within me that I can go to when I feel dysregulated to center and ground myself, or at any moment I need to tap into the deepest parts of me to connect with the core beliefs I have stored. As one works to re-encounter and manifest their core through art, charms, altars, and most of all, by practicing feeling this growing core within your physical body over time, we establish a centralized, internal, consistent core that creatively supports our psychological and nervous systems.