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Art and Resilience

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

When one begins to look at the Arts as a mode of research and inquiry, their understanding of using the Arts for growth, change, and expression deepens. Expressive Arts is a practice that uses different modalities of The Arts as a mode of questioning, and as a mode of research. Research about themselves, about the world, or about any other subject that sparks the curiosity of the doer. Resilience is defined by one’s ability to bounce back from stressful moments, the ability to show up to your loved ones, to your work after having experienced a rather challenging situation, to find hope even in times of despair and to find the strength within to keep going.

I believe that the arts are a significant mode of enabling resilience. To immerse oneself in art making (whether it is movement, visual art, writing, theatre,etc.) where the emphasis lies in the underlying learnings, is pivotal in building resilience. Let’s elaborate on one such process - any visual art process is an ongoing process of learning, then practicing, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes and on it goes. When the intent of the doer is inquisitiveness coupled with continuous exploration, it teaches the artist to be a learner each day. Even if there isn’t any quantifiable progress day to day, the mere excitement of trying to better the experience amounts to unsurmountable progress in the long run. Resilience is a significant virtue in an artist that has pioneered or has near - perfect skill sets in their art form.

Once one has learnt resilience in this way, it is only a matter of time before it begins to seep into their lives, in their day-to-day functioning. This isn’t the norm of course, however it is rampantly present among most people that surrender themselves to a certain practice. Personally for me, my classical training has played a mammoth role in the way I approach things in my life. It was also the way I approached my training that made a world of difference. The pursuit of working hard - not to chase perfection - but to hone honesty and do your best without expectations. Like I said right at the beginning - the intent is pivotal. I was under the impression that resilience and surrendering to an art form is easier when one starts training at a young age - however today I know better. Because when I look back at my younger self at which time I was more actively involved in my classical training - I didn’t show or know resilience. In fact, it’s probably in these past three months that I have begun to truly know what resilience is, and how I can practice it.

To know and learn concepts is one thing, but to truly imbibe these learnings in our life is a whole new ball game that requires immense patience, conscious and active participation as well as consistent attempts. Today, the buds of resilience are young, yet I can’t help and notice that they exist within, while smiling lightly. For me, all that I know about resilience is through the Arts.

If you have experienced something similar through any other mediums (whether art mediums or other) and would like to share - please do in the comments below. I would love to know how resilience has shown up for others.

Written by Charvi Budhdeo

Founder of The Movement Spectrum


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