Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Boldness Totem

In response to my earlier post about my new archetypal red shoes, writer Mamie Potter sent this photo she took of a pair worn by a guest at her daughter's art show.
The same glorious shoes (almost.)
Red shoes happen to be a hot style item at the moment, but I have a feeling they're going to be a spicy part of my life for a long time after the fashion is over.

Does anyone else have a Boldness Totem?

I had one in the first grade: a starched cotton dress, blue as the Caribbean with white smocking that my grandmother added. It was my lucky dress. I don't think I've had such an item of lucky clothing since. But I do now.


Billie said...

billie said...
Clothing wise? Lots, over the years.

Lately, as in since we got horses, my desire for clothing runs towards expensive riding breeches and boots.

I haven't yielded to this much, but last year around my birthday I did buy myself a really nice pair of half chaps in soft, buttery leather at my daughter's insistence. She was right - they make a huge difference when riding and somehow the way they look and feel on my legs does imply boldness.

2:57 PM

Peggy said...

Anything buttery would work well for me.

Sounds like you have such amulets in categories other than clothes? Yes?

billie said...

I have a Special Forces challenge coin that matches the one in my first novel - quite a coup getting it - and my son is very envious. :)

I also have a figurine that a fellow sandplay therapist made - a woman sitting with one arm raised to the sky. It represents triumph to me, in some way, and makes a small appearance in the second book.

And there is a little horse figurine that showed up sometime in one of my daughter's massive bins of toy animals - a little horse that is very bold in form and made of metal - I'm not even sure where it came from, it's quite old. It plays a fairly major part in the third novel.

Peggy said...

So interesting that these pieces show up in your novels. Sounds like one appeared in your fiction first.

Your triumphant figurine reminds me to try to find a picture that used to inspire me. A tourist picture my husband took of me in front of Winged Victory at the Louvre. I'd always heard of that sculpture and had expected it to be about 4 feet tall. Instead it was enormous, and the most triumphant thing I ever saw.

Do the kids you work with in your sandbox therapy get adopt any special pieces? Do they use them in any way we could all learn from?

billie said...

Peggy, sandplay therapy is totally based in Jungian psychology, so every figure used is meaningful in an archetypal way.

I am blown away (positively) on a daily basis by what happens in my office. Each client is in his/her own process, which in some ways dovetails with my own as the therapist, so I'm not sure what one person does in the sand speaks to anyone else.

It does sometimes happen that particular objects get used by many clients in the same time period. It's as though the object takes on an energy and several different clients pick up on it and use it in their work.

While I'm not sure one person's process can speak directly to anyone else, the sandplay work as a whole is incredibly inspirational, and I have been asked by a number of people to write a book about what my experiences both doing sandplay work as a client and as a therapist.

It feels so sacred to me, though, I'm not sure I want to process it that way. As it is, I often feel the work in the sand is akin to a powerful spiritual experience.

billie said...

Oh, and meant to say... just to clarify for anyone reading about sandplay therapy here - while originally developed by Dora Kalff as a technique for children, sandplay therapy is quite commonly used with adults.

Nearly all of my clients (at least 3/4 of which are adults) end up doing some bit of work in the sand during their time with me. And a significant number of adult clients seek me out expressly to do sandplay work. It's extremely effective when other types of therapy have gotten stuck or failed outright.

Trisha said...

Last night my writing group (including Mamie Potter of the gorgeous red shoes pic) talked about your red shoes and the idea of a totem embodying a desired quality or qualities.

Our discussion and your shoes inspire me to want my own boldness totem. For me, boldness is courage in action. While I have buckets of courage, I often hold back on putting my courage in motion. This, sadly, is something of a self-preserving habit. A habit I want to quit! So, I'm on the lookout for my own boldness totem. I trust that just the right one will come to me.

Peggy said...

Billie, thanks for the background on sandplay. My only experience is growing up at the beach, and that was sufficient to show me the potential.

Trisha, I'm glad the totem conversation carried over into your writing group. I too expect that the right object will present itself to you soon.

I just now realized that I also have a pendant my husband gave me, a silver circle around a triangle around a citrine that represents the throat chakra and speaking. Anything that reminds me what I'm about helps some.

Erin Blaskie said...

I have many boldness totems but I think what happens with me is that I go well beyond the 'normal' sense of fashion and wear whatever I feel good in. Leopard print shoes, red shoes, zebra print shoes, etc. Crazy handbags. I love it all and I don't wear it for anyone else - only me :)


Erin Blaskie
Business Services, ETC

Debra Whaley said...

Peggy, I wear a large heart necklace that is engraved on one side with my daughter's names, and on the other side with my husband's and my name. I have many other necklaces, but lately this is the only one that I want to wear. I find myself reaching for it during different times of the day. I run my fingers around the names and it makes me feel safe and grounded.

When I had this piece made, I had no idea how much power and meaning it would take on for me, but when I am wearing it, it is a totem that embodies family for me.

I tend to collect many items that take on meaning for me, later. Sometimes, I'm not quite sure why I am attracted to something at first, and later, it becomes a totem for me.

Billie, it was very interesting reading about sandplay! I also enjoyed hearing about your totems.

Peggy, any others that you would care to share?

Peggy said...

I like the range in style of these: from Debra's family heart to Erin's freedom to do leopard or whatever.

Do I have any others? Not at the moment, unless I'm forgetting something. No wait--my friend Carrie brought me a pendant from Australia that's a cross-section of a nautilus shell. That for me symbolizes the cosmic ocean and the literal water that are always somehow involved in my writing--most particularly the novel in progress now. Wearing it gives me confidence about that book.

Different totems for different times and projects.

I was interested by what Billie had to say about some items in sandplay being picked up again and again by different clients the same day. Not sure what I make of it....but it surely seems significant.

billie said...

Great post and comment thread going here! I'm so enjoying all the responses.

Another totem for me - the stone fluorite, which is said to be a very grounding, healing stone. It has green and purple and pink and white in it, and I have always been drawn to it.

Interesting thing is that I have a huge piece of it in my sandplay collection and many clients seem drawn to it. It gets used a lot, and even folks not doing sandplay therapy formally will pick it up and hold it while talking.

I keep a much smaller one in my purse, and another one on my little altar table.

I wish the window in my bathroom could be made of a thin sheet of this stone - the light coming through it would be healing in and of itself.

Peggy said...

I'll bet you could arrange to have a window of that stone. Or maybe just a pane.

Ask at one of those stone companies that sells a million kinds for things like flagstone walks. I know there's one outside of Apex. Or on the other end, there's a rock and gem store in Winston-Salem. I think.

This sounds very do-able.

Trisha said...

Found my boldness totem. Rather, it found me. A chunk of fire opal my brother gave me years and years ago. An image of it popped in my head last night. Hadn't thought of the opal or seen it in 4-5 years because it's been stashed in a safe.

Now, this is not just any old opal. A raw (unpolished, uncut) stone, its color is deep gold, almost orange with the famous opal iridescence.

"Fire" is what I've needed to take bold action. Corny, but it works for me.

Thanks, folks, for sharing your ideas and inspirations.

Peggy said...

I never heard of fire opal. It sounds fabulous. And perfect for your purpose.

And the idea of a CHUNK! is pretty amazing. I'll be interested to hear what you're fired up to do.