Friday 7 August 2015

Can't see the wood for the trees - collage

If you're describing a situation as being like 'not being able to see the wood for the trees' I believe the saying you're using may also contain the solution - that is it's not just the problem.

Today I'd like to explore the use of collages to find solutions, and to gain insight on situations you're stuck in. You'll find another way of using the saying in yesterday's post

Collages can be used in many different ways - in this instance however I have developed a collage with this saying in mind. The process involves anyone feeling like they can't see the wood for trees reflecting on the collage, and noticing what they notice about the collage. 

To use a collage effectively you do need to dispense with any disbelief, and get in touch with a creative side of your mind that may just have the solution that is currently eluding you. It's similar to how solutions often come to you when you're not thinking about the problem. In this instance we're just not thinking directly about the problem, but using collages to nudge us to remember something we've been forgetting to realise about the situation.  Try it and see - I agree it's not for everyone. I also believe it's for more people than they think - if my coaching and facilitation clients are anything to go by anyway :-).  

If this saying resonates for you therefore I'd suggest you spend some time answering the following questions before reading my own assessment: 
  • Describe the image
  • What does it remind you of?
  • What would the woman say in the image?
  • What advice would you give the woman in the image?
  • What changes might you wish to make to the image? 
  • What happens if you turn the image 90 or 180 degrees?
  • What constraints might you be unfairly putting on yourself? 
  • If another friend was in a similar situation would you apply the same constraints?
  • If the collage could speak what would it say? This question is aligned with other questions offered when using the soul collage process.  
  • Have an insights arisen as you've answered these questions? What action(s) might that be pointing you towards?  

Here's reflections that have arisen from use of the collage for myself or clients - in no particular order just like a collage - so it may feel a little disjointed :-).

Glasses are used here to depict the ability to see more clearly. One suggestion offered about the glasses was to put on your SUNglasses and take off your DARKglasses :-)
Binoculars or even a telescope might help better than glasses depending how far you want to see. Of course this requires you to decide which way to look first – ie it's not about getting 360 degree view all at once. Interesting as I type that I realise it may be the need to see 360 degrees all at once that is adding stress to the situation. Perhaps it's about picking one small part of the whole to look at and making sense of that before moving onto the next part of the whole.

This collage is currently depicted upside down and that feels appropriate – I have no idea why but that's the beauty of the process we don't need to know why just trust that there’s some insight to be gained from looking at the collage from this angle to start with. Perhaps only to then change that angle!

For some reason life feels less heavy if I turn the image upside down as if all the trivia and nonsense can fall away and leave that which needs to be seen in full sight. They do say that about learning to draw – put what you want to copy upside down, and you'll do a better job of copying it than if it's the right way up. Something about it being easier to see the pattern when we’re unable to make sense of what we’re seeing. May that be the situation here? Another example is proof reading books is to read them backwards as it's then easier to notice inaccurate patterns because you're not reading the content.

You may also want to explore the part of the collage you've thus far ignored because the a part of you that doesn't want to change may just have blanked out the most important bit of the collage. In this instance I've completely ignored the woman in the box!! It may have no meaning or it may be the very thing I'm looking for.

As I concentrate on the box then I get a real sense of the woman making life more difficult than it needs to be – mixing my metaphors for a moment it feels like she's tied herself up in knots! So I'd take a few moments to imagine getting out of the box (untying those knots) and standing in the wood – as I do so I’ve taken a deep breath and feel the need to imagine bare feet on green bouncy moss with the lovely woodland smell wafting through the branches. It feels like time has gone into slow motion with an abundance of time available to do what needs to be done.

Someone else saw the box as depicting the constraints the woman was imposing on herself.

Perhaps a less logical interpreting of the card. My heart notices the blue sky coming through the trees and reminds me of a blog I wrote about finding a common language in a business setting. What it helped me to understand is that as we zoom out of a situation it may be the container within which the situation is held that is the common denominator. So perhaps we're thinking the situation is about the wood, and it's really about the sky or air that filters through every part of the landscape. Or even about the earth we’re walking on under our feet.

As I do this I give myself the following advice: Just concentrate on your vitality and the world will come into focus and the right orientation for it to be very clear. Allow the green moss to be a sign of flourishing, and put your focus onto what ever would support that flourishing for you at this time. Forging ahead would just take you further into the wood and potentially get you lost even more fully. Look to the sky, breath and focus on what you need at this moment in time to flourish and to be sustained for the long term. Put aside the goal for a moment, and check you're in the right state for accomplishing it.

Remember these are my examples and may or may not offer any perspective for you. The technique here is just about spending some time exploring the collage for yourself and noticing what you notice. Or perhaps even better developing your own collage for either the current situation or the desired outcome.

A question for you - has something changed, do you have a sense of what action might be appropriate for you at this time? Does the situation feel, look or sound better?

A word of warning the process can be used time and time again when you're in varying states of stuckness, and applied to any situation in your life. If you revisit a collage for a second time remember the situation you're applying it to is different, and therefore so may be the solution. So answer the questions and notice what difference there are this time.

Have fun and let me know how you get on - the positive or the negative.

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