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Date: 01/01/2014
  • Practices
  • Going Forth
  • Emerging Facilitators
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Imaging Our Power

from chapter 10 of Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown; second edition, published 2014. Please acknowledge the source when you use any of these practices.


Time: 40 minutes

Imaging on paper with colors can give us access to intuitive wisdom. Here we allow a subliminal sense of potential to emerge in graphic form. This is especially useful following the Life Map practice.



This process is similar to Imaging with Colors and Clay, so it may help to review the description of that exercise. After people have arranged themselves and their paper and colors, suggest something like this:

Our sense of the power that is in us can be hard to convey in words. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a moment or two…then try to sense what your power is like…  Let images and sensations emerge… Then take your paper and colors and begin to draw how that power feels or appears to you at this moment. Do this quickly, without too much thought.

After five minutes or so, the drawings are shared in small groups. Some are swirls and shadings of color; some are symbolic (a heart with a sun, a tree with deep roots and many creatures in its branches). One woman drew a river winding through the landscape and in its curly rushing waters were many objects: first nuclear missiles and cooling towers, stick figures of soldiers and hungry children, and then as the river progressed, trees, flowers, birds, musical notes. “My power is not to close myself off any more,” she said, “but to be open to the horror and awfulness, to let it all flow through me, and to let it change into what I choose to make happen. These tributaries flowing in are all the people who are doing the same thing. So I guess it isn’t my river or my power anymore, but everybody’s.”

The drawing of one man, an engineer, appeared to be a huge fish net. “I started to draw my anger, see this part here is a gun, but then it started connecting with the anger of others, and then with their needs, and then with their hopes. And now I’m not sure which part of the net I am. I am part of it all. I guess that is my power.”

Contributor/Author: Joanna Macy & Molly Brown