Louella Morgan-Richer recently graduated as a Health Arts and Sciences student in the Transformative Language Arts concentration. In reflecting on her journey, she discusses how the Goddard Graduate Institute experience changed her art and life. Her art work, evident in these photos, has been shown around her community, and all of this art work was integral to her thesis also. Here is a brief interview with her.
What brought you to Goddard in the first place?
I came to Goddard in the Health Arts and Sciences program after graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. My intention was to continue working with those diagnosed with cancer and their families and to expand my knowledge beyond nutrition to incorporate a whole body wellness.
How did your study shift over time to what it became?
My studies shifted almost immediately. After reading many memoirs my first semester, I began to write pieces of my own story. Quickly I began to realize that the more memoir pieces I wrote, the better I began to feel. After six years of grieving the loss of my parents, I began to move through it and analyze it and began to find a place of healing. By my second semester I added the Transformative Language Arts concentration to my degree and began to research how expressive writing can raise the resilience in caregivers. Through my next two semesters I began to study scars and trauma and their impacts on our bodies and I added other embodied practices which led to my first art show and reception, a published piece of art in an online publication, and I became a Certified Yoga Teacher.
Tell us about the essence of your study.
This work is both a memoir and a record of studying and then utilizing various embodied practices to unleash stories – and grief from my body. It wasn’t until recently I realized the lives we live, the experiences we have, the scars that are left all continue to make an impact on both our mind and body long after the experience occurs. This work reads as the journey unfolded with short snippets of inspiration, inquiry and investigation that generated many bodies of work. Through diving into painful experiences utilizing different embodied practices I argue that we can relinquish such stories that cause dis-ease within our bodies.
What difference, so far, as doing, being, and knowing this work made in your life?
This work has changed my life. It has given me the space to reflect and heal from my own life challenges and I have gained resources/embodied practices that help me explore the texture of my own suffering. Through my practices I have learned how to emerge through my own experience, not in spite of it. I am currently showing my artwork in both a local business and at the Burlington Art Hop and I am facilitating my second eight week workshop series at Hospice Volunteer Services. I also recently started the conversation with a few acquaintances to do a co-facilitated retreat that will focus on writing our stories and trauma focused yoga.