G: Growth and Change
Carl Jung: ‘The afternoon of one’s life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different’.
I recently did some research into art and creativity in the aging population for a talk I gave at the end of last month to open an art exhibition of elderly artists. The research was wonderfully inspiring as were the exhibited artists themselves who had embarked on painting and drawing at a late stage of their lives under the careful and encouraging guidance of professional artist and art historian, Dr. Marguerite Prins who extended the invitation to me.
In this two year research project, results reveal strikingly positive differences in the intervention group (those involved in intensive participatory art programs run by professional artists) as compared to a control group not involved in intensive cultural programs. Compared to the control group, those involved in the weekly participatory art programs, at the one and two year follow-up assessments, reported:
(A) better health, fewer doctor visits, and less medication usage;
(B) more positive responses on the mental health measures;
(C) more involvement in overall activities.
Results (only briefly given here by me) point to the powerful and positive intervention effects of these community-based art programs run by professional artists. They point to true health promotion and disease prevention effects. This latter point demonstrates that these community-based cultural programs for older adults appear to be reducing risk factors that drive the need for long-term care.
This illustrates that aging can be a time of growth and shows the value of digging deep to find that latent creative talent no matter how deeply buried it may be. Let your fingers do the talking and let the ego take a back seat as you allow your growing self to come to the fore.
The garden or a walk in a park or just being still brings to the fore that the seed, the genesis, is there for future growth even if deeply underground and therefore hidden. So it is for our growth.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Deborah from ‘A Liberated Sheep’, who writes exquisite posts and poetry commented on my C post, and included the above poem by Robert Frost. I’m adding it here as it is beautiful and encapsulates growth and decay and works so well with G. Thank you Deborah very much.