4 Elements & 5 Senses

This arts-informed protocol has been adapted throughout the pandemic to help with grounding, anchoring, being in the present moment, and regulating emotions. The current version will be part of our Ghost Ranch retreat in Nov. 2021.

4 Elements & 5 Senses (original version)

On pieces of paper, even sticky notes, write down the 5 senses: taste, smell, touch, healing, and sight (any order; one paper/sense); write down the 4 elements: water, air, earth, and fire (any order; one paper/sense); We are working bottom up so starting with the ground/touch. We will incorporate butterfly tapping/hug (optional).

Earth/ground/touch: with this element and sense combined, I would like for you to sit comfortably either in chair or on the ground, take your shoes off (socks are great), sense the contact points, press into the ground, release your muscles (several times); 10 butterfly taps. Hold, touch, caress a rock, shell or natural object that may have a symbolic meaning to you or has a tactile quality that complements sitting on the ground. Allow a gesture or movement to emerge from this experience. Express this movement unilaterally or bilaterally in the air; duplicate this experience in a drawing/painting material of choice (vertical or horizontal surface); 10 butterfly taps; write down 4 adjectives about this experience (noun re: earth/and “sense verb” touch); Using clay or comparable medium, explore the movement/gesture/rhythm that emerged from your drawing/painting process, consider a sound that may be connected with this experience. Notice any body sensations and be curious with it. While moving your hands across your clay piece, use an “I statement” to express a property or characteristic. 10 butterfly taps.  Identify a property/characteristic that stands out to you and combine this with an adjective from your list of 4 adjectives (sticky notes). End with 10 butterfly taps. 

Air/hearing: with this element and sense, take a minute to listen and feel the air entering and leaving in a 6-3-9 pattern.  Complete 10 butterfly taps. We will do this two times to reinforce a of state relaxation. We are using paper for this experiential so be sure to have an assortment in front of you to cut or tear.  Explore sound and movement with paper bilaterally; you can stack papers or create a form with paper only. Take a look at your form and butterfly tap.  In response to process, write down 4 gerunds and circle the one that stands out to you (sticky notes).

Water/smell/taste: we are focusing on self-regulation (water) and relaxation response (smell/taste), take a couple of sips of cold water and write down a one-word response, imagine eating or literally bite into a piece of fruit and write down a one word response, smell a favorite scent at a comfortable distance and write down a one word response.  Using fluid medium of choice, create an image (bilateral) of your response to water, smell, and taste. Butterfly tap 10. Write down one work response to image (sticky notes).

Fire/sight: Reflecting on all 4 senses and 3 elements, “light the fire of your imagination”(adapted from Elan Shapiro’s 4 elements) by creating an assemblage of your imagery/art forms/artwork into a combined piece. Reflect back on your written response work (sticky notes) and arrange a poem or phrase, include additional words if needed.

Copyright 2021 Elizabeth Warson

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