Healing and Joy Experience at UCLA Sculpture Garden
- Category: Culture and Media
Westside Los Angeles Treasure and Co-Therapist
The Westside of Los Angeles, where I live and have my psychotherapy private practice, holds a treasure trove of resources that can be helpful in the eating disorder recovery of my clients. I consider many of these places to be "co-therapists" in our work.
Women I work with are often surprised, reluctant, wary and then eager and happily surprised to when they explore and discover what will nourish their bodies, hearts, minds and souls out in our nearby world.
UCLAFor example, UCLA is a gift that keeps on giving. Many of my clients have been undergraduate or graduate students at UCLA yet may not appreciate that UCLA is still there for them. The campus is far more beautiful than I realized when I was a student there. On weekends it's lovely. On holidays it's almost empty and fantastic.
Joy in The Sculpture Garden
Sunday afternoon I took my two young girlfriends, three and five, (Jane and Debbie - names changed for privacy) and my terrier, Winston, (his real name) to our routine and ever different adventure at the UCLA Sculpture Garden in Westwood, on the Westside of Los Angeles. Each of them, including the terrier, believes that UCLA is their own special place. They know it well, and yet keep making marvelous discoveries.
Sunday the Jane delighted in crawling on and over a crouched Henry Moore bronze woman. Debbie crawled on the ground searching discovering one foot and searching for the other. She was so excited to find the toes of the other foot. Then, on the green grass under the jacaranda trees she worked herself into the figure's position.
We bring a blanket, a tiny picnic and a ball, always. Sunday we had sliced apples and cheese and juice, protecting our snack from Winston. We had heart shaped dog crackers for him. I broke them into small bits. Debbie through the ball as far as she could down the green slopes, hoping to get some bounce distance on the curving cement pathways while Winston charged his tan and white furry body into quick pursuit. Jane followed as quickly as she could in pursuit of him. I gave a tiny treat to Debbie so she could give it to Winston on his tail wagging return. All of us smiled and laughed nonstop, unless someone burst into laughter.
The girls are getting an intimate connection with some of the greatest sculptures in the world. Henry Moore wanted his work in public places where children could climb on them. I read somewhere that he used to massage oil into his mother's back when he was a child. That certainly provides a visual/sensual, cellular link with his work. And the girls stroke his stone woman's back at UCLA. Tiny kids cuddle up to it. A little larger and they climb on it. A little larger and they point and laugh at her bare butt with glee and giggles.
We become part of the experience for others, and art students, especially with a docent, adore seeing the children interact spontaneously with the art.
“All my life in academia, I’ve believed that a university campus ought to be a good deal more than just efficient and functional that it ought to have beauty in it; because I think that young people should be encouraged to grow up in the presence of beauty, to think of art as something you live with rather than something you just look at." Chancellor Murphy reflects in an oral history interview.
Anyone, for the price of finding and paying for a parking place, can walk, read, view art, meditate, explore lush gardens, overhear snippets of fascinating conversation in many languages, read posted announcements on subject you might not ever think of that provoke your curiosity, and maybe even see my little foursome, cavorting as we do.
It's a healing place.