The Wood

I love running through the woods, I love walking through woods, I love dancing through woods, I love being still in the woods. I spend a lot of time in nature and if for any number of reasons I get caught up in the daily activities and chores and don’t get out for a while I really start to feel it in my mind and body.

One of my favourite poets who writes a lot about nature is Mary Oliver, I would like to share one of her beautiful poems, Wild Geese….

                                                                     You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees 

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body  

love what it loves.                         

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.



‘Moving online with a creative purpose’

Our Creative Movement class moved online during lockdown and has proven to be a ‘God Send!”

We meet every Tuesday morning, as we have done for the past 14 years, to dance, sing and share our gratitudes. We are a strong dancing family with some of the women having been there from the very first class. We dance from our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and hallways….even a pandemic hasn’t stopped us!!

To have the routine and consistency of meeting every week to move our bodies and laugh together has been invaluable to me and the ladies. One of my gratitudes every week is to each and every one of them for showing up and being willing to adapt, which was not the easiest feat having navigated through a fair few technical hitches. But now we are all in the swing with our zoom dancing class, it’s certainly not the same as being together in the studio but we get to see one another’s smiling faces and proves we are creative adaptable beings who will always find a way to Dance!

“We’ve been brought together and we all have this intense sense of thankfulness. I’ve felt more supported than ever before. It’s so natural and organic, once a week, every Tuesday morning, we show up and we’re there for everyone. It’s a real sense of community. It’s deeper than just a class.”- Elizabeth 




Our Life/Arts Programme has moved online!

Image Above: Title ” A golden flight for him and me” – Course participant, July 2019

A temporary shift that’s let our women continue exploring their creativity

Create Recovery’s Life Art Course has run in Brighton for the past four years for women in abstinence based recovery and uses the Life/Art Process® as the core of its teachings. The course is focused on supporting recovery by creatively exploring the spiritual principles that underpin the 12 Step programmes. The essential intention of the 12 Step process is to connect to one’s own understanding of an inner guidance or higher power and the arts can offer a powerful opening to experience that connection. The facilitator of the course, Lauren Dowse, states how the combination of somatic movement, drawing, poetry and performance practices allow the women to gain a greater awareness of the wisdom of their own bodies and awaken their imaginations. This can lead the participants to have powerful experiences of their own inner strength and also creates opportunities for more meaningful connections to others. The course was supposed to run for a year, starting May 2019 and ending May 2020, however has now been extended throughout the summer due to Covid-19.

The lockdown measures due to the pandemic that were put into place in March 2020, meant the project could not continue as the group in the studio. However beyond the uncertainty in our current world, through hard work and funding from Awards for All, National Lottery, Lauren managed to move the sessions online, allowing the participants to continue to share their experiences as a group through art, poetry and movement.

Lauren states, with a smile and look of relief, “Not quite blood but lots of sweat and a few tears went into solving the technicalities of moving online but I was so grateful to have received the help I needed as the sessions are going so well. It didn’t feel right to end the course during lockdown having spent nearly whole year together as a group, so keeping the course running until we could have our final session in person felt really important and keeping everyone supported with a creative practice during this time in isolation was imperative”. Between the sessions Lauren offers Homeplay exercises, shares playlists and resources for them to continue to move, dance, draw and write.

One of the most beautiful and seemingly favourable activities is the movement. This process of connecting to their inner guidance/higher power, had Lauren devise movement metaphors to explore the spiritual principles in a physical way, this has witnessed profound realisations and growth.

“The project is amazing as it’s very subtle with how you can get in touch with your inner self through movement. I find it to be very powerful” -Fi

As the intentions were set upon having that sense of ongoing community online, Lauren found a creative response to continue the beautiful project irrespective of a restrictive situation. During this unprecedented time the online sessions focal points revolve around themes of finding balance, embodying resilience and offering well being resources, with its main focuses on the creative practice and still providing the important connection and community for the participants.

“The project has been amazing in helping me contact and support the creative recovering aspects of myself. The trust I feel is crucial to that process and Lauren has done a wonderful job of seamlessly transferring the group online. Oddly, I have felt freer to be silly and playful in my private space whilst being aware that I am witnessed in the group” – Anna

The abrupt timing of lockdown in March meant that all the women’s artwork they had produced during the previous months of the project were locked up in the studio which had to be closed. So the aim for the final session is to meet in person, when its possible, to return the artwork and poetry and perform their final dances to mark and acknowledge their time together. Also to create a final Self Portrait that will bookend their experience, as they had created one at the beginning of the course over one year ago. To complete the session there will be a closing circle to say their final goodbyes.

           Excerpt from Collective poem written by the participants, September 2019

As God Sees Me

It was like magic,
And came as awake up call,
Wanting to be seen,
Rather than hiding myself in my troubles,
Lovingly held,
To be seen and moving forward,
I am I am Who I am.

My higher power sees me as pure and whole,
I am so deeply loved,
I am guided constantly,
In a Circle of safety.

Image Below: Title “I am Bright Shadow” – Self Portrait. Course participant, May 2019,



Last Night as I was Sleeping

Last Night as I was sleeping.

1st February 2020 

I felt to dedicate a blog to one of my favourite poems. I first found it in a book called “Witness to the fire, Creativity and the Veil of Addiction” written by Linda Schierse Leonard, a jungian analyst and existential philosopher. The book explores the connection between addiction and creativity and examines the lives of some great renowned artistes and people in recovery. It has a hopeful and inspiring message that was transformative for me.

She describes the poem as expressing “the transformation that can happen when one learns to dwell receptively, to watch and listen and be open to what is” 

The process of 12 step recovery essentially is to open one up to finding their own ‘god’ or ‘inner guidance’ of their own understanding, and we find this by continuing to practice Step 11, prayer and meditation on a daily basis, so becoming still, open, receptive.

Below is a drawing I made just before I went in to recovery, it feels even more symbolic now, in retrospect, Hummingbirds resting on an empty ribcage carcass. I loved the image when I first drew it, it felt hopeful and full of life, now I realise it marks the beginning of my new life which is full of hope and I do hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do….

Last Night As I Was Sleeping

Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvellous error!—

that a spring was breaking

out in my heart.

I said: Along which secret aqueduct,

Oh water, are you coming to me,

water of a new life

that I have never drunk?

Last night as I wassleeping,

I dreamt—marvellous error!—

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

were making white combs

and sweet honey

from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvellous error!—

that a fiery sun was giving

light inside my heart.

It was fiery because I felt

warmth as from a hearth,

and sun because it gave light

and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,

I dreamt—marvellous error!—

that it was God I had

here inside my heart.

Is my soul asleep?

Have those beehives that labor

at night stopped? And the water-

wheel of thought,

is it dry, the cups empty,

wheeling, carrying only shadows?

No, my soul is not asleep,

It is awake, wide awake.

It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches,

its clear eyes open,

far-off things, and listens

at the shores of the great silence. 

  • Antonio Machado (1875-1939) 


BirdSong, 2012 – Oil pastel on paper 




25th January 2020 

During my training as a Tamalpa Practitioner I was very fortunate to work with the legendary Anna Halprin and her daughter Daria Halprin who are great masters in the field of expressive and healing arts. It’s a significant time in the Tamalpa and expressive arts community as Anna is in her 100th year.

“Over the course of seventy years in dance, I have honed some simple and direct approaches to movement by focusing on embodied awareness, ordinary movement, how ordinary movement becomes dance, and the power of embodied wisdom. In my search for living myths and rituals, I have evolved powerful processes for helping people make dances that make a difference. These are the LifeArt Process, the Psychokinetic Visualisation Process, the Five Stages of healing, and the RSVP Cycles. All of theses processes provide maps to the territory of the self; they help us make authentic art expressions derived from real life experience.” Anna Halprin Making Dances that matter 

Studying these processes over the past 9 years really have opened my world up to the power and inspiration that a creative practice offers. I have experienced it in myself and I observe it with the many others I teach and facilitate. 

So in this Blog I felt to share on one the greatest resources that has supported me immensely: Scores!!! I use Scores as the basis of all my workshops, they are like a map, guiding the participants into their creative source. As explained by Anna Halprin…

“The word ‘score’ is derived form music and refers to a visual and /or verbal plan the instructs a group of people to carry out prescribed activities to fulfil a particular intention. In addition to the activities, a score delineates place, time, space, and the cast of people, as well as sound and other related elements. It guides performers in what to do, who does it, when to do it, and where to do it. 

One of my “tests” for a good score is: Does it generate creativity in the performers?”

So the intention of a Score is to generate creativity…..it is so rewarding when I see people in my workshops moving, drawing, writing, making creations that could be a transformative and life changing moment for them, as their were many times for me where literally a drawing or piece of writing changed the course of my life by seeing a new possibility or seeing things from a new perspective.  

A simple Self Portrait Score that I did today was: Move for 20 mins, then draw three images reflecting on how am I experiencing myself in this moment – physically, mentally, emotionally, then write a few sentences from each drawing… this is a great way to plug in, tune in to ourselves, to check in and follow impulses and to have fun!. I love dancing, drawing and I always feel invigorated after.

Watch this space I will be posting lots of ideas for scores that you can do at home, out in nature or in a group. Thanks for reading and go well

Lauren x


Mind and Body

Mind and Body:

20th January 2020

I have been so focused of this idea to come out of the mind and get into the body…. so for years I spent focusing on embodied practices, dance and movement which have been hugely valuable but I lost sight of how the mind is so fundamental in how we experience ourselves and how we create our life experience.

As Buddha said ‘The mind is everything. What you think you become”

Now my ultimate practice is this integration of the mind and body. I watch and observe the thoughts I am thinking and know they have direct access to my experience. I practice focusing my mind towards better feeling thoughts and my emotions are my indicators of what I am thinking. I feel grateful that I have a very powerful connection with my body, I know how to track and stay embodied and I know moving and expressing my body has a profound impact on my overall wellbeing. I can feel into my body and I can track how the thoughts I am thinking affect me. I can move my body into a place of freedom and inspiration. In my experience the power of intention and creativity have no bounds. I have literally drawn, itched, danced, shaken, painted, scribbled, sculpted, ran, skipped, rolled, curled and written myself out of utter despair when there really was nothing else I could do to bare myself.
Now I am in a good place not because my outside conditions have dramatically changed but because I am secure in the knowing I can deliberately create my own reality through my intentional thoughts and when I am challenged or stuck I am extra gentle and kind with myself, my ‘go to’ place is not to scold myself anymore, which is a miracle and huge progress for me. When I am gentle, I know the storm will pass and it always does.
I am grateful to have reached this place of awareness: that its important to keep moving and my body and to keep active in my mental practice, to keep thinking better feeling thoughts and to keep moving and….Reaching for that silver lining cause in my experience I have always found one.

This is a drawing I made at the end of my first year of training as a Tamalpa practitioner. It’s called “Rainbows from Scraps”, because I used all the left over oil pastels from an entire year of drawing. Sometimes drawing myself through such harsh pain I wasn’t sure I would come out the other side. Some of my drawings were really gruesome but I have kept them all, they are like maps that navigated me out of a deep dark cave. Giving myself that first year to process my own personal material was fundamental in allowing me to now hold and listen to others. It was an incredible time of growth and lit that spark to offers others a place to create.

I am so excited to share my stories, experiences and knowledge with you and pass on all the incredible tools, gifts, methods and teachings that have guided and supported me along the way.