“To be healthy means to be happy, remembering that happiness is not the absence of pain; it’s the presence of love” – Maria Luisa Pasquarella
In this new episode of ImaginAction podcast, I interview Maria Luisa Pasquarella, for her friends “Meri“. We talk about: – her extraordinary encounter with Herns Duplan and what she kept about it in her work and her life – the body as “territory of experience and learning”, as soul and storyteller – the misconception of happiness as the absence of pain – the concept of salutogenesis – the social arts promoting ritualized events – the promotion of creativity and arts as an opportunity to generate beauty, healing and health.
****This is the second ImaginAction podcast in Italian; This post wants to give a taste of the most relevant elements of the interview for non-Italian speakers****
Maria Luisa Pasquarella is a counsellor, dance movement therapist, with a PhD in Science of Education.
The interview starts with a reflection about the conflict between acknowledging the importance of being humble and the desire to be seen, to become important; and “it is a paradox because we are all important, for the simple fact that we were born into the world”.
Meri underlines that the path of the facilitator of evolutive processes is always full of unique encounters. We are not alone.
She talks about her father, as the first meaningful encounter. He was a person that did not know the attitude of the indifference. Thanks to her path, she says, she was able to decode many ancient pearls of wisdom.
She is thankful to all the theatre teachers that she met, and remarkably she tells about the encounter with Herns Duplan that brought new awareness in her life, just after a terrible car accident. “How do we inhabit the space? How do we inhabit our own body?” these are the reflections that emerge from Duplan’s work and in our conversation.
Fully inhabiting our life does require availability to face the pain. “We should not be afraid of the pain. We should not. But of course, we are. However, pain can be fertile humus, a place of new opportunities for transformation. Happiness is not the absence of pain; it’s the presence of love“. From the dualistic misconception happiness vs pain, we pass to the dualistic misconception of health vs illness. Meri illustrates the concept of salutogenesis and her work as a trainer in the health system.
The “body” comes back often in the discourse: the body as the only tool to be present in the world, as Duplan defines it; the body that is already the soul; the body as a territory of experience and learning; the body that wants to move, to play, to breathe.
I ask Meri about Social Arts and their role in taking care of ourselves and the world. For Meri, Social Arts can promote ritualized events and crossroads. With their recognizable structure, rituals allow to dare, to speak the unspeakable, to discover what it is forbidden to find out. The Arts are a primary asset. The Arts can provide nurture. That’s why we would need to have music, theatre and dance sessions in the schools, in the social centres, in the squares. To live in a context of beauty reduces cortisol and promotes health. The Beauty is in Nature, in Love, in Arts.
Allowing people to activate their creative – potentially artistic – processes already generates healing, happiness, salutogenesis.
And this is precious to remind in this pandemic times.