A lapa is an outdoor structure, popular in South Africa. Generally, this design is made up of a thatched roof that commonly rests on wooden poles. There is nothing spectacular about this structure, other than signifying a circular space where close friends gather and meet. Generally built-in close proximity to the domestic living area, it is an atrium where your closest friends and family spend time with you. As a previous ICU nurse, the word atrium naturally also navigates me towards the physical body. In the context of the body, the atrium has two primal functions: firstly, it receives blood from the body to pump through to the ventricles, and, secondly, within the walls of the atrium are the embedded nodes that initiate electrical impulse for heart contractions. It’s the centre point of what makes you tick.
From whichever point you view it, the atrium is a pretty powerful place wouldn’t you say? In many ways, it is the place from where you generate your ideas and initiate yourself from within yourself towards your environment. Regardless as to whether that context is physical or social, it is nothing short of essential that you should take great care of this space.
In creative recovery, protecting your atrium starts with an awareness of those who acknowledge and support your creativity. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron speaks of how important creating a sense of safety around people is. To visualize your autonomy, Cameron suggests the following:
Take a sheet of paper. Draw a circle. Inside the circle, place the names of those you find supportive. Outside the circle, place the names of those you must be self-protective around just now.
You can add names to the inner and outer areas as you find appropriate using this visualization as a map, as Cameron suggests. I have personally found this to be a very insightful exercise as to whom I have excluded from within my atrium.