by Melissa Rose
When I was studying Art Therapy as an undergrad, I knew I wanted to use creativity to help and connect others, and while I loved the visual mediums of painting, sculpting, collage and drawing, my own personal passion was for writing and performing, which was not included in my college coursework. It was then that I discovered TLA Network and from the moment I learned about the organization, I knew that it was the closest description to my own desire to build stronger communities and people through the spoken word.
Since becoming involved with the organization, I have experienced several of the online classes which have enriched my own personal and professional development, as well as connected with other individuals who also share the vision of transforming others through the written, spoken and sung word.
The Network has focuses on three areas for particular advancement and development:
- Growth of the Field and Profession of TLA: In coming together to amplify TLA, we can both grow the field of study that is TLA and the profession of making a living from TLA. Such growth also helps those who have been doing TLA without a way to name their work in a larger context.
- Connection and Networking: Through providing opportunities for individuals and groups to meet, share resources, teach and learn from each other, and help enhance one another’s work, we bridge many fields and traditions, groups and institutions. Such a network allows all involved to make informed decisions about the direction of their TLA work, and provides opportunities for alliances, joint projects, education, and inspiration.
- Right Livelihood through TLA: Right Livelihood, a Buddhist term connoting the work we do in the world to serve our communities and make the most of our gifts, when applied to TLA encompasses the art of facilitation, ethics, engaging diversity, the business of TLA, and self-care.
I believe in the power of words and that through telling our stories and expressing ourselves and experiences, we not only deepen our own self awareness, but form stronger bonds with others in the communities we serve. Through sharing our words and experiences as TLA practitioners, we grow our strengths as members of a larger collective to learn from.