The Art of JOS by Tova Lieber


Tova Lieber, June 2016


I have the gift of over twenty years experience being a mother and many life lessons have been learnt.  Now I must unlearn them and step back, allowing my grown sons to flourish in their own arenas.  They are now bringing their reality into my field of vision, transforming my world.  Various skills such as seeing life from their perspective, maintaining healthy boundaries and aiming to keep communication channels open, go towards forming a process that plays out daily, in subtle shifts and balances of power.  Each must occupy their own place and space within the family group, allowing for the changing dynamics each day and as time goes on.


As a volunteer at Jos, I have enjoyed many hours of on the job training.  One of the first things I learnt was the importance of asking someone’s name and how that can become a bridge to start communications.   I see the workings of the sessions as unification of group.  Cooperation, respect and co-creation are paramount and each individual is encouraged to enter the space as ‘whoever they are at the time’.  The usual boundaries between service user, facilitator, volunteer, carer and support worker, are blurred when we come together under the direction of the lead and other facilitators who bring together the energies in the space, as a unified working system in synchronistic, orchestral, ordered unity.


Communication, non verbal, is a major focus at JOS sessions.  Part of what I have been taught at JOS is how to communicate non verbally, using my voice, eyes, face, hands, my whole body.   There are a myriad of ways in which to do this.  It is not about hand signal languages, although that could be part of it.  It is more about communicating from and to the vital essence of a person.   I am talking about the soul.  My JOS volunteer experience is about learning and practicing the soul connection.   I have been shown how to look at through and beyond my personal prejudices about profound physical disability and communication difficulties and to come into communion with the individual in front of me.


As a mum to young adults, part of what I have to do now, is to be silent and allow space for a third party to express, to think for, and to be themselves.  Another part of the training we experience through JOS music and harmony circle sessions enhances that understanding. Within the sessions, the quest for silence, has taught me many things.  It allows everyone to be seen and/or sensed/heard. It creates a starting point for our own form of self expression within the orchestral group.  Now I look for the silences in places and spaces in my life where I did not notice them before and I appreciate them.  The musical creations at each session, form the back drop to serious work.  Hidden between the sounds and silences are questions of... Who am I?   (What’s your name?)

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