So What About Ducks?

This piece arose from Authentic Movement done by Ruthellen Griffin, a noted grief counselor and play therapist. We include it here as a wonderful example of what can be revealed in our moments of unknowing. What can emerge from our experience of the bodymind’s spontaneous repertoire of movement, image, sound and feeling?

And do we, as part of our human condition, stay stuck until we are willing to look at things in a new way? To do so, must we be brave, open, curious, or even sick enough to allow for exploration beyond the comfortable known? We’re grateful to Ruthellen for sharing these extemporaneous images of her work, accompanying words, and comments.

Ruthellen’s Introduction:

Once my grandfather asked me to pour milk for my brother and myself.  I lined up two glasses, carefully poured, and made sure we both got the exact amount.

He said, “Never take more for yourself!”

I felt embarrassed and ashamed. This experience influenced me much of my life. As a result, I did not take more on many levels in my life. I did not take more for myself. I would not put myself ” out there” for fear of being judged and criticized by “the experts” or by others.

An early hospital experience that combined surgery with lack of parental presence left me scarred physically and emotionally. I felt different, embarrassed and ashamed.

At one point I wanted to be famous. But as I saw and experienced the manner in which the establishment excluded non-conformists, I gave up rather than fighting. I started to ask, “What do I really want to do with my life? What do I want for my self?”

“I want to travel, dance, make my art, and work on my personal process.”

Fear arose again as I procrastinated by delaying putting my Authentic Movement  experience out in public. I thought perhaps a colleague, looking at the drawings would say, “They are phallic”.

Or “They are phallic with arms. This person has problems relating!”

When in fact, the work you’ll see below, drawn after moving, it is about shyness and emerging into the world.

In the end, I always seem to return to my sense of humor—a gift.  I want to use my skills of laughter, art, movement, and play for myself and for others.

Message to Myself

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Be unbalanced, for fun

Be Brave

So what about ducks?

They waddle, have big feet, may be clumsy out of water, but adept when they jump in.

They float, swim, go under, pop up.


Ruthellen Griffin, M.Ed., M.A., BCDTR . . . loves movement and art and has studied and practiced Process-oriented Psychology and Authentic Movement for many years. A former special education teacher and school administrator, she holds a master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy. Ruthellen also trained in Play Therapy and is a Yoga instructor. Presently she works in the community for local Visiting Nurse Association programs providing balance education programs for older adults. Through local VNA’s, she works with hospice teams to provide services to dying patients and grieving families. In schools and in her community, she facilitates groups for children and teens grieving the death of a friend or family member.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to So What About Ducks?

  1. Ruthellen,

    Thank you for putting yourself out in the world just as you are with your delightfulness and experienced depth. This gives me permission to do the same in so many ways.

    Much continued love and play!
    Julie Leavitt

  2. Aileen Crow says:

    What will people think? ! ?
    I expect that we will take heart from your daring and follow your example, allowing ourselves to put our bizarre (bizarre meaning unusual and attractive) creations out in public, and delighting in each others play.
    Thank you, Ruthellen, for being your own unique self.

    Love, Aileen

  3. Michael Gardos Reid says:


    Hooray for your ducks. They strut courageously out into the world and here, in a time of fearful change, I find them.


    Michael Gardos Reid

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *