<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-NP2ZK8" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe> Paula Gasparini-Santos

PAULA GASPARINI-SANTOS
MA TRANSPERSONAL ART THERAPY, 2018

How do you feel that inner work and practice relate to the depth of your education and your impact on the world?

I believe that the role of a therapist and an artist is both a great honor and a great responsibility we carry in this world. To do the work with others, we must be willing to be vulnerable and honest in the work we do within ourselves—it is truly the only way to understand the process of healing and growth. I think that everything I have accomplished in my lifetime, from the people I have served and what I have created all stem from my commitment to my inner work—and I have been lucky enough to witness the positive outcome from such efforts. If everyone in the world dedicated time to their inner work, I think we'd be living in a very different world. 

In what ways does the Transpersonal Art Therapy program influence how you see the world?

The art therapy program is truly special because of the worlds we get to explore between psychotherapy and creativity. Art is, in many ways, the lens through which I see the world—and I find that being part of this program has really enhanced my ability to apply a creative lens to the problems I see in the world. I think in a way we are always creating our reality, and when art therapy came into my life, the good of life became more cherished and the hard of life became lighter.  

When do you remember first hearing about Naropa and deciding that Naropa was the place for you?

I first heard about Naropa when I was on a road trip from Florida to California with a friend and we drove through Boulder. A friend we stayed with in town mentioned this school, and I decided to stop in to see what the hype was about. I knew I wanted to wait a couple years after undergraduate to gain real life experience before returning to school—but I decided I'd stop in and visit the campus anyways. I ended up at the Paramita campus, and walked around to the open green space and found a class doing walking meditation in silence...I had no idea what walking meditation was at that moment so really I came around the back to see a group of what seemed like odd humans who were really slow walkers. I thought nothing of this bizarre group of students walking in silence and so slowly, and I remember approaching someone to ask them a question about their experience at Naropa and they just said something along the lines of “walk with me in silence.” I walked away slightly embarrassed and greatly curious. 

Whether you plan to go on to further education and/or into the workforce, how do you see your Naropa experience preparing you for your life after Naropa?

My training at Naropa has opened up a whole new world of insights as to how to be in relationship to others. I show up more authentically in my relationships now, and as a therapist there is no greater tool to learn.  

What is the single most important aspect of your program that you carry with you?

I think that I have found in my program a reassurance that one's relationship to art can heal the wounds of a thousand other relationships in our lives—art is truly an amazing tool to have and to give to the world, and I believe in it more than ever now. 

Why is the mission of Naropa urgently needed in today's world?

The world needs more genuine human connection and healing. The world needs more Naropa students.

Check out Paula’s art and writing at www.PaulaGasparini-Santos.com, and www.paulalala.tumblr.com.