Curiosity Pods: connecting nature, healing, and neuroscience

PXL_20211214_042535083Developing Curiosity Pods was a therapeutic process for Shay, helping them heal. The pods, and clay in general, play a significant role in Shay’s recovery from severe Complex PTSD/I* caused by extreme Developmental Trauma and recent medical and psychiatric abuse meted out in the name of “standard treatment.” After they experienced a year of near-death due to hypercritical allostatic load, a pottery class became pivotal to Shay’s recovery. Working with clay has been a transformative experience, reconnecting Shay with parts of themself and relationships deeply impeded by repeated trauma combined with insufficient psychosocial support. 

Daily walks in the forest, a sanctuary of safety and connection, inspire these pods. These walks helped build neural pathways for beauty and peace within the artist. The pods are based on the shape of the beech leaf, and textured with items Shay found on the forest floor, like bark, cones, nuts, and stones. They are infused with memories of nature like baby robin beaks Shay has fed, pecans the cracked, and pomegranates they enjoyed. Curiosity Pods translate these sensory experiences into clay forms that resonate with our shared connections to nature and life.

Informed by five years of studying Relational Neuroscience (initially called Interpersonal Neurobiology, IPNB), the pod-like shapes manifest the artist/educator’s understanding of the scientific field. They prompt internal and shared experiences that foster engagement and connection.

curiosity pods trayThe ribs allow the pods to interlock and stack in unique ways, enhancing their curiosity factor. Some contain balls, rings, or pellets, inviting exploration through sound and touch. These features make the pods conversation starters that create a playful, open dynamic between people.

Curiosity Pods do all that Shay envisioned: they stack, interlock, invoke curiosity, ask for interaction, and foster a playful and open atmosphere. This aligns with Relational Neuroscience principles, encouraging comforting and stimulating social interactions.

Creating these pods positively affects life, helping the artist shift from trauma and survival to safety and connection. The Curiosity Pods embody the joy and peace rediscovered through nature and the creative process of working with clay.

*Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Injury
Many healthcare professionals advocate renaming PTSD to PTSI as it is more accurate and removes the stigma attached to the term “disorder”