A Beaudesert woman is finding comfort in a creative process which repurposes old Beaudesert Bulletin boxes.
Svetlana Svetlichnaia came here in August 2022 after fleeing war-torn Ukraine and started delivering the Bulletin each fortnight at the start of this year.
Recycling boxes and feelings
The shapes and lines travelling across the surface of old Beaudesert Bulletin boxes form an indescribable map of Svetlana Svetlichnaia’s mind.
Svetlana, 53, moved to Beaudesert last year amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine including ongoing bombing in the big city of Kharkiv, which was her home.
Svetlana, who has a background in psychology and still works remotely as a business coach with several clients in Ukraine, started delivering the Bulletin at the start of this year.
She took on a newspaper run of 500 papers each fortnight and is enjoying the peaceful simplicity of doing deliveries on foot around the leafy neighbourhood she now calls home.
As she accumulated empty Beaudesert Bulletin boxes, she discovered they are a convenient canvas for her to process her experience.
The technique she uses, called neurographics, is a graphical method of organizing thinking, transforming one’s state and attitude to a problem without using words.
“I take one of my complicated feelings, a box and some markers and turn a complicated feeling into another. It is not drawing. It’s about the process, not the result,” she said.
Svetlana fled Ukraine the day after she managed to get her son Anton, 23, safely across the border to Poland. He is now studying in Ireland.
They escaped at a hellish time, having to take shelter living in a metro station several times because it was unsafe in her apartment, and mourning several friends killed in the conflict.
Svetlana was introduced to Beaudesert by her friend Ian Daniel, who collected her from Brisbane Airport when she came to Australia.
She is safe and happy here, but misses friends and family including her mother, who is still in Russia where Svetlana was born.
“I am Ukrainian absolutely because I lived there for 33 years, but I was born in Russia. This conflict brings a lot of hard feelings,” she said.
“Sure, we are alive and enjoy life, but we have great pain inside us, and these boxes are a healing process.”
She encouraged others to give it a go.
“It’s easy, and everybody can do something beautiful. It doesn’t matter if you’ve experienced war or you’re far from war, all people have sadness, problems and obstacles. Why not transform yourself if it works?”