Art Therapy

I attended my first Art Therapy class today. Wasn’t to sure what to expect and am I am defiantly not an artist so was apprehensive going in. I went to expand my knowledge of different ways to help people and thinking it would be an interesting class to try. Little did I know that by the end of the 2 hour class I would emotional close to tears and fighting my fight or flight response. (Have learned I am defiantly a flight person)

Art Therapy is for anyone who wishes to use art as a form of expression of themselves and their feelings. Often we bottle up our true feelings, told to just ‘suck it up’, ‘move on’, ‘get happy’, or ‘get busy’. We rarely deal with the negative, painful feelings, putting them into a separate category in our minds to be forgotten about if we can not ‘fix’ them right away.

I grew up very much with this assumption that you just had to ‘walk it off’, ‘suck it up buttercup and move on’ How little did I know that by doing that I was creating turmoil in my life, in my self that comes out in negative ways.

Throughout the programs I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend, I have learned that while being ‘queen of denial land’ in one coping strategy it is not by any means a long term path towards peace. I do not seek happiness 100% of the time, nor for future people I wish to help but rather peace within, love of self therefore being open to love others.

So, today in Art Therapy we had to choice a color that represented how we saw ourselves today and draw a picture, doodle or create whatever with it. I have been having a stressful time lately and truthfully my mind was running around thinking about all of the paper work and phone calls I had to make. Surprisingly I ended up drawing a single rain drop splashing into a lake creating circles (well that was what I wanted it to be, again not an artist.)

Next we had to chose a color that represented where we wanted to be. I chose yellow for peace, added it to my drawing, mixed in with the rain clouds.

Than we chose our final color that blended the two together. I chose green and drew an island with a tree.

In the end I liked my drawing, rudimentary yes, but I liked it.

Next surprised me, she told us to fold the paper and cut it up. What? cut it up? No thaks. But I did as she said and we laid out our drawing now in 16 pieces. We had to step by step discard 8 of the pieces of  our drawing. We all chose thinking we were throwing away the least attractive pieces, however we were than told that the pieces we didn’t discard would in fact become our new discard pile. What? I want a redo. She had us lay out the pieces we discard and explain why we chose them.

Seeing the dark sky, the turbulent water, the rain drop really became emotional for me. Was that were I am right now? What about my pretty tree and the yellow sunbeams?

It really  helped me to see visually where I wanted to be and were I was at the moment. I wanted the brighter ones. The peaceful tree with the sun shinning down.

In the end, we could discard all, some, or keep them and put the picture back together.Translation, stay where you are with vision of the future, keep just the dark parts or keep just the future parts as where you are going. I couldn’t decide, so I tucked themall away to take home. (yes, with some tears in my eyes)

I knew I was having a stressful week, feeling like I was not in control and getting frustrated but this class really helped me to see that I need to recognize where I am at now in order to get to where I want to be.

Don’t be afraid of facing your emotions, look at them, talk about them, they are there anyways and not going away. Once you acknowledge the more painful emotions they start to lose their power over you and allow peace to come in. There will always be stressful times, painful events, peace as with happiness is something to mindfully practise daily. As long as your trying than your doing so much for yourself and in turn for others.

Am going back next week, wonder what we will have to create?

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