Welcome back, once again!
This is the 4th installment of the art therapy series 🙂 Let’s get right into it!
So in this assignment, we were told to pick out a seashell from a little basket of them. I chose one that was dark and rough, although it had a lighter side to it too and deep colors, from what I can remember of it. I liked the texture of it and it made me think.
Then, once we had chosen our shell we were asked to draw a picture of where we imagined that shell to have come from. Then we were to write a little about it, I’m not entirely sure if the point was to contrast/compare but that is what I did.
So, here’s a description of mine:
I pictured my shell coming from a dark cave. The darkness on the ground is the shadow of the cave and I thought I’d draw in a dirty path and some dying flowers nearest to the cave, yet with budding flowers filled with life and grass on the outer skirts of the image.
Then in pink, I wrote: (on the left)
I have light. I shine inside. I protect. I am misunderstood. I have grown. I am a dream.
This represented the purple-y patch of the shell, the brightness.
Then to represent the darkness of the shell, I wrote on the right:
I am dark. I am hollow. I am a blackhole. I am misunderstood. I am warped. I am a nightmare.
And then above the cave, I added this notation:
Both sides can exist, and that’s okay.
The importance of this art therapy piece is that we all experience both positive and negative emotions, or more accurately, pleasant and unpleasant emotions.
Emotions themselves are inherently neither good nor bad, they just are. Just think: It’s not possible for us to eliminate our experience of unpleasant emotions without also eliminating our experience of pleasant emotions.
There’s a good TED talk about this type of idea that also deals with shame and vulnerability, which is a great listen to, here it is:
This is also a good one too:
It’s not easy to deal with the hard truths of our emotions and where they can take us. However, not dealing with them doesn’t ever help us in the long run, and can lead us through some dark tunnels before we’re able to find the light within us again.
I’d encourage you to take some time today to journal about your emotions and your relationship with them. Do you often find yourself trying to control them, push them away, or suppress them? If you do, there is a very good book out in the world that you may want to take a look into, it’s called “The Happiness Trap: A book about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy”. I can’t recall the author at the moment, my apologies
Journaling is a great way to capture our smoky thoughts onto paper. Remember that, too. It’s good to know what we are feeling at any given moment, so implement some self-care five minutes into your next upcoming week. Spend just five minutes checking in with yourself if you’re feeling off or not quite right. Notice where you feel tension in your body, use the feelings you have in your body to guide you to the emotion that is acting up behind the scenes.
For instance, a few times I’ve been irritated in my life and I’ve done a quick self-check-in, I’ve realized that I was hungry, tired and stressed out. Those states were contributing to my stress and making it more difficult to deal with the present moment. So I did what I could then, had something to eat and just did some artwork before my next class began. Doing little self-care things like this will be beneficial for you in the long run.
Take some proactivity like my friend Queen Bee, who is taking the weekend off for herself to manage her own self-care. Blogging is a great outlet, but it’s most important to take care of ourselves first. The blogosphere will still be here when we get back, but we’re only on this earth for a limited amount of time.
Another great trick to dealing with emotions can be grounding techniques and mindfulness. First, mindfulness is about being 100% in the present moment and allowing our thoughts and emotions to pass by our minds in a nonjudgmental manner. You could mindfully wash dishes, eat an apple (or orange!), make the bed or color some lineart. Anything that gives you something else besides what’s in your head to focus on is great, and really use your blogging talents to describe what it is that you’re doing, step by step.
Grounding techniques involve anything evoking the 5 senses. Say, a soothing candle you light up in your bedroom or satin sheets you lay in. I know for myself, I’ve always admired wall decals from my hospital stays, so I’m hoping my Mom and I can incorporate some of those into a room in our house. That way we can create a little getaway room right in the house. 🙂
Another technique I’ve used that I think can be helpful when dealing with crisis emotions or when my emotions feel more like tsunamis than ebbing flows, is imagery. This goes along with grounding techniques, as I describe in great detail the ice clinking in a glass, or imagining a character in her home as the glass clinks in her wine glass and she slurps it up unceremoniously as she’s a tad socially awkward. When you let yourself the freedom to express yourself, amazing things can happen!
So, this week, try implementing a 5 minute self check-in. And also try a grounding, mindfulness or art expressive technique without judging yourself too harshly on how the product comes out. If you feel up to it and would like to share how it goes, feel free to blog it up and I’d love to check it out!! 😀
That’s all for now, peeps!!
Stay safe. ❤ ❤ ❤