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Build your healing art home practice for personal well-being.

Making art for yourself is a gift. When we create with the intent to be in relation to ourselves then we are learning how to be with, hear and see our Self in new ways. We are working through and experiencing mistakes, frustrations, disappointments, pleasure, joy and accomplishment. Creating art is all about our relationship with our Self. When we create and externalize images then we have an opportunity to not only be the creator, but the witness and the witnessed.


Creating a home practice doesn't have to be complicated, expensive or serious. In fact, I'd encourage you to let it be simple, resourceful and playful! In my experience, what helps makes art healing is when we allow ourselves to enjoy the experience of creating. We can add intention and processing of the experience to help deepen the therapeutic effects.



Intent

Our intention in making art has an impact. If our intent is do "be good at art" then we might be focused on learning skills commonly associated with "good" or "talented" art. If our intent is to allow our self some time to play or be quiet, then our experience and expected outcomes shift.


When I sit down to work on a weaving, my intent might be to help quiet and focus my mind, while allowing myself the joyful sensations of color and texture. If I am feeling low I may want to help myself be with feelings, so maybe I create an intuitive, abstract watercolor painting. My intent would be to process my feelings and explore new perspectives.


Materials

What do you have around your home? It's okay to use what you got. Paper, pencils, pens - all good starting points. Challenge yourself to use other materials too. I love the recycling bin (and many kids I work with do too!) An old T-shirt? Great! Rip it up and use some fabric scraps. Go outside and gather twigs or flowers (you can press, hammer or just use an inspiration). Old photos, magazines, and newspapers can be interesting to play with too.


Sometimes the act of giving ourselves constraints can be helpful. The paradox of choice is that when we have too many options, we can get overwhelmed and have trouble choosing. See what you can do with what you already have.


Still really want fresh paints or a clean new sketch book? Go for it!


Processing

Ah, reflection. A powerful tool in self-awareness and discovery. Sometimes processing can be as simple as asking yourself a few questions about the experience.


  • "How am I feeling now that I have spent time creating?" "Are there any internal shifts?"

  • "What emotions do I see in my art?"

  • Create a poem from the image's voice.

  • Sit quietly with your art for 3-10 minutes. Explore perspective: turn it around or upside down; stand back a few feet from it. What do you notice?

  • Talk out loud to your art. Tell it what you see and what you feel. Now listen to the art Sometimes art talks back and other times there is quiet, sound or movement. Listen.

  • Let the image stay out for a few days and check back in with it. Sometimes meanings, ideas, words and other emotions arise with time. Journal about it in the next 1-3 days.

  • Take 1 minute (make sure it's a proper 60 seconds or more) and practice gratitude for yourself and your newly created image. Give gratitude a color and imagine surrounding yourself and the art with it.


Here's a practice to get you started: Reflect on your relationship with yourself.





If you could transform your relationship with yourself, what would you want to be different?

  • understand yourself more?

  • be kinder or more gentle towards yourself?

  • to be less serious and laugh more?

  • to have more focus or self-discipline?


Take a pause, breathe. Maybe you put your hand on your belly-brain and heart-center and ask this question internally, "Help me co-create an image of my transformation towards _______________."


Let the images of a new or shifting relationship appear, as if it's already happening. Don't worry if nothing appears and you can't literally see anything. Some people see visuals, others get a felt sense and others see nothing. However you experience this exercise is perfectly normal.


When you are ready (whether you see images or not), grab a piece of paper and sketch out any colors, symbols, shapes, or words that arrived - even if they don't make sense to you yet. It's okay for it to be a rough sketch or you may want to spend time developing this.


Potential process questions:

  • How do you feel towards the image you just created?

  • Do you see elements of this in your life currently?

  • Is anything missing from the image that might be in your current day to day?

  • Are there any blocks to this transformation happening (*potential art image to create*)

  • You've now pulled this intent into your conscious mind. Let it simmer for the next week or so and see what takes shape or stands out to you throughout the week.

  • OR identify 1 small, baby-step action you can take to help move you towards this vision. Write it out.


Happy creating!










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