We know the many benefits of meditation, but sometimes find it hard to do. Many of us are looking for alternate ways to add more meditative and mindful activities into our daily rhythms. Recently I’ve been creating art, and this can be another way to access a meditative state of mind, attending to the task mindfully I notice the profound healing it brings.
Art therapy is a field that invites clients to experience the benefits of the creative processes involved in the making of art. Many people report finding art making healing and life enhancing. Art is now widely used to help people, in a wide range of settings to increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, and adapt to stressful and traumatic experiences.
Creating art can be a type of meditation, you may find the immersion in the task leads to an increased awareness and relaxation of body and mind; and what I find is that I tend to have a greater acceptance of my feelings and thoughts – less judgment.
The process of making art overrides the need for verbal communication. Creativity is its own language and enables humans to connect with one another — and themselves — on a non-verbal level. In therapy it can be an effective way of saying the unspeakable as is shown through the use of creative therapies with children.
Have you ever become emotional when looking at a work of art, or even listening to music, without necessarily knowing the specifics about its origin. Art crosses over our consciousness, frees up non-verbal parameters and allows open, unabashed self-expression.
Similarly to yoga, mindfulness and meditation, art can help us tap into a deeper and quieter part of ourselves. We may enter into a state of flow and present-moment awareness.
Many of us left our creative expression behind around about 14 years of age when academic grades became more important that creative expression and to avoid having our work judged we opted for mainstream subjects where feedback was less subjective.
As we get older, braver and maybe a little wiser a return to our creativity expression is a wonderful step to reclaiming a deeper sense of self. Here are a few ideas:
- Ephemeral art: intimate scale, short time frame, natural found objects see examples on instagram @leoniebarton #ephemeralart
- Doodling, yes doodling – use fresh paper, fill the whole space with patterns – add colour, or none, playful patterns
- Mandala colouring / adult colouring, make some time each day with pencils, and something lovely to colour in – add music – relax mindfully – you have permission
- Drawing mandalas – create your own mandalas
- Creating a ritual/routine
- Paint –acrylic paints and squared paper: paint the squares, mix some new colours and make more squares – for no real reason – explore colours, shades, tints, tones
- Write down an affirmation, decorate the page, use beautiful paper, pin it on your wall
- Self care collage – what do you desire? need? seek? Cut out pictures and paste onto a collage, add words, make it meaningful for you, just you.
- Drawing Ideas: a) Feeling tired – draw some flowers.
- b) Feeling angry – draw some lines. c) Feeling sad – paint a rainbow. d) Feeling tense – draw patterns. e) Feel stuck in a rut – draw Spirals. f) Need to figure out a goal – draw a target.
- Draw in the sand, make a Zen garden with rocks and raked sand – make it temporary or make one at home, rearrange when you like, contemplate the simplicity and complexity of the Zen garden.
Jane Macnaught is counsellor of Tranquillo Place. Specialist in Grief Trauma & Anxiety.
Jane consults Mondays & Thursdays
Contact Jane for appointments: 0425 152 490