Copyright ©2009 by Kathy Hughes
First of all I want to say I am not a doctor. I am an art teacher and a creativity coach. My words this month are from many readings and based on personal experience.
What happens when you get upset or are stressed? Where is that energy, those feelings, located? They take up residence internally, inside your body. There they stay, causing all kinds of problems. It is your physical self at dis-ease. The next time something worries or bothers you, see where you feel it in your body. Stomach? Head? Chest? Breathing?
Ever heard the term, “draw out your feelings?” Drawing is a way to remove stress and anxiety from your body. It is the process that is important, not the product. Process is healing. You are engaged in the activity and fully present.
Here is an exercise for you to try. When you feel anxious or upset about something, be still, close your eyes, and locate exactly where in your body it has taken up residence. Now, get a pen (or crayons, markers, pencil) and paper (or your coloring book!) and pretend that feeling is slowly moving from that spot in your body, to your shoulder, down your arm, into your hand, through your pen and onto your paper. It might be marks. It might be images. Name it. Write about how you feel.
Next, close your eyes again and imagine yourself inside of your heart. Feel a rainbow ending at your heart with loving and healing radiance. Follow the same procedure. Feel the love and comfort flowing from your heart, to your shoulder, down your arm, into your hand and pen, and onto the paper. Again, the image(s) could be just marks and shapes, or forms and pictures. Again, name your work and write about how you feel.
Do not judge your work. Take deep breaths. Relax your muscles, especially your jaw and stomach. Judgment crushes creativity. Work from your heart. There is a connection between depression and suppressed creativity. What you have to say IS good enough and important. Begin releasing pent-up and toxic emotions. DRAW out your feelings! We all seek and desire unconditional love, understanding and compassion. Begin by giving those gifts to yourself. You are worth it. You are perfect.
“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.”
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I would like to take a moment here to thank Holly Thompson and Karen Ballard, the adult reading group, and all of the wonderful folks at the Rantoul Public Library, for their kind invitation to speak at their luncheon. We talked about creativity and we colored in our coloring books. The energy flowing in that room was amazing! We journaled. We colored. We laughed. Ahhh….
Kathy teaches non-judgmental art and creativity classes at the Kaleidoscope art Studio in Rantoul on Tuesday mornings and at Hobby Lobby in Champaign on Thursday mornings. Sessions meet 10:00-11:30 and are $10 per class. Kathy has taught art in the public schools for over 15 years and is a member of the Creativity Coaching Association. For more information (and to read her past Active Seniors articles) visit her website at http://room200.com, call her at 351-1680, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.