As we wait patiently for Summer in Arizona to finally cool down and give way to Fall, I like to think about the leaves dropping their trees to make way for new growth. Whatever life looks like for you right now, whether you are preparing to take on a new project, if you have kids entering a new school year, or if you are just looking for a change in the way you have been approaching life and all of its challenges, this is an art experience for you and your loved ones to try. Understanding breeds welcome change, and in order to release our old ways, we must learn to peacefully encounter them with an open, non-judgemental mind. That way we can sort out what we do and don’t want to hold onto as we move into a new chapter. Art is naturally a great way of helping us achieve this sort of understanding, because it helps us to see what is inside of us, right out in front of us– in an image or piece of some sort.
When it comes to having a family, there are multiple interior worlds at play, so consider the whole family, but start with yourself! Take a moment to ask yourself: Who are you today? Where are you in your journey? Where is it that you want to be headed? Is there a version of yourself, your life, and your inner being just waiting to be born, if only you could change the patterns and fears that hold you back? Now, how about your family? Do you feel like everyone is living up to their potential? Do you feel connected, like everyone is seen and heard, and valued? Do you all try to work together to get your unique individual needs met? Do things in your family run smoothly, or is there a need for more intimacy, fun, or downtime? Is there a need for more togetherness, and love? Does it just seem hard to understand one or more of the members of your family?
Art can help us to work through some of these confusing questions, either individually or at the level of family. The art you create can not only help you to uncover obstacles which have been blocking you from becoming a better version of yourself, but will also help you to craft a clearer vision of your interior and exterior lives. Simple awareness is key, and will begin to help shift you and the others around you.
Time to Explore, Create, & Express
- Using any materials you feel drawn to, try creating a piece of art which represents who or what you are striving or desiring to become. This can symbolically represent what is both inside of your being, or outside you in the circumstances of your external life. This can be on the level of you as an individual, in a relationship or partnership, or can be a vision for your entire family. Perhaps it is a lifelong goal or passion you wish to realize. Perhaps there is a need for more discipline, or a sense of inner peace, or connection between you and others. Or maybe you are just wanting a new wardrobe, car, or home… or a vacation! There are no rules. Simply create in the art what it is you are wanting to see in your life, on inner and outer levels.
****You can do this exercise alone, or you can ask other loved ones to join you to get a clearer picture on what they are wanting to create as well. bMost importantly, remember there is no right or wrong way to do this…explore and let yourself play (Check out these previous posts on the lessons and value of play to discover all the benefits!)
- Once Step #1 feels complete, try creating another piece, but this time, your art will represent the blocks, inner or outer, which hold you or your family back from manifesting what it is that you desire. Be honest! And of course, feel free to use a combination of different types of art materials. Some recommendations include collage images from magazines, using paint or other materials on a block of wood, an altered book, clay, or using any combination of colored pencils, watercolors, oil pastels, chalks, or charcoal. However, there’s no wrong or right way to approach these pieces, so I encourage you to move where your heart wants you to move when it comes to choosing a medium.
- After you have made both pieces, take some time to sit quietly with each one of them. Get to know the art. See how it feels to engage with each piece. You can journal about your art to gain more insight and clarity into what your art is trying to tell you. This is a powerful experience which can incite a rich dialogue and instigate problem-solving, possibly for issues that you may not have even known about!
A. Create a title for your art piece(s). Identify the mood.
B. Describe the process of making your artwork. Easy? Difficult? Did it unfold naturally or spontaneously, or was there struggle or hesitation?
C. What materials did you choose and why?
D. What do you like/dislike about this artwork? How can you relate this back to yourself?
E. Close your eyes briefly. Then open them and look at your artwork. What is the first thing you notice? What might this (color, symbol, figure, shape) symbolize?
F. If it could speak what would it say?
G. Lastly, if your art carried a lesson for you, what do you think it came to teach you?
Of course, if you feel you or your family may need help communicating their ideas with one another, you could very likely benefit from a similar exercise in session with a trained Marriage and Family Art Therapist. I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation if you’d like to discuss how individual or family art therapy could benefit you.
Being in a family, it is so important to understand one another more clearly, and what you learn about each other from this exercise may surprise you! Either way, you will likely learn about how to experience more of what you care about, or what brings you joy. Use this exercise as a great way to get communication with yourself and others going.
Last and most certainly not least, have fun! Know someone who could benefit from individual or family art therapy? Schedule your complimentary call now.