A few months ago a lovely fellow named Robert Johnson of Sawinery reached out to me…a wood worker, former veteran, and advocate for Art -As-Therapy. As a former employee of a woodshop myself, my heart was touched. I wanted to share his story as much as he wanted me to and I hope it touches you too! Let us know in the comments below -Lanie
Exactly a year ago, my mornings and my days changed in a bad manner, so bad that experiencing difficulties waking up and feeling tired whole day were usual routines. I was aware of the current situation in my life – feeling bad about my life, job, and daily life expectations. My routine was bad, and before I started taking it seriously, an unexpected commercial on TV drags my thoughts to a new destination. I remembered how much I liked painting and drawing as a child and such memories made me feel better in a moment.
Days have passed before I decided to buy some crayons and an art book. And days have passed before I even drew something. It was the start of autumn (autumn depression is not unknown) and that day it rained so much that my home looked as a completely safe and cozy place. Taking that crayons and a blank paper made my time and life problems so unimportant and after 3 hours I completely forgot even the next day obligations that were staring at me in the morning.
Every morning became as poetry for me. I was looking forward to free hours that I would dedicate to a completely new world. After one month, I started realizing how helpful my new hobby was. It’s not like I become Picasso, but little artworks helped me rethink my life and simply feel better. I started feeling joy again and looking at regular daily activities in a new, simpler and calmer way since most of them I could not affect.
Searching the internet helped me find more about art as a therapy and realize the difference between art as a therapy and art psychotherapy. It was also valuable that I discovered that art psychotherapy, a type of therapy that can help people working with a professional and manage to discover their inner feelings. I was visiting an art therapist, who helped me a lot with expressing myself through art, showing what I really feel inside and how trapped I am by my emotions.
One day, while shopping for a new standing next to the sofa, I realized how important wood is in our lives. While I was thinking about that fact, Facebook offered a new event, a woodworking workshop, which I have decided to attend.
After the workshop and one visit to store, I got a new hobby – woodworking. My first piece was a frame for my parents’ wedding day picture since it was a few decades old. With a great struggle, but without giving up, the picture got a new frame and I got a new dose of enthusiasm.
Whenever I am nervous or anxious, a new piece is about to start and the smell of wood became the most relaxing one in the world since it evokes childhood memories and makes your heart feel warm. You know that feeling when you would write down or draw your thoughts rather than talk to somebody? Many people in any kind of verbal therapy have difficulties to break the ice and start talking. Art therapy can help overcome this obstacle and as a professional method to help you heal.
Woodworking or drawing, sculpturing or painting, your choice that can help you release bad emotions, stress, daily negativity, or just express your feelings. Art therapy is not something new, but if you find it unknown or you are afraid to jump into something different, consider the following:
- Think about creative activities you may have enjoyed as a child. Is it time to refresh your memory or start from scratch?
- Take your time starting and practice mindfulness of your experience to keep your inner critic from taking over
- Try some art that you have never imagined you would, for example woodworking, and see what you learn about yourself
Some of you will think that you are not talented for art. But, don’t let that thought steal your courage to even try. We may not all become great artists, but we would become open to new things and aware of our own feelings and that IS the art of becoming your true self.
So what do you think? Can you see the many benefits of Art Therapy and creative expression? Have your own experience is this area? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below.