We are all, innately, human. For that reason, we are all also a work-in-progress. Whether that work seems more to you like a joy, or a struggle, (or both!), it is a unique experience for each individual on this planet. Whatever it is for you, a transitional art object can help. It is a tool which can provide deep insight and a constant opportunity for growth and self-reflection.
What is a Transitional Art Object & How Can It Help?
For me, it looks like a canvas. Its about three-and-a-half feet in length, and covered in what are to be the first few layers of acrylic paint. See, this piece, for me, began as a beautiful eye. It now appears as a giant, green leaf. I imagine that this piece will continue to change, over time, as I continue to grow and adapt to new ways of being within myself.
So a canvas isn’t your style? Too big, or intimidating? Thats okay! A transitional art object can look like anything at all. Some might prefer to use non-dry clay, so that they can continue to mold themselves into different forms. Some might like to use an altered book to tell their story, one where the chapters can progress as the story changes over time. Another person might prefer to decorate a box, a mask, or simply write a poem. The point is, we use these creative sparks to keep an eye on how we change, and how we grow. The art object, being transitional like yourself, stays with you, and changes, and grows. Like yourself, it is a work in progress.
My eye represented the inquisitive nature of my being. My interest in the depths and varied richness of human and spiritual experience– including my own– took me to many wondrous and exciting new places. Being a therapist, this has served me well. Now, though, I feel the calling of the leaf. The eye wanted to be made into a leaf. Although the eye was very beautiful, and represented what I was most “accustomed” to… and although I had every reason to be proud of the beautiful eye and admire it forever… still, the leaf appeared. I knew that the moment I finished painting the eye– that it couldn’t stay that way. It couldn’t stay the same forever. It would need to change.
The leaf represents a more grounded life. A simple connection to nature, and to the nature of my own simple humanness. The leaf represented my growth.
I am still getting used to the leaf, and parts of me honestly still prefer the eye. Isn’t change like that though? When we decide to grow into a healthier way of being, we might still be attached to our old ways. We might not be ready to embrace the changes we are making with all of our being. But our transitional art objects can prepare us to embrace them. We can choose to consciously recreate ourselves, to strike the match that lights up our creative fire, whenever we are ready.
What sort of transitional art object would you like to create and use to help you in your growth journey? Whether you have or have not used art or creativity in this way before, it’s never too late to start. If you feel that you are not an artist, or this work is not for you, I deeply want you to re-consider that story. In my latest parent info video on attunement with your own needs, I share a simple art tool that literally anyone can use to track their growth, in a minute or less. Check it out– it might change your mind (parents, you can use this just as well as your kids)! Most importantly, know that wherever you are at, you can start where you are today. So share your experiences with us. We would love to hear from you!
Need more support for yourself, your loved one, or the whole family (couples included) on your own growth journey?
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Even if I am not the best fit, I work with a team of gifted clinicians and we are well connected within he community. We look forward to speaking with you soon!