Can we all agree that art is amazing?! It's such a great way to escape, express and explore. Through a recent training on Art and Anxiety by an amazing Art Therapist, Pamela Hayes, I learned a very beneficial tool for emotional transformation. It's easy to do and it can provide a nice emotional release, increased personal awareness as well as an emotional shift.
Start by identifying a feeling state that you may have been struggling to accept. People often start by choosing one that could be identified more as a "negative" feeling state, such as frustration, anger, impatience, etc.
Once you have identified the feeling state that needs some release, you will then pick a color to represent this feeling state. This is the color you will use to begin the writing portion of this activity. As you can see in the picture to the left, I have identified "frustration" as the feeling and I have written it in "red". You will write out a series of statements as listed below. As you fill out the answers for your statements, let the answers arise without over thinking or forcing. Just write what arises, there is no right or wrong answer.
1) The first statement you will write is "__(feeling)____" is the color "(color)_". For example, "Frustration is the color red".
2) The second statement will identify the same feeling as before and then you will identify what it "tastes like" to you (still using the same color throughout the activity)
For example, "Frustration tastes like "acid".
3) The third statement will identify what the feeling "sounds like" to you.
For example, "Frustration sounds like ......
4) The fourth statement will identify what the feeling "smells like" to you.
For example, "Frustration smells like.....
5) The fifth statement will identify what the feeling "looks like" to you.
For example, "Frustration looks like ......
6) The sixth statement will identify what the feeling "feels like" to you.
For example, "Frustration feels like....
7) The last statement on this feeling will identify where it "comes from".
For example, "Frustration comes from.....
Next, take a moment to observe what came up for you. Then pick the OPPOSITE of this feeling for you. Choose the same color as before and get writing on a new sheet of paper with the same sequence of statements.
For example, the opposite of this feeling could be "freedom".
Freedom is the color red
Freedom tastes like....
Freedom sounds like....
Freedom smells like....
Freedom looks like...
Freedom feels like....
Freedom comes from....
After you have taken a moment to observe what came up for you with your chosen opposite feeling, you will then draw a picture. Even if you feel like you cannot draw, just give it a try.This is the last step in expressing so take a few moments to draw anything that comes up. Congrats, you are done! You have completed the transformative feeling state activity. How do you feel now? What was that like for you? Will you try it again?
~ Liz Myers, Rooted Living Wellness Coach & Continuing Education Trainer~
The idea of accepting things as they are is the basis of mindfulness. However, it can be such a challenge to accept things when it brings forth emotions of frustration, sadness, anger, etc. Sometimes life can feel hard and it's at those times that we need to give in to the lessons that are being presented to us. All too often, we try to run away from "negative" emotional states and circumstances. However, being able to face those circumstances and emotions head on will allow them to pass through with less of a struggle. It's the idea that the joy will arise after the sadness has been faced, nurtured and let go. Greeting your sadness with tender loving care will allow it to lift on its own time and with more ease.
During my time at the UCSD South Bay Radiology Oncology yesterday, we offered a series of wellness workshops with the message of cultivating health, building community, connecting to supportive resources and facing the challenges of diagnosis. Being faced with cancer challenges you to your edge. It stirs up emotions, fears and relationships. What I have found to be a helpful, yet hard truth, is this concept of the need to accept all that arises so you can learn to go with and grow from it. I can now look back at my diagnosis of cancer and be thankful for it. I did not feel that way at the time, however I am thankful because it gave me the motivation I needed to live a sober life. It gave me a sense of empowerment of how to make conscious choices over my wellbeing, including how I manage my stress, relationships, food choices, etc. I will never truly know why I got cancer, but I can look back and be thankful for being able to pull through it and for being able to create a more healthy and sustainable life.
Want more on this topic? Read the poem I wrote below…..
Fighting the hand you were dealt, will not make it go away.
My preacher teacher of a woman says, you got to learn to use your resources faithfully.
Take the time to breath deep and let in the healing.
Reach down to the depths of love that rest upon the center of your heart.
Release the pain, while your teardrop hits the page of past torment and abuse.
Your voice and body are yours to claim.
LOVE them well.
Search for peace in your heart and comfort in your soul.
For healing happens when you let time and love in.
Take them steps,
for fighting the hand you were dealt will not make it go away.
Learn to use your resources faithfully.
Take the time to breathe deep and let in the healing.
Sending peace and love your way!
Liz Myers, MA, PCCI
Certified Mindful Life Coach
Liz Myers, MA, RYT200
Spiritual Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
Click on each month for a full listing of wellness articles