Art is an amazing way to find the “me” in me-time. Often, when we need a break from life, it comes from the fatigue of being wound up in our usual routine – tired of the habitual day-to-day monotony of life. When caught in the midst of our daily grind, sometimes all we want is a mental, spiritual, emotional break.
CARE FOR YOURSELF
At those times, we just need a little self-care. We might pamper ourselves at the spa, unwind with a good book or blast a favorite song on the radio. Sometimes we just need a time-out from life.
What I’ve found is that those very times I really need a breather from the “go-go-go” of the week, I really just need a time-in. And that’s when I start to create.
There is something very intimidating about a blank canvas, an empty notebook or an open dance floor. There’s something very scary about the word “artist.” But getting a bit artsy is something that can lift anyone’s spirits at just the perfect time. When I create, I find confidence, I find humility, and I find out what I’m really feeling.
JUST START…I DID.
I found art accidentally on my way to healing from “more than a few” surgeries. I found myself overwhelmed by the sudden twist my life had taken and was not accustomed to suddenly being a “patient” at the whims of doctors and surgeons. I felt displaced from my “old” life and felt like each surgery had somehow chipped away at my identity.
As I was recovering and looking for some way to pass the time, I started to doodle. It was actually a simple tray of watercolor pencils that my mom had picked up from a nearby dollar store. At first, it was a mindless way to keep my fingers moving as the hours ticked by, but slowly it became a way for me to express what was really going on inside.
With my pencil to the paper, I was fixated on the physical sensations of feeling my hand movethe colors and down, creating shapes, spirals and jagged lines.
Soon, I saw little teardrops start to emerge from my pencil, hearts, and pictures of my home. Drawing became a way for me to express what was too overwhelming for words.
When I picked up a paintbrush for the first time, and my world changed.
ART CAN BE ANYTHING
Now I had a powerful tool in my hand – a vital connection to myself. With no reason to judge how good my “art” was, painting was just my way of visual journaling. I didn’t think of myself as an “artist”, rather, that I had uncovered an amazing means of tapping into who I really was, underneath the surgery.
To get creative, you don’t need to be an artist. I try to add some creativity in my day to make life feel inspired. When I make art, I experience what it’s like when my non-stop mind and inner critic can take a vacation – no matter what is going on in life.
Life can get so busy that it’s hard to take time, pause and take a self-inventory. Through my art, I can take a journey into my subconscious and mark exactly what I’m feeling, and what I need – and sometimes I’m surprised at what I find.
It’s exciting to let go of expectations, and allow the brush, pencil, or crayon to move through you. Even when I plan on how I’d like my “art” to look – it never quite ends up that way.
Creativity sparks differently for everyone, all you need to do is start.
7 SIMPLE STEPS TO FIND YOUR CREATIVE SIDE
- Close your eyes, take a breath, and take a mindful stroll outside (preferably as nature-like as possible)!
- Find the first image that excites you. How does it make you feel? What kind of music do you hear in your head? If that image were a dance, what would be its song?
- Grab a piece of paper and crayons. (There’s nothing like a box of old-school crayolas!)
- Put on the song that your image was “dancing to.”
- Start to draw to the music – just one continuous line. Don’t think. Just hear the music and draw.
- When you hear the music louder than your thoughts, forget all the rules and fill in the whole page.
- Write a letter on the back and send it to someone you love…or better yet, to yourself!
On my blog, I suggest a few different ways you can start seeing the world differently – turning your thoughts upside down is the best starting point to create.
Art is my way of having a reason to make a mess, to play around, to have no game plan. It’s a powerful feeling to have your hand moved by those emotions deep in your heart that are sensed but not seen, those feelings you can’t exactly put a word to.
Art is how I take my “time-out” from life, and “time-in” to myself. So “art therapy” to me? It’s just some much-needed pillow talk with me. A way to wind down and feel.
So what are you waiting for?
You’ve got a body to create with, a self to express with…all you need to do is…start!
HOW DO YOU CREATIVELY EXPRESS YOURSELF?
Amy Oestreicher is a performer and mixed media artist. She writes about art, food and music. At age 18 a blood clot caused her to fall into a coma, once she came to just months later, she knew that she needed to pursue her artistic dreams and spread the message of hope and strength through her art and autobiographical one-woman show. Find out more at amyoes.com! Be sure to visit her awesome shop on Etsy to see more of her art.