Thursday, February 08, 2007

How Can Creativity Help Us Heal? – Part I

There I was sitting on my couch with a sketch pad and a box of crayons. I drew something that seemed really stupid so I ripped it out and threw it away. I had no idea what to draw after that so I didn't draw anything.

I was tense and agitated, so I got up and started cleaning my apartment. In the depths of my depression, I found cleaning the house, without being anal about it, was good therapy for me. As I cleaned thoughts and feeling drifted in and out of me. I had learned to let them drift. But every now and then, one of them lingered–usually some painful feeling about the past. That day, one of those feelings grabbed my attention.

Deep sorrow was welling up seemingly out of no where. As tears filled my eyes, I walked over to the pad and crayons. I coached myself not to think. "Just draw whatever comes without judgment," I told myself.

Amidst the tears, I drew child-like images, most without any readily apparent meaning. When finished, I felt relieved. After taking a couple of deep breaths, I put on my coat and went out for a walk. Walks helped me clear my mind and emotions.

When I returned home I took a good look at the images. I knew they were basically representations of feelings–feelings I believed I had known well all my life. I wrote words next to the images and noted how my emotions had shifted from anxious to peaceful in my process of drawing.

There was no anxiety in my stomach now. There was no tension in my shoulders. My agitated feelings were gone, replaced by serenity. Whatever needed to be felt, had been felt and had passed through me, leaving my body relaxed, feeling healthy and energetic. Imagine all that from a sketch pad and crayons.