There’s still a wonderful thrill from childhood that comes upon me when I open a box of new crayons. The idea that I can create anything I want on a blank piece of paper, and design it in any colors I choose, gives a sense of freedom and empowerment. So one day I went out and bought myself a BIG box of crayons — 96 of them! I started by studying the names of the colors, names such as: sky blue, razzle dazzle rose, sunglow, granny smith apple, tumbleweed, neon carrot, purple mountain’s majesty, bittersweet, tickle me pink, dandelion, and timber wolf. Then I organized them in groups: pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, browns and blacks, blues and greens. This act in itself was a healing moment. Then I began to draw. I began to draw pieces of myself through the form of a sort of mandala. I began with the center of the page and worked my way out, choosing colors that spoke to me about feelings for the day. I drew until the feelings were fully evident — sometimes BOLD and VIVID colors, sometimes soft and gentle. Sometimes in ordered Beauty — some times in scribbled chaos. I did not know ahead of time what would emerge. I just let my right brain guide me to whatever needed to come forth for that day. There was something healing about making the crayon go round & round & round the circle — getting it out of the sub-conscious and into the Light.
Then I would write. Somehow, I knew what it was I had to say for each day. The words just flowed, and I let the truth come out. It was OK to feel and be who I truly am. I did this ritual for 96 days, and then I was done. I had said all I needed to say. I had felt all I needed to feel, at least for the moment. I can come back to this practice whenever I am discombobulated and need a means to process what is hidden deep inside. The act of drawing is a means of healing grace.
I remember a story a friend told me about a painting she had done. It was a way of resolving anger she felt toward neighbors who had harmed her wickedly. She put that anger into the painting. It took her three years. The painting represented her anger. It became a symbol for her anger. This is Art Therapy.
Our daughter Emily is an art therapist, so I have learned from her the benefits of art in healing our emotions. Art is a gentle invitation to go deeper into the recesses of our being and draw out all that is not well. It reminds me of the saying of Jesus from the gospel of St. Thomas:
“If you bring forth what is in you, what is in you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what is in you may destroy you.”
Holding on to our fears, anger, grief, and bitterness, allows these sore spots to remain unhealed and to fester as wounds within our spirit. It makes sense to bring them forth into the Light of Christ to be healed so that we can be brought into the wholeness of life. It’s a healing process that gently leads us into healing soul streams.
Any act of creating can be a means of healing ourselves, whether art, music, dance, sewing, weaving, cooking, gardening, or writing. Keep open to the gifts that Spirit is offering to you. Go deep, deep within to find that gift, that symbol from your dream life, from your unconscious. Then paint that vision of hope in whatever way you can.
*create a resting place of peace within through prayer
*design a homeland for the soul through art that heals
*sing music that brings joy to your heart and restores your soul
*go out walking in the wonder, awe and beauty of God’s grace
What will be your means of healing grace for today? Perhaps it’s time to go out and buy yourself a box of 96 crayons and let the child within you play again today.