Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Art as Therapy

Ok , NOT a new topic, but its the first time in my life I've consciously decided to use art as anger therapy, every day. I've been working on it for a few weeks now, and the benefits have become glaringly apparent. I no longer snap at my beloveds. My husband no longer avoids me before coffee, my dog comes when I call, and the cats no longer fear to come up for a good head rubbing. Ok. I exaggerate, but I DO feel more cheerful, (and my husband DOES look less on edge).

I've been sitting down every day with a set of oil pastels and a largish pad of charcoal paper, and scribbling. Sometimes identifiable images come out, more often its abstract. My early works were very dark, with wide black jagged slashes, but as time went on, my images became brighter. I don't always consciously bring to mind something that makes me angry, but when the image is finished, I can usually tell what my subconscious was venting about.

The key to all this is every single day, after creating my new anger piece, I go outside to the gas grill and ritually burn the piece created the previous day. It never fails, I feel a tremendous sense of release, and with a lighter heart go on to the rest of my day.

I never take a photo of these pieces, no matter how good (or bad) they are, because that defeats the purpose of the burning part of the ritual.

It has been amazing watching what my undermind has to tell me. The day after I lost my temper badly with the dog, I ended up with a self portrait, looking sick with myself. I could hardly wait to burn that one the following day. I went a few days without doing this, and had a terrible dream where I became violent woth someone I love. I started right up again minutes after I woke up, and felt better.

I have a lot of sources for anger in my past and present. Past: A bit of an anger-filled childhood, being married to an abusive alcoholic with mental issues, (I escaped, my current husband is wonderful). Becoming seriously ill and taking more than a year to recover..
Present: discovering I have a degenerative joint disease. Every year is progressively worse, to the point we need to find a new fully accessible home soon.
I also have lost several beloveds in the past few years. The worst was my friend Robynn. She too was married to an abusive husband with mental issues, but she and her son didn't escape.

Until I started the art therapy thing, I had no release for the anger I felt, I didn't often acknowledge it was even there. Thanks to a tarot reading from a friend (who first suggested the idea,) I think art therapy will be with me the rest of my life, and thank Goddess for it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been amazing, watching you 'grow'. hugs, Sherri/Walkerlady

10:30 AM  

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