This weekend I had the pleasure of running two arts based workshops where the focus was on self-exploration through creative process. In both the question came up- as often it does at these workshops: how are you able to keep your creative practice going? I must admit one of the reasons I began doing these workshops was aside from wanting to engage others with their creative muse, I wanted to make sure that I too kept engaged with my creative expression as an art therapist. The short answer to the question thus is to schedule it in, make the commitment to self by setting aside the time for your creative practice and then honour it. We all have the best of intentions when it comes to making time for art making, however, where it all falls apart tends to be when other things become a priority. I too have fallen victim to this cycle of creative avoidance, the space where there is always something more important to do. However, If we reframe the creative practice as imperative for self-care it cannot be ignored. Click To Tweet
In my art journal I can play, mess around with the paints; taking left over paint from the pallet after workshops and seeing what quick and interesting backgrounds I can make for future art journaling in the days ahead. It’s a trick I use, anticipating that there will be those days when I want or even need to create but might experience some resistance from within: “I don’t know what to make; should do something else; where do I start?” In this way the page is already started, and my excuses are minimized. Of course, there are other ways to interject some creative time into the day as well, such as doodling.
This weekend one of the workshops I led was a creative self-care workshop for helping professionals with the theme of making a personal narrative via an altered book. Altered books are great in many ways because first of all they are already started for you! You can take or use parts of the book that inspire whether it is actual written content or images or whether something about the book inspires other ideas. The book I chose was “Mythologies of the Americas”. I have this vision of using the contents of this book in a way that it is partially altered, with much showing through. I liked the cover and wanted to use parts of the title since I wanted to the book to be about my own personal mythology.
The funny thing is that when I first blacked out the other words to read as above, essentially that it’s all about me, it almost felt like it was wrong of me to make a book about me. Kind of in the same way that many people don’t feel they have the right to take time for their selves to focus on Self. But this is the beauty of the creative process, it allows us to explore the essence of our being in any way that we can imagine. We just need the permission to do so. As a helping professional, and art psychotherapist who offers guidance and support to others so that they may move toward their fullest potential, I know how easy it is in some ways to extend encouragement and support to others while holding back on the same kind of encouragement for my self. It is a work in progress, just like many of the pages in my art journal, and now my altered book. Forever changing, morphing, discovering, uncovering through creative process.
What has your creative journey been like so far? How can you give yourself permission to”indulge” or rather engage in your creative practice more regularly? What needs to be put in place to support you in this process? What is your mythology, your story?
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