Self-Exploration via the Doodle

October 20, 2014 in art journaling, art therapy, creative tools, creativity, Doodleaday Challenge, expressive arts, inner wisdom

Day  20 #DoodleADay Challenge:

#DoodleADay challenge Day 20

Let’s talk about our doodles shall we? As I have mentioned before doodles can be fun, mindful, releasing, self-expressive, meditative, relaxing, and focusing.  Doodles can also be a passageway into self-exploration if you are willing to go that route.  After 20 days of doodling you will have enough doodles done to be able to begin to recognize any repeated themes, symbols, or styles which may be unique to you.  One quick way to do this is to give each doodle a title: look at your doodle and write the first title that comes to mind, it can be one word or a sentence, just don’t labour over it too much, it is meant to be as spontaneous a response as your doodle was.

If you want to go deeper with your doodle, (and yes it is possible) by focusing on the self-expression part of your doodle,  free write about your doodle either right after making it or you can start now and write about each doodle you have done so far. Write whatever comes to mind, describing what you  see figuratively in the doodle and or what it reminds you of.  After writing non-stop this way without worrying about grammar or spelling,  you can  then reflect on any metaphors or symbolism you notice in your written response.

  • What meaning does this have for you at this point in time of your life?
  • What message(s) is your subconscious trying to convey?
  • What is the overall feeling of your doodles?

Don’t worry if you don’t like the message, the best ones are the ones we don’t like because they urge us to grow and embrace change.  In the same vein, don’t worry if you can’t see anything profound, it is just a doodle after all and the process itself has so many benefits.

If you are in need of some motivation to get started on the #DoodleADay challenge then you may want to read  my post 10 reasons to doodle , or the Doodle a Day Challenge here

Remember to Play

October 19, 2014 in art journaling, creative tools, creativity, Doodleaday Challenge, inner wisdom, mindfulness

 

Day 19 #DoodleADay Challenge:

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that in order to give something our time it has to be “important” and have greater meaning, in the eyes’ of others. The original intention of just connecting with one’s own creativity may become lost when we begin to compare what we do to what or how others “do it”.

If one subscribes to the thought that creating or “just” playing around with making a doodle, drawing, or other creative playful endeavour has no value, then what motivation is there? But what are we without play, without our creativity? We can become robots, out of touch with our emotions and disconnected from what it means to be human. Playing reminds us of this: that our creativity is worth more than the products it produces. Our creativity links us with our one-of-a-kindness. Always remember to make space for play regularly. Another task easily met by the profound-in-its-simplness doodle.

 

#DoodleADay Challenge Day 19  Play Play Play!

 

If you are in need of some motivation to get started on the #DoodleADay challenge then you may want to read  my post 10 reasons to doodle , or the Doodle a Day Challenge here

Expressive Doodling Day 10

October 10, 2014 in art journaling, creative tools, creativity, Doodleaday Challenge, inner wisdom

Here’s My #DoodleADay for today:

#DoodleADay Challenge Day 10 at ArtTherapist.ca unfinished

 
 

#DoodleADay Challenge Day 10 at ArtTherapist.ca  Completed

 
 

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#DoodleADay Challenge Day 10 at ArtTherapist.ca  close-up 2

 
 
#DoodleADay Challenge Day 10 at ArtTherapist.ca Close-up 3
 
 
#DoodleADay Challenge Day 10 at ArtTherapist.ca  Close-up 4
 
 
Why join this doodle a day challenge? You can read my post on 10 reasons to doodle here if you need some motivation.

The #DoodleADay challenge:  (for more details see my first post Doodle a Day Challenge)

Everyday for the month of October, I will make a doodle and you are invited to join me.  It can be as simple as black ink on white paper or white ink on black or coloured paper or you can do a line doodle and colour it in. It’s up to you. Work on it as little or as much as you want, but make sure you finish each doodle.

An optional part of the doodle challenge:

For those of you who would like to use the doodles for self exploration you can take it a step further by free writing about your doodle after making it. Describe what you  see and then reflect on any metaphors or symbols you notice on your written response.

Follow the Challenge and Share your #DoodleADay Journey!

I will be posting my doodle each day on the ArtTherapist.ca blog and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to join in, you can share a link of your doodle from your blog or Facebook page over at https://www.facebook.com/arttherapist.ca or post it on  Twitter tagging @drawingselfout with #DoodleADay or Instagram with  #DoodleADay and tag @petreaadamidis

 Looking forward to sharing doodles with you!

10 Reasons to Doodle

October 6, 2014 in art journaling, creative tools, creativity, Doodleaday Challenge, inner wisdom, mindfulness, self-care

 

Doodle A Day Challenge Day 6

#DoodleADay Challenge Day 6 at ArtTherapist.ca

As the #DoodleADay challenge continues you may be wondering to yourself “Why doodle?”

In case you are still undecided about whether to join in with this doodling challenge, or perhaps you are needing some motivation to keep it up, here are a few reasons I have compiled off the top of my head:

10 reasons to doodle:

  1. It’s quick.
  2. It can be spontaneous; no planning necessary.
  3. Minimal materials needed; just use a pen or pencil and whatever paper is in front of you.
  4. Since doodles are spontaneous, it’s a great opportunity to connect with your intuition and “see” what’s on your mind.
  5. You can do it while doing other things like during meetings, in class and so on. Which means it’s easy to fit some creative time in during your day.
  6. It can be used as a meditative practice.
  7. It’s a great way to release tension after a long day.
  8. Doodling can help you process information a different way, visualizing your ideas.
  9. From a self-exploration perspective. I believe doodles are a an easy and fairly quick way to access “unconscious” material and inner wisdom. The spontaneous nature of doodles tend to bypass censors and thus are more likely to access unconscious material since you are just doodling after all.
  10. It’s fun for heaven’s sake!

If you’re not convinced. Why not give it a try? Do a doodle a day for a week (and continue for the month of October if you like).  If you want to test out the extended benefits of doodling that I mention in number 4 and  9, then after each doodle take some time to free write: basically writing what comes to mind when you look at your doodle without worrying about grammar or spelling and not censoring what you write. Or tell a story about your doodle and see if there are any messages from this that serve you.

#DoodleADay Challenge Collage Week1 at ArtTherapist.ca

The #DoodleADay challenge:  

Everyday for the month of October, I will make a doodle and you are invited to join me.  It can be as simple as black ink on white paper or white ink on black or coloured paper or you can do a line doodle and colour it in. It’s up to you. Work on it as little or as much as you want, but make sure you finish each doodle.

An optional part of the doodle challenge:

For those of you who would like to use the doodles for self exploration you can take it a step further by free writing about your doodle after making it. Describe what you  see and then reflect on any metaphors or symbols you notice on your written response.

Follow the Challenge and Share your #DoodleADay Journey!

I will be posting my doodle each day on the ArtTherapist.ca blog and sharing it on Facebook Twitter and Instagram. If you would like to join in, you can share a link of your doodle from your blog or Facebook page over at https://www.facebook.com/arttherapist.ca or post it on  Twitter tagging @drawingselfout with #DoodleADay or Instagram with  #DoodleADay and tag @petreaadamidis

 Looking forward to sharing doodles with you!

Getting Past Creative Road Blocks

August 17, 2014 in creative tools, creativity, inner critic, inner muse, inner wisdom, self-care, Self-Love

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These past weeks my family and I have been doing a lot of cycling together. While not unusual for me to cycle a lot – I began cycling again as an adult in my late twenties I tend to stick to my comfort zone in the way that I ride. For example, my kids and my husband have a knack for cycling hands free. I’d watch enviously and wish that I could, not believing I could. I even told myself that perhaps it was a “guy thing” the way they could balance themselves so well on the bike without holding on to the handlebars (like how there are certain yoga poses I can hold that they struggle with). But I wanted to be able to do be hands free in the same way with the same ease that they had.

So I pretended to try: I took one hand off of the handle, while of course hanging on with the other hand.  What if I lose my balance whispered my scared thoughts.  What if I crash?  What if I fall down? What if…….? And as the “what ifs” piled up, I lost the courage to really try.

Perhaps here is the other problem, the notion of “trying” instead of just doing.  All too often I have noticed myself and others get caught in the “try” trap.  Trying implies that there is a chance it may not happen. Trying means you are thinking about it instead of doing it.  I will try to fit in more time for myself, I will try to work on my painting. I will try to try and do something . . . 

Then on our way back after a long ride my youngest said to me “try riding with in hands mommy” and without thinking I let go of the handle bar and lo and behold I was able to ride steadily without holding on.

Let’s take a look at what had to happen for this to take place:

  • I ignored that voice inside that said I couldn’t do it
  • I acted before I could think too much about it
  • I gave up the notion of “trying” and just did it.
  • I took a chance.
  • I listened to the voice inside that said “you can do it!”

The next day when we were out riding again. I tried and had some difficulty doing it because my mind kept telling me I was going to fall.  So the other thing that holds us back is our patterns.  We often behave in habitual ways.  Daily routines of brushing teeth, showering etc. come easy to most of us because we have established these as daily routines.  Taking care of our physical selves in these ways is somehow a given.  Taking care of our emotional selves sometimes is not something as ingrained in us. It is a habit we must establish first.

Having a sustainable creative practice doesn’t just happen.  We need to do several things to make it happen.  We need to break old patterns or ways of doing things to make room for new ways. Here’s how:

1. Retrain our brain against the “I’can’ts” and “what ifs”.  To do this we must find reasons or ourselves as to why creative practice is important. You may find it helpful to make a list of your important and motivating reasons. For me this includes:

  • for release of stress
  • for inner expression
  • for connection with my creative side (which enhances the other things I do).
  • for peace of mind.

2.  Establish a set routine.

  • Sometimes it helps to schedule this in after or before other parts of your day that are already set routines.
  • Build it in to your day in a predictable way.

3. Make sure it is realistic.

  • There is no sense in scheduling something in that you know you can’t do or sustain.
  • It’s better to have some creative time once a week than not at all.
  • It’s better to create a little bit every day rather than not at all because you schedule too much or too big of a chunk of time in one day.

4.  Stick to the plan (doing not trying).

  • Set reminders on your phone or computer if need be.
  • Let others know of your “appointment” with your creative self so that you wont be interrupted or the time won’t be allotted for something else.

5.  Repeat from number 1 when needed.

 

So now that you have read this, it’s time to implement it.  Don’t wait, just act now.

 

If you need some support getting your creative practice going, join me online or in person for Art Journaling or Intuitive Painting.  Click below to find out more!

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Affirmations for Self

June 2, 2014 in art therapy, creative tools, inner critic, inner wisdom, inspiration, self-care, Self-Love

 

 

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The other day I was talking with a social worker friend and colleague about affirmations and how useful they can be. It may sound kind of hokey or cliche but they actually can work. It’s not just about focusing on the positive but rather it’s about replacing scripts that don’t serve you. When you hear that inner critic berate you for a mistake or question a decision or judge an interaction negatively, affirmations can help you focus on the messages you need to hear to move forward and offer your best to the world.

One of the things that affirmations do well is bring out your best. They do this by counteracting messages that hold you back with messages that encourage you to believe in yourself. Make no mistake, affirmations can be very powerful when used correctly.

How to use affirmations that make a difference:

First and foremost make your own! Affirmations really work best when they are written specifically for you in response to common discouraging messages or scripts you may tell yourself.

They need to speak to you. While standard affirmations that you may find may help, they need to be ones that resonate with you. If you are not writing your own, or simply find one that you like, make sure it is one that really feels good not just “looks” good.

Add a visual element to really personalize them (says the art therapist). Symbols can be powerful reminders that cue us to the feeling we wish to have and thought we want to focus on. By taking your affirmation and adding a visual symbol or even just a design around the word or words, it will register in your brain quicker give many of us are strong visual learners.

 

Self Affirmation Project:

 

  • Write down some of the messages or scripts which you’d like to get rid of.

 

  • Write a counter message using positive language (not using “nots”, writing what your strengths are not what they are not). For example if your inner critic says “You’re a looser!” rather than write “I am not a looser” you might write “I am perfect in my imperfections” or “I am worthy”.

 

  • Copy this onto one side of a cue card, use gesso on a playing card or old business card.

 

  • Sit with this affirmation, closing your eyes and repeating it, allowing whatever affirming visuals come to mind, whether its is colours, shapes or symbols.

 

  • Draw or paint your symbol or colour that matches your affirmation on the other side.

 

  • Do one for each negative/inner critic script which you would like to replace.

 

  • Carry this with you wherever you go so that you can access these messages when you need to. Business card size fits perfectly in your wallet.

 

  • Make some extras and spread them around your house, hiding them in boxes or drawers or openly on mirrors that you frequent so that you have daily reminders to focus on your strengths and worthiness!

 

If you need some support getting your creative practice going, join me online or in person for Art Journaling or Intuitive Painting.  Click below to find out more!

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I create therefore I am: The Importance of Creativity

February 8, 2014 in art therapy, creativity, expressive arts, inner muse, inner wisdom

 

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Creativity is at the core of our humanity.

It allows us to express our inner most feelings no mater how scary, seemingly destructive or negative, in safe and satisfying ways. It allows us to celebrate our being both in beauty and so-called “mess”.

 

When we create, we connect with our inner knowing effortlessly. Our expression of self actively captured in the process and symbolically represented  in the end result.  A testimony to the complexity of who we are.

 

The beauty of self-expression through art making is that deeper layers can be expressed than we may consciously be able to express otherwise. The image speaking for us in ways that words have escaped us.

 

The process of expression through art making has a transformative nature. We are not just talking about who we are, what we are experiencing or what we wish to accomplish, but rather through the art we begin the process of change as we reflect simultaneously on our art its meaning, its movement. We see glimpses parts of self both consciously and unconsciously and as a result can begin to assimilate parts that need to be. We can rectify inner conflict through an acceptance of those parts which we may have been struggling with.

 

As an art therapist I witness this on a regular basis, both with my clients, workshop participants, and within my own creative process.  Shift happens.  Sometimes it helps us articulate those feelings about experiences that we’ve had.  Sometimes it is enough to just express it through the art.

 

Whether you art journal, paint, dance, or make music, whatever art form is your choice of expression can take you to this place of creative connection that is at the core of our human-ness.

 

What form of creative expression connects you to Self?

 

Circle of Art

February 7, 2014 in art journaling, Circle of Art Prompt

 

Today and every Friday, I invite you to join me in creating a response to the quotes I post, using the arts: visual arts, photography, music or song, dance (video please!) prose or poetry, it’s your choice.

Seed inside

I will be sharing a quote here weekly and inviting a response from others to the quote in the form of visual art, photography, poetry, dance, music, (video)- whatever art form you would like to express through. You will have the opportunity to share directly on ArtTherapist.ca or through a link up to your blog or site if you have an online presence.  You are welcome to share your links to your responses below on your blog or if you wish, join us over at the Virtual Art Circle and share them there.  If you are not already a part of the Virtual Art Circle on Facebook and would like to be, just follow the link and request to join and I will add you.

To share a link please put a direct link to the post your prompt response is in, all other links will be removed.

Early Bird Registration for the next round of Painting With Your Muse now OPEN!
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You are allowed to be you

April 6, 2013 in inner child, inner wisdom, Self-Love

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Today I’m delighted to be the host for Day Six of the Virtual Blog Tour for Healing the Inner Child organized by Jackie Stewart at www.flowerspirit.co.uk.

This tour is to celebrate the launch of the Inner Child Meditation Kit  which Jackie has created so you can let go of childhood wounds to experience more joy, empowerment and fulfillment.

Yesterday the tour visited Luitha K Tamaya at www.lktamaya.co.uk.  Today I’m sharing a letter I wrote to help heal my inner child. This is what my inner child needed to know.

Inner child letter

 

Dearest little one,

There are many things I wish I had been able to tell you when you were younger. I know you felt sad and voiceless about your parent’s separation. You loved them both, but by leaving one behind you felt somehow you had betrayed your father. You felt you should feel the same way as your mother though you didn’t deep inside. You knew they were not getting along but you didn’t know that this did not have to do with you.

 

I’m here to tell you it’s okay that you still loved your daddy though you were angry with him too.   It’s okay for you to love your mommy and feel resentment towards her as well. You are allowed to have many mixed-up feelings.  You are a child, what goes on between the adults is their stuff, not yours. I know you wanted to make things better. You wanted things to be “normal”.  You felt somehow they weren’t anymore. You strived to be the good girl: obedient doing as you were told. Not rocking the boat. You were worried about making things worse.

 

I’m here to tell you it’s okay.   Whatever you are feeling is ok. You are entitled to your own feelings they don’t have to be the same as others.   You have permission to be angry, happy, sad, excited, resentful, frustrated, detached, engaged, anything you feel like. You have the right to change your mind about these feelings at anytime. You don’t need to be stuck in any of these feelings; they can come and go as you please like the ebbs and flows of an ocean or a river.

 

You have permission to be a child, to play even when the adults are serious.  It does not make you a bad person. You do not need to compensate or make up for having these feelings by trying to do the right thing all the time. You do not need to be right or good all the time. Life is meant to be experienced. Children are meant to experiment and learn about the world around them. Mistakes will happen. That’s ok. children learn this way.

 

What I really want to tell you is that it is okay for you to be your own unique person with your own thoughts, opinions and feelings.

 

You are allowed to be you.

 

Lots of love,

Your adult self

 

 

innerchild250 I hope you feel inspired to try this letter writing process yourself, as it is a very powerful exercise. Jackie’s soothing meditation is a beautiful accompaniment to to this process as she creates a safe place to begin healing. Click here to discover if your inner child needs healing and purchase the Inner Child Meditation Kit for instant download.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you signed up for my updates yet? Sign-up today and get enrolled in my FREE e-course Free Your Inner Child!

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With Childlike Abandon

March 27, 2013 in art therapy, inner critic

 

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This past weekend I traveled out of province to Quebec to give a talk on Art Therapy to some of the students and faculty at Bishops University. I have to admit I was rather nervous speaking in front of the 50 or so people who came. Despite having practiced art therapy for the past 19 years I still felt uncertain about how I would be received or whether what I shared – a general overview of art therapy. – was enough or would be delivered with enough clarity.

 

 

The inner critic gremlins reared their heads.

 

 

Lets be clear. I’m not an academic. I’m a clinician, therapist, artist, healer however, academic researcher , no, not my thing.  Presenting to such s large group ( for me) was a bit nerve-wracking to say the least.

 

 

Nonetheless, I chose to do the talk. In order to make it easier on myself I relied a bit on my imagination, humor and preparation of course. I began my talk by announcing that for the remainder of the talk they were all children making it clear that this labeling had absolutely nothing to do with Art Therapy but simply was a tactic I was using to set myself at ease; I felt easier to talk with a group of children than adults (which in my perception was deemed more of a threat since there would be expectations to live up to).   At different parts of the talk when I felt my anxiety rise, I made comments about how they were the quietest group of children or the most well-behaved children I’ve met. They laughed and I felt more at ease.  This was my coping strategy.

 

 

In the end the talk was well received with  lots of enthusiastic questions.    I heard from students interested in studying art therapy, a student who had experienced art therapy  first hand as a child, art professors and psychologists who were curious and impressed by the diversity of art therapy.

 

 

I faced some fears this past weekend and feel better for it. I will do it again.  I probably will be a little nervous again, but  experience tells me that my fears are just thoughts or perceptions that can be  surpassed and ignored.

 

 

In the end seeing them as children became a metaphor for facing my fears.  Approaching the talk with child-like abandon allowed me to take a chance, see them as open-minded children listening to something for the first time. Each person who approached me afterwards confirmed that they had learned something new about Art Therapy, and I too learned the importance of trusting myself.  For that I am grateful.