Art Therapy

“I empty myself onto paper.”

— Annie Zalezsak

I’ve been to a few group art therapy classes now. It always amazes me what comes out of it. Yesterday, after a discussion on meditation and just centring on what is “now”, I painted the picture above. I started out on the top left corner with strong, determined, forceful pastel colours. I filled in around it with bold paint. Then I swooped down with yellow pastel into a spiral.

There was time left to start another painting.

In this one, I felt like I wanted my hand to be very loose and light. My hand fluttered like a butterfly along the paper with brushes of varying sizes.

Once complete, a few class minutes remained, so I created this, too.

I love the colour red, but had been reluctantant to use it too much (because it reminded me of blood). But painting with red this time felt good, right, appropriate and empowering.

At the end of the session, we take turns describing the process. When it was my turn, I said that I was surprised that I created three pictures rather than just the usual one. The facilitator pointed out that sometimes several pictures put together will tell a story. I immediately saw that!

Art therapy is helping me with health challenges, and this series reveals to me what my healing process has been like.

In the first painting (or in the beginning), I was determined to heal in a very forceful and controlling way.

I noticed this looked like an upside-down snail. Ever since I was a kid, I loved snails. They represent independence (taking their hard shell homes with them). Yet they remind us that some things happen at their own (slow) pace.

In the second painting, there was a complete letting go: abandoning myself to the process and trusting the outcome. The result looked to me like confetti and streamers — a joyous celebration!

In the third painting, I accepted the blood red colour. There was a clearly defined, solid blue boundary around the central image, free-floating in a soft space, brightly emanating a strong statement of energy through outward yellow strokes. To me, this represented healing on a cellular level.

It made me very happy to see that my subconscious was showing me my transformation on this path to healing.

One option the facilitator has offered as a possible addition to this process, is to write a poem while looking into these images from an ‘I am’ perspective. This is a poem I chose to write today.

Side-swiped by a revelation
I pushed it into a gift box
tightly tying fancy knots
around its sharp corners.
Doing it my way.
Noticing, despite my bright colours,
I would again be turned upside-down.

I surrendered to the infinite.
Hopping, skipping, playing
(all that is required)
giving up to the light
every breath, every thought, every action
permitting happiness
floating in nothing.

Knowing
despite everything
all is well.

© November 14, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

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