Had a wonderful day with Bebe the dog I'm petsitting who is just pure love. So beautiful to be around. When I take him walking he has such a spring in his little terrier step, it's infectious. Worked on some sample monsters for Saturday's class and then went to my art therapy group with the fabulous Majica Phillips of @Midtown Art Therapy. We did our check-ins and lo and behold we were going to make art about our shadow selves and inner monsters - woo-woo. Got to make some dark art (way darker than we will be doing on Saturday, tho who knows) and and wrote a few words describing our feelings about this part of ourselves on the back of the small canvas panels. Then we did this neato thing of passing our piece around with the instructions for each of us to to make the next person's shadow self beautiful with what we know about this person, so once again it was going to a place of giving love and ultimately receiving gobs of it. Each person added art to the front and words to the back and mine went from being this dark sad and spooky painting to full of light and joy as it went around the room. I loved working on everyone's piece and experimented with glitter and flocking powder and I flocking loved it! Really. Flocking is awesome. Our pieces turned out so beautiful, and the words on the back were incredibly touching. We had to read them out loud saying "I am" and then each of the words our group members had written. I got teary with mine as I've been a little hard on myself for not being more of a mainstream success (i.e. money maker) lately. Sigh. Someone wrote that I was bountiful which was a lovely affirmation, also that I was beautiful, talented, funny, smart (I think) and glistening. Must write these in flocking somewhere so I remember them in those self-judgement moments.
Here's what I love about art therapy: It's all about getting stuff out quickly and visually (not about the aesthetics) which is hard for me because I like to take my time and craft each piece so that it is as beautiful as I can make it, but not doing this is incredibly liberating and unprecious and this approach or loosening up is spilling out into the art I make at home. I alos love how art therapy acknowledges, validates and utilizes the healing power of art for personal growth, and working thru blockages, and for me personally, I get to experiment with materials I would never normally use, be unconcerned with outcomes, have lots of fun, and form community with wonderful people. My Transformational Arts Practice courses are like a modified version of art therapy that also teach systematic art skills and allows more time for an aesthetic experience. It works more on an affirmation and exploration level integrating what I've learned from research, being an art ed prof, teaching art, and being involved with personal growth for many many years. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to be in Northern California where this way of being is so accepted? Right now am in a place of gratitude.