As emotions began to flow and words became redundant, I felt a strange urge to express and create in less familiar ways.
It was my couselor who suggested art therapy. She surprised me one day with a new assignment: To sit quietly and spend ten minutes drawing... anything. We were both curious about the outcome and I was tired of talking.
It was time for a different approach.
I made a visit to the local craft store and picked up some oil pastels and drawing paper. I had happy memories drawing with Cray-Pas. They were softer and seemed somehow more forgiving than pencils or crayons.
Never considering myself much of an artist, I've joked repeatedly about my inability to draw stick people. This project, though, felt oddly liberating and I couldn't wait to see what would come of it.
I decided to use my non-dominant hand because I knew this practice would access my subconscious mind, making the outcome all the more intriguing.
The picture above was the end result. It definitely illustrated my pain and struggle but, more importantly, it also revealed the transformation happening within me. (Note the upward/outward movement.)
Suddenly, my suffering seemed to have a purpose and direction. In any event, there was movement, and this gave me hope.
The second piece was created about a week after finishing the first. I was experiencing bouts of terrible chest pain and pressure which finally led to a trip to the hospital for an EKG. The results were normal, of course, and I felt like a total hypochondriac (but relieved) learning that the pain was just related to stress. I returned home, yet again, to rest.
My heart, tender and aching, just wanted my attention. "Okay," I said, exhausted from resisting. "I hear you."
During therapy the same week, my counselor asked me to describe how I saw my heart. I closed my eyes and gently placed my hand on it. "What do you see?" She asked. "It's sort of lopsided," I continued, "and one side is smaller than the other... and... blue. It's closed down and very tired."
When I returned home that day, I had to draw it.
This time I used my right hand to create the right half and my left hand to create the left. (I'm a natural lefty, but this is what felt the most natural at the time.)
The pic below was the result.
Sometimes, I surprise myself.
R Jade McAuliffe-
Author, coach, mom and poet; believer in things unseen.
"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o'er wrought heart and bids it break."