Writing As Art Therapy

I’ve always been pulled to writing, though I never found myself particularly original or brilliant. It was always frustrating to me, to want to write but have nothing important or original to say.  You always hear how writing for many authors is a joyous but painful thing.  It’s as if every word is wrung from their souls versus those that say they had a dream or a vision and it just flowed from their fingertips naturally.  Well, I dare say that it’s a mixed bag for anyone who writes or who creates anything at all.  Some days there are unexplained visions in your mind’s eye and other days you yearn to write and yet…nothing.

Recently I wrote an article on art therapy for publication and it was an interesting concept to me that turned into a personal aha! The art therapist I interviewed explained why this form of psychotherapy is different from other kinds of therapy.  She said “there’s this third thing.”

That piece of art or creative expression in whatever form it takes becomes the third thing in the room which relieves tension between the therapist and client and allows the latter to literally get the emotion out of his or her body.  It also allows clients an objectivity that wouldn’t otherwise exist, the art therapist explained, because it literally separated them from the problem or the emotion.   Otherwise, it just seemed too overwhelming to deal with. 

She went on further to explain that she and her clients weren’t creating art for museums so the end product itself was almost insignificant.  You see, it was the process that was the gift and brought about emotional growth and healing.  It was the process that had inherent healing power.

Aha!  So writing is my art therapy, my therapy period.  And I just need to go through the process itself even if the end result is the equivalent of a stick figure.   Aha!

So now I give myself permission to write, even if it isn’t terribly original or brilliant.  I give myself permission to indulge in art therapy, which I know in my heart and soul to be a positive, life-affirming coping mechanism.  And hey, this blog is “the third thing” for today’s art therapy session.  It may not be much, but it sure feels good to write it.

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Prejudice Against The Ordinary

The only thing worse than being old in this country is, well, being… ordinary.  This prejudice has become an insidious, destructive force in our society that is never really talked about.  It begins at an early age and haunts us throughout our journey on this earth.  It’s pervasive and yet…silent.  So what about those of us that aren’t blessed with grand talent or supreme intelligence or, worse, outstanding looks?  What if you’re just not that unique and original?  How can you ever be really worthy of others’ love or even your own?

We are taught at a young age that being ordinary just isn’t good enough.  Ordinary just is not valued in our society and, unfortunately, in many of our families.  But in reality how can every single person be extraordinary?  How can every single person stumble upon some new universal truth?  How can we all excel and illuminate the world?  I mean, come on.  We can’t all be Oprah or Jay-Z.  Wouldn’t that just then make the extraordinary…ordinary?

My point here is:  celebrate the ordinary!  Don’t be shy.  Go on. Celebrate it.  Celebrate yourself.  Say what you have to say!  Put yourself out there!  Because, my friend, you are important DESPITE being ordinary.  And I’m going to let you in on a little secret that my 2-year-old daughter told me before she could even speak:  being lovable and important is not reserved for the extraordinary.  It’s reserved for each and everyone of us.

I am just now beginning to understand this and to celebrate plain ‘ol ordinary me.  After all, when my daughter looks at me with such love and happiness, how could I not love myself, just a little bit, too?  *Deep breathe.*  And wow, doesn’t that feel pretty damn good.

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