“Imagine what it might be like to step away from your busy life and figure out what truly gives your life meaning. Life lived from the inside out offers us a pathway to greater authenticity and reveals our deep belonging to the wild universe of which we are a part.” (From back cover of Finding the Wild Inside by Marilyn Kay Hagar)
I recently received an advance copy of expressive arts therapist Marilyn Kay Hagar’s book Finding the Wild Inside: Exploring Our Inner Landscape Through the Arts, Dreams, and Intuition. In the book, she shares her journey of inner exploration and her own art-making, then offers readers suggestions for reflection and their own art-making.
As I looked through the book and each of the reflection prompts, I appreciated how these prompts guide the reader through a mix of reflecting on life events, looking inward, and getting in touch with nature. One of her prompts felt similar to an art piece that I created recently while meeting with a small group of art therapist colleagues. As creative therapists, it is essential to give ourselves the opportunities and space to look inward and get in touch with our inner energy and strength. (And, of course, many of our clients also benefit from art activities like this to practice mindfulness and looking inward.)
Begin by spending a few minutes sitting quietly. Pay attention to your breathing and the sensations in your body. When you are ready – “Make an energy drawing on a large piece of paper, picking colors that call to you. Just let your hand spread color however it likes.” (Marilyn Kay Hagar)
For me, this art-making spontaneously emerged in an open studio type setting, as I responded to how I was feeling, recent events, and what I felt I needed from the art process in that moment. Although I didn’t consciously think of it as an “energy” drawing when I started, working intuitively with color and movement captured both my actual energy at the time and some larger sense of “energy” as a resource to draw strength from.
An energy drawing is an interesting way to work intuitively and check in with yourself. You can use it connect with what you are feeling in your body and your emotions. But you can also use it to connect with a greater sense of “energy” – creativity, spirituality, nature, or your own inner reserves.
Share your thoughts below! How do you use art to connect with your own energy?
If you’d like to learn more about Marilyn’s journey, Finding the Wild Inside is now available.
Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC is an art therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about individual therapy, child and teen counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in child and family therapy, art therapy, or play therapy. Art therapy requires a trained art therapist.
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