Hibernation and Sequins
Hello and welcome to h e r e . Art Therapy.
January has just passed me by before I could get this blog out. I must have been too busy hibernating! And that indeed is a juxtaposition in context.
There may be some of you out there who can relate to that feeling like you need to be doing something with your free time and that sitting around equates to wasting time. What I would like to advocate here is the preciousness in constructive sitting around. January is a dark and cold month. February is too, so feelings of wanting to snuggle down and keep warm are usual. Outside, nature is in the brown, sludgy prestate to upcoming Spring. Right now there are few flowers. No bees. No butterflies. Only rare fleeting moments of sunshine. We may find ourselves inside a lot more than usual. It is the time to turn inwards and reflect as we await Spring’s arrival.
This time of year can exacerbate any feelings of loneliness and isolation. Yet a period of inward focus is important to nourish the spirit so that it can fly when the flowers bloom again and the bees and butterflies come out to play.
You may be asking, but how can we navigate this somewhat dark, cold and lonely time of the year in a soul nourishing way?
Find a piece of peaceful ambient music (preferably without words or lyrics) that lasts from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how long you want to set aside for this exercise. I’m currently enjoying ‘The Necks - Open’ although this may well not be your cup of tea!
Sit in a comfortable quiet space. Set aside this time as protected from interruptions. Turn off your phone.
Choose your creative activity. Some examples include mindful colouring, drawing, doodling, colour by numbers, diamond art, beading, cross-stitch, crochet, knitting….or hand decorating an outfit in golden sequins like me. Anything really, as long as it is something that can aid focussing your attention while seated in one spot.
Make sure that the lighting is a good balance of calming with enough brightness to work.
Now play your music and try to follow one beat/rhythm/instrument. Ride the waves of the music as you quietly create. Really listen to the music.
You may get to a point where you feel fed up, your thread has knotted wrong, the beat is irritating you, your attention is getting distracted, the paint is the wrong colour, your left toe is itchy….. Breathe and focus. Treat this as a meditation. Stick it through to the last note. Have patience, especially with yourself.
Focuses and quietens the mind
Brings calmness into your being
Helps overcome frustration
Improves active listening skills
This exercise can reward you with a creative artwork that should mirror the calmness of this exercise, remind you of this moment that you dedicated to yourself and act as a symbol of self nurture.
This calm and quiet time spent creating is like nourishing the spirit in an inward motion so that it can expand and come forth when the Spring arrives. You could see it as fertilising the soil for the flowers to grow. Nurturing the soul for the spirit to unfurl its wings.
I found myself sewing gold sequins onto a black jacket, adding little speck by little speck of sparkle to bling and brighten up a dull surface, to make visible something that would just otherwise fade unnoticed. A forgotten, discarded jacket revamped, honoured and bejewelled.
What are you making in your quiet moment? How is hibernation treating you? Can you see any sparkle in the darkness?