EcoArt Therapy

“When we are deprived, we want, and when we want there is never enough.”                                                                           ~ Dr. Michael Cohen

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Take a deep breath, close your eyes and bring your mind to a safe space with nature.

Where did you go?

The warmth of sun on your face, your toes dipping into the ocean’s surf, the smell of pine needles on a forested walk, or maybe the crunch of snow under your boots after a fresh snowfall?  These are sensations evoked from our interaction within our natural world.  When these sensations are comforting, they show us a way to comfort ourselves.

When we experience anxiety or trauma our sympathetic nervous system is stimulated; putting us in a reactionary stance, rather than a processing mode. We hold our breath, our teeth and fists are clenched and the body is poised to pounce. Sometimes, floods of emotional residue short circuits us into a sort of static, low energy, inertia. We become captives of our negative story.  When we find ourselves in this type of space, it takes monumental effort to change the script, process emotions and begin to make decisions that lead us back to living a life of connected rhythm and peace.

For me, EcoArt activity, combined with mindful breath, provides a vehicle upon which I transport myself from disconnected reactions toward connected belonging.  With EcoArt, I have engaged in contemplative, process based art practices which utilize my natural surroundings in sync with my 54 sense natural intelligence to encourage calm, process grief, reduce traumatic imprints and develop coping skills.

In nature, everything is art … clouds in the sky, water dripping off a roof, leaves changing color and in turn, everything is artist.  We can find contrasts as well as similarities in the way nature adapts and changes.  Nothing is static within nature, we all are ever evolving.

Through mindful breath, I have cultivated awareness of my self within my greater surroundings.  My breath can steady me when I feel myself reacting.  I can better center, observe and then make conscious and thoughtful decisions.

By creating EcoArt, emotions can be externalized, without care for the end product of our creation process. Which, for me, opens my focus to processing my feelings. Sometimes, I do so with materials gathered from nature; leaves, stones, flowers, dirt.  Sometimes I do so with impressions and inspirations collected from nature walks; the wind moving water in whirling patterns, thorny thickets with bright red berries, tall trees a chattering with squirrels and birds, a butterfly lilting in air currents toward an attractive blossom, lichen fanning off a felled log. Other times, I capture these impressions and attractions physically, with a camera, and later return to the visual residue of that experience.

I may paint, I may draw, I may construct; in the end, it is the contemplative process of creating that attracts me.  And hey, sometimes I surprise myself and experience a desire to share my final product with others; mumbling “Wow, that’s pretty cool!”.  Regardless, I become a touch more whole, energized and present through my EcoArt activity.  I quiet down my inner chatter; sensing, observing, experiencing.

Throughout my EcoArt experience, I have found vehicle to calm my tsunami -like reactions and process my emotion.  I no longer respond from a place of want. Rather, my foundation is one of connected harmony.  My sense of disconnect is replaced with connection; my anxiety, grief, anger, frustration soothes out like a still pond.  I am present in this moment; better able to process and move forward.

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