Friday, September 28, 2012

Making Whole: Re-imagine Happiness

 by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal. 

Milkweed Study: Steinbach

 We often take the little things for granted, and when we are feeling depressed, lonely, and worn –out; we find it even more difficult to find the “happy” in our world.

There is a saying about smiling when you don’t feel like it… “Fake it till you make it,” force your smile and eventually it will become real.  It’s the same way about recognizing beauty again in our world.  If we force ourselves to go out and search for beauty, even in the oddest, littlest thing just outside our door, we may begin to recognize and seek out beauty more and more.

That is part of lifting ourselves out of our own loneliness, sadness and depression. No matter what has brought it on, illness, tragedy, loss or heartache, when we force ourselves to move, even the slightest bit, to recognize the beauty around us, we remember what we are really meant to do in this world. We are meant to find joy, to be happy, to celebrate in spite of everything… to love. 

Take a digital camera or drawing pad and pen if you prefer and move outside or to a place out of your normal space.  Look around you at the familiar and unfamiliar. Look closely at the lines and shadows of everyday objects, the colors and variations of leaves and insects, the bumps and imperfections in the sidewalk, brickwork or tree bark.  Find beauty in the rusty car across the street or in the broken window in the house next door.  Take photos or draw the things you see that you find beauty in or that make you happy in a way. “Capture” the things that you find interesting. 
Milkweed Study: Steinbach

When you return home, play around with your digital images on your computer, or print the images and hang them on your bathroom mirror, on the fridge or near your bed stand.  Use them to make cards to send to friends and tell them about your experience.

If you made drawings, bring them home and use colored pencils to color in specific areas to draw more attention to them. Hang them on the wall, again, near the bed, on the fridge, near the phone or TV.  Allow them to motivate you to do more, see more and find more beauty in the world around you.
Milkweed Study: Steinbach

Make this an everyday challenge to find two, or ten new things to inspire you. Bring them home and do something creative with them. Post them online to show your friends and inspire them. Let the ball roll and see where it takes you.  Put all the pictures together and see if they tell a story. 

What have you discovered? Share here….

Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

Images: Copyrighted: Steinbach 2012

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