Art and the Nature of Wellbeing
Art therapy is a relatively newer modality that can help many in Tucson reestablish their connection with life. Nature can be a teacher, mentor and guide, allowing people to feel humbled, relaxed and connected to something larger than the self. Humans can reap the neurological benefits of both nature-connection and art-making through these three powerful self-help tools:
Parts One and Two: Observe and Relate. This can be done in one of several ways:
First, picture yourself as an object in nature. When feeling stumped, use a tree as metaphor. Do you have strong roots; do your branches reach for the sky? Or, are you a weeping willow or carnivorous plant? You don’t have to be a tree; draw what you feel most strongly attracted to: the sun; the beach; a river. Try to stick to objects for now—animals can come later.
Second, take a photo, make a collage or collect images of the thing or place to relate to. You can collect objects, too. You don’t have to be an artist for this to work.
Part Three: Engage.
Take a good look at your object and think about why you relate. Consider all of the metaphors. Then, write a letter from the photo, artwork or object to yourself. This will probably feel awkward at first. Start out by writing: Dear (your name), I (the object) am the one who (let yourself write the answer). Then, ask the art/object: What do I need? What wisdom do you share? What specific action(s) can I take? Let yourself write the answer. You can do this process within 5 or 10 minutes and it should be fun not laborious.
Using art processes to redefine emotional obstacles can improve quality of life, and allow people to explore their innermost depths and reach their fullest potential.
Jodi Gonzales ATR, NCC, is an award winning environmental sculptor, art therapist and national presenter. She is the founder of the Salus Institute, LLC, located at 5151 E. Broadway Blvd., Ste 1600. Call 520-447-2892, email [email protected], or visit TheSalusInstitute.com.