by Blake Herzog
As 2022 begins you are probably reflecting on what you want out of this new year. While life is never exactly predictable, setting your goals and intentions is an effective way to start steering the next 12 months in a way that works for you.
If you don’t know what you want, it may be time to do a little self-exploration. The answers to the questions you have about what direction your journey should take in the new year are often most accessible when you use your creativity.
Much of the insight comes from observing how you approach a project. The way you approach painting, drawing, writing, creating music or any other artistic pursuit teaches you about how you begin a project and decide when it’s finished, how you handle mistakes and accidents and how to be yourself, not what you think society expects you to be. q
If you’re not sure how you want to start your journey of self-discovery, here are a few art therapy-inspired activities to try out:
Collect images that resonate with you as you think about what you want for the future, regardless of whether you know why you’re drawn to them. Create a collage with them and study what they mean to you, both individually and the context of their placement within the collage.
This is as simple as drawing circles on a piece of paper and as complex as examining the intricacies of your mind. Google finds more than 1 million hits for “how to draw a mandala freehand,” with instructions as detailed or simple as you like. Draw one each day and see how their structure, complexity and content change as the days go on.
Draw from meditation
Meditate on your own or listen to a guided meditation and notice the thoughts, images and feelings that arise. Afterward you can draw or write what you saw and felt, then reflect on what you have created from it.
Create a mask for yourself, either on a piece of paper, costume mask or disposable face mask. On the inside, list or draw the qualities that you show only to yourself and maybe those closest to you, and on the outside of the masks put the traits that you do present to the outside world. Compare the lists and see how they relate to each other, whether they’re two sides of the same coin or polar opposites.
Paint a mountain and a valley
One can represent times you were happy, the other for times you were sad or struggling. Draw images that represent what you were experiencing during the happy and sad times and notice whether you’re adding them in chronological order or on a scale of best to worst or in some other pattern.
Take photos of things or people you think are beautiful
They don’t have to be photos you would show anyone else or post online, just something to document what appeals to you. Look at your pictures and find common themes and threads in their subject matter and your composition.