I love using art for soul care, and you’ve probably noticed that many of our retreats and workshops at The Perch use painting, doodling, and coloring. There’s something about using our hands to create that helps us slow down, pay attention, and be present to the moment. Art also has a way of revealing our emotions that might be just under the surface. Doodling or painting can help bring clarity when we’re not sure what we’re thinking or feeling. Art can also give us wonderful metaphors to reflect on, like in our popular Brokenness Bowls Workshop.
Here are three ways you can use art in your soul care at home. All three of these activities use simple materials that you may already have at home. If you’re spending a lot of time with kids right now, you can also try these activities with them! (Or don’t! And take a break for yourself.)
Many of us think meditating involves being totally still and silent with our eyes closed, and that’s certainly one way to meditate! But meditation is more about quieting ourselves internally so we can hear from God. For some, keeping our hands or bodies busy actually makes it easier to quiet our minds and hearts. That’s why I love to use watercolor paint while I’m meditating. Watching the paint blend and bleed and flow around the paper is so soothing. It invites my heart rate to slow and simply be present. As I paint, I can ponder. I tend to paint shapes and swirls rather than actual pictures, but sometimes I do that, too. I especially love to paint after I’ve read a Bible verse. It helps me slow down and meditate on what I’ve read, listening for what God might want to say to me through that verse. Want to try this with other people? Join me Saturday, September 19 at 10 for our next Paint in the Park to experience this yourself!
Stress Relief Art
Right now many of us are struggling mentally and emotionally. We’re carrying a lot of stress, and that takes a real toll on our physical health as well. When we’re stressed, we tend to feel depleted and exhausted. How do we begin to fill ourselves back up? Try this simple art project to get you started. On a sheet of paper, draw a cup. Then draw or write inside the cup all the things that fill you up. Things that help you feel filled to the brim and overflowing. It could be activities, people, places, favorite belongings—anything you can think of. Take as long as you’d like. This activity does two things. First it helps you think through the things that help you feel less stressed. This can give you ideas for things you can do to care for yourself. Second, the act of doodling itself is a stress-relieving activity. One bonus step: Journal about what you created. What kind of cup did you draw? What did you include in your cup? Did anything surprise you? How full does your cup feel right now? How might you fill it up this week? (I originally shared a similar activity on IGTV. Follow @theperchplace on Instagram or Facebook for more soul care ideas.)
Create a Peaceful Place
With everything going on in the world, many of us are relegated to our homes, and, frankly, we’re getting a little tired of it. We might not be able to go somewhere more peaceful, but we can certainly imagine a peaceful place and experience some of that peace right now. Imagine for yourself a peaceful place. It could be a real place or an imagined place. In your mind, place yourself there and notice as many details as possible, using all your senses. What can you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel? Are you alone or with others? What items do you have with you? How do you feel in this peaceful place? After you’ve spent a few minutes noticing all the details, create your peaceful place on a sheet of paper. Use could use markers, colored pencils, or paint, whichever you prefer. Notice how you feel as you create your peaceful place. Whenever you need a break, pull out this picture and imagine yourself in your peaceful place.
I’d love to hear from you: What did you think of these activities? Which did you try? Comment here or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Jackson is founder and director of The Perch.