I need to learn HOW to hold. 
Upon reflection, I sense that sometimes I hold too tight, at other times I let things slip through my fingers so they escape me entirely. I mean this in a feeling sort of way. How can I hold on to a space that is filled with ease that I have created? How do I hold onto the feelings of love and joy so they can sustain me when I am stuck for a bit?
I am asking myself these particular questions right now, because I'm home from being immersed in my grandma role, and I have been considering the Christmas frenzy that is upon us. AND, I would like to stay in the calm, nurturing state of mind that I was in while away. 
Holiday/ family times are decidedly difficult for people who struggle with food issues of all kinds. The holidays are notoriously centred around food, drink and parties. If you are a person who overeats, you may dread the party scene- being unsure if you will be able to resist the temptation of mouth watering morsels that will surely be laid out in front of you. If you struggle at the anorexic end of the continuum, you may feel so out control and out of your element in social situations that revolve around food, that anxiety may rise, and you may fear eating and the reaction of people to your NOT eating with equal concern. 
I notice that I am not in that place of 'fear of fat' or 'fear of food' most of the time. This recurrence of eating disorder behaviour feels different than at earlier times in my life. I think I have said already that the deep awareness I have of this process is both a gift and a bit of a curse. With awareness I understand this behaviour as the coping mechanism that it truly is, and I am grappling with the 'holding on' (or perhaps better viewed as 'letting go)of it. I am aware, however, that I have choices, and the moment to exercise them in a healthy way is upon me. The 'curse' is really a positive attribute as well- that awareness doesn't allow me to pretend that the behaviours are about food, calories or fat. 

So HOW do I hold on to what is good and let go of the distorted eating disorder thoughts and messages, and hold on to the calm I created for myself (and hopefully for my daughter's young family)?
I saw this on Facebook, and I don't really even remember where it was taken from. I love it though. It answers the question: how does art therapy work? At least at its simplest, it defines the feeling of relief when we externalize our turmoil in the form of art. 
While this is frequently akin to my process, my need to creatively release my tumultuous feelings, I have also talked here, about how art making can be a gentler, calming experience. It can be both an emotionally difficult action and a sweet moment in time full of beauty. These two ways of viewing art making are not mutually exclusive.

I wonder how many different ways/ times I can say this: art making engages every part of my being- mind, body, spirit. As I pull out the art materials, my creative juices start to flow. Even when I feel stymied, or intimidated by a blank piece of paper or canvas, I allow the colours, the sensory aspects to carry me until I have created and feel done. 
Before, I may have thoughts about what it is that will emerge. During my session, often time becomes suspended and I will be truly 'in the zone'; thoughts will be more about the way colours are blending, what parts of the paper want to be covered... And after, there is time for reflection, in the form of conversation, poetry, etc, that addresses the meaning I attribute to my work. 
Art making is very sensory- loaded for me. I frequently use my hands to apply paint, blend pastels, or use whole body motion to sand away bits and achieve the effect I am looking for. In this way, I engage my body felt sense of the moment, with as little censorship as I can muster. I am guided by the colour and the body felt sense.
And art making is truly a spiritual experience for me, as I define spirituality. When defined as attributing meaning to life's events, what could be more true to that than understanding the essence of my inner perception of my experiences and thoughts.
I was out once with my daughter and her friend, and her friend asked me what my favourite colour is. As I threw out a few colour names, my daughter stopped me and said with a definitive tone: mom, your favourite colours are blue and navy blue!
After many years of being drawn to blue with a great deal of frequency, I had an 'aha' moment a few years ago that shed conscious light on my attraction to the colour.  In some way, the colour blue has become fused with a sense of awe- something greater than myself. Some people may call that divinity, god or the like. I find those terms to be too narrow and limiting. When I think of 'something greater than myself' it is more likely to encompass the feelings I have about being human that are difficult to express- enter BLUE.
I sat with my daughter and painted this just last week. She was dealing with her own creative expression after the birth of her daughter. And I played with blue. I had no conscious place that I needed to go, but given my understanding of blue for me, it was fitting. I painted with ease, and it was a sweet moment. 
When I reflect on this piece I see a small but sturdy boat sailing toward... safety? security? And it has to travel on stormy seas to get there.
Kind of like life.
And, of course, there was new life in the room with me as I painted this. 

New life has a way of injecting us with contagious laughter, calm and joy. I am still 'holding' some of that from my baby holding experiences as a first time grandma. I hope to internalize as much as I can, to carry me until my next visit with my daughter and granddaughter (son- in- law too).
I will close by wishing everybody a loving and peaceful holiday season.
Take time to be creative and enjoy the effects!


12/16/2013 1:02pm

Lovely thoughts Yona...a new perspective on life as you have become a Grandma...
It's so wonderful that you are painting through all of the bumps and curves, recording in your own way the ups and downs of life.


05/10/2017 12:33am

You are not the only one who is experiencing this type of problem there are others as well and they have it all year round not just during the holiday season. If this is making you feel bad about yourself, why not ask someone who is in the same situation and ask for advice. If you are being shy then go to a professional and see if they can help. It looks like art will be the number solution to your problem since you are an art therapist so express yourself through it. Don't let your daughter's word affect you continue on choosing the color that you want because it is what makes you feel at ease.

12/16/2013 7:28pm

Thank you for your warm and supportive comments Tracy. Our beautiful little Éva does give life a different perspective. I know I will love every moment of this new chapter- a welcome adventure. :-)

12/18/2013 12:49pm

I love hearing and reading about your experience, especially around the birth of our wonderful Éva. It was a very special time for us, having you here, and watching the healing power of babies , family, and art.

12/18/2013 1:21pm

Thanks Charlotte.
I love that we have the kind of relationship where that could happen... So special to share those moments with people you live.
Keep sending pix and video of our beautiful Éva!

07/15/2016 12:58am

Everyone can get well tips and concepts here about holding I let things slip, mostly all are using this blog for better updates. This arttherapywellnessproject blog made me feel happy, so much thank you.


Art can heal. I knew this because music makes me feel alive.

10/11/2016 8:03am

I need to treat my burning soul with a power of art. What do you recommend me?


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