Am I creative? Why art therapy?

Am I creative?

Do you have a pulse, and are you breathing?  Yes?  Good, you are creative.

The way you think, move, feel, act, share: it’s all your creative expression.  It’s beautiful to watch people move; life is art.  You are part of it, you are art, and you are creating the work of art that is your life.

I know it can be intimidating to sit down with your own thoughts and a blank piece of paper if art is not your thing.  I very limited on my artistic drawing abilities.  It’s not that we are not capable, it’s that we just haven’t practiced.

I see a therapist who is very pro art therapy.  It’s come up in conversation at 3 different sessions.  So, I think she really wants me to benefit from its goodness.

I’m going to commit to a page a day and see what happens.  Care to join?

What is art therapy you ask?

Exactly what it sounds like–  creating art as to feel “better” about life, the situation, yourself, etc……

There are plenty of credible articles online if you’re wanting a fancy explanation.  That’s not what I’m here to chat about, so, google you must if you need a more proper description.

Why would this help me?  Why would I make art therapy a regular priority?

We all live with emotions that are craving to be unleashed and let go of.  They want out, and you’re keeping them in.   Having the jitters, cringing, white knuckling, biting your tongue, clinching your teeth, holding your breath, getting butterflies, etc…..  These are feelings that simply want out.

I do yoga, journal, and see a therapist to get out many of my emotions, but there are always other ways as well.  Some garden, dance, sing, workout, read, the list goes on.  Art therapy just seems like the next thing I want to add to my self help repertoire.  I’ve always wanted to be a better artist.  Of course, practice makes perfect.

I feel like releasing my emotions more consciously and creatively seems to make the process smoother, more enjoyable and more continuous.  I notice when I am being more creative in my releases that I feel more at peace with letting go of whatever belief or emotion I was trying to part ways with.

We can sit down, open a book, and use our pens to let go of that which does not serve us.  Layer by layer, inch by inch, day by day, we can take the time to notice what is going on inside, and let it out; good or bad, happy or sad, let go and create room to grow.

By connecting and paying attention to our creative selves, we have created the opportunity to grab thoughts that feel good,  fuel purpose, and the thoughts that can solve problems.  We can write them down, and remember them more clearly when we need them.  We can let emotions guide the pen or marker and bring us some clarity and peace of mind.  We can pin point what it is that is holding us back or making us feel stuck when we give ourselves space to listen and learn.

You are choosing and deciding what you want to see, heal, help and do,  either consciously or by default.  When we do things more purposefully and fully we add more value to the moment, yes?  Art therapy is  me committing to 15 minutes to allow my inner-self to speak creatively.  It’s me saying I’ve always wanted to be a better artist and so I’m going to invest a small amount of myself everyday in order to do so.  It’s one more way for me to safely express myself.

You’re feelings are valid, you matter, what you want matters, who you are, and where you are going is going to change the world.  Period.  Remind yourself where you’ve been, where you are, and where you are going everyday.  I think art therapy can help me get clearer on my path, and become more appreciative of my past and present if I’ll let it..

We might create a more peaceful place in ourselves and in this world by picking up our pens and setting down the remotes or iPhones.  Or, at least this is the theory.

But, I’m not creative….

If you want to know how to be creative in terms of writing and art, first of all, you must sit still long enough to let the feelings arise that help you create.  Emotions charge the particles on your paper, and make the words, and strokes come to life.  Give yourself space to feel.  Stillness is your friend.  Being alone with paper and pen a few minutes a day can help you discover who you were, are, and wish to be.

If it’s scary to be alone with your thoughts, write that down, get it out, don’t own it anymore; give it away, and then write down how you want to feel-I am safe, I love and appreciate myself, and time.  Then just take a few deep breaths as you scribble and doodle your way to creating healthier thought patterns.

Do not underestimate the power behind getting to know yourself through creative expression.  You must feel more deeply if you want to create more passionately.  Silence, space, feel, accept, release, create, breathe, moving on.

Open your chest and you will find magic pouring out, begging to come to life, asking your permission to come into existence.  You have emotions that want to be known, they want to come out and play, and if you don’t let them, they bounce around in your body creating their own kind of fun, which  may not be your kind of fun.

What are you suppose to do or say with this blank canvas?

Whatever feels fitting that day.  Today, I was struggling with not taking a friends comments personal.  Instead of continuing to be angry, I drew statements that reinforced who I want to be, not who she thinks I am or should be.  I paid no more attention to her ill words, and instead created words that felt good when I said them, read them, wrote them.  I also drew owls which always make me feel connected to my beloved grandma (read more on her here), and just let myself breathe deeper as I colored away.  That’s it.  Piece of cake.  And, my first page took 15 minutes of my time, and I do feel way better about the situation at hand.  Mission accomplished.

I know, I know, don’t quit my day job.  I’m not here to sell you art, I’m here to help you understand that a little goes a long way.  I know journaling and art has saved my life a time or two, and I think if I put in a little more effort it can help me create momentum and healing to move more easily through the coming days of my life.

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Commit to 5 minutes a day and let it grow if the time, and you say so.  Maybe you’ll notice yourself feeling more focused on what is helpful, so you may choose wiser next time.  Maybe you’ll discover that doodling, coloring and drawing are soothing for the soul, even if all you did was scribble a few words and lines down.

You didn’t create the Mona Lisa or write Harry Potter, but you did create a moment that aloud you to feel, express and move.  Art brings people to life.  Art allows blood to flow, circuits to open and puzzle pieces fit.  Create your own everyday.

Create your mood, find solutions, vent, laugh at yourself, build yourself up, say nice things to yourself and be responsible for your own sh*t, but do it with crayons, and make it pretty and fun, so you like life and yourself.

Each day, the theory is that you’ll speak more thoroughly, clearly, calmly, effectively, and lovingly to yourself, and of course, that can only help you communicate more beautifully into the world around you.  Yes?

Which can only create more enjoyable moments, correct?

Get creative, get clear, get excited about who you are, where you’ve been and where you are going.  Color your way to more enjoyable days.

In love,

Danielle Atherton-Rutledge

 

Piece of You

You catch someone mimicking you, a child, an adult, a friend, an enemy.  Are they a copy cat?  Or are they in love with a piece of you that they need to take with them?

Unfortunately, in some cases there are genuine copy cats out there looking to lie, cheat and steal.  Those people are not whom I’m talking about here.

I’m speaking of a child who draws the same sketch as his sister, the dancer that incorporates her classmates gesture, a writer who takes the same concept, but turns it into something of their own, and the yoga teacher that loves how you flow, so she takes your tips with her.  These are the types of instances I’m referring to.

I’m referring to harmless humans that are just moving through life collecting the things, feelings and moments that make them who they are.  You need not be jealous of their desire to interpret you, maybe instead notice how flattering it is for them to love that part of you so much that they feel good re-enacting it.

To be original is an amazing thing, but to notice beauty in another and then recreate it, and pass it on is special as well, yes?

These friends, family members, and acquaintances are not stealing, but rather borrowing your beauty to enhance their own. They’re multiplying all the goodness around them, and bringing more love to life.

Maybe they don’t want to be like you, but they want to use this piece of you to make a better version of their own self.  They’re sharing what they love about you in their own way, passing on the pleasing parts, and sharing it with those around them.  Before you know it, there will be pieces of you sprinkled all over the world.

Take what you love and what helps you be better and maybe ask yourself:

What are you passing on?  What parts of you do you want to multiply and show to the world?  How will you enhance these qualities and give them away?  What do you want people to love about you so much that they feel the need to copy and paste it everywhere they go?

And,…

What pieces of those you love, know, and follow are you carrying with you into the day?

Are you going to carry the burden of their drama, their faults, and their downfalls with you today?  Or, are you going to pick them apart until you find what you love, and then go talk about, recreate, and mimic that?

Life is all about perception.  See the good, notice it, enhance it, multiply it, even when you don’t want to, keep choosing to see the awesome until it becomes your natural reaction.  I’m right here trying my best with you.

In Love,

Danielle

 

 

Piece of You

I saw the way you sparkled

I see the way you shine

I used your light

To brighten mine

 

The way you do that

Makes me smile

Adds a little more style

And, makes life a little more worth the while

 

I noticed it was amazing

I noticed it helped

I noticed how much better I felt

After you gave me this piece of you

So, I’ll share it times two

Thank you for helping me be me

Because you were you.

Danielle Atherton-Rutledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From RBF to duckface. Tips to enhance your day and your lips.

 

Resting bitch face was my norm.  Everywhere I went people would comment on how unhappy  and bitchy I looked.  If looks could kill.  My RBF definitely reflected my inner world for a long time.

Now, I catch myself with a content smile more often than not as my norm, and of course everyone says I get duck faced when I’m concentrating, learning, reading, etc.  I’ll take duck face over RBF, any day.

In order to wake up and see a smile on my face, and then want to share it has not come easy for me.  I faked it for a long time, forced would be a better word, really.  I didn’t like being nice, being mean, rude, and short was much easier.

I have consciously made decisions to see a different version of myself come to life.  I have taken myself from a completely lifeless, careless, inconsiderate, and angry little girl, to a much more content, enjoyable, loving, giving, thoughtful, self loving woman with room to grow.

I have grumpy days, more than I’d like, but the anxious, depressed, self loathing, and hateful person that lived inside of me is far different from having a grumpy day or moment.  Much much different, remember that.

So, if you feel like you are in a depressive state more often than not, if you have a perma-scowl on your face, ask yourself these questions: “what am I so mad about? what is so bad? what is keeping me from smiling? why am I letting it, or him/her have that kind of control over me?  How long do I plan on staying in this state of disgust, exactly?  Am I ready to know what it’s like to feel good and feel God?

If you can process the anger layer by layer with at home self care, then try all the self help tips if they sound like a good, safe, and healthy idea.

If you know you can’t process the pain, and enjoy life, and those around you the majority of your time, then maybe it’s time to call in a life coach, or a therapist.

Once you give a voice to the old grumpy man dwelling in the basement, he might warm up to you, and become your friend, your voice of reason, your voice of strength, and acts of courage.  But, you have to let the anger speak, and show itself (safely!!), or it will hide, collect dust, and give you reasons to walk around with resting bitch face.  Don’t do it.

If you are doing it, stop, snap out of it, wake up, and come back to life one simple decision at a time.  Baby steps to big change is a quote that forever sticks out.  The small and significant routines bring my days and my smile to life.

One stitch at a time crafts the blanket that cradles and cares for life’s most precious gifts.  One breath at a time brings you closer to savasana where you are able to rest in the warmth you created.  One step at a time brings the runner to the finish line where he collapses in awe of his body and capabilities.  One word at a time the author is able to bring the pages to life and awaken hearts and minds all over the world.

Stitch, sew, string your life together one small, simple, sweet, and significant change at a time.

A few of my current favorite tips:

1-Wake up: what’s my breath doing?  Can I make it deeper, more even, more purifying?  What am I thankful for?  How do I want to feel, this morning, afternoon, evening and the next time I lay my head on this warm cozy pillow?  Got that?  Breathe that in.  Go create that, but do it first thing.  Always, always set the tone for your day with your first inhale.

2–As you are stringing together your first moments of the day let your feet hit the ground, connect, breathe, open, feel expansive; dig down deeper, reach up taller; think longer, leaner, stronger; breathe deeper, more even.

And, also feel the air and energy around you, and notice how light and expansive you are as you eat, drink, and ready yourself for the day.  Ground down and lighten up is the idea.

You’re making it a point to consciously wake up your body, mind, and soul connection first thing, and making your presence known. You’re allowing yourself to feel the space and time of the moment as you prepare to move to the next.

You’re starting your day centered, calm, and consciously.  Feels sa good.

3-Find something to help you reconnect when sh*t gets real.  It’s going to happen, someone or something is going to step on your toes and derail your happy train.

We all know we need to breathe deeper, so do that first, and maybe even envision yourself inhaling light as you do so, white light.

Maybe you need to have a stress ball, or gratitude rock handy.  Do you know about hand mudras or crystals and how to use them or why they would be helpful?  What about doing a few mountain to monkey poses where you stand, as you remember you are safe, and all is well when stress sneaks up?  If you’re at home create a safe place where you can go for 2-5 minutes, and do some jumping jacks, or push ups to get out the angst. Find a love for quality essential oils, dab some lavender oil on your temples, and take a few deep inhales of it to notice yourself calm.  Do you have a therapist or friend to vent to and bring you back to center when it’s just too much?  Find a favorite quote to memorize that will come in handy during the tough times, but make it as healthy of a release as possible.

Don’t let bad habits be your go to reliever.  You’re worth a healthy happy life, and you can choose to create the healthy space and body you crave one conscious decision at a time.

And, if you f*ck up, and have a shitty moment, or make a bad decision, just remember that you are worth trying again, and again, and again.  Every fail is just life trying to wake you up, and redirect you to what is meant to make you feel alive.   Keep going.  If you’re trying, you’re doing it right.

4-Make it about someone else as many times as you can in a day.  How can you help them, this moment, this situation?  How can you make them feel better, safer, calmer, kinder, happier, and more loved and appreciated?  How can you make someone feel special, important, and like they matter?

I struggle with chronic pain from old car accidents and I find that I feel best when I get out of my head and ask others how they are, what they need, or what’s good in their life.  For a short time I am able to get out of myself and enjoy what someone else has to offer.  Many times these moments where I’m able to make it about someone else are what save me from an emotional meltdown when the pain becomes so monotonous, and sometimes I prefer to wallow in my own self pity…..balance.

How can you change your corner of the world right this very moment?  Do good because it feels amazing to give of yourself, and to serve others as often as you can no matter how small the gesture.  I’m sure you know first hand that the smallest of gifts both material and non can be the most memorable.

5-Present yourself with love everyday.  I don’t mean you need to put on your fake eyelashes and heels to do your housework.  What I do want more women and men to do is look in the mirror or down at their bodies and be truly thankful for the blessing it is.  I do want you to take time to notice the lines, details, freckles, spaces, and the miracle that is your body.  I do want you to put coconut oil or lotion on with love, brush your hair with gentle care, notice how your eyes light up when you smile after brushing your teeth, and wear the colors that make you feel most confident and alive.

I do hope you find a ritual or two a day that makes you stop and truly experience the body you have and the abilities it possesses.  Dry brushing, fascia blasting, sugar scrubs, face masks, detox baths, essential oils, manicures, pedicures, conditioning treatments, the number of self care habits you can take in are plenty.  Pick one a day and enhance your own natural beauty.

Notice what you love about you and enhance it, magnify it, enjoy it, and share it.  Smile and tell yourself you love yourself and today as you pull your hair up in a messy bun.  Notice the glow your skin has as you apply your coconut oil.  Wet your lips with your favorite gloss and recite a kind word or two to yourself.  The color of your eyes, the veins in your hands, the freckles on your nose, the mole on your shoulder: notice it all, it’s all so unique and it’s all so you…..enjoy, enhance, embellish, and encourage others to do so along the way.

6-Try or learn something new everyday.  Want to learn Italian or  Spanish?  Download Duo lingo and trill away.  Yoga seem fun?  Log onto You Tube and enjoy a free 10 minute morning routine to wake you up and get you started.  Always wanted to write a novel?  Read one, a successful one, and see how it’s done, and then write a page or 10 or 100 of your own creative thoughts.  Has being an artist always excited you, but you never learned?  Find a local art shop, studio, or free online advice and let your colorful side show itself a little at a time.

You’re not going to start off writing Harry Potter novels, creating Picasso pieces, melting into the splits, or traveling to another dimension via transcendental meditation right away, so just let that go right now.

You must put in the energy if you want to create something worth anything.  Let yourself be a beginner and just enjoy trying new things every single day.  Enjoy learning about your body and mind, and what it does, and doesn’t like, just  be curious.  Enjoy the fruits of your efforts and marinade in the sweet nothings that just so happen to be your everythings.

Try, enjoy, or don’t, take note, learn, grow, move on one breath, one new motion at a time.  All.Day. Long.

Wake up new cells, bring yourself, and the life you desire to life one good decision at a time.   And, if you can’t make a good decision, take a deep breath and be thankful you’re here to make a bad one.

In love,

Danielle

Photo: Renee Atherton