Mindfulness, Self-Reflection & The Expressive Arts

For Parental Self-Care

Imagine a bed of flowers, of different hues, a sunny sky, two large butterflies, one in hues of pinks and blues, the other a warm sunny yellow. What does this make you feel?

All these colours hold different meanings, unique to each of us. For me, the pink and blue signify my journey of upliftment, and remind me of the moments I allowed myself to seek and receive the support I needed. The yellow on the butterfly is symbolic of a welcoming, sunny warmth.

There is also blue on the butterfly, signifying a deeper connection between both these states.

Each colour and element in a drawing represents something - an emotion, a thought or a memory, that emerges from deep within when you pick up your chalk (or paint brush, or pencil). For me, as I created this drawing, on the sea side, I felt a sense of gratitude emerge in my tummy. As I looked at it, I took in the sounds of the sea in front of me, and breathed into my lungs, abdomen, and then my whole body.

When you start to reflect on your artwork, that's when the deeper meanings will start to emerge.

I usually notice first, that after completing an artwork, I feel different, like sometimes I have more clarity on the current challenges I am facing, sometimes still confused. Sometimes, I feel content, not always though.

It is important to note that both contentment and discontentment are equally welcome, as they both have their place and significance.

Being mindful of the process:

● A conscious effort of physically getting to my place of expression (for me, it was walking up the stairs to the terrace of my building).

●Intention to process my thoughts, sensations and feelings through the use of colours

●Present moment awareness of the large space, the sounds of chirping birds, the feeling of a cool breeze through my hair and on my skin and the smell of salt in the air or anything my 5 senses are experiencing in the moment.

●Being aware of both my internal and external present moment experiences.

●Accepting that sometimes you start off not knowing what you want to draw, and allowing the unconscious to emerge and to flow with the colours.

Staying non-judgmental of what I create, no matter which thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations it brings up.

●Trusting my own thoughts, feelings and gut - in guiding my hands while drawing.

●Taking a step back to absorb and process what I have created.

●Staying grounded, either with breath or the 5 senses or other, as I process my emotions, and allow myself to sense into the significance of the creation, wondering and inquiring into its meaning- this is the process of self-reflection.

This form of expression can uncover an ocean of new thoughts, insights, strategies and sometimes even solutions. Even though there might not always be a solution, this process of exploration helps me connect to myself and to my inner child - which allows me to take this connectedness to my children, when I am in their presence, and then be more present to their feelings and needs.

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