About the “Delight Is…” Therapeutic Creativity Series
A lockdown sanity-saver
A lockdown sanity-saver over the past few months has been a practice I’ve started of trying to be much more mindful of moments that give me pleasure. At first I was rather shocked to realise that I found it a difficult practice. It makes sense though. 2020 was stressful for us all, and 2021 has been no better. When we’re stressed, our brains’ default response is to focus our attention on risks and threats. When the risks and threats are relentless, you can end up finding it difficult to notice what’s safe and pleasurable. As I’ve stuck with the practice, it’s become easier and easier. I’ve become more aware of moments of pleasure and I’m enjoying feeling much more relaxed, grateful, playful, and hopeful as a result. So I decided I want to start recording these little daily moments that bring me pleasure in the form of small, quick artworks. Here’s the first one. 😁
This is mostly a therapeutic pursuit for me (though I’ve been enjoying the art-making practice and aesthetic outcomes too). And it’s a structure to keep me practicing both creativity and appreciation on the daily.
I wanted them to be quick, fun, playful, loose, and vital, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. And I wanted to play with seeing how little information one needs in order to know what you’re seeing.
This last idea feels quite exciting. I was always a detail-oriented person, in so many ways. I enjoy details, I often feel like I need details in order to feel safe, and I was always good at taking care of details. But in 2013, when holes grew in my retinas and I lost 80% of my vision, I lost my ability to see details. And, though I’m not sure whether my vision loss, medical trauma, anxiety, transplant medications side effects, or the fog of parenting are the cause, my executive functioning has definitely taken a dive since 2013. I’m no longer good with details, yet I still often feel like I need details to feel safe – especially when things are stressful or uncertain.
The therapeutic benefits
I feel like these experiments in seeing how little information is actually necessary are a practice of acknowledging my need for details and letting go of that need, and experiencing how good that can feel and how well things can turn out, even without details. And sometimes even because of the lack of detail. And I feel like this practice speaks to my vision-loss grief and fear, and affirms that, even with 80% of my vision gone, I can still see enough.
And I love the hit of happiness I get from remembering the moments of harvesting a rainbow in my garden this morning, as I look at this art now.
Who wants to join me in this practice and post your “Delight is…” art too? I’d love that. No artistic skill is required, and you can work in any medium and method of your choice. This is not about making “good art.” It’s a practice to grow our appreciation, sensory and body awareness, and pleasure “muscles.”