Everything was glowing in the darkness of that one room – glowing sticks and cubes, UV paintings and jellyfish … even my soul. For the first time after what seemed to be forever, my soul was not lost in the darkness, and was not the darkness, but that ray of light and glitter, the epitome of hope and happiness.
Entering that room for the first time is something that I can still remember vividly. How would you feel if I invited you to enter that room with me? Let’s play a game of imagination in: three, two one.
After every sentence you read, close your eyes and picture what I am describing – build it up bit by bit. Do not worry if your imagination is a little rusty, I will clue you in with a few photos.
You open the door and all you can see are loads of different shades of green, orange, pink and blue forming various patterns.
After entering the room, you realize there were people patiently building all those randomly shaped constructions.
You scan the room for a little longer and see others juggling hula-hoops or playing music.
Your mind switches its focus from the visual to the audio and you start hearing ambient psychedelic music.
I hope that by this point you have built a strong mental image of the room as you will need it if you want to be an active participant in the story.
I could simply not hold it, so I dropped it. While it was falling to the ground, I could not help but wonder: will it turn into a butterfly, and save itself, or will it stay a caterpillar and get crushed? Crushed it was.
I started thinking of myself and how sometimes I get crushed, just like the caterpillar. One second I am fine, I am happy, I am taken care of and I feel loved, and suddenly, I am not and it feels like I am free falling. I can see the ground getting closer so fast, and I go numb. I do not know what to do, and so, I shut my eyes and hope to turn into a butterfly. Sometimes it happens, other times it does not. Why is that, I ask myself?
The next thing I know I am on my knees, chasing glowing sticks. Some were shining brighter, some had gaps of light and some were barely even shining. I started putting them together, one by one, until the end result seemed to make sense. What a fitting metaphor for the cumulation of moments constituting one’s life, I told myself.
I was building a sunflower, which looked a whole lot like the mathematical representation of a floret arrangement. Why was I looking at a childish depiction of a flower with such calculated eyes? I felt like my brain was working like a machine, seeing and recognizing patterns and then fitting them into known parameters. But my brain could not be a computer, or could it?
My thoughts were interrupted when everyone started gathering around a white canvas. I joined. I could hear a swishing sound and saw my friend pulling out some UV paint out of a plastic bag. We each picked a color and started painting, leaving a mark on that white canvas. From then on, it was never blank again. It was stained by us, humans, and our need to leave even the tiniest of dents in the sands of time.
Something else happened on that canvas. We were all paining simultaneously, thus having no idea what everyone else was doing. We could have certainly anticipated from a given point onwards yet nobody seemed to bother about finding a common ground. We all kept painting autonomously. You would think it ended in complete chaos, but every element seemed to be like a piece of a jigsaw. Was that similar to the human existence?
When I count to three, you will leave that room and come back to planet Earth. One. Two. Three.
Art therapy, this is what it was, for me at least. We were all in the confined space of that one room, surrounded by loads of childish objects that we used as tools to create art that would help us express our feelings, challenge certain thoughts and address our subconscious. One of the perks of art therapy is that you do not have to be a legitimate artist, anyone can do it. While there is no denying you will feel more of its benefits if you do it with the guidance of an art therapist, you can easily enjoy its benefits on your own.