Art Therapy Exercise: What Am I?
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Art Therapy Exercise: What Am I?

Updated: Apr 5

The game of survival can get pretty daunting at times. The unyielding clouds of monotony and novelty hang over us like a dagger, making us perform as if it’s a marionette show. This interplay of life paves way for inquiry for a lot of us like-minded souls. This is when we often ask ourselves – ‘Who am I’? But I just feel that ‘Who’ as a term reduces and numbs the very complex matter that we are dovetailed with. Whereas ‘What’ just gives rise to such numerous possibilities – it doesn’t boil us down to just a big fat egotistical creature who’s just interested in surface level information. Hence, we could try asking ourselves ‘What am I’ the next time we are in one of those reflective moods.

Here’s a simple art activity to get to the root of the internal spiritual matter. When you are confused about your existence, when validations and expectations grip you, this little introspective healing exercise may help you get some perspective and clear all that fog obscuring your heart.

Step 1: MEDITATE ON WHAT’S YOUR ESSENCE

Close your eyes and create an imagery about yourself. Think of the authentic you who is not perturbed by external influences. Have a non-judgmental view about yourself. Delve into that inner landscape that’s not adulterated by jealousy, fear, opinions, performance punishment, material desires etc. Think of what this being is like when it’s not burdened under numerous weights.

Draw and paint this essence that you imagine. It could be wonderful strokes, mixed media, it could be a visual collage of metaphors, it could be out and out abstract. Don’t get restricted to ‘what am I supposed to do’ but try and transition to ‘what I feel like doing’. And most importantly stop telling yourself that you can’t paint or draw. Throw the inner critic in the bin and create something that honors the true and pure energy emerging from the depth of your being.

Step 2: Think of what’s stopping you / what are the obstacles that are hindering you from realizing your essence.

We all witness our demons from time to time and sometimes let them overpower us with great ferocity. But do we really need to entertain and mingle with these creatures that create havoc within us, maybe we just need to observe them patiently and allow them to leave at their own pace. Think of the hindrances that stop you from realizing your essence and create a lovely artwork out of it.

Step 3: What do you need to overcome these obstacles?

We are all armed with the necessary spiritual equipment that help us deal with whatever spanner is thrown our way. We are all well-armed, it’s just that we fail to notice our strengths at times and only focus on the burdens. Create an artwork of what you need and what your soul could conjure up, to deal with that feeling of ‘unworthiness’, to deal with that block that doesn’t let you access your core energy source.

Well, here’s my version of the activity. I think this whole world is my community and I am because you are at the end of the day…

This is what I felt when I thought of my essence

Fire and water mix, heaven and hell merge, I am everything, I am nothing at all…Soft hues brush against me as if I was bathing in it all along…

These are the obstacles I visualized that stop me from connecting to my true healthy self

Prying eyes, societal claws and the prickle of self-conscious spears – all stuck together in an expansive bubble

This is what I needed, to unclutch myself from self created barriers

Lightness and effortlessness – My whole being is meditative – Throw stones at me or shower me with praises, I shall continue to just BE, like a rolling stone gathering no moss.

Do share your pictures if you end up doing this art exercise. Here’s a short poem that will help you get into the groove of this embodiment activity. Let the joy of expression simply run through you like electricity.

‘Too Lazy to be ambitious,

I let the world take care of itself,

Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag;

a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.

Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?

Listening to the night rain on my roof,

I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.’

– Taigu Ryokan

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