I’m taking a class that focuses on the idea of using art as a form of meditation and mindfulness. (side note: if you just enjoy doodling or are an accomplished artist and you ever get the chance to take this sort of class, I highly recommend it) It’s amazing how drawing scribbles can reveal personality or mental illness traits. For example, the instructor had us make a bunch of scribbles with a handful of colored pencils, then switch to one colored pencil and add what we thought was missing. I added a border around my chaotic scribbles. Only after I did that did I make the connection that I just unintentionally drew a simple picture of a complex problem – my need to try and control everything over which I have no control. That is the crux of so much of my anxiety, and ultimately depression as well.
At the end of our first class, the instructor announced that we had homework. She said, “Your homework is….Hand…” One word. Hand. At first I had no idea where to go with this assignment. As I dabbled with my paint and canvas, the picture evolved into something that represents a concept that is becoming more and more real to me every day: breaking through.
(Painted and photographed by me)
A few months ago, I would have said this picture represented a cry for help – I would have said it was me reaching up through my depression and looking for someone or something to save me from myself. I have many different interpretations in this moment:
- Breaking through my loneliness and reaching for peace in my aloneness
- Breaking through a lack of confidence and reaching for a newer, higher level of self-respect and self-esteem
- Breaking through my extreme lack of motivation and reaching for a renewed happiness in experiencing life
- Breaking through crippling anxiety and reaching for rational thought
If you asked me tomorrow or next week, I may have a different interpretation of this picture. My point is this: we are always breaking through something. We are always breaking through barriers, whether they are emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical. What is so scary is this – we may break through the dark water only to find ourselves in another dark place. However, that does not mean we should give up. Rather, it means we should keep pushing through until we break through again into a lighter and more hopeful place.
Don’t give up. You aren’t alone. I see you.