On the webinar last Thursday we discussed how art can be used in a very effective way to anchor the transformational shift brought about by the Radical Forgiveness experience.
As you may know, there are five stages in the Radical Forgiveness process: telling the story, feeling the feelings, collapsing the story, reframing the story and integrating the new story.
This last one often gets short shrift in discussions since the fourth one, reframing the story is the really radical one and gets all the attention. But the fifth one is very important. Without we find a way to integrate that reframe deep into our mind and body, it can dissipate. If this happens, we simply go back to our victim story.
To achieve this integration, we often use Satori Breathwork or walking the circle as when we do the Radical Forgiveness Ceremony. Even doing a worksheet and speaking it out loud is effective. Music is also good. But doing artwork in some form is a really excellent way to integrate the shift.
It is particularly useful If you are not a verbally inclined person and are not comfortable writing things down. Drawing or painting may suit you better. But even if you are comfortable writing it may well be very helpful to do some artwork immediately after doing a worksheet or listening to the 13 Steps. You may be surprised what will happen when you communicate to yourself in this manner.
Try if for yourself. Buy some decently sized white and black paper as well as some colored pastel chalks and crayons. (The pastels work really well on the black paper.)
Know that to use this tool requires no artistic talent whatsoever. It is not about painting pretty pictures. In fact, if you are full of anger, your pictures will probably be anything but pretty. It is about getting emotions and thoughts out on paper.
Begin drawing with no expectations or preconceived ideas. You might ask your spirit guides to help you release through the process of drawing and coloring whatever needs releasing and then simply start.
Whatever wants to come, allow it. Do not judge. Just go with the flow. Do this like a meditation. If you want to tell a story, do that. If you just want to use color, do that. Do whatever you feel like doing.
To use art therapy as a forgiveness tool, use an approach similar to that of the letter trilogy. Do a series of drawings that express how you felt about what a particular person did to you; these pictures would express your anger, fear, pain, sadness, etc.
Then, move into a more compassionate and understanding frame of mind, and do some drawings that reflect this attitude. Do a third set that expresses the feeling of Radical Forgiveness. You might want to put some time between each phase, or you can do them all in the same sitting.
Make sure, however, that once you start doing this art therapy, you complete all three stages — even if you only do three drawings in all. Doing just the first one, for example, might leave you stuck in anger.
As you finish each picture, hang it on a wall. Place each picture in the precise order in which you complete them and create a vertical or horizontal band on the wall with them. If you are creating a vertical display, begin with the first of the angry ones at the bottom and end with the last Radical Forgiveness one at the top.
When you place them in such a manner, you will be amazed to see the progression and the change in the quality of the energy expressed by each picture.
Title each drawing and date it. Spend some time with the drawings. Let them “speak” to you. While you were drawing each picture, you were thinking certain thoughts. When you look at the drawing later, clear your mind of those thoughts and examine the pictures for anything else of importance.
Though you would NEVER show them to those you are forgiving, you might invite others you trust to give you their interpretations of the pictures. They may see things you do not. Ask for their input by saying, “If this were your picture, what would you see?”
If what they see resonates with you, fine. If it does not really ring true for you, that is fine too. They see your drawing through their own subconscious, not yours, but you will find that people’s observations will trigger within you a whole new way of looking at your drawings, and you may have some new insights as a result.
And who knows, the side effect might be that you have so much fun that you will want to do it again and again, just for its own sake.
P.S. On the webinar last Thursday we mentioned that Senior Coach, Shari Claire, Artist/Photographer Katie Klein and I were doing a workshop, April 24-26, that included artwork. Since this happened to clash with another large event in Atlanta the same weekend being promoted by the same church and attracting large numbers, we felt obliged to postpone our workshop until a later date. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.