Art journals can be a tool to understand what we want and because they tend to be more visual than written, they trigger a different part of the brain than we use when we are just thinking or writing about how to solve problems. We switch to the right brain, which is more in touch with the imagination. Let me show how this happened for me:
The picture above is a spread in one of my art journals. I made it based on a writing prompt in an art journal class I took in 2011. We were to ask ourselves a series of questions writing the question with our dominant hand, then answer the question with our non-dominant hand. Writing with the non-dominant hand (beside being hard) triggers our right brain as well, and the answers are frequently surprising. I had so many surprising answers that day that I didn’t make my journal spread until a couple of days later…I kept asking questions of myself and answering with the non-dominant hand!
I’d only been divorced for one year, and was still reeling from all the change that had triggered. The question prompt was: “What do I want to do?” I surprised the heck out of myself when my non-dominant hand wrote:
I want to be a massage therapist to women in their 40’s to 60’s and above. I want to help them to be healthy and vibrant as they age, to be empowered to live really vibrant lives, because that is how I want to live.
Vibrant was the important descriptor–I wanted to lead a vibrant life, to shake off the failure I felt being divorced, having to start over in my 60’s. I remember I was fairly obsessed with this idea and the vision it gave me for at least a few months after I wrote those words. I made a collage of what being vibrant meant to me. It was about how I wanted to feel, unfortunately I got rid of the collage in a down moment, thinking I wasn’t turning my massage practice into what I was envisioning. I wanted to help other women get in touch with their creativity, but it really wasn’t in the scope of my practice as a massage therapist.
To be fair to myself and my massage practice, I was a very good therapist, and I helped hundreds of people over the 16 years I practiced. I believe I actually did help quite a few of my clients, women and men, live more vibrant lives without pain.
However, when I got out this journal the other day to look through it, I was struck again by the message I received, writing with my left hand. Helping women live vibrant, empowered lives as they age is pretty close to my goals for this site, I definitely believe I’ve become more vibrant in the six years since I wrote it.
When I looked again at this spread, I realized I planted a seed, without realizing it, which has grown in various ways and has brought me to where I am today. One of the ways I grew was through exploring my creativity, art journals are one example and I think a good starting place for many people.
In my next few posts I will be talking about ways to use art to help you tap into your intuition to clarify your dreams. In the meantime, why not get out some paper and a pen and ask yourself, “What do I want to do?” and answer with your non-dominant hand…I would love to hear about it if