I'm in my third semester of my journey to become a counselor. One of my classes this semester is Creativity in Counseling, and I recently had an assignment to do a self portrait. It did not turn out at all how I expected. I did not have a plan in mind at all when I started, and it just flowed out. (Be kind, I am no artist.)
The central yin-yang is me, my balanced and centered and colorful self. The three circles connected to it are my children. The six circles outside of those represent my parents, my sister, my 2 closest friends, and an extra circle for a future friend I feel is coming. The ring of small circles surrounding those represent other family and friends. The ring of green triangles represent mountains and earth in general, and outside of those are representations of blue moons (also representing water) and yellow suns. Between the moon/sun combos are pawprints representing all of the animals in my life—past, present, and future. The outer edge represents fire. The earth and elements are important parts of my spirituality, I work in animal rescue, and family and friends are important to me. All are here. When looking at the photos of the finished product, I noticed it is slightly off-center. But so am I sometimes, and it IS a self portrait. ;) And interestingly, and a surprise to me, the entire thing became an eye. My eye. Can you see it?
While working on it, my mind went into a very meditative state. My work felt sacred and important, while also childlike and simple. Time fell away and music filled me and my hand took on a life of its own. I did not think. As you can see from the image, there were a lot of repetitive movements and colors, which I think helped take me into that meditative time-free state.
This took me more than one sitting to complete, and between sessions I wondered why my “self-portrait” had taken such a turn. It bothered me at first that my center self was not independent of the initial 3 circles, but now it makes sense. My children are still quite dependent on me, and if you look closely, the light blue circle (which I associate with my oldest) looks as though it is just starting to separate.
I recently came to a realization that despite rarely feeling lonely (I enjoy solitude!) I often feel deeply alone in life, being the sole support of three children with my family and friends scattered around the country. I’d never realized how much this aloneness weighed on me before. This activity showed me how far from alone I truly am; I have my children, my sister, my parents, my friends and other loved ones, my land, my spirituality, animals and the mountains and the sun and the moon and myself.
There is wisdom within us that is often imprisoned by language and only freed by creativity.