Do you feel like your life is being overrun by smartphones, email, social media sites, and computers ? This growing love affair with our machines is altering the way the interact with the world. The paradigm shift happened so quickly, it might be interesting to make a personal time line of our growing reliance on our devices.
Find some paper and a pen or pencil. This art exercise might take the form of a comic strip layout, or it might be a long line at the bottom of the page. Think back to your first machine..maybe it was an Apple Macintosh if you are as old as me, maybe it was a cell phone or even a fax machine. Start there, add more of the machines you purchased as you travel along your time line. As you add each machine, think how this has improved your life, or made it more complicated. Most likely, this exercise will give you perspective on our current scenario. Do you see a pattern of these machines improving or hindering your real human social interactions?
Yesterday’s project: Boundaries are a gigantic topic and our self-esteem is truly intertwined with how well we defend our boundaries. Although no one can define what an appropriate boundary is for you, when you cross the line you have set for yourself, the feeling is often one of shame and regret. This is true for physical, sexual, emotional and even verbal interactions. Occasionally if our boundaries are too high, we might be missing out on making authentic connections with people in our lives. Were you able to recognize some areas of your life that need work on the topic of boundaries? Defending the boundary we set for ourselves always results in a feeling of pride and self-worth. We will revisit this topic again in this blog through other art directives.
Today we will be exploring the topic of boundaries which are essentially connected to love….a topic fitting for February 14th. Please find some paper and a pen or pencil. Draw an outline of a human form, amorphous and large enough to write in. Don’t worry about any details beyond limbs, a torso and head. Write some messages inside the body reflecting your current feelings connected to a relationship. On the outside of the body, write or draw words, messages, feelings, that a person or people on the outside world are expressing to you or about you.
The body outline serves as the boundary, and our experiment is to explore our physical, emotional, sexual, and/or verbal boundaries with the outside world. Try to pay attention to the feelings that come up as you focus on the interior and exterior of the body. As you work, ask yourself some of these questions: Are you happy with your boundaries? Are they too high, not allowing others in? Are they too low, letting everyone in at the expense of harming yourself? What can you do to better defend your boundaries? Do you see a connection between your level of self-esteem and your level of personal boundaries? The topic of boundaries is a very large one which will be covered numerous times in this blog’s art exercises. Please check tomorrow’s blog for more questions to help you explore the artwork you created.
Yesterday’s blog: What does your tree look like? What season did you draw around this tree? Do you feel that your tree represents aspect of yourself? Would you like to have deeper roots, or more extensive branches? Can you add anything to help this tree flourish in its current environment? Is your tree safe? Does your tree need other trees nearby?
A tree can be symbolic on many levels spanning cultures and much of human history as a motif used to represent people and societies. Drawing yourself as a tree can be a powerful exercise to describe personal things that are difficult to put into words. Putting this image away for a few days or weeks and then returning to it can often be insightful, as if reading a diary entry.