One of my cats is a bully.
It doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes when he’s frustrated or cannot get what he wants, he bullies the other cat.
Genghis chases the other cat, bites him a couple of times and then he’s back to his normal (a bit agitated but peaceful) self. I struggle with his behavior at times, but it doesn’t change the fact that Genghis reacts in the most natural way: tension -> bite -> relief.
But humans don’t bite.
Instead, we collect tensions.
What else can we do if we don’t even know what do we feel?
But to ‘bite’, we don’t need to know why. We don’t need analyzing. We need doing!
Our equivalent of biting might be drawing. Yes, drawing! It’s an activity as good as any other, but at least not an offense.
But adults do not draw…!
As children, we draw carefree. No one judges us. Quite the opposite – everyone loves what we draw. So we go on, not bothered by the fact that the man we drew was a stickman consisting of only a few circles and lines. Drawing is fun, it’s unbound joy and unhampered creativity.
And then one day we stop forever.
Sean D’Souza’s theory says we stop drawing as children simply because we don’t see other adults doing it. And so we stop drawing as, let’s say, an eight-year-old.
Then, as an adult, we happen to draw something and, guess what, it looks like the drawing of an eight-year-old. What else could it be? But we conclude we have no ability to draw or that we are not talented.
Since we stopped practicing years ago, why on earth do we think we should be able to draw something more sophisticated than a child could create?
According to D’Souza’s theory, the main difference between us and the people we consider talented are the years and years of practicing!
The act of drawing is reserved for children (and artists). And when we go back to drawing as grown ups, this activity seems weird. Imagine, how would you feel having crayons and a sheet of paper in front of you? Awkward? Funny? After all, you’re not an eight-year-old…
But do we really have to be full time adults?
So you’re not an eight-year-old MOST of the time. But how about… sometimes? Why not try to benefit from what we had within reach during childhood: being creative, spontaneous and having fun? And to help yourself, by the way.
The only question is: WHAT FOR?
Why adults would draw at all?
Simply because sometimes we struggle with difficult moments in our lives. It’s hard enough to deal with a breakup itself along with everyday problems added into the mix. There’s not enough time for mindfulness. And even if there is, we don’t really know what to do with all the feelings.
In such cases, drawing fits into the scenario perfectly. You don’t need to know anything: either what you feel, or what to do with it.
Drawing is an intuitive act, a process of creation. We choose certain colors because somehow they feel right. We draw a shape because it fits here or there. It’s an intuitive experience rather than one based on thinking.
And this ‘experiencing’ is an essence. When we’re drawing, we switch off the logical part of the brain and follow our feelings, because drawing is strongly associated with fun. And fun is connected with safety and spontaneity.
And we’re home. If we feel safe, it’s easier to open up and instinctively express our feelings.
Suddenly, as the crayons move, emotions reveal themselves.
Navy blue uncovers your sorrow.
Bloody redness shouts its fury.
Colors and shapes express feelings you have no words for.
No words are needed.
Drawing opens doors to self-expression, even if we can’t name what we feel
And we act instinctively, like my cat Genghis. He expresses stress by biting. We can choose another way.
How to start drawing after so many years?
Stare at the white paper for a while. Look at the crayons. Which one gets your attention? The drawing may be abstract, or a portrait or slice of reality. Your first thought is always the best one.
Remember to take a break from being an adult!
Be an eight-year-old for a while; curious and wayward, a little kid who acts without thinking and loses himself in the activity.
‘Here, in the corner I need to add this black thing. I’m not sure what it is, exactly, but I feel muck there. It’s stupid and I hate it’ – an inner eight-year-old’s opinion
If you feel emptiness, take a break, wait and observe. Search inside, check to see if you want to add anything or if that is all you had to say.
After you’re finished, try to name feelings you experienced in order to learn a tiny bit more about yourself.
From a practical side – get a sketchbook and crayons. I like to use large paper because I don’t run out of space as I gain momentum.
And as for crayons, I recommend soft pastels. They’re in saturated colors and mix together beautifully.
So what’s the one thing you can do right now?
If you’re still thinking you can’t draw, take a look at some of my drawings. I can’t draw either, but hey, does it even matter?
In this case, art is in the eye of the creator! ;-P
Photos: Free Kid Drawing
By the way, have you signed up already?
When you do, you get a freebie: ‘Make today the best day ever since you broke up’. It’s a hands-on mini-guide. Change your mindset now!