Creativity is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Are you able to find time to feed your creative soul With children, this can be enormously difficult. However, through my work as a therapist and a parent of three, I've come to realize that we parents can give voice to our creativity within the course of spare moments, and in ways that serve us immensely.
Your moment might present itself once you ve finally put the baby to sleep (before addressing the pile of laundry staring at you). It could during a brief walk outside during your lunch-break or before the next meeting. It could also be when you awake in the morning or before you collapse at the end of the day.
So, what to do in that moment How do we muster the energy to be creative Well, a simple walk outside with a camera and taking shots of the neighborhood could enable you to open yourself. You might hone in on a beautiful puddle reflecting the sunlight peering between two buildings or zoom out with a wide lens to catch the big orange moon just peeking up over your neighbor s fire escape. This exercise allows you literally to get perspective and some distance from the enmeshed and, sometimes, overwhelming experience of being a parent. This perspective can actually be highly rejuvenating even if you initially thought you had nothing left. The difference is that you re giving to yourself.
What else Well, there's nothing like a wad of clay or a hammer and nail to work out aggression, or assembling rocks, leaves and stones out on the sidewalk to facilitate inner ease and harmony. Art and natural materials have an uncanny ability to tap our emotions and allow for the release of feelings that might otherwise go unnoticed, buried and ultimately give rise to a flurry of problems. If emotions are given the opportunity for release, the potential for acting them out in undesirable ways is significantly diminished. And, when it comes to parenting our children, our emotions can be quite powerful.
So, if you seize that moment right before the school bus doors open, or right after you drop your child at a party, baseball game, ballet lesson or play-date, consider writing a brief poem, drawing a small comic strip or adding some splashes of paint to that old rocking chair. You might be surprised by what you find it might be your self!
Jean Davis is a licensed creative arts therapist and a registered and board-certified art therapist. She has postgraduate training in group therapy, gestalt therapy and ecopsychology and has over 15 years of experience with a wide variety of populations and in numerous settings. Currently, Jean is Chairperson for Pratt Institute s Graduate Creative Arts Therapy Department, the program from which she graduated and in which she has served as an instructor for ten years. She has published numerous articles in professional journals and she presently serves on the editorial board for the Ecopsychology Journal. For more than a decade, she has maintained a private practice in Brooklyn, New York working with children and adults.