Today I had a craft store coupon burning a hole in my pocket, a coveted 25% of ENTIRE purchase coupon. I also had a free hour. I perused the aisles of craft supplies and relished filling my basket with paper, colored pencils, new scissors, glue sticks, and markers. At check-out, the clerk asked if I am a teacher. Nope. I'm a therapist. He asked me if I see children. Sort of, but that is not who I have in mind for these supplies. These are intended primarily for my adults.
I'll tell you why…
By the time we reach adulthood, we have often lost our deeper, freer, in-the-moment self. We have become so full of to-do lists, the expectations of others, and the fear that we simply don't measure up, that there isn't room any longer for the full, open-hearted, present living we did as children. Our longing is to return to self. To be present and open-hearted. If we have young children, we see what this looks like: they are excited about an airplane, the exclaim that we have to look at this bug, they are lost in coloring without a care for the outcome. As adults, these things are small and insignificant in the face our important lists and responsibilities. All of our energy, the same energy our child pours in to the moment, is consumed by doing and achieving and measuring up.
So, today, I bought my adult clients paper, colored pencils, and glue. We will wind our way back to our creative, present, open-hearted self without concern for the outcome on the paper. It is here that healing happens. We engage the mind and heart in a different way. We free up the vulnerable self. We connect with joy. The moments lost in being while we create are healing to the worry-weary soul. When we are finished, we can go to our adult self and say, "See! Look what I did!" We can learn to respond to our open-hearted self with love and acceptance, freeing her to come out and play a little more often. So, come on, let's color while we talk.
Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C
As a therapist, mother, daughter, partner, and seeker, I am always on the journey toward a more peaceful, authentic life. I hope to share knowledge, insights, and the ongoing unknowns I find along the path...