by Lauren Fallat, MA LPC ATR-BC
As we experience changes in our personal lives- relationships forming or disengaging, job or career changes, family members entering or leaving our lives, divorce, change in residence, graduations, births, deaths, illness and wellness, and/or changes in life circumstances- we may also recognize a parallel process that occurs outside of ourselves in our environment. In New Jersey, where this blog is being written, we have the opportunity to experience the ebbs and flows of the changing seasons and the transformations that occur outside of ourselves. By witnessing the ever-changing processes that nature performs and displays right in front of us and around us, we are reminded of our own dynamic nature.
When we look to changes in nature as inspiration for our art, we begin to naturally embrace a mindful attitude towards observation and seeing- taking into account the subtle changes along with the obvious transformations. We see changes of colors- greens to reds, oranges and yellows, changes in landscaping, and experience changes in temperature. We are responding to the changes in our environment in a physical way (by putting on more or less clothing for example), and also in a psychological way.
What is it like to see changes around you in your environment- can we embrace the beauty in life’s impermanence and respond in awe to the shifting clouds, the sunrises and sunsets, the overcast clouds and the pending snow fall, or do these changes incite feelings of grief, loss and/or longing for something different. Consider our relationship with the concept of control and how natural changes in our external environments subtly remind us that we are called to constantly adapt and overcome unexpected changes.
You may use this blog to help with generating ideas for an art journal entry or to reflect on how this topic adds meaning in how you understand the changing seasons in your own life:
Think about what Summer represents for you, what it entails- warmth, heat, fire, water, dryness, light, longer days, leisure time, respite, anxiety, and/or whatever else comes to mind.
Consider the same reflective process as you go through each of the seasons- Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. And even the in-between seasons where there are mixtures of warmth and coolness, rain and sunshine, dryness and humidity.
Consider the significance of each season. What is our purpose for experiencing each season in their cycles and how does one relate to the other? Can we have a Spring without a Winter?
What do we gain from experiencing this cycle? What would it be like to only experience one season?
In a metaphorical way, could we experience our lives without significant changes- what do you imagine that would feel like?
You may want to further explore this theme by creating an image that centers around this idea of transformational cycles. What colors and elements would you want to include or exclude? Consider creating a series- perhaps there is one constant, such as a tree, that exists in each of the images and there are elements in the environment that reflect the changes around the tree. You can decide if you have 4 seasons or 3 or maybe 6? Perhaps consider yourself as a constant and what it would be like to depict through images and words how the changes in your environment impact you. Think about what each season might represent for you- changes in your emotions, relationships, thoughts, professional experiences, motivation, etc.
To learn more, please reach out to the Holistic Health Counseling Center to learn more about art therapy and options for individual or family art therapy.