Last week, the women in Brookhaven Retreat’s residential treatment facility worked on letting go of feelings, thoughts, behaviors, people and past experiences that cause them emotional suffering. This artistic activity was meant to aid the process of letting go, and the ladies really seemed to enjoy it!
You can work on a large scale (like table sized!) or small scale. If you want to avoid a mess, you will want to find absorbent paper that is made for water and paint. Regardless of the paper, this can be a messy activity, so dress accordingly and be prepared.
- Pen and paper for a list
- Absorbent paper
- Paints (can be tempera or acrylic)
- Plastic bowls
- Dishwashing soap
- Plastic or protective covering for table and/or floor
Start by creating a list of things you want to let go of. These can be contributors to depression, anxiety and negative thinking patterns such as people, thoughts or behaviors. Keep these in mind as you work.
Mix your paint colors in the different bowls. As you mix, think about the colors representing things you want to release. You will want a high concentration of paint to start (think tablespoon sized amount). Add another tablespoon of the soap and mix together. Then add ¼ cup water to the mixture. It may take some playing around with the mixture to create the right colors.
Use the straw to blow the bubbles (don’t suck in!), and as you blow out, imagine you are releasing those things causing you suffering. Be mindful of your breathing and watch the bubbles as they rise up. Carefully tip the bowl as you blow so that the bubbles spill over the side. You can create long lines of bubbles or big blobs. Have fun and play! You may even use the straw to blow water across the paper, or the straw as a way to spread the paint. Have fun and be creative.
After you finish, take a moment to look at what you created. Does this reflect suffering? What colors felt right? How are the colors mixing together? How does this process or the result relate to your life?
Now you can decide what to do with your artwork. You might decide to continue the “letting go” process and destroy it. Do whatever feels right to you to continue your healing journey!