Friday, February 20, 2009

Pain, Panic, and Transformation

Pain and Panic, mixed media collage, 3" x 5"

As a therapeutic art exercise today, I decided to create a piece that reflects some of what I have been experiencing lately with my anxiety. Ms. Anxiety Pants has been making daily visits and I am trying to form a dialog with her, ask her questions, soothe her. Perhaps making her a visual entity like the piece above will let her know that I see her. She doesn't need to shout so loudly anymore.

Transformation, mixed media collage, 2.5" x 6"

The second part of this therapeutic art session today involved creating a piece that reflects what I want to see for myself. It's supposed to be a positive vision--one of growth and transcendence and change. After creating this piece I was tempted to strap on some butterfly wings and plant myself in a pot. With some good nurturing and a feeling of safety, who knows what could happen!


  1. I'm sorry Ms. Anxiety Pants has been visiting you.
    There are a couple things that work well for me.
    I lay down comfortably and breathe in to the count of ten. Then I breathe out to that same count of ten. Sometimes the first few breathes come out too fast but things do calm down if your thoughts are only on your breath.
    The second thing I have used is the Grief tape from the East West Bookstore by you. I can't remember her name offhand but if you are interested, I'll look for it. They are great meditation CDs.

  2. I forgot an important aspect of the breathing exercise.

    On your inhale, feel yand visualise your breathe wrapping itself around all of the bits of anxiety.

    On the exhale, feel and see them flowing out.

  3. hi courtney, just wanted to say thank you so much for the cards I received in the mail the other day! I love them. It was so generous of you to send me some of your cards.

    I did a similar exercise but with my Inner Critic- made a physical manifestation of her and what she says to me. It was an interesting exercise in that it helped me figure out the Why of it all. Find out what Ms. Anxiety Pants wants to tell you is a very good idea. good luck and take good deep breaths as Binky said!

  4. even in pain and panic beauty came! Hopefully she will be so enamored with herself, she'll be too distracted to bother you.
    I love the idea of winging and rooting yourself in a pot- knowing you can take flight as well as be grounded enough to set down roots is an empowering place to be. These pieces have healing art warrior all over them!

  5. Ms. Anxiety Pants? Is that the lesser-known award given after Ms. Congeniality? Like the competitor who frets about the evening gown portion and drives all the other girls crazy?

    What I usually do is focus my anxiety into my knuckles and then transfer it via assaultive massage into a nearby wall. You could try this with some of your massage clients. Though I recommend you keep making collages. :)

  6. Thank you all for the supportive words.

    Breathing well is so important! And Binky, I have that Naperstek CD on anxiety. It's wonderful!

    Bridgette, I am so glad you like the cards. And that inner critic exercise is a powerful one. I think once we visually represent grief, anxiety, our inner critic, etc. we demystify these things and make them have less of a hold on us.

    And yes, Soapy, collage is much better for me than punching walls! Ouch!

  7. beautiful pieces of art
    hoping you get better real soon