OK, I’m back to talking about Andrzej again. He has been doing body work for both Jason and me for over a month now. He called us last week to invite us to a last-minute demonstration of a super-fast watercolors exercise, a technique he developed to get at the subconscious and develop relationships with color that can break the cycle of depression. I’m certainly not depressed now, but I remember a time when I’m pretty sure I was. One vivid memory is of looking at a gorgeous sunset and noticing that I felt emotionally flat. I remember thinking, “hmmm… I ‘know’ this sunset is stunning, and yet I don’t have any feelings about it.”
Since we saw the demo, Jason and I have decided to paint for about five minutes each night, six or nine small images on a single sheet of paper. Cheap watercolors, cheap paper. I spend about twice or three times as long as Jason—he seems to be done in two minutes or less. I keep adding to mine. Sometimes I’m happy with my exploration, sometimes with the output. Sometimes neither. But it does seem to put my brain into a different mode.
Anger is closely related to depression, and tonight I got very angry at Braden. Increasing frustration boiled over at a minor incident. I have a tendency to really stew on my upset, not able to let it go unless we talk about it (a lot) or a lot of time has passed. It feels like such a waste of time and energy, but I’ve seemed to be at the mercy of the cycle. This time I tested the ability of the painting exercise to transform my brain state away from a very negative emotional storm, and it worked! I’m calm again, no longer distracted by my frustration at not finding a solution to the issue with my son.
At a creative level, my best friend and art mentor Linda has been trying to get me to play with paints for years, just for the pure joy of creating color. I never really understood her fascination with it, but I also think I was just intimidated by what to do with paint. Having a formulaic process and a very short time to execute the tiny scribbled paintings helps to lift off the expectation and fears. I heard once that every five year old paints a masterpiece if you just know when to take it away from them. That’s what it feels like, my inner five year old only gets a few minutes to play, so it just doesn’t matter what goes on the page. I may not get a masterpiece, but I seem to get peace of mind.