This is my final post for my inquiry project for EAE 201. I cannot believe that another semester has come to an end and thus, my painting project also must come to an end. Well, a temporary end – I will definitely be incorporating painting into my life moving forward because of the holistic benefits that I have experienced through this process. Right now, it is time to reflect upon the experience as a whole, up to now.
Looking back now I am kind of surprised by how little I actually struggled with some of the challenges that I mentioned might potentially impact my experience. As far as feeling incompetent and incapable, and the overwhelming amount of resources that I would find, these really did not impact me at all. I basically just did a quick scroll on Pinterest right before I began painting each time and chose something that interested me. As opposed to trying to look at all of the different resources out there and saving every single thing that I might do and then having no idea where to start – which would have surely overwhelmed me. Similarly, with feeling incompetent or incapable, I actually found that as I was creating, I was actually surprised with my abilities. They say you never know what you are good at or capable of until you try it and this is so true. I counted myself out of being able to paint before I ever even tried. This gave me a new sense of confidence in my abilities and pride in myself. It was the anticipated challenges of time commitment, prioritizing issues, and motivation that became most evident throughout this experience.
Upon beginning this project I was very optimistic about the time that I was going to be able to dedicate to this. In the midst of school, work, other responsibilities, personal struggles, etc. at times during this project I really struggled with finding the time to paint. Looking back now I think that it was less about not having the actual physical time, and more about having the mental capacity to actually use the time that I had for creating art. In busy and stressful times, it was very difficult for me to shut it all off and sit down and create. There seemed to always be something else that I should be doing – readings, assignments, prep for school/work, cleaning my house, cooking, errands, etc. there was always something that I thought I needed to do more than painting. But when I actually set aside the time and let myself create art without the weight of my other roles and responsibilities on my shoulders, the results were truly freeing.
The holistic benefits to my wellbeing when I let myself create art freely have been truly life changing. Physically, I was able to remove myself from all of the other distractions of my life and create my own little sanctuary – a cozy, quiet, space where I could spend time with myself. This forced me to get of off my phone and other screens for a while, and also avoid other habits that might be less beneficial to my wellbeing such as social media, bad eating, negative thoughts, etc. Mentally and emotionally, I was able to turn my brain off and focus only on creating. This forced me to be fully present in the moment, aware of myself, my surroundings, my thoughts, and my feelings, and at peace. I was able to reflect on my self, my interests, my abilities, my capabilities, etc. It gave me the opportunity to feel out where I was at in my life or just in that moment, and let it out through creating. Spiritually, this experience really took me out of the trivial physical and mental struggles of everyday life. It forced me to reflect internally about my life and what is really important to me. I was able to truly relax my mind and body and just be creative. This experience truly brought to light just how important the arts are to my wellbeing in this life.
It may sound dramatic but I think that the arts are just that – life changing. The holistic benefits to my wellbeing that come from creating in whatever form it may be, give me purpose and peace. It is a time to relax, reflect, and be fully present. It has been a challenging and rewarding experience of self reflection, personal growth, rest and relaxation, and uncovering of abilities for me. I am really looking forward to continuing to use painting as a form of my own “therapy” for myself and another way to incorporate art into my life.