Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

(posted on 24 Dec 2023)

At the end of last month I participated in an art therapy workshop, designed for artists (pun intended). This virtual/live event was presented by Montréal-based ELAN, the English Language Arts Network, 

To be clear, the two photos I've posted here are exercises rather than finished artworks.
The first photo was my creation during a "centering exercise", meant to let each of us listen to our bodies and minds - and then identify any immediate needs that seemed to arise during the activity.
My mind and body seemed to be sending me a message to a) get off of ZOOM meetings for the day (which I couldn't do at that point as I had additional ZOOM meeting from 1700 to 1830 for a chronic pain volunteer program) and b) get more sleep.

The second image resulted from a two-step "scribble exercise", in which you add colour to what you "find" or "notice" after you've scribbled in pen or pencil for three minutes - while listening to calming music. What did I "find" in my scribbles?
What I saw were nature scenes, of course! It felt as though my body and mind were telling me to go back into the forest near my home, and walk along the stream there. The art therapist noticed that my duck resembled a child's rubber-duck bath toy much more than an actual duck, so she suggested that a warm bath might be beneficial.

It was an interesting workshop, primarily focused on creative ways to listen to our bodies and to calm our minds. These skills are also important for chronic pain management, so I may well search out similar ideas as tools to help me deal with the multiple symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) - and to share with chronic pain patients through my volunteer activities and my Art Despite Pain initiative.

I've chosen to post this on the cusp of the holiday period, as a reminder to seek out activities that you find calming and restful. Whether that's chatting with loved ones, crafting, drawing, exercise & sports, painting, reading, sketching, writing, or anything else, I hope you're able to take some time over the holidays to do something just for yourself.

All the best for the holidays, and for 2024!