Friday, May 13, 2016

as an art therapist, i prescribe a tantrum

Mostly I write about art, the metaphors of my work and the healing nature of the creative process. I often use art-making for processing my difficult moments in life and later view the images for reflection, growth and personal understanding.  This is the "grown-up" & "adult" way I've learned to deal with my many god-given and perfect human emotions that may not be so comfortable to live with at any given time. When faced with: Why do I feel the way I do? Why does a certain situation cause me to cry? I should be over that by now!  and Why can't I control my emotions better??? Sometimes folks, the art-making just doesn't cut it.

But isn't "controlling our emotions" exactly what most of us have been taught to do throughout our lives? If not at the early age of 2 when we really are just getting going as an independent and separated from mom kinda person?  That no matter how angry you are or how sad you might be, you better "get it under control, Sister!" or bad things might happen. How many times were you told by your parents to "stop making a scene!" or  "If you can't get it together, you will be in BIG trouble!"  Of course in the 1990's and early 2000's parents were given the "time-out" tool, which I even used with my own children when they were having a meltdown. The time out and even counting down to a time out proved to be very effective for my own kids when they needed a break from a certain situation to calm down and chill out. But when a kid is angry - a kid is angry. And the same goes for adults. Just because we grow up doesn't mean we stop feeling - OR DOES IT???
And yes, even for adults, the "time out" can be an effective way for us to get our "$h*t" together during challenging moments where it would be best to walk away to a quiet room, than to blow up at a client or a boss or anyone who just might be missing the point, or not understanding your needs and wants in the moment.  I agree that there is an appropriate time and place for everything.
But as a culture it seems we have gotten so accustomed to stuffing our anger or sadness that we don't really know what to do with our perfectly designed human emotions any more - especially when they rise to a boiling point. I believe that this is one of the possible reasons behind our society filled with disease, cancers and over loaded pill popping and drug use. All those emotions and feelings that we have controlled, suppressed and not expressed over our lifetimes are now bursting at the seams if not to leave, then to drastically alter our bodies, our organs and our cells. 
So guess what I prescribe when you're feeling overwhelmed with emotions that might not feel so warm and fuzzy? 
GO HAVE YOURSELF A BLOODY TANTRUM!     
I MEAN ALL OUT SCREAMING AND YELLING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS, CRYING SOBBING ON THE FLOOR GET IT ALL OUT SISTER KINDA EXPRESSION OF YOUR PENT UP ANGER AND FRUSTRATION ABOUT WHY LIFE HAS LANDED THIS BIG BUNDLE OF SHIT IN YOUR IN YOUR LAP AND YOU JUST CANT TAKE ANOTHER MOMENT OF IT KIND OF FIT THAT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE ON THE EDGE OF CRAZY, HELL YOU MIGHT JUST BE THERE, BUT YOU'RE GONNA RIDE THIS OUT INTO THE SUNSET UNTIL YOU CAN'T GET ONE MORE PEEP OUT OF YOUR ANGST RIDDEN DISGUSTED BLOW HOLE
(bloody as in the English/ UK term, not as in actually spilling any blood)
I did this week and let me tell you - it was downright FANTASTIC!  Yes for about three minutes - maybe even only two was what it took to exorcise my current demons, and I'm sure I looked ridiculous and pretty much like that toddler you saw at Target last week when Mommy didn't buy her that My Pretty Pony. But when you've got a lot that you're holding in for whatever reasons we ALL have about life's disappointments, I suggest you get those feelings out of you, before they take over the inside of you.  
Now please let me be clear with this prescription comes your own level of responsibility. Choose your timing wisely. Pick a space where you will be alone and you won't be disrupting anyone else. Make sure your windows are closed so that the neighbors don't call the police. And if you can't be alone, if you have the wherewithal, please let those around you know that's you're going to go blow up for a minute, then you'll be back calmer, better and healthier. And if you can find a way to "ground" yourself after an exhausting screaming sobbing and exorcising session, I recommend a good round of gardening. And if you don't have any soil to toss around for a good four or five hours, go sit on the grass and let the remains filter into the ground below you. And if you don't have the ability to get near a garden, soil or grass, then no wonder why you're so upset!!! (JK - which means just kidding for all you older folks out there) After you blow up, you need to gather back into yourself or you're just going to feel raw and overly-exposed. So find a way to sit  and send any left over nastiness into the ground even if only metaphorically. 
Now if you really are looking for a great coach to help you with this kind of activity if you feel you're not up for trying it on your own, I suggest you reach out to Master Healer, Tammy Cunningham who's my own personal hero, and she'll walk you through the proper steps of breathing into your heart, beating a pillow with intention and many other tasks for releasing those very most precious and important emotions that we have stuffed and tied up within our bodies, probably for way too long. Listen, we have our emotions for a reason, but when you don't "emote" them in any regular or healthy way, you're not doing you or the rest of us any favors.
So there you go! A prescription for a tantrum. I'm sure all of us could use one sooner than later. XOXO and have a beautiful weekend!!!! Love and Blessings,
Laurie

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