At Art Village, we just finished a six-week class that we offer called Drawing on the Right side of the Brain based on Betty Edward’s book by the same name. The first week of class, the students were asked to draw a self-portrait. Now you can imagine the fear and dread that over took them at this request. Thoughts like, “I thought this was a beginning class” or “Aren’t we supposed to start out with cubes and apples?” were most likely swimming through their minds.
They were very good sports about it. And after they drew their self-portrait, they took deep cleansing breaths and continued with the rest of class. I thought that after that first week they might all be freaked out and never come back. So I was very happy to see them all come back week after week. Each week they learned about how to see and recognize how three-dimensional objects are place in relationship to one another, and their drawing skill improved.
This last Thursday was the final class and the students were asked to draw another self-portrait. There was still a little apprehension, but the terror was gone. When they finished, they pulled out the drawings from the first class and compared them. The results were quite dramatic. The great thing about this was that they were able to see where they started and how they’ve improved. Everyone in the class improved. It was awesome. (To see their drawings, visit us at www.artvillageusa.com/beforeafter.htm). Seeing their own progress also gave them the confidence to want to continue drawing, learning and improving.
Our lives can be like that drawing class. We wake up day after day, doing the best we can, but we are unaware of our own progress and think we’re going nowhere. The truth is, we are all making progress in our lives even though it doesn’t look like it. If we could have a before and after picture of our lives, we could see that we are indeed moving forward.
I think we can create our own before and after picture by keeping a journal. Keeping a journal is a good way to keep track of where you’ve been. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy, awe-inspiring work of prose. It just needs to be about who you are today. Write down your hopes and dreams. Write down where you are this moment in your life. Then, as the future unfolds, you’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.
For me, I like to put as many positive and inspiring things in my journals as I can. I have found that including three lists throughout my journals helps me do this. Number one is the success list. This is a list of my successes from the past and present. I have a specific journal designated for this purpose. I have it in my night stand by my bed. That way, I can review my day and write down any successes that have happened during the day.
The second list is the appreciation list. I write down thing I am thankful for. This helps me look at the good things I have in my life right now.
The Third list is the self-esteem list. This is a list of my personal positive qualities. What do I like about myself? Knowing these things helps me know when I’m living in harmony of your personality.
Remember, our lives are not lived in straight lines. There are twists and turns, mountaintops and valleys, but all these are necessary to be come the person we are meant to be. So when you are keeping your journal, don’t worry about how it flows. Include goals, quotes, conversations you’ve had, drawings, to do lists, ideas that people have given you, art projects you want to do, interesting daily happenings, and just about anything that has to do with what’s going on in your life right now. When you look back at these journals, you’ll see that life has a way of unfolding just the way it needs to.
Art Saves Lives!