Using Art and Writing to Find the Source of Complex Emotions

Using Art and Writing to Find the Source of Complex Emotions

At my local art group last Thursday, we made little fabric collages called Stitch Meditations. They are meant to be a relaxing activity, one with no right or wrong way to do it, and shouldn’t be turned into a “project.” I selected fabrics with similar colors, and I thought it looked okay as I was working on it.

Fabric collage, 4×4 inches

I ran two errands on the way home. I had purchased a few plants but had no desire to go out and put them in the ground. When I unpacked my stitching later that afternoon, one glance was enough to dismiss it as wasted effort. I wasted more time on Facebook and email that evening.

Before going to sleep I wrote in my journal to try to understand my less than happy feelings.

I wrote:

“I’m so disgusted with the yard that I’d like to pick up my house and go somewhere else.  I’m wanting to just sit and read and eat chocolate. And I’m not very excited with what I’m reading either.”

At this time of year my yard has millions of tiny wildflowers all blooming all at once, then going to seed and drying up – this is normal. Most of them burn up and quickly disappear as soon as we get our first really hot day. But this year, that amount of debris won’t disappear on its own.

My yard is dominated by a huge sycamore tree next to the house. It is my air-conditioning system all summer. But it sheds stuff constantly. First it drops yellow petals about the size of a dime releasing tiny pollen balls. Next come the fuzzies, 3/8 inch long sharp splinters, pointed at one end with a plume of fine hair and a tiny dagger at the other. Millions of them, mounding up all over the yard, in drifts on the roof, coming inside on my shoes.

Fussies shed by sycamore tree

Before the fuzzies stop falling, the new green leaves mildew from the cold damp nights and start to drop off the tree. If the wind is blowing it looks like a snow storm. This year it is like autumn with piles of leaves and fuzzies everywhere. In twenty years I have never seen it this bad. Both the garbage bin and the green waste bin are full of this stuff.

The leaves and fuzz are stuck in the Jade plant, adorning my roses, and cuddling my strawberries. If I want to plant seeds or something new, I have to clean up this mess to find the soil so I can dig. I’m envisioning weeks of work to get rid of it.

As an art therapist, I could understand a lot about my patients just by looking at their art. My stitching told me a lot about what I was feeling, but I needed to write about those feelings to discover what was triggering them.

Normally I’d rather be working in the yard than anywhere else, but this spring, not so much. Eventually, I’ll get out of my funk and love my yard again. Meanwhile, I’ll indulge in chocolate and read more fiction.



2 thoughts on “Using Art and Writing to Find the Source of Complex Emotions

  1. such a familiar feeling this time of year. you must clean up a mess before you start a pretty project. I’m with you girl!

  2. Oh Marilyn. You have the most wonderful yard. I lust after it, but know at this age I could not keep it up. Look how frustrated I got over just two orange trees. Im relieved they are gone. I hope this Spring funk passes so you can love your garden again.

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