Self consciousness is my greatest creativity killer. Sometimes it manifests as people pleasing art making. I fall back onto easy-to-love color combinations and compositions that I know will get me compliments. It's okay to do this sometimes. Its a pleasant way to connect with others, and the sheer joy of playing with color, shape and line is worth it.
But it's not okay to do it when I am doing expressive art, which is by definition a healing approach to creativity. For me, healing doesn't come unless I push myself to make art outside of my comfort zone, and the most powerful way to do that is to move expressively.
I am a tall big boned woman. When I was a girl, I was a ballet dancer. As I got taller, I wanted to get smaller and eventually quit dancing. My way of moving was not lithe and delicate. I had power, I took up space, I made noise. I was embarrassed by this. My way of moving was not okay, at least not in front of others.
My first experience of expressive arts was with a woman who started out as a dance therapist, so movement was the basis of her approach. To move expressively, to make a motion with your body that has meaning, that says something...this was new to me. As we all moved around the through the room past one another I felt huge, scary and really stupid. I did not look at anyone, but felt they were all looking at me. Of course, none of us were trained dancers; the others had their own doubts and self criticisms about their moving bodies.
Moving loosens me up, breaks up the hard crusts in my muscles and my attitude. I still feel like an idiot when I dance, but it also feels good. When I dance before I paint or write, I have already made a fool of myself, crossed that threshold of self consciousness that kept me crabby and self pitying. One the other side is me, my own imagery, myths, way of being creative that is just for me.
I make art in different ways, for different reasons. When I want to heal, to grow, to find connection, and to explore my own experience, then intermodal expressive arts is the approach I take. And movement is essential part of that process.
How do you feel about expressive movement? Leave your comments below, I'd love to hear from you!