This is a ten-part series in reviewing and experiencing through art experiential’s, the book by Cathy A. Malchiodi, The Soul’s Palette, the book we are studying in my Intro to Arts and Healing art therapy course.
Chapter 6: Letting Your Images Tell Their Stories
This was a fascinating chapter and how using different methods could get the artwork to have a dialogue with the client. To give it a personality in the hopes that the person will be able to come to their own realizations, find their own solutions, and gain healing as the result from having a chat with whatever was created.
This could involve writing a conversation out and it could look like a script is being written between two characters (you and the artwork). It could involve using your imagination to find the answers. There could be the study of any symbols that show up in the creative piece.
For me, I decided to try the conversation route with a mandala I had drawn from my other art therapy class using oil pastels. I felt somehow compelled to draw a large flower surrounded by hearts. I recognized that flowers are both delicate but also very strong. I thought at the time that was an appropriate symbol for me as I reflected on how I persevered so much over my life.
Oddly enough, the longer I stared at the mandala I could almost feel like it had something to say; and I laughed at that when I started reading this chapter. There are no coincidences!
This is how our conversation went:
Me: um, hey. How’s it going?
Mandala: doing fabulous, I look fabulous thanks to you!
Me: you’re too kind
Mandala: sigh, Sharra, you did great, embrace it. After all it’s not every day you hang out with the awesome Madame Dhalia. Lol
Me: Madame Dhalia huh. Cute.
MD: and smart, and sexy, and talented, and lovely, and
Me: okay okay, <snort laughs>
Me: so I could hear you sort of talking but wasn’t really paying attention that day. Sorry for being so rude.
MD: its all good, you’re forgiven. Seriously, we need to talk.
Me: I’m listening.
MD: good. Look, it is so cool that you realized that you have overcome so much in your short life. Most would have lost hope and then some.
Me: I did a few times but for whatever reason God wouldn’t let me end myself.
MD: That’s because you’re too important, too valuable to be tossed out like trash. There’s a reason God calls you his Sunshine Daisy.
Me: yeah, why’s that?
MD: Daisy are very resilient, considering that some varieties would be seen as weeds. They can bend and move in strong winds. They shake off the weight from rainwater. And like all plants in nature, constantly reaching for sunlight.
Me: I’m sure you’ll get to the point
MD: grrr. You are that daisy, Sharra. You have overcome domestic violence, verbal abuse, gaslighting, certain addictions, rape, assault, car accidents, prostitution, cyberbullying, severe body pain that you still deal with on a daily basis, abandonment and mass rejection. Through it all, you kept looking for truth and divine light.
Me: I think you’re nuts. I can’t bend and move, I am not that flexible.
MD: that’s not true
Me: f@#! you! You don’t know what I go through and what it was like going through so much shit!
MD: actually I do. I was there with you at every moment, I kept you surrounded in love and light. That’s why you drew all those hearts, yes?
Me: not really sure why I drew them, just that it felt right and I was feeling self-love that day.
MD: And that’s exactly what a daisy does. You shook off so much, yes it took years but you did. You are flexible in that you learned to adapt rapidly mainly for survival but mostly to hold on to something that kept a smile on your face, kept you grateful.
Me: damn. Never looked at it like that before. I mean daisies are my favorite flower because I like how they can look playful in the garden but lovely in a vase. Not to mention, their scent. <happy sigh>
Me: but what about the Sunshine part? You said I’m God’s Sunshine Daisy.
MD: Well, think about it. What is Sunshine?
Me: hmm. Well it’s a bright light for all that live in our part of the universe. It’s a great source for vitamin D. It generates heat. That’s all I got.
MD: yes, that’s sunshine but what about Sunshine?? I’m not talking about the physical sun.
Me: well shit, I don’t know. You can be f$#@!g irritating Madame Dhalia. Madame my ass.
MD: oh please b*tch, that the best you can do. Well how about this, what does your name mean?
MD: yes, that is a source of sunshine. You are a source of pure light, love, wisdom, empathy, and grace.
MD: <laughs> I know, total shocker.
Me: I never gave it much thought as my name was more a source of teasing than anything.
MD: well know you know it was a sign of your true self. So try again, what is Sunshine?
Me: Well….to me it was the spotlight when I got to meet my guardian angel. It’s the joy I feel when I talk to my plants and they release their scent in joy. Its cat cuddles. It’s the aura’s I see radiating out from other people. It’s the universe that I converse with when I need help, there’s this sense that someone is always there with me.
MD: good, that’s a great start. I’ll help you out.
MD: go listen to the song by Maren Morris, Dear Hate. Tell me what line jumps out at you the most.
Me: phew. It was the lines that start out as ‘you were there in the garden’
MD: yeppers. The Sunshine, was there at your birth, was there when you gave in to the pain and tried to end your life, it was there when you had your miscarriage. But, it was also there when you pick up a camera, a paintbrush, discovered coffee. It was there when you started going to Delight Ministries. It was there every moment you were alone, every moment you’ve experienced and it is with you right now.
Me: it’s the Divine?
Me: okay, so Sunshine, is the Divine. But why would God call me Sunshine Daisy?
MD: because you are DIVINE. You are delicate and strong like the DAISY. You are Light. You are Love. You are Wisdom. You are radiant and it shows when you smile and laugh. The proof is all around you and you are permitted to believe that you are all these things and more. The mere fact that you breathe is proof enough that you are the greatest masterpiece God has ever created and that holds true for all children of God.
Me: Wow. That’s <sniff>, that’s <fighting back tears> so overwhelming.
MD: I know hun, but you got this.
Me: yeah, I really do. Thanks for having this chat with me.
MD: anytime, that’s what I’m here for.