In Expressive Arts, after the artwork is completed, we spend time describing it. Not analyzing it for its meaning, as you might in traditional therapies. We name what we see, tossing out descriptive words until we’re exhausted of descriptions. Yesterday, the word “crowded” appeared, and indeed our community sculpture was as we tried to place each of our individual playdough creations onto a small, plastic dinner plate. I even offered to find a larger surface, as I could feel the discomfort of my participants as they struggled to find a place for their artwork, while respecting their neighbor’s.
Today I began paying more attention to that word, “crowded”, in terms of our daily lives.
In today’s world, we are so over-involved. We fail to say no to what we really don’t WANT to do, or feel guilty about pulling out of what we thought we sincerely DID want yesterday, but not so much today. There’s expectations upon us in which we’re afraid of rocking the boat to piss someone off, or worse somehow, hurt their feelings in the process. There’s even “good” endeavors that we’re involved in — church, volunteering, PTO — that are just one too many things on our plate! And culturally, if you stay at home, it seems sometimes that you have to prove that you are doing something productive, so we tack on STUFF that has little meaning to our souls. It ends up just being busy work that is ultimately unfulfilling, which shows up in our exhaustion, depression, stress, addictions, and physical ailments.
It’s hard to say no — to disappoint others or piss them off in standing up for ourselves. It’s hard for some of us to acknowledge that we are WORTHY of setting those boundaries, having desires/needs that may be contradictory from what others want of us. That little inkling in our gut gets squashed in our need to be “nice”, “serving”, or “good”.
I’m glad I didn’t go running off to find our group a larger surface. There really IS only twenty-four hours in a day. We can’t tack on any more time to be more “nice”. And sadly enough, this IS our only life we have here on God’s beautiful earth. It could end tomorrow as we’re still trying to live the life that those others have expected from us, and we shrink smaller and smaller (and sicker and sicker).
Life IS crowded….how do YOU prioritize what is right and good for you? When will you see that you, your life RIGHT NOW without any changes or do-overs, is worthy of shining? That the boundaries you may cross could actually help another in the outcome. It could help them set their own boundaries, help them tackle what they’ve needed for a long time, or more often than not, you’ll be surprised that what you feared would be unwelcome, might actually be inconsequential or a bonus to another.
And go figure….the outcome could really be a beautiful creation!