I recently met with a prospectve client who wanted me to advise him on how to draw, specifically how to draw characters and figures he wanted to use in a multi-media project. He spent all day on computers at work, and more computer time in the evenings. He knew all about computers, design software and digital illustration tools, but not much about drawing.
I explained to him that in addition to creating a piece of art, drawing was a way to let your spirit know you’re listening, a way to gain emotional intelligence about yourself. It’s a zen-thing, a way to gain some inner peace and channel the feelings we all have in a constructive manner.
My potential student wanted none of this. I could tell that the prospect of looking inward filled him with unease, perhaps even dread. He wanted a quick shot of creative skill (like Neo in The Matrix getting plugged in so he could learn kung-fu) without having to deal with his icky feelings.
I never heard from him again.
Not knowing why you are feeling why you are, or not knowing how to channel your feelings can make life much less pleasant. Many people try to stay as busy as they can to avoid hearing what their feelings are telling them. This is a lack of emotional intelligence, and it is a big cause for anxiety, depression, sadness, rage…in short, all the negative emotions. We are all human, and our emotions will not be ignored. They will make their presence felt one way or the other, whether we like it or not.
Drawing and journaling are two extremely effective ways to channel these feelings, so much so, that these techniques are starting to be used by soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to help them cope with the things they have seen and done, things most of us cannot even imagine.
Journaling is easy and you won’t believe how much better you feel when you do it. All it requires is a notebook (any notebook will do), a pencil or pen, and a quiet place. Here is how to journal:
- Sit in a quiet place with your journal and start writing. About anything.
- Do not think.
- Do not try to compose sentences.
- Do not analyze.
- Whatever comes out of your mind goes into the journal. It can be anything.
- When in doubt, keep writing, from a pure stream-of-consciousness place.
- What you write does not have to make any sense, the thoughts can jump from one place to another, there can be spelling mistakes...it does not matter. Just let the words flow without any restriction.
- You don’t have to show the journal to anyone. This is just between you and your spirit.
After a session of journaling you will be amazed at how much calmer and mored relaxed you feel, because you have listened to your spirit. You have successfully processed your feelings instead of ignoring them.
Below is an interesting video for kids about a “feeling journal” that helps them channel their feelings. But it applies to adults as well. Get a journal today and try it yourself, even just once. What have you got to lose?