Your Guide to Happier Relationships
When I first became a certified life coach, I wanted to figure out how to combine my past career as an artist with my new career as a coach. I began offering process painting workshops. Here’s how it worked: participants were given 12 colors of tempera paint, a variety of brushes and sponges to paint with, and large sheets of paper. After guiding them through a meditation to help them access their inner child, I’d play relaxing music and encourage them to let go and paint. The goal was to release their inner critic and enjoy the process without focusing on being “good at art”. The results were breathtaking. Clients had breakthroughs about relationships and jobs they were stuck in. Many went on to change their lives for the better.
I stopped doing those live workshops to focus on serving more clients across the globe. Now I work mostly via the internet, doing virtual workshops, and coaching by the phone or Skype. But recently, I began thinking about offering those workshops again. I miss the in-person connection and the incredible results. I do plan to integrate a painting workshop into my next live coaching event.
In the meantime, I decided to give my new beau a painting set for Chanukah, and we spent an hour painting together last week. It was a wonderful experience. Here’s the painting we did. Can you guess which side I painted?
In all fairness, he had never painted before. He was the one who suggested we share one piece of paper. He kept looking over at my side and feeling bad that he wasn’t good at art. I told him to tell his inner critic to take a hike, and for him to just enjoy the process. After a bit, he was able to relax and we both found the shared experience to be delightful.
You can learn a lot about someone when you paint with them. I marveled at his willingness to take a risk and paint side-by-side with someone far more experienced. I would have been doing a lot of “compare and despair” if I were him.
When we finished, I asked him to describe the experience of painting this way. Then I asked him to find the parts of the painting that he was drawn to and what they meant to him. Late that night when he was alone and relaxed, he painted again. This time, he was more relaxed and enjoyed the process even more.
You might want to try painting in this way at home. Whether or not you paint, I wanted to to give you a gift, a guided meditation. I hope it brings you more joy and peace this hectic holiday season. So, when you’re ready, please find a quiet spot, read through the meditation, and try and remember it as you close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Or even better, you can ask a trusted friend to read it to you. I want you to take a few moments for yourself. You deserve it.
Go back to a time when you were young and carefree. Look around you. Let yourself wander around your childhood world. Relax into this time and place. Take a deep breath. Breathe easily and effortlessly. Feel the sights, sounds, and smells of this time and place. Notice what’s vibrant and vivid here. Notice what’s fuzzy and vague. As you spend time wandering around this space and time, ask yourself the following questions. Notice which ones you have answers to.
What do you love to do?
What delights you?
What comforts you?
When are you most at peace?
What are the things that light you up?
What are the things that you’re drawn to?
When are you most happy?
When you’re ready, say goodbye to this time and place and come back to the present. Take a minute to jot down what you discovered that brought you joy and peace and connected you to what makes you feel alive.
What did you discover? In adulthood, we often lose sight of what makes us come alive. It’s important to reconnect to your childhood joys every now and then. I believe it’s the secret to a wonderful life and to happier relationships.